Media Tip Sheet: Colorado State University Outstanding Graduates Spring 2010

Note to Reporters: The following students are graduating from Colorado State University in Fort Collins May 14-15, 2010. Photos of the students can be found at

Musician and chemist finds passion in both areas of study

Nancy Tao, originally from Xiamen, China, moved to Fort Collins at age 5 and will graduate with a double major in chemistry and music. Tao is an assistant concertmistress to the Colorado State University Orchestra and is founder of the Colorado Asian Chamber Ensemble, where she arranged traditional Chinese music for a 20-member ensemble and coordinated performances throughout Northern Colorado. During her freshman year, Tao’s family lost a close friend to cancer – a loss that motivated her to become involved in undergraduate research as a Hughes Undergraduate Research Scholar. Her research allowed her to develop the skills needed to pursue a career in pharmaceutical development. She obtained an internship with Merck, the second largest pharmaceutical company in the world, where she coauthored a paper in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Next fall, Tao will begin her doctoral studies in chemistry at Yale University. She wants to become a professor of organic chemistry or researcher for the pharmaceutical industry. To speak with Tao, contact Emily Wilmsen at (970) 491-2336 or

Psychology student overcomes struggles to help others

Carissa Mehos, who will graduate with a psychology degree, attributes her passion for the subject to her own experiences. At 16, Mehos struggled with chronic depression and spent eight months in a residential treatment facility, which inspired her to pursue an education in psychology and help others with similar struggles. In summer 2009, Mehos worked as an intern with Turning Point, a center for youth and family development. She is a member of Psi Chi, a national honor society for psychology, and a member of Sigma Alpha Lambda National Leadership and Honors Organization. During her junior year, Mehos decided she wanted to focus on neuropsychology. She is one of only four students to receive waived tuition to American University in Washington, D.C., in the Brain, Cognition, and Neuroscience doctoral program. To speak with Mehos, contact Emily Wilmsen at (970) 491-2336 or

International student defies odds to achieve

Dulat Bekbolsynov came to Colorado State University in the fall of 2006 from his home country of Kazakhstan to study microbiology. Since then he has overcome great odds to attain a diploma. Bekbolsynov had dreamed of visiting America from a young age and received a government scholarship from Kazakhstan to study abroad in the United States. He ended up in Colorado by chance but has taken full advantage of traveling throughout the state while learning more about American customs. During his first semester at CSU, Bekbolsynov was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease and withdrew from the university to receive a kidney transplant abroad. In 2008, Bekbolsynov returned to Colorado to finish his studies. With only one year of English lessons before traveling to America, Bekbolsynov has successfully maintained his studies while recovering from his surgery. During his time at CSU, he became involved with the Office of International Programs and gave community presentations throughout the Northern Colorado area about his homeland. After graduation, Bekbolsynov will return to Kazakhstan to pursue a Ph.D. in biotechnology. To speak with Bekbolsynov, contact Dell Rae Moellenberg at (970) 491-6009 or

Business student immersed in academic leadership

Jonathan Hummer will graduate magna cum laude from the College of Business with a concentration in organization and innovation management and a minor in Chinese. He is both a University Honors scholar and a college scholar, and he has an Interdisciplinary Studies Certificates in International Development and certificates in international business, leadership communication, financial analysis and supply chain management. After beginning his college career in 2004, working full-time overnight shifts and taking a full course load at CSU, Hummer decided to take a break from school. He spent two years living in Southern Taiwan where he was fully immersed in the life, language and culture of the people. Returning to CSU in 2008, Hummer decided that, rather than working and going to school full time, he would focus on succeeding in his academic endeavors and giving back to the community and those around him. During his time at CSU, Hummer has been involved with the Business Diversity and Leadership Alliance, Alpha Kappa Psi, Mortar Board, Dean’s Student Leadership Council, Golden Key, and Lory Student Center Governing Board. After graduation, Hummer will move to Wichita, Kan., to work as a supply chain analyst at the Cargill Meat Solutions headquarters. To speak with Hummer, contact Jennifer Dimas at (970) 491-1543 or

