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See the Remarkable Stories Told by the Class of 2014

Students have been sending us their first-person accounts of their challenges, milestones, setbacks and successes in achieving their academic goals.

Date: 4/14/2014
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Provided
The spring 2014 graduates are in a class all their own. Many have posted first-person accounts of both their challenges and achievements.

CCM Student Hits the Right Note in First-Person Account: Neither Family nor Faculty Gave Up on Him in Struggles for Success Despite Mental Illness
It took Sean Bresemann nine years to earn his undergraduate degree as a horn performance major in UC’s top-ranked College-Conservatory of Music. Today, he says he’s thankful that his family, the faculty and wider community didn’t give up on him despite his struggles with mental illness. Bresemann now wants to give hope to others by sharing the difficulties in recognizing and treating his mental illness.
Laksh Khurana
UC student Laksh Khurana

International Student Laksh Khurana Tells How He Helped Found Sustain-a-Watt Energy Solutions

UC Carl H. Lindner College of Business student Laksh Khurana was to be able to start a company, Sustain-a-Watt Energy Solutions LLC. He states, “Our flagship product, the Power genie, turned a lot of heads, and we won several accolades for our work on it. It is a patent pending Wi-Fi enabled power strip which saves energy by targeting and eliminating the consumption of standby energy that all our devices draw. I am the CFO and the Director of Sales and I have learnt a lot of valuable skills from this venture.”

UC Student and Recovered Heroin Addict Thanks Professors, Mentors for Her Transformation

After a rocky youth, psychology student Elle Ketterer will graduate this semester and hopes to attend graduate school.

His Hearing Loss and Cochlear Implant Will Steer Engineering Graduate to Apply to Medical School
A cochlear implant allowed UC student Travis Craft to hear his parents' voices again and to regain ground in other social and academic endeavors. Because of that experience, the biomedical engineering graduate now wants to apply to medical school.

UC Commencement Is a Family Affair for Three Sets of Siblings, All Earning Business Degrees

Commencement 2014 has become a family affair for three pairs of siblings set to graduate from UC’s Carl H. Lindner College of Business. - See more at:
Commencement 2014 has become a family affair for three pairs of siblings set to graduate from UC’s Carl H. Lindner College of Business.
Identical twins Kody and Kory Herchler and siblings Ryan and Brandon Coutts and John and Steve Burns say there’s nothing like having your brother by your side throughout your college years.

Double the PharmD(NA) in 2014 Pharmacy School Class
To the best of recollections, there’s never been a set of twins graduate from the James L. College of Pharmacy, so it’s a pretty safe bet that 2014 is the first year the college will graduate two sets: identical twins Kayla and Michelle McWilliams and fraternal twins Ameera and Jameela Aladimi— all of whom will receive their PharmD degrees.

Video: It’s 45 Years Between UC Degrees for This Student
Paul Gehring, 68, is a grandfather of eight who earned his first degree from UC in 1969, when he achieved a bachelor’s in marketing.  Now, 45 years later and after having completed a career in information technology, he’s earning his master’s in computer science and looking to continue the recent teaching career he began seven years ago.

Graduating Senior Traveled to China to Better Help International Students Here at UC
Although in a high-pressure program in the School of Design, senior Ryan Finke spent a semester studying at a language program in Beijing in order to be more welcoming to international students on UC’s campus.

First Person Account: Serious Setbacks Led to Eventual Success in UC’s Number-One Ranked Industrial Design Program

It took Kyle Oldfield three tries to get into UC’s number-one ranked industrial design program. While in the program, he had to repeat a term. Even so, he persevered and eventually earned co-op work terms with some of the nation’s leading creative teams throughout the United States. Oldfield states, “I have followed my dreams without giving up on myself! “ He further quotes Thomas Edison: "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
Olivia Donnelly
UC student Oliva Donnelly

Sweet Success: Student Fights Breast Cancer by Starting Cupcakes for the Cure
UC student Olivia Donnelly helped both campus and those fighting breast cancer by starting the student group, Cupcakes for the Cure.

UC Program Provided IT Senior Experience Working Overseas
Information technology student Jasmine Hix gained real-world experience working overseas thanks to UC's Singapore Experience.

Master's Graduate in Nursing Plans Future in Rural Primary Care, Earns Degree Despite Obstacles
When your 11-year-old daughter tells you she’s proud of you, you know you’ve done something right. Sarah Kuhnell's daughter should be proud of her mom's new degree. Kuhnell earned it despite unexpected obstacles.

