Distinguished Students of 2018

The Distinguished Student award is one of the top student honors given at OSU-Cascades and recognizes one graduating student in each degree area for outstanding achievement in academics and contribution to their field.

THE ARTIST

Alicia Welbourn

Bachelor of Fine Arts - Applied Visual Arts

 
Hometown

Bend, Oregon

From The Faculty

Alicia is adaptable, determined, resilient, collaborative, self-disciplined, risk-taking and most importantly, creatively innovative. She has the ability to become technically proficient in traditional studio techniques while adding a contemporary aesthetic to her personal voice in the studio.

A Favorite OSU-Cascades Experience

"The Bachelor of Fine Arts Exhibition. It was incredibly rewarding to see work from the past four years culminate at the show. In college you spend all of this time working on your craft, trying to figure out what you want to say as an artist, and it feels good to get to a place where you're able to do that."

Future Plans

"I plan on pursuing creativity in whatever I do, and to use the tools I've been given at OSU-Cascades in new and exciting ways. I have plans to start selling work online; I love the idea that what I create could help someone bring a bit of the magic of the outdoors into their own space."

THE SCIENTIST

Taylor Mehr

Bachelor of Science - Biology

 

Hometown

Spokane, Washington

From The Faculty

Taylor is an outstanding student with an OSU GPA of 3.98. She participated in undergraduate research, which produced posters presented at various academic conferences. Taylor is smart, diligent, driven, and works well independently. However, her greatest asset is the nature of her character as an outstanding human being. Taylor possesses all of the attributes of becoming a leader in her chosen field.

A Favorite OSU-Cascades Experience

"Attending last year's Bioscience Journal Club end-of-the-year party."

Future Plans

"I am pursuing employment opportunities in the local biotechnology industry. In the longer term, I plan on going to medical school or pursuing a Ph.D. in a biology related field."

THE BUSINESS LEADER

Melanie Widmer

Bachelor of Science - Business administration

 

Hometown

Madras, Oregon

From The Faculty

Melanie represents the intelligence and integrity needed to be a successful business leader in Oregon and the global community. She is from Central Oregon and the first in her family to graduate from college. She has consistently performed at the top in her classes, while taking the time to help run her family firm and advocate for OSU-Cascades. As a teaching and research assistant, and later as a Layman grant recipient, she demonstrated exceptional drive and talent in cleaning and analyzing a challenging database of financial information on Middle Eastern and North African firms.

A Favorite OSU-Cascades Experience

"Getting to work with Julie Elston, professor of business, as a research and teaching assistant, and then working with her as a Layman Fellow."

Future Plans

"My future plans are to keep using what I’ve learned in the management of my company, Madras Sanitary Service. Next month I’ll be traveling to Oxford University to present the research paper I co-authored with Julie Elston and Al Weidinger titled "An Examination of the Relationship Between Size and Growth of Listed Firms in the United Arab Emirates’’ at the International Conference on Restructuring of the Global Economy (ROGE)."

THE TECHIE

Makelia Lundy

Bachelor of Science - Computer Science

 

Hometown

Bend, Oregon

From The Faculty

Makelia exhibits empathy, positivity and grit within a rigorous academic program. She is well respected by her student colleagues. She volunteered as a substitute teacher for creative coding courses with Bend Park & Recreation, inspiring middle school girls to pursue STEM education. Makelia also taught the ChickTech "soft circuits" workshop in Madras in 2017. She started working at a technology startup, Pixel & Tonic, during her junior year and is currently employed there.

A Favorite OSU-Cascades Experience

"Being part of the OSU-Cascades commercial! We split-boarded out to Todd Lake and snowboarded down with our professor and a camera crew. It was hard but rewarding and I met some cool people."

Future Plans

"I am leading a testing and software quality initiative at Pixel & Tonic. I will be representing the company at an industry conference in Germany in September."

THE QUESTION ASKER

Agustinus Lawandy

Bachelor of Science - Energy Systems Engineering

 

Hometown

Jakarta, Indonesia

From The Faculty

Agustinus graduates with a GPA of 3.8, but more importantly he displayed a genuine need to truly understand concepts. His desire to learn new things was, in more than one ESE faculty member’s experience, unparalleled. He participated in undergraduate research and was extensively involved in campus and student activities.

A Favorite OSU-Cascades Experience

"I loved how I could have very long chats with various professors and students about random curiosity. Also being driven around by my capstone sponsor in Porsche was nice."

