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Meet the Class of 2015May 13, 2015
The Class of 2015
The students who make up the class of 2015 represent a variety of backgrounds, experiences and talents. In honor of this week’s commencement activities, here are a few stories from the latest group of Hawks.
Born completely deaf in one ear, Lynsey Riemann of O’Fallon, Missouri, said she understands how physical limitations can easily become setbacks. But she said her experience has also led her to understand how important it is to have someone who can show empathy and support to those overcoming disabilities.
Riemann, who as a Rockhurst student has held leadership positions with the campus ambassadors, Campus Ministry, and Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority, among other organizations, will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in communication sciences and disorders. Next semester, she will begin medical school, studying to become an audiologist. She said she was inspired to pursue her path by her own audiologist, who treated her as more than just another patient.
“I wanted to be able to develop that relationship with people with disabilities and share with them my experience and let them know that they don’t have to let this hold them back,” she said.
Jorge Holguin came to Kansas City when he was 8 years old, moving with his two sisters from Mexico. But settling into a completely new place would be tough. He said he faced adversity in his elementary school classroom stemming from his newness to the English language and culture. Growing up on Kansas City’s Northeast side, he said he also had to avoid the gangs and other activities in his community that could have easily derailed his success.
Working full-time since he was 14 years old, Holguin transferred to Alta Vista Charter School, where the Hispanic Leadership Opportunity Program inspired him to pursue a degree in nonprofit leadership studies and to take a community engagement position with the Boy Scouts in Salina, Kan., where he will continue to work after graduation, in the hopes of engaging Hispanic communities like the one he came from.
“That was the spark,” he said of the program. “And now I want to go and apply what I learned at Rockhurst to making people’s lives better.”
Courtney and Jessie Lock
Rockhurst University was not a first-choice school for Courtney Lock. In fact, she visited six other institutions in order to give herself a chance to shed the image of being the younger counterpart of her older sister Jessie, who started at RU the year before. But hearing about her sister’s first-year experience made her reconsider.
Though they have forged separate identities at RU, they do live on the same street and still share some of the same friends. On Saturday, because Courtney will be graduating a year early, they will also share a graduation day. Jessie, a psychology major who has already begun the occupational therapy graduate program at Rockhurst, said she’ll miss seeing her sister around. Courtney, recipient of this year’s Dean’s Highest Honor Award and the Delta Sigma Pi Key Award from the Helzberg School of Management, will receive a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree with an accounting concentration and start law school.
“It’s been really great to have my sister so close,” Courtney said. “I think it’s made it like having a little bit of home with you. And I think graduating together is going to make the ceremony that much more special.”
She didn’t start off as a nonprofit leadership studies major, but Maigan Bridgette said her experience has been transformative in helping her find a fulfilling career path.
Bridgette, from Leavenworth, Kansas, said she transferred to Rockhurst and found a program that allowed her to work alongside a number of different organizations. In addition to serving as a leader on the Nonprofit Leadership Student Association and in Zeta Tau Alpha sorority, Bridgette said class projects like an internship with the American Friends Service Committee, developing a marketing plan for the Ronald McDonald House, and aiding outreach efforts for the Girl Scouts were energizing.
“Those experiences helped me find out who I really was as a leader,” she said.
After graduating, Bridgette will use those talents as she becomes a full-time site supervisor for the YMCA of Greater Kansas City, hoping to make her passion for youth development into a career.
Alan Ratermann said the Jesuit education he received in high school and at Rockhurst University has impacted him deeply. It’s part of the reason why for his four years at RU, he’s been a student leader, serving on student senate, as a campus ambassador, and an orientation leader, among other activities.
It’s also the reason that, following graduation, he’ll be heading back into a Jesuit classroom — this time as a teacher.
Ratermann, a St. Louis native who will receive bachelor’s degrees in English, theology and religious studies, and nonprofit leadership studies, has volunteered for a year at Rockhurst High School as part of the Alumni Service Corps, one of 16 Jesuit alumni picked to serve in a Jesuit high school classroom next year.
Recalling the ASC teachers who helped guide him to where he is, Ratermann said he wants to be able to use his own talents and gifts to return the favor.
“I wanted to be there to give back to students in the classroom and hopefully have some of those conversations,” he said.