Daughter and father Kelly and Corrie Frank of Munster are among Purdue University Calumet's Class of 2012. | Photo provided
Updated: June 12, 2012 8:10AM
An early 1960s TV series reminded us — well, some of us — that “there are 8 million stories in the Naked City.”
When it comes to stories about graduating seniors at Purdue University Calumet, it seems like there are nearly as many. This spring’s Class of 2012, which will be honored during Commencement on Sunday, May 20, at the Star Plaza Theatre, includes the following.
Kelly and Corrie Frank, Munster — This daughter and father represent the latest graduates of a proud Purdue family. Kelly, who also serves in the Coast Guard Reserves, looks forward to applying a degree in hospitality and tourism management.
Military retiree Corrie recently completed his Saturday MBA for Executives program. (For the record, sister-daughter Stacy earned a degree in marketing at PUC, sister-daughter Stephanie earned a master’s degree at Purdue’s West Lafayette campus in December, and sister-daughter Carrie just completed her second year as an undergraduate in West Lafayette.).
Kathleen Brzezinski, Highland — This nontraditional, computer science major resumed her education in 2008 after starting as an engineering student in 1996.
She subsequently changed majors and was in and out of school in response to other priorities and challenges. Like so many of our graduates, she successfully has juggled family and other responsibilities. Taking advantage of internships and other experiential learning opportunities, she recently accepted a job with a prestigious global corporation.
Miriam Chavez, Lake Station — As a Spanish international studies student, she admits appreciation for the engaged learning she has experienced and chances to meet classmates from varied backgrounds and cultures. She translates for her parents. Through her church, she is active visiting the elderly and serving the homeless.
Dina Frigo, Highland — Away from her studies and class activities as a marketing student and national sales competition participant, she has been active in the Environmental Club, having partaken in campus recycling efforts and recent Earth Week initiatives.
Jacklyn Heldt, Dyer — Another hospitality and tourism management major, she has served as president of PUC’s HTM Club.
Her leadership contributed to such successful outreach activities as the club’s first food drive, College for Mentors Collaboration, The Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program, a breast cancer awareness fundraiser, solar oven cooking program and a Taste of HTM event.
What’s more, she is a two-time Chancellor’s Outstanding Student recipient.
Joann Holmen, Elk Grove Village, Ill. — This Chancellor’s Scholar honors program enrollee and double major in French and political science has served as a supplemental instructor and international students mentor.
She has studied in France and joined two engineering students in an interdisciplinary research project to earn first place in the oral presentation category of this spring’s Undergraduate Student Research Days on campus.
She also has volunteered helping Chicago-area refugees of Iraq. She wants to teach English abroad.
Naiyuan (Sonia) Kang of Changchun, Jilin, People’s Republic of China — This accounting major earned first- and third-place recognition for oral presentations during this spring’s Undergraduate Student Research Days.
She also has served three internships and has been a finalist in a CPA case competition.
Ben Moul, Hart, Mich. — After arriving on campus as a Chancellor’s Scholar, this mechanical engineering major got busy doing stuff — did he ever!
He has helped design, build and modify moonbuggies that PUC entered in NASA’s annual international Great Moonbuggy Race. This spring, he also helped race his school’s buggy to a third-place finish.
He spent a spring break week volunteering in the Dominican Republic and, two years ago, spent part of his summer bicycling across America. After graduation, he will become a design engineer with John Deere.
Allen Pennington, Whiting — This nontraditional student has not let blindness deter him. He wants to study family law and pursue a master’s degree in social work. He has been accepted into more than a dozen law schools, with full fellowships.
When not following his interest in inequities in the legal system, he volunteers at the Salvation Army and as a youth sports coach.
Aleksandr Shmagranoff, Munster — It is unlikely there are many, if any, other mechanical engineering majors who can claim victory in PUC’s annual Intramural Fishing Contest (21-inch walleye in 2009), but his PUC experiences have been varied.
He is an ArcelorMittal Scholarship recipient and an Association for Iron and Steel Technology presenter.
He also is an award-winning, Undergraduate Student Research Days participant, having learned experientially at PUC’s Center for Innovation through Visualization and Simulation.