Construction management leaders give back to CSU and the community

Brady Babbitt, Jeb Bair and Terrance Unrein believe their leadership opportunities at Colorado State University have shaped the people they have become. All three participated in countless university and construction management department activities including the construction management board of directors, national CM competitions and various university boards and committees. Babbitt, Bair and Unrein – all scholarship recipients – founded their own construction management scholarship intended to encourage other students to become involved. The three believe that, without scholarship assistance, their extra-curricular involvement would have been limited. Their scholarship, named the 2009 CM Board of Directors Student Leadership Award, will be given to students who are involved both in and out of the classroom. They believe building relationships with faculty and industry while becoming a stand-out student is the best way to advance in the construction industry. Babbitt, Bair and Unrein have been hired by an engineering and program management firm and will move to Libya, Africa, after graduation. They will be working on a $50 billion project to improve the housing and infrastructure of the country. To speak with Babbit, Bair and Unrein, contact Dell Rae Moellenberg at (970) 491-6009 or

First generation student graduates cum laude from the College of Business

Chrissy O’Maley is graduating cum laude from the College of Business with a concentration in marketing and certificate in supply chain management. As a first-generation college student, O’Maley became involved with the college’s mentoring program – a program designed to work with college students who are either first generation or have ethnically diverse backgrounds. For the past two years, she has acted as a mentor and this year was awarded mentor of the year. This past year, O’Maley placed in the quarter finals in the National Collegiate Sales Competition, the largest and oldest sales role-play competition, after competing against 120 of the country’s top collegiate sales talent. O’Maley is also involved in the Business Diversity Leadership Alliance, an organization that raises awareness about diversity issues where she volunteers her time for diversity-related charitable acts. She has an internship with the marketing consulting company, bAlpha; sells sponsorships for Centerra Events at the Loveland outdoor shopping center; and works part-time as a student consultant for a professor in the Department of Management. To speak with O’Maley, contact Jennifer Dimas at (970) 491-1543 or

Student first to graduate from Horticultural Therapy program

Ali Miller was scheduled to graduate from Colorado State with a degree in Floriculture in fall 2008 but worried what path the degree would take her down. In a twist of chance, Miller learned about CSU’s newly established Horticultural Therapy program, saw the concentration as a perfect fit and made the difficult decision to add two years to her academic career. Horticultural therapy involves engaging patients and trained therapists in garden-related activities to achieve specific treatment goals. Miller hopes to use her psychology, counseling and horticulture courses in tandem to work with at-risk youth who suffer with issues of substance abuse, obtaining employment, social behavior, self esteem and relationship building. Her personal philosophy embraces young people much like plants: When given the right care along with a set of boundaries, they can blossom into healthy, vibrant, self-sustaining beings. This led her to intern with the Loveland Youth Gardeners and the Dandelion Project of the Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center. Miller will continue her work with both programs until October to obtain the 480 intern hours needed to be certified as a horticultural therapist by the American Horticultural Therapy Association. After completing her certification, Miller will begin looking for organizations to partner with to establish a horticultural therapy program. Miller will graduate with a bachelor of science in Horticulture, concentrating in Horticultural Therapy. To speak with Ali Miller, contact Jim Beers at (970) 491-6401 or

Well-traveled, culturally aware student to serve in the Peace Corps

Travis Hall is a well-traveled, fluent Chinese speaker who hopes to serve as a foreign service officer with the U.S. Department of State. With this goal in mind, Hall has spent the past four years at CSU as a political science major focusing on developing his international relations skills. Spending a semester abroad at East China Normal University in Shanghai, Hall was given the opportunity to live with a local host family and teach English to second graders at a migrant school. In spring 2010, Hall was awarded a scholarship by the Korea Foundation and spent a week in South Korea participating in the inaugural Korea-U.S. Youth Network. College students from around the United States were immersed in Korean culture and history in hopes of building cultural bridges between the two countries. One of Hall’s hallmark accomplishments at CSU was his creation of the "Seven Days for Seven Dollars" campaign, a week-long event to help individuals gain a better understanding of global poverty. Participants are asked to live on $1 worth of food per day for a week. Hall served as a residence assistant for two years in CSU’s Academic Village, where he strived to build a community focused on instilling mutual respect and hard work in his residents. He cites this experience as his most meaningful endeavor during his college years. In September, Hall will join the Peace Corps and serve for two years in Eastern Europe. To speak with Hall, contact Kimberly Sorensen at (970) 491-0757 or