Future Plans

"That I'll be able to wake up every day with meaning and be able to be of help to others in however small way I can. To further the habit of scientific method, rational thought, and compassion in our community for the advancement of humankind."

THE COMMUNITY BUILDER

Artesha Wilkinson

Bachelor of Science - Human Development and Family Sciences

 

Hometown

Klamath Falls, Oregon

From The Faculty

Artesha is committed to her learning and growth as a scholar and professional. She sought to apply what she was learning in papers, presentations and class projects and went above and beyond in her coursework. She has participated in a collective impact initiative focused on strengthening resilience in Central Oregon called TRACES, and volunteered to lead a campus-wide survey of resilience and adverse childhood experiences among over 200 students, staff, and faculty. Artesha brings a breadth of personal and professional experience from a diverse community in Madras, where she lives, and Culver, where she completed her internship. She uses her lived experiences to ground her academic work, and to spur her passion for serving children and families.

A Favorite OSU-Cascades Experience

"Presenting a research project on resilience at the OSU-Cascades research symposium. I was able to expand my comfort zone and present on something I feel knowledgeable and passionate about."

Future Plans

"I plan on becoming an elementary school teacher. I start the Master of Arts in Teaching program at OSU-Cascades this summer, and look forward to student teaching at Culver elementary. I am passionate about guiding children to find joy in academics."

THE ADVENTURE SEEKER

Tristin Sornson

Bachelor of Science - Hospitality Management

 

Hometown

Salem, Oregon

From The Faculty

Tristin has the highest GPA in her graduating class. Although an excellent achievement, her interpersonal skills, kindness and willingness to help her classmates and work peers is what truly makes her special. She is an excellent ambassador for the hospitality management program and OSU-Cascades.   

A Favorite OSU-Cascades Experience

"I've enjoyed how the entire school, and the hospitality program, is rooted in the community. There is a feeling of support and encouragement from businesses in Bend and it has been fun getting to work with them through internships or programs, and to gain experience and make connections."

Future Plans

"I love to travel and hope to do a lot more of it. My goal is to take at least one international trip a year, to see as many countries as I can in my lifetime. Professionally, my hope is to be a director of sales and marketing at a resort or for a large, hospitality management company."

THE INNOVATOR

Courtney Haber

Bachelor of Science - Kinesiology

 

Hometown

Westerville, Ohio

From The Faculty

Courtney has been an exceptional student, demonstrating a depth of understanding of material well above the undergraduate level. She developed a research interest in how kinesiology can better understand and help marginalized populations, to promote physical activity in groups for whom access and participation are a challenge. Courtney identified and pursued a unique internship opportunity in the equestrian world, essentially creating a new internship site for herself serving exceptional athletes who happen to have intellectual disabilities. Courtney is making tangible contributions and creating new opportunities for disabled athletes here in Central Oregon and around the world.

A Favorite OSU-Cascades Experience

"One of my favorite experiences at OSU-Cascades was traveling to Salem to speak on behalf of our school and encourage legislators to support our funding proposal, which thankfully, was approved!"

Future Plans

"I plan to continue helping people with intellectual disabilities and autism pursue their athletic dreams through my work with Athletes Without Limits."

THE THINKER

Jordan Weaver

Bachelor of Arts - Liberal studies

 

Hometown

Sisters, Oregon

From The Faculty

In the course of her studies at OSU-Cascades, Jordan has embodied the best traditions of the Liberal Arts. She has shown a keen intellectual curiosity across different disciplines. She reads deeply and writes eloquently, particularly about American art and literature. She is adept at synthesizing ideas, interpreting images and identifying cultural movements. Most important, she has proven herself well able to bring her historical, cultural knowledge to bear on contemporary questions. She is an empowered citizen.

A Favorite OSU-Cascades Experience

"I especially enjoyed "We Failed Forward." Professors told their stories of failures, crushed dreams,  changed dreams and humiliations. I really needed to hear that because this phase of life can be so confusing and overwhelming. It was a good reminder; even our failures can push us to where we are meant to be and they build character in the meantime."

Future Plans

"I have considered coming back to OSU and pursuing a master's degree in counseling. My husband and I both love traveling so I hope to travel, and, with my family, learn other languages, enjoy other cultures, and make a positive impact everywhere we go."

THE OUTDOORSWOMAN

Corrinne Oedekerk

Bachelor of Science - Natural Resources

 

Hometown

Bend, Oregon

From The Faculty

Corrinne is an attentive and engaged student in the classroom. Her investment in professional development has included work on three different field research teams where she gained valuable experience. She developed an undergraduate research project for which she was awarded a Layman Undergraduate Research Fellowship. Corrinne served as the president of the Natural Sciences Club, developed an aquatic ecology annual scholarship in collaboration with Trout Unlimited, designed a sticker to promote Oregon State Land Use Goal 5, volunteered her time with the campus native plant landscaping project and represented the HERS Lab at the Sisters Science Symposium.

A Favorite OSU-Cascades Experience

"Volunteering and working for professors in multiple national parks and monuments last summer. Not only was I able to gain a immense amount of experience to apply toward my future career, but I was also able to gain confidence and a greater sense of community in the field of wildlife research." 

Future Plans

"I plan on attending graduate school at Oregon State University for a M.S. in Wildlife Sciences while continuing to focus on my current research on the American pika."  

THE CURVE BREAKER

Rayisa Debler

Bachelor of Science - Psychology

 

Hometown

Bend, Oregon

From The Faculty

Rayisa earned a final overall GPA of 3.96, and earned the nickname of "curve breaker" due to her ability to consistently score well into the 90s on her exams, easily 5-10 pts higher than the next highest grade, which made it difficult to curve the grades for the whole class. She has always been a friendly student with her peers, and an eager and interested student for her instructors.

Future Plans

"After a short internship with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate), a nonprofit agency providing legal representation for children, I am now working full time for them. I hope to continue working with children in the child welfare system in order to promote their well-being and success. After taking a few years to learn more about the different pathways that can be taken within this field, I may pursue a master's degree in counseling or social work."

THE CHANGEMAKER

Kaylin Landry

Bachelor of Science - Social Science

 

Hometown

Bend, Oregon

From The Faculty

Kaylin has a 4.0 GPA and has participated widely in social science courses, social science research and extra-curricular activities at OSU. Kaylin was awarded the Layman Fellowship for carrying out a research project about attitudes and access to local foods by food insecure individuals, families and communities in Central Oregon. She is the first in her family to graduate with a high school diploma and upon graduation will be the first to graduate from college. Going forward, she hopes to also be the first to graduate with an advanced degree as well, possibly in law.

A Favorite OSU-Cascades Experience

"Working with Dr. Marino. Her research and efforts are so much more than I could have imagined. I was fortunate to have her recognize my potential, even when I did not. Last spring/summer I transcribed for her and the stories I was privileged to hear changed how I understood helping others."

Future Plans

"I hope to continue my education in the social sciences as it pertains to environment and the challenges we face as a society. I am passionate about global issues, but I believe in making changes locally. I hope to find a career where my enthusiasm and curiosity are used as a positive force for change; be it in agriculture, politics, public health or policy."

THE EXPLORER

Michelle van Hilten

Bachelor of Science - Tourism and OUtdoor Leadership

 

Hometown

Bend, Oregon

From The Faculty

Michelle goes above and beyond in all her classes in terms of intellectual rigor and quality work. She has been a trip leader for Cascades Adventures, the student outdoor recreation program on campus. Michelle also recently lined up an international internship in Cambodia, largely on her own, which will help develop skills she plans to further develop in graduate school.

A Favorite OSU-Cascades Experience

"I have had several incredible experiences that have shaped my education and career. I attended a university in Sevilla, Spain, working on my Spanish minor while being immersed in their rich culture. I also had the opportunity to complete my outdoor leadership practicum backpacking through Tanzania while working on community service projects in rural areas."

Future Plans

"I am heading to Cambodia for the summer for an internship in marine research and conservation. I will be working on a dolphin project to collect data which will help shape marine mammal legislation in Cambodia's coastal waters. After that I will be looking for jobs in my field, and looking into graduate programs in marine conservation and environmental science."

THE ADVOCATE

Robyn Loxley

Master of counseling - Clinical Mental Health

 

Hometown

Prineville, Oregon

From The Faculty

Robyn is a veteran of the United States Army Reserve, and she is passionate about serving military, veterans and their families. She has intentionally focused her program on high-risk populations, trauma-informed care, and crisis intervention in order to serve a special and much-needed niche in the counseling field. Robyn's drive, vision and leadership contributed to significant improvements in daily operations of the OSU-Cascades counseling clinic. She named the clinic as the "room of requirement" - a place where everyone gets what they need: she was exactly what the clinic needed, and has set the bar high for those who will follow.

A Favorite OSU-Cascades Experience

"Working with and for the students and faculty of our little campus. Spending a year as an intern in our community clinic was a pleasure because I was able to visit with faculty that I have known since my first years in undergrad while ensuring that students were able to seek services and inquire about the counseling program easily."

Future Plans

"I plan on working in community mental health for the next couple of years hoping to specialize in disaster mental health as well as caring for veterans and their families. I would like to start a private practice in Prineville as we have a great need in Crook County and maybe one day return to school for a Ph.D. or to teach as I enjoy academia."

THE GUIDE

Jesse Kratz

Master of counseling - School Counseling

 

Hometown

Columbus, Kansas

From The Faculty

Jesse was selected because of the incredible academic and clinical work she does every day. She provided training to the teachers, administrators and other counselors in trauma-informed care at her internship site. She adds to the course material and supports her peers in their learning. Jesse was selected as a research assistant on parenting grieving children and her scholarly work was excellent. Jesse will go far in the counseling profession.

A Favorite OSU-Cascades Experience

"One of our cohort's first group activities involved placing our hands on the shoulders of our peers and being lead through a maze in the Graduate & Research Center parking lot. I have thought of that activity many times throughout the program as an example of how we all relied and supported one another as we worked toward a common goal."

Future Plans

"I will be working with students at Bend High School through The Child's Center as a child and family therapist. With this position, I plan on obtaining hours to become a Licensed Professional Counselor. I do plan to continue working with students, either as a school counselor or as an LPC. My passion is helping grieving children and adolescents, and plan to specialize in research to support and help this population."

THE MENTOR

Amy Gautschi

Master of Arts in Teaching - Elementary Education

 

Hometown

Placerville, California

From The Faculty

Throughout a rigorous year of graduate school and student teaching, Amy is unparalleled in her ability to achieve a high level of success. She is a valued member of our program for her ability to collaborate, listen and learn from others, and share her many strengths. Amy is highly skilled at creating a warm and academically-challenging learning environment. Coming to our program with doctorate level coursework in science, she is a valued contributor to her STEM-focused student teaching placement. She is also a gifted artist, and students benefit from her creativity. Amy's lessons exhibit a high fidelity to the curriculum, with an additional creative element that she adds to increase student engagement.

A Favorite OSU-Cascades Experience

"Working as an intern in the Bend-La Pine School District. The opportunity to work with elementary students and to observe master teachers has been an invaluable aspect of the program."

Future Plans

"In the fall, I will be joining the staff at Buckingham Elementary School in Bend. I will be teaching first grade and leveraging my background in science to help further Buckingham's mission as a STEM-focused school."

THE DEVELOPER

Lindsey Namanny

Master of Arts in Teaching - Secondary Education

 

Hometown

Medford, Oregon

From The Faculty

Lindsey has distinguished herself with her quiet leadership, tireless pursuit of improvement, and her relentless dedication to the success of her middle and high school science students. In her application to the program, Lindsey quoted Martin Luther King Jr. as inspiration for her self-described role as a developer: “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” Lindsey has embodied these characteristics, recognizing and cultivating the same potential in everyone she meets.

A Favorite OSU-Cascades Experience

"The times that stand out in my mind revolve around funny moments with my cohort. We would show up to class hours early just to sit around and talk with one another. We would absolutely crack each other up with our delirious and tired meanderings in the middle of approaching deadlines. Most of all, we would support each other."

Future Plans

"As a future educator, I hope to instill a sense of worth in my students. Whether that be their ability to see worth in themselves, feel their worthiness of love, or find the worth in a lifetime of education. I hope to bring science to life and to highlight items that my students find perplexing. As a lifelong learner myself, I wish to return to school to attain a master's in food science or to gain a certificate in pastry arts."

THE STORYTELLER

Rachel Wiley

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing

 

Hometown

Biloxi, Mississippi

A Favorite OSU-Cascades Experience

"Working with my classmates to craft language for the Yuki Nagase sculptures that will be placed on the OSU-Cascades campus."

Future Plans

"I plan to continue writing, and exploring what corner of the world I want to inhabit."