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UW College of Arts and Sciences Names 2012 Outstanding Graduates

May 1, 2012

The University of Wyoming College of Arts and Sciences has selected its outstanding graduating students for the 2011-2012 academic year.

Each year, the A&S Scholarship Committee, which includes faculty members from each of the college's divisions, selects outstanding graduates from among top A&S students.

The names of the outstanding graduates have been engraved on a bronze plaque mounted in the lobby of the Arts and Sciences building. The students will be recognized at the college's commencement ceremonies May 5.

"I have no doubt these students are among the best in the United States and am confident that they will be leaders in whatever vocation they choose," says Ollie Walter, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. "I am proud that our fine university has contributed to their success."

The students, listed by hometown and major area of study, are:

Buffalo -- Jacob M. Peters, physiology.

Casper -- Evan M. Blonigen, religious studies and history; Brooke J. Eades, journalism; and Elise V. Sylar, physiology.

Cheyenne -- Christopher M. Brennan, criminal justice; and Holly L. Hunter, psychology and anthropology.

Colorado Springs, Colo. -- Kristy M. Katein-Taylor, physics and mathematics.

Evanston -- Holly L. Tysse, political science.

Gillette -- Sean P. Moran, sociology, psychology and criminal justice.

Glendale, Wis. -- Rachel L. Bain, geology and mathematics.

Gothenburg, Neb. -- Cobus L. Block, international studies.

Kansas City, Mo. -- Christopher D. Michael, political science and environment and natural resources.

Laramie -- Sarah C. Ferguson, music education; and Daniel J. Galbreath, music performance.

Littleton, Colo. -- Jordan A. Parry, Spanish and secondary education/Spanish.

River Falls, Wis. -- Laura Wespetal, English.

Rock Springs -- Carrie L. McCarthy, chemistry.

Sidney, Neb. -- Rosa M. Beyer, English.

Westminster, Colo. -- Noelia G. Antweiler, theatre and dance; and Allison M. Beaufort, international studies.

Brief biographies of the students:

Noelia Antweiler is earning a minor in psychology and is a member of the University of Wyoming Honors Program, Phi Kappa Phi and Golden Key. In fall 2011, she was a Keith and Thyra Thomson Honor's Convocation speaker, during which she discussed a project she conducted at the Northpoint Correctional Facility in Burgin, Ky. The project, "Voices Inside," involved working with male inmates to create and perform original 10-minute plays. Since age five, Noelia has known that theatre is her calling. She hopes to become a working actor in a major market and continue work in the penal system.

Rachel Bain is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi and Golden Key. She transferred to UW for her sophomore year after attending Wheaton College, Ill., as a mathematics major. Among the scholarships she received while attending UW are the Wyoming Geological Association S.H. Knight scholarship and the Anne Kirtland Selden Lowe Geology scholarship. Besides her studies, Rachel enjoys reading and listening to classical music. Her goal is to pursue a master's degree in geology with an emphasis on fluvial geomorphology.

Allison Beaufort is receiving minor degrees in African American and Diaspora Studies, and International Agricultural Economics. She is a member of Cardinal Key, Mortar Board, Phi Kappa Phi and the University of Wyoming Honors Program. Allison is interested in development in Africa and had the opportunity to work on a water-supply project in Kenya with Engineers without Borders, a program in the College of Engineering and Applied Science. She also studied abroad in the Netherlands and worked as a summer intern in Washington, D.C.

Rosa Beyer is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Golden Key and Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society. She transferred to UW after attending Fransican University in Steubenville, Ohio, for two years. Rosa wrote her senior thesis on Virginia Woolf's "Mrs. Dalloway." After graduation, Rosa plans to attend the University of Chicago to pursue a master's degree in humanities. She then hopes to earn a Ph.D. in English and eventually become an English professor. Her plan is to research literary connections between Jane Austen and John Milton.

Cobus Block is a member of the University of Wyoming Honors Program and is receiving minor degrees in economics and Chinese. He grew up on the family farm where he was home schooled until the ninth grade. After arriving at UW, Cobus became interested in Asia, especially China. He lived in China for one year to study the Chinese language with the help of the Chinese ambassador's scholarship. He then remained in China for another year to study international politics and Chinese literature with the help of the Noyes Study Abroad scholarship.

Evan Bloningen is a member of the University of Wyoming Honors Program, Phi Kappa Phi and Mortar Board. His main area of interest is Hindu religious frameworks and history of Christianity. Evan had the opportunity to participate in the London Semester in 2010, which allowed him to visit many European locales. He is interested in travelling, rescuing dogs, studying religious theory and watching films. Following graduation, Evan plans to attend law school at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Christopher Brennen is receiving a minor in psychology. A first-generation college student, he is interested in leadership opportunities, politics and the law. Currently, Christopher is considering following in his father's footsteps and joining the military. In particular, he would like to serve as an officer in the United States Air Force. He plans to attend law school in the near future. Christopher enjoys reading and playing and watching sports.

Brooke Eades is a member of Phi Kappa Phi and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She served as vice president of the Society of Professional Journalists UW Chapter and as advocacy chair for Colleges against Cancer. While attending UW, she worked as the courts and crime reporter for K2 Radio news during the summers, and, in spring 2011, Brooke interned at NBC's Washington Bureau. An avid proponent of cancer research and prevention, Brook has lobbied legislators and contributed research to House Bill 63, which is aimed at preventing skin cancer. The bill passed in 2010. Brooke plans to attend law school after graduation.