Student finds balance in art and science

Dawn Dalangin has had a passion for the arts and sciences from a young age. This combination of interests led her to CSU to purse degrees in music and mechanical engineering. She is the recipient of many musical and engineering scholarships and awards including the four-year Creative and Performing Arts Scholarship, and she took second place at the 2007 CSU Engineering Days for building an electronic organ. Her interests in piano performance resulted in several gold medals from the Wendel Diebel Keyboard Olympics as well as recognition as the 2006 overall winner of the CSU Concerto Competition. She has been a finalist in several national piano competitions, including the Coeur d’Alene Young Artist Competition in Idaho and the Central Florida Symphony Orchestra Young Art Competition. During her time at CSU, she founded and served as president of Club Kulturang Pilipin and was an active officer of the Society of Women Engineers. Dalangin began teaching piano lessons part-time in 2002. After acquiring a student base of more than 40 pianists, she decided to start her own piano school, Amadeus Piano Academy. She currently serves as the owner and head instructor of the academy. Dalangin earned a degree in mechanical engineering in 2007 and a degree in piano performance in 2008 at CSU. She will receive her Master of Music Degree in piano performance this May. After graduation, she will attend the University of Georgia’s Hugh Hodgson School of Music in pursuit of a Doctor of Musical Arts in piano performance. To speak with Dalangin, contact Kimberly Sorensen at (970) 491-0757 or

Former ASCSU Vice President Seeks Future in Law

Quinn Stover Girrens began studying political science and French during her freshmen year while participating in CSU’s Key Academic Community. She took a position on the Hall Council serving her fellow residents and found an interest in school politics. Since then, Girrens has served as associate justice of the Associated Students of Colorado State University’s Supreme Court, chief justice of the ASCSU Supreme Court and in 2008 as the ASCSU vice president alongside Taylor Smoot. During her time as ASCSU vice president, Girrens chaired the Student Fee Review Board and served as Speaker of the Senate. She has been responsible for enacted legislation that brought outdoor recycling bins to campus and a free concert in Moby Arena. She fought for higher education and the student voice at the Colorado State Capitol. Following along with her university-stemmed government interest, Girrens worked as an intern at the Colorado State General Assembly. This year she also served as a Key Academic Mentor and as a Presidential Ambassador, fulfilling a philanthropic commitment to the CSU community. Honoring her ability to balance a variety of extracurricular activities in relation to her academics, Girrens was awarded one of four prestigious CSU Pacesetter Awards in the fall of 2009. Girrens will be the first female in her family to graduate from college and is currently awaiting acceptance from law schools throughout the country. To speak with Girrens, contact Kimberly Sorensen at (970) 491-0757 or

Small town girl takes on the world

Growing up as a small town girl with a love for horses and a dream to become a veterinarian, Shawna Strickland’s dreams changed when she discovered her love for something much bigger – the world. After completing a course in international marketing and learning more about the global implications of business, Strickland began investigating other cultures and the world around her. In the summer of 2009, Strickland completed a marketing internship at ISI Ireland English Language School in Dublin and worked with students ages 15-55 who represented a multitude of countries and cultures from around the globe. After the internship, Strickland began looking at graduate school possibilities and decided to continue her education abroad. Strickland is a CSU Distinguished Scholar award recipient and a published poet. She also serves as a mentor in the college’s mentor program and is a member of Alpha Kappa Psi and the Business Diversity and Leadership Alliance. Strickland will graduate with a bachelor’s in marketing, minor in English and certificate in international business, and she will continue studies at Trinity College in Dublin Ireland in the fall. To speak with Strickland, contact Jennifer Dimas at (970) 491-1543 or

Boettcher Scholar excels in and out of the classroom

Oriana Beemer has always aspired to work in the veterinary field. During her undergraduate career at CSU, this Boettcher Scholar served as both the College of Agricultural Sciences Ambassador Program chair and Recruitment chair. As Program chair, she helped implement structural changes within the organization and coordinated teams responsible for planning and hosting the college’s Ram Camp, a yearly event that welcomes new agricultural sciences students to campus. In 2010, Beemer served on the Department of Animal Sciences Executive Council, planning department awards and banquet ceremonies. Continuing her quest to learn more about veterinary medicine, Beemer traveled to Australia this past winter to shadow a local veterinarian and to experience the people and culture of another society. Beemer will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science, a minor in Business Administration and honors designation through the CSU Honors Program. Her honors thesis, “Comparison of Advia and Abaxis Automated Hematology Equipment and Manual Evaluation of Llama and Alpaca Hematology Parameters,” looked at developing a new blood analysis machine that can accurately read samples of these species’ unique blood types. In August 2010, Beemer will begin classes at the CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital and hopes to practice large-animal medicine. To speak with Beemer, contact Jim Beers at (970) 491-6401 or

Natural sciences graduate mastered them all – from biology to statistics

Victoria Macias is graduating with a double major in natural sciences, concentration in physical science, and Spanish language, literature and culture along with a minor in mathematics and chemistry. Macias has studied in the Department of Biology and in the Department of Health and Exercise Science, looking at omega-3 fatty acids, insulin action and the Metabolic Syndrome in Hispanic women. She teaches pre-calculus students at Rocky Mountain High School and is an athletic-academic tutor in mathematics, biology, chemistry and statistics as well as a participant in SACNAS, Advancing Hispanic/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science. Macias worked as an intern with the National Science Foundation’s Office of International Science and Engineering in Arlington, Va., where she summarized research projects for the website. This summer, Macias will work in Washington, D.C., to complete a Congressional internship in health policy and will attend Harvard’s School of Public Health to study Nutritional Epidemiology next fall. To speak with Macias, contact Emily Wilmsen at (970) 491-2336 or

Born-to-be-rancher graduates with honors

Jesse French developed a love for the ranching lifestyle after spending high school summers working on a friend’s family ranch in Montana. This interest brought him to Colorado State’s Department of Animal Sciences. French has actively participated in the Agricultural Research and Development Education Center feeding and doctoring cattle and assisting in calving. His outstanding academic record led him to serve as a teaching assistant for the packing and outfitting class in the Department of Animal Sciences. Here, French was able to use his ranching skills to assist students in learning various knots, hitches and elements of minimum impact outfitting. French spent the spring of 2009 studying abroad at Lincoln University in New Zealand, giving him a fresh outlook on agriculture and its benefits. He was able to participate in a class based on the country’s pasture dairy system and performed with such success that his professor invited him to continue with his graduate studies at Lincoln. He came away from the experience with a new sense of confidence and willingness to be adventurous in all aspects of his life. Fisher will graduate with a degree in Animal Science and Agricultural Business as well as honors designation through the CSU Honors Program. He has been accepted in graduate school at CSU and plans to begin his studies on beef reproduction in the fall. To speak with French, contact Jim Beers at (970) 491-6401 or

Non-traditional student defies odds

David Case, a 36-year-old non-traditional student and family man, works 40 hours a week, has finished nine classes in two semesters and will graduate with degree in Civil Engineering. Case works for Chickasaw Nation Industries as a contract drafter for Western Area Power Administration in Loveland. He and his wife of 10 years have three children: Dylan, 9; Savannah, 6; and Owenne, 3. Case admits the experience balancing work, school and family has been tough but wishes he had more time to learn. After graduation, Case will work for Western Area Power Administration as a civil engineer. To speak with Case, contact Emily Wilmsen at (970) 491-2336 or