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K-State Today

May 2, 2014

K-State honors 18 graduating seniors for leadership, improving campus life

Submitted by Carla Jones

Eighteen Kansas State University students have been named Dean of Student Life Outstanding Graduating Seniors. The awards were presented at an April 23 reception by Pat Bosco, K-State vice president for student life and dean of students. Payless Shoe Source is the signature corporate sponsor of the event.

The awards, first given in 1999, recognize the significant contributions these seniors made to two or more student life areas at K-State. Directors and staff members in the student life office nominated candidates and Bosco made the final selections.

"It's always a difficult decision," Bosco said, "because K-State has so many remarkable seniors who go out of their way to improve the campus experience for other students. But this group's accomplishments really stand out."

Each student received a plaque with a picture of him or her at a favorite place on campus.

Recipients of the awards include:

• Marcus Bragg, management information systems, Kansas City, is the current president of the Black Student Union, the College of Business Administration commencement speaker, treasurer of Kappa Tau chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., previous president of National Pan-Hellenic Council and previous public relations coordinator for the Management Information Systems Club. His future plans are to work for ConocoPhillips Exploration and Production and to begin law school in August 2016.

"I've become very people-oriented. I've learned that selfishness is never OK, and it's what you do for others that truly matters," Bragg said.

• Kristen Brunkow, family studies and human services and gerontology, minor in leadership studies, Ponca City, Oklahoma, is the founder and president of Strengths Advocates, served as president and director of standards and ethics of Alpha Delta Pi sorority, treasurer of Gerontology Club, vice president of Silver Key, a member of the Human Ecology Council, president of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod Campus Ministry, College of Human Ecology dean's student assistant, the Delta Chi Sorority Woman of the Year 2012 and a Kappa Omicron Nu member. She is currently interning at Leading Age Kansas and her future plans include gaining job experience and then getting her master's degree in gerontology or organizational development.

"I never want to complain about a problem unless I am committed to being a part of the solution," Brunkow said. "I may think there are two sides to a story, but there are actually about 50-plus. I will not let the suggestions and thoughts of others drown out my own unique voice. I am blessed by adversity and challenges because through them can come the greatest learning. I will choose to utilize and promote my own and others strengths. Lastly, gaining trust and respect from others always comes down to the core of your character."

• Anita Easterwood, fine arts, Kansas City, is a past president of Black Student Union, a Stacey Hall Humanitarian Award Recipient in 2012, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., Chapter Member of the Year in 2012 and a Lilly Orme Memorial Scholarship recipient. She plans to get a master's degree in African studies.

"I realize how big of an impact your actions can have on other people," Easterwood said. "Students I mentored are now leading this campus and that means the world to me."

• Carolyn Gatewood, Education, English, Shawnee, is a member of Blue Key Senior Honor Society, K-State Proud, Student Foundation, a resident assistant for Kenney Ford Hall, a College of Education ambassador and Quest Freshman Honorary. Her future plans include moving to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to be a part of the nonprofit organization called Teach for America and then teach high school English in a low-income, underperforming school for at least two years.

"It wasn't until sophomore year when one of my mentors in K-State Proud identified my strengths that I understood the value and talents I could offer a team," Gatewood said. "I also began to realize each team member offers something different to the group in order to help achieve the goal. This changed the way I decided where to invest my time the rest of my college career. Looking forward, I want to continue to discern where I can best use my strengths, in coordination with others, in order to serve and love others well."

• Grant Hill, human resource management, Whitewater, is the current student body vice president, a member of Blue Key Senior Honorary, Chimes Junior Honorary, Silver Key Sophomore Honorary, Quest Freshmen Honorary, Student Foundation, Student Alumni Board, Beta Theta Pi, Homecoming Committee, Union Governing Board, Union Corporation Board, K-State's 150th Steering Committee, Greeks Going Green and the Student Senate. His will work at Cerner Corp. as a consultant in Kansas City.

"My leadership experiences gave me the ability to meet people who changed my life," said Hill. "The individuals that hold leadership roles, not only have the skills to do so, but they have also have the ability to change the lives of the people around them. K-State is the perfect environment for up and coming civic leaders since it gives students the opportunity to influence and learn from the individuals around them. The relationships that I have formed with these individuals have changed my outlook on life and I thank them for the chance to work with them."

• Marcus Kidd, psychology, Manhattan, is a member of Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity, Student Governing Association, a part of the 2013-2014 Homecoming Committee, an orientation leader for New Student Services, and a part of the Interfraternity Council. He plans to go to graduate school and pursue a master's degree in college student development.