Sarah Ferguson is a member of the University of Wyoming Honors Program, Mortar Board and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. She began studying violin at age six with the String Academy of Wyoming. While attending UW, Sarah taught violin, viola, cello and bass for the UW String project. She also held the position of associate concertmaster for the University of Wyoming Symphony Orchestra. This summer, she will serve as head counselor at the Indiana University Summer String Academy in Bloomington. She plans to earn a master's degree in music.

Daniel Galbreath is a member of the University of Wyoming Honors Program, Spurs, Phi Kappa Phi and Golden Key. He began playing violin in the fourth grade and took up viola in high school. Studying these instruments, both in private lessons and in orchestra classes, as well as high school choir and theory classes, contributed to Daniel's interest in music. As a performance major, he studied conducting, musicology, pedagogy and composition. In fall 2012, Daniel will attend graduate school and focus on music composition. Eventually, he would like to teach at a college or university.

Holly Hunter, in addition to earning two bachelor's degrees, is receiving a minor in Chinese. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and the Wyoming Anthropological Association. She served as secretary of Psi Chi (the psychology honorary), played violin with the UW Symphony Orchestra and participated with ACRES student farm while attending UW. Holly's academic interests focused on Chinese culture studies and language. After graduation, she plans to attend the University of Denver Law School where she will focus on international law.

Kristy Katein-Taylor is a member of the University of Wyoming Honors Program, Phi Kappa Phi and Sigma Pi Sigma, the physics honor society. While attending UW, she had opportunities to conduct research in Wenyong Wang's physics laboratory and to work with David Thayer to develop and distribute an alumni survey. Katein-Taylor did her senior research project on nanotechnology and wind energy. After graduation, she plans to attend the Colorado School of Mines to pursue a master's degree in engineering physics. She is interested in a career that focuses on researching and improving alternative energy.

Carrie McCarthy is a member of Spurs honor society and has participated in many intramural sports teams and various clubs. After graduation, she intends to spend several months in New Zealand to work on a documentary film. In spring 2013, she hopes to have an internship with a European chemical company. While attending UW, she received various awards and scholarships, including the Outstanding Senior in Chemistry award, the Nielson Excellence Fellowship in Energy Studies, and the R. Owen Asplund Academic Excellence Prize in Chemistry. Eventually, she plans to earn a Ph.D.

Christopher Michael is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Pi Sigma Alpha, which is the national political science honor society. In addition to earning two bachelor's degrees, Christopher is receiving a minor in environmental values, offered through the Department of Philosophy. His interest in photography recently led Christopher to travel to Indonesia to document geographical changes since the 2004 tsunami. He also is a level-one CrossFit coach and diver. His immediate plan after graduation is to return to Kansas City to coach diving and CrossFit.

Sean Moran is a member of the University of Wyoming Honors Program, Phi Kappa Phi, Golden Key and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. He received the 2012 Tobin Award as UW's outstanding graduating male student.  A first-generation college student, he is interested in family relations, mental health and victim advocacy, addiction, social justice, holistic healing and literature. He enjoys writing young adult books and poetry, and hopes to one day have these works published. Immediately after graduation, Sean plans to find a job in social services and get a massage therapy certification. Eventually, he hopes to pursue graduate studies.

Jordan Parry is a member of the University of Wyoming Honors Program, Iron Skull, Mortar Board and Phi Kappa Phi. In addition to her bachelor's degree, Jordan is receiving an English as a Second Language endorsement. While at UW, she had an opportunity to study abroad in Chile, which helped to shape her personal values and goals. After graduation, Parry will teach English in Cusco, Peru, with LanguageCorps. She eventually plans to attend graduate school and hopes to either teach at the college level or work for the Foreign Service.

Jacob Peters is a member of the University of Wyoming Honors Program and Phi Beta Kappa. His main area of research is physiological ecology and stable isotope ecology, and he is interested in the history and philosophy of science, biology, and the relationship between Christianity and traditional science. Immediately after graduation, Jacob will travel to Bangalore, India, where he will study insect flight kinematics as a research assistant at the National Center for Biological Sciences. In fall 2012, Jacob will enter the predoctoral program in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard.

Elise Sylar began her college career at Casper College and transferred to UW as a sophomore. In addition to a bachelor's degree, she is receiving a minor in neuroscience. Elise's research interest is the effects of hyperosmolaroty on chromatin structure in the paraventricular nucleus. In addition to her academic pursuits, Elise enjoys photography, water color painting and knitting. She will continue to work in Professor Bill Flynn's laboratory after graduation. Elise will apply for medical school with the eventual plan of becoming a pediatric oncologist.

Holly Tysse, besides a bachelor's degree, is receiving minor degrees in philosophy and criminal justice. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Golden Key and Phi Alpha Delta prelaw fraternity. While growing up, Tysse was interested in athletics, competing with the varsity high school swim team; music, participating in the competitive jazz choir; and outdoor activities, including hunting and fishing. Recently, Holly has taken up running and hopes to complete her first half-marathon this summer in memory of her mother. She plans to attend UW Law School and wants to practice employment or environmental law in Wyoming.

Laura Westpetal is a member of the University of Wyoming Honors Program. In addition to a bachelor's degree, Laura is receiving minor degrees in professional writing and international studies. While attending UW, Laura served as a UW orientation leader and student ambassador, as well as a consultant at the writing center. Her special interests include rhetoric, professional writing and online publishing. Laura's senior honors' project focused on rural refugee resettlement. Immediately after graduation, she will attend the University of Utah to work toward a graduate degree in educational leadership and policy.

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