With Years of Work Experience, Nurse Earns Her Bachelor's Degree at Age 53

Debra Buck returned to school for her bachelor's of nursing while in her 50s. She says, ""I would encourage any person at any age to continue to learn. It is such a great feeling to think that April 26, I will have my BSN.”

First Person Account: Because of International Work and Service, UC Senior No Longer Asks “Why?” But “Why Not?”
Elizabeth Debenedictis is graduating the university’s mechanical engineering program after having co-opped abroad in Germany, served as a short-term worker in a Brazilian orphanage, tutored international students in English and participated in undergraduate research in highly focused nanotechnology research. She says she’s learned to see challenges as opportunities and to ask “why not?” vs. “why?” when opportunity knocks.

With a Focus on Fine Arts, Senior Is the First in Her Family with Four-Year Degree
Pursuing photography studies has brought senior Brittany Ouellette’s life into focus. As the first in her family to earn a bachelor’s degree, she’s gained valuable commercial and fine art experience at UC – and learned to look inward.

First Person Account: Makeda Matthews Founded the Black Business Student Association

A student in the Carl H. Lindner College of Business, Makeda Matthews not only founded the Black Business Student Association but studied abroad, participated in UC’s renowned co-op program and served as a resident advisor to more than 300 fellow students.

First Person Account: As Her Son Graduated UC, This Mother Decided to Pursue Her Baccalaureate
Sharena Jasper first began her studies at UC 1992, and earned an associate’s degree. When her son graduated from the university in 2012, Jasper decided it was time to follow his example and is now completing her bachelor’s degree.
Desiré Bennett
UC student Desiré Bennett

Communication Master’s Student Earns Degree 20 Years After First Starting Her Education
Desiré Bennett took a break from school in 1994 to focus on her responsibilities as a new mother. After coming back to UC in 2008, she is now graduating with her master’s degree in communication.

Determination, Support Keys to Success for Spring 2014 Nursing Grad
Erica Rossignol says she and her husband did it all backwards in achieving their education. They were married and had started a family by the time he began to pursue his engineering degree at UC, and she began her studies toward a nursing degree. But, says Rossignol,
"No matter what, you can do what you want to do if you find the proper support. You can make anything happen.” 

First Person Account: Digital Design Student Teams with Peers to Begin an Entrepreneurial Business
Digital design senior Chad Ackerman teamed with peers in the Carl H. Lindner College of Business and the College of Engineering and Applied Science to begin an entrepreneurial business building digital tools.

Video First Person Account: Katie Berling Tells of Her Amazing Internships

Internships at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center provided Katie Berling, a double major in communication and journalism with a minor in electronic media, “amazing experiences...with the number-one entertainment company in the world…. Who wouldn’t want that?!” And at Cincinnati Children’s, she earned “valuable experience in both editing and going live on air, talking to people, learning about their experiences, interviewing them, and also on the editing side, editing video and generating content… .”
Elise Woulfe
UC student Elise Woulfe

Her MBA Is the Third UC Degree for Varsity Athlete Elise Woulfe

A varsity student athlete, a former member of the women’s tennis team, Elise Woulfe earned a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Spanish. During that time, she studied in Spain and volunteered in Guatemala and Peru. And now, she’s completing her third UC degree, her MBA.

Video First Person Account: Brandon Gentry Is a First-Generation Student Who Already Has Work Lined Up After Commencement
First-generation student Brandon Gentry of the College of Allied Health Sciences already had a post-commencement position secured even before starting his final academic term.

Graduating Master's Student Researched Ancient Anasazi
As a UC student, Nikki Berkebile, a graduating master's student in anthropology in UC’s McMicken College of Arts & Sciences, had the opportunity to study and present her research on the subsistence habits of Puebloans, or Anasazi, who lived on the southern rim of the Grand Canyon in the late 11th century.

Criminal Justice Doctoral Student's Research Receives National Attention
Criminal justice research by doctoral student Jay Kennedy has received national attention from media outlets. For instance, business media covered his survey research showing that the majority of small businesses experiencing theft by employees don't report that theft. While at UC, Kennedy also participated in a study that found that, contrary to conventional belief, increasing the minimum wage will not lower violent crime or property crime.

Sociology Doctoral Student Suited Up to Play Football in Connection to Sports Research
Sociology doctoral student J.A. Carter joined a women's professional tackle football team to study how women condition themselves for sports and deal with injury.

Second Class of Health Administration Graduates Walk this April
As members of its second graduating class, 41 students from the University of Cincinnati’s Masters of Health Administration program will receive degrees in the university’s 2014 Spring Commencement.

Graduating Students from UC's College of Allied Health Sciences Share Their Memories in Their Own Words
Read the recollections of graduating students from the College of Allied Health Sciences.

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