"My leadership experiences have definitely helped me understand the importance of utilizing everyone within a group for maximum output," Kidd said. "I've also learned the importance of input — having everyone contribute with their strengths and what they want to do is a lot better than alternative methods that may require someone to work in a capacity that is not effective."

• Tyler Lewis, airport management, Aurora, Colorado, is the current K-State Salina Student Governing Association president, a K-State Salina student ambassador, the Enactus recruitment chair and director of sponsorship for the National Intercollegiate Flying Association SAFECON competition. His future plans include starting a career in airport management or to get a master's degree in higher education or in leadership. He eventually would like to manage a major airport in the U.S. or even internationally. Eventually, he would like to find his way back to Kansas State University and share his experiences by teaching students who aspire to a career in aviation.

"Being the SGA president in Salina has taught me the true meaning of servant leadership," Lewis said. "I have learned to put others' needs before my own. I understand that leadership is a lifestyle and should be understood as a privilege not a right. I've learned to inspire trust by being trustworthy."

• Kaitlin Long, social entrepreneurship, minor in leadership studies, Leawood, is a member of the Student Governing Association, International Service Teams, Blue Key Senior Honorary and Student Alumni Board. She also was a part of the Spriggs-Hill and Your Union campaigns, and was a Next Big Thing award winner. Her future plans are to be determined, but she will eventually work in the social sector.

"My leadership experiences at K-State reinforced the idea anyone can demonstrate leadership at any time, in any place, with any idea," Long said. "Leadership is always needed, regardless of your title, age or gender. There is no better time than now to engage in community and make progress."

• Ryan Patterson, management, minor in leadership studies, Lyndon, is a student senator and privilege fee chair for the Student Governing Association, a LEAD 212 class leader, a counselor and director of programming for Wildcat Warm-up, philanthropy chair, recruitment chair and new member educator for Acacia fraternity, a member of Mortar Board Senior Honor Society, a recipient of the Pat J. Bosco Leadership Studies Outstanding Graduating Senior Award, the Gallup Strengths Student Champion 2014 and Order of Omega Outstanding Male Greek Leader. His will attend the University of Nebraska to pursue a master's degree in educational administration with a focus in student affairs.

"My leadership experiences have changed my life through helping me realize what I want to do for a career," Patterson said. "Although a business major, I realized the work I was doing on campus could actually be turned into a career. The administrators, supervisors and mentors I have worked with, have showed me how fulfilling it can be to empower students during the most pivotal time of their lives. It is thanks to my leadership experiences that I was able to meet these people who changed my life."

• Eli Schooley, political science, minor in leadership studies, Clay Center, is the current student body president, the past president of the Blue Key Honor Society, past president of FarmHouse fraternity, past president of the Interfraternity Council, a past chief of staff for the Student Governing Association, a Robert C. Byrd scholar, a K-State Putnam scholar, 2010 Up & Coming Greek Leader of the Year, 2012 K-State Greek Man of the Year, a member of the Student Alumni Board, a Quest Freshman Honorary, K-State Proud Campaign and Catalyst Self-Development Training. He will intern at a law firm in Kansas City over the summer and then attend law school in the fall at the University of Virginia. He hopes to work for a law firm or in the public policy sector someday.

"I've gained confidence, friendships and more skills for my future than I ever would have imagined through my experiences at K-State," Schooley said. "I feel capable of living independently and making whatever organizations or groups I'm a part of in the future better, thanks to the challenging situations I've been lucky to have on and around campus."

• Brett Seidl, mass communications and journalism, minors in business and leadership studies, Valley Center, is a member of Blue Key Senior Honorary, Delta Sigma Phi fraternity, Student Foundation, Student Alumni Board, Student Governing Association, Quest Freshman Honorary, campus tour guide for new student services and CASE ASAP District 6 2013 Outstanding Student Leader. His will move to Indianapolis, Indiana, to work as a chapter development coordinator at the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity headquarters.

"Working on the 'Your Union' campaign with several of my closest friends is something I'll always remember," Seidl said. "We put in a lot of hard work for something we truly believed in, and the results will positively impact students for years to come."

• Nathan Spriggs, agricultural economics and food science and industry, minor in business administration, Riverton, is a member of Delta Sigma Phi fraternity, former student body president, Union Governing Board president, vice president of the Union Program Council, a member of the Mortar Board Senior Honorary Society, K-State Proud Campaign, Student Alumni Board, Quest Freshman Honorary, ACUI Outstanding Student Achievement Award Recipient, E. Allen James Outstanding Undergraduate Award recipient, Kansas State University Fraternity Man of the Year, Kansas State University Union Council honorary member and a part of American FFA Degree. He will work for Koch Industries in Wichita as a business analyst and get married in the fall.

