An open letter to our undergraduate class of 2020

To our six Environmental Health, 26 Neuroscience, 50 Microbiology, and 71 Biomedical Sciences graduates:

Though we are unable to celebrate with you in person, all of us within the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences offer our heartfelt congratulations and wish you the very best as
you transition into the next chapter of your lives. And remember—we’re still here for you after graduation!

In keeping with the nontraditional nature of this spring’s commencement celebration, we have chosen two commencement speakers to represent the CVMBS Spring 2020 graduating class: Malik Jackson (Biomedical Sciences) and Dannika Harris (Microbiology). Thank you, Dannika and Malik, for your thoughtful and inspiring messages!

We have enjoyed working with you as you pursued your degree program in CVMBS. We are confident that your education has prepared you with the skills and knowledge to be successful
as you embark on your next adventure. You worked together with your friends and faculty to reach the culmination of your degree program—graduating with your bachelor’s degree.

Congratulations! Take care of yourself, your friends, and your families. I wish you all the very best! 

-Dr. Sandra Quackenbush, Professor, Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology, and Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs

Greetings Ram class of 2020! Well, you did it. When you were first-year students, the idea of graduation was probably a nebulous notion, tucked away neatly behind the excitement and anxiety associated with starting a new phase of your life. You probably also had faculty and advisors telling you that graduation may seem a long way off, but it will be here before you know it. They were right, weren’t they?

When things calm down and you have a moment to decompress, reflect on all the great memories and friendships you built while you were at CSU. Think about how you’ve grown intellectually and the obstacles you’ve overcome, especially this semester, to achieve your goals. You should be proud of yourselves. We know we’re proud of you and we guarantee your families and friends are as well. As you prepare to go out into this weird new normal, we wish you all the best.

Cheers to you, young colleagues! GO RAMS!!! 

-Drs. Judy Heiderscheidt (Environmental Health and Radiological Sciences), Jenny McLean (Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology), Phillip Quirk (Neuroscience), and Quint Winger (Biomedical Sciences)

To our amazing Spring 2020 graduates—We couldn’t be more proud of you! You’ve weathered the unexpected; you’ve adjusted, and more than adjusted—you rocked! We know that there are wonderful events in store for the future, and we hope that you’ll stay in touch.

Congratulations on completing your degree in Microbiology. The world needs you!

-Lisa McCann and Kari Schlobohm, Microbiology advisors

I am so proud of you and can’t wait to see what you all achieve next. Thanks for letting me be part of your university experience and for choosing us to be your academic home. I’ll always consider you family! Stay in touch and let me know when you’re ready to hire interns!

Congratulations EH’ers!

Erin Reichert, Environmental Health advisor

Hi BMS class of 2020! We are so proud of all of you—what an important accomplishment! We are honored that you allowed us to be part of your journey here at CSU. We have truly enjoyed getting to know you and we would love to hear from you as you continue to make your mark on this world.

Congratulations on your graduation and best wishes for your next adventure!

-Dr. Sarah Maddox and Kelly Swetich, Biomedical Sciences advisors

Congratulations Neuroscience class of 2020! We are very proud of you for finishing your undergraduate career strong under these unusual conditions and feel privileged to have walked this journey with you over the past few years. We look forward to watching you go out and change the world. Please keep in touch, we would love to hear from you.

Congratulations on your graduation!

-Alicia Foos and Dr. Phillip Quirk, Neuroscience

Congratulations to our graduating CVMBS Student Ambassadors: Lauren Compton, Dillon Donaghy, Adrienne Gaughan, Micah Haase, Eden Herron, Maddie Hulst, Kaylea Horacek, Natalie Miller, Julian Mylius, and Hope Zupfer! Thank you for the time you spent leading tours and sharing your experiences with prospective students and families at events. It has been an honor to work with each of you and watch you inspire future CVMBS students (and us!).

Congratulations, and we will miss you!

-Kristen Brown and Heather Galanty, CVMBS Student Success Center

Outstanding Graduates

Congratulations to Vivan Chung (Biomedical Sciences) and Dillon Donaghy (Microbiology), who were featured as “Outstanding Graduates” in the May 11 edition of SOURCE!

Graduates with Distinction

Congratulations to our CVMBS students who are graduating with distinction this semester:

Summa Cum Laude (3.990+ GPA)
Kara Billington—Biomedical Sciences
Emily Burnett—Microbiology
Dillon Donaghy—Microbiology
Thomas Griffin—Environmental Health
Savanna Johnson—Biomedical Sciences
April Mabie—Biomedical Sciences
Tiffany Tran—Biomedical Sciences

Magna Cum Laude (3.940+ GPA)
Emily Bliss—Microbiology
Allison Hare—Neuroscience
Jenna Hattendorf—Biomedical Sciences
Devan Heinrichs—Biomedical Sciences
Katy Krupinsky—Microbiology
Lilia Maeda—Biomedical Sciences
Michelle Near—Neuroscience
Lauren Robinson—Biomedical Sciences
Anna Kate Schofield—Microbiology
Taylor Stack—Biomedical Sciences
Stephanie Suinn—Microbiology
Keely Thomas—Biomedical Sciences

Cum Laude (3.850+ GPA)
Mykaila Blumhardt—Biomedical Sciences
Paige Cummings—Neuroscience
Petra Erhardt—Biomedical Sciences
Elissa Forsyth—Biomedical Sciences
Adrienne Gaughan—Biomedical Sciences
Olivia Haver—Biomedical Sciences
Malik Jackson—Biomedical Sciences
Natalie Miller—Biomedical Sciences
Grace Morrow—Neuroscience
Jamie Philp—Microbiology
Megan Reynolds—Neuroscience
Jordan Sandoval—Biomedical Sciences
Morgan Schackmuth—Neuroscience
Claire Wilson—Biomedical Sciences

Virtual CURC Showcase Award Winners

Congratulations to our graduates who participated in this year’s first-ever virtual CURC showcase:

Highest Honors

• Allison Hare, Neuroscience: One Step at a Time – The Nervous System’s Bayesian Approach to Sensory Uncertainty (Mentors: Tyler Whittier, Brett Fling)

Hadassah Mendez scientific poster
• Hadassah Mendez, Neuroscience: The effects of valproic acid on Ᵹ-catenin and the onset of autism (Mentor: Seonil Kim)

College Honors

• Brielle Hermstedt, Biomedical Sciences: Allocation tradeoffs resulting from an immune challenge in individuals of different metabolic rates (Advisor: Dhruba Naug)

• Keely Thomas, Biomedical Sciences: Fecal Microbiota Transplant Alters Vascular Function in Germ-Free Mice (Mentors: Chris Gentile, Raj Trika, Kayl Ecton)

• Tiffany Tran, Biomedical Sciences: cGMP-dependent protein kinase II knockout mice show altered vocalizations and may serve as a model for speech impairment in microdeletion 4q21 syndrome
(Mentors: Leslie Stone-Roy, Seonil Kim)


• Nicholas Bartolillo, Microbiology: Identifying Key Players and Their Roles in Cyclic di-GMP Signaling Using Luminescence Reporter Assays and Swim Assays (Mentors: Brad Borlee, Grace Borlee)

• Tyler Bettencourt, Microbiology: CXCL10 upregulation in human placental cell line varies dependent upon Zika virus strains (Mentors: Joseph A. Westrich, Rushika Perera, Candace K. Mathiason)

• Sydney Goldacker, Microbiology: Developing a Model of fEffective Science Communication: An Integrative Literature Review (Mentors: Zachary Mercurio, Mo Moreira)

• Joseph Holmes, Microbiology: B cell phenotypic changes induced by different ZIKV strain infections (Mentors: Ramesh Akkina, Kimberly Schmitt, James Curlin)

• Peter Kessinger, Biomedical Sciences/Environmental Health: Epidemiological Investigation of Coccidiodomycosis in Association with Arizona Climate (Mentors: Sheryl Magzamen, Angela Bosco-

• Kathryn Krupinsky, Microbiology: The Novel Use of R Programming Language to measure the Effectiveness of an Upper-Level Microbiology Course Curriculum Designed to Facilitate Active Learning of Genetic Cloning (Mentors: Katriana Popichak, Jennifer McLean)

• Stephanie McMahon, Microbiology: Gene and Protein Function in TBX-2 Gene: An Analysis on Earless Frogs (Mentors: Kim Hoke, Rachel Fleming) and Light inducible prions (Mentor: Mark Zabel)

• Claire Wilson, Biomedical Sciences: Centering High School Students’ Voices in the Dialogue on Sex Education (Mentor: Stephanie (Mo) Moreira)