"The people with whom I shared my K-State experience have changed my life," Spriggs said. "Each one brought their own unique backgrounds and opinions to the work we shared. Throughout my years here, they have supported me, challenged me and pushed me. I have grown to see the world — with all of its challenges — through different lenses. Because of their friendship I have been inspired to learn more, to do more and become more. The people made my experience worth it."

• Theo Stavropoulos, human resource management, political science and economics, minor in leadership studies, Salina, is a School of Leadership Studies ambassador and a member of the Student Governing Association, Blue Key and Student Foundation. He plans to attend graduate school.

"My leadership experiences have connected me with my core values and developed my capacity to create change based on those values," Stavropoulos said.

• Rachel Tate, hospitality management, minor in business administration, Stilwell, is a group visit coordinator and campus tour guide for new student services, an orientation leader, the director of Wildcat Warm-up, a Delta Delta Delta sorority officer, a K-State Olathe events intern, a Greek Woman of the Year nominee, on the advisory board of a presidential campaign for Student Governing Association and on the new student services 2025 Planning Committee. She will work in management for Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue in Kansas City, Missouri.

"My experiences have given me more confidence to lead groups of diverse people and have prepared me for the working environment where I can draw from my past experiences to lead confidently and effectively," Tate said.

• Jake Unruh, finance, minor in leadership studies, Manhattan, is the current student body vice president, a Local Relations director, a student senator, a member of Blue Key Senior Honorary, Chimes Junior Honorary, Quest Freshman Honorary, Union Governing Board president, LEAD 212 instructor for the Union Corporation Board, new student services orientation leader, campus tour guide, intern for K-State Athletics fan experience and sales, member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, a member of the Student Alumni Board, a Blue Key Senior Honorary Most Outstanding Sophomore Scholarship recipient, Mortar Board Most Outstanding Junior Scholarship recipient, a Foundation Scholar, Gates Business Administration Award recipient, a Stanley L. Winter K-State Student Union Leadership Award recipient, a Delta Theta Board of Trustees Brotherhood Award recipient and a magna cum laude graduate. He will work for Ernst & Young as a risk, advisory and financial consultant.

"My leadership experiences changed my definition of what success is," Unruh said. "Before, it meant tangible results were the end game no matter what. Now I enjoy seeing the development of members within the groups I serve and leaving organizations better than I found them."

• Megan Walden, industrial engineering, Wichita, is in Army ROTC. She placed in the top 5 percent of all graduates at the national LDAC camp, Battalion S-3/COO, is the battalion executive officer/chief of staff, an Army Ten-Miler, a part of the Bataan Death March, a part of the Ranger Challenge teams, a Lora E. Marietta Memorial Scholarship in Army ROTC recipient, the engineering senator for Student Governing Association, the chair of Governmental Relations Committee, a previous chair of Communications Committee, a previous Tuition Strategies Committee member, a member of the Student Centered Tuition Enhancement Committee, a previous student lobbyist in Washington, D.C., with Fraternal Governmental Relations Coalition for Alpha Delta Pi sorority, a previous leadership chair, a chair for the Paint the 'Ville event, a Most Outstanding New Member, a Wildcat Warm-up counselor and a peer instructor for Enhanced University Experience. Her future plans include interning with the Heritage Foundation's center for data analysis in Washington, D.C. She will return to K-State for one more semester and receive her second lieutenant commission in the Army. She wants to serve as an active duty officer in field artillery or engineering.

"In my variety of involvement experiences, leading and following, the lessons I have learned are the importance of understanding what motivates individuals, how to adjust your leadership style to different personalities, and the impact developing others can have on an organization and the individual," Walden said.

• Andrew Waldman, industrial engineering, minor in business and leadership studies, Shawnee, is a K-State student ambassador, the president of Beta Theta Pi fraternity, a member of Blue Key Senior Honorary, Student Alumni Board, Student Foundation, K-State Singers and new student services. He will work for Deloitte Consulting in Kansas City.

"In addition to the incredible opportunities I have had through leadership activities, my life has most been changed by the friends I've made," Waldman said. "In all of my experiences, I have been surrounded by people who continuously challenge me to do better and be better, and I have no doubt these relationships will last well beyond college."

• Caitlyn Wells, social science, minor in women's studies, Kansas City, is the special program director and the new student support director of the Black Student Union, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., and a student senator for the Diversity Programing Council and College Allocations. She will be an admissions representative for K-State.

"Through my leadership roles here on campus I have learned a lot about myself and what I have to offer the world," Wells said. "I never thought that anything that I did would have a positive impact on people's lives. When I initially got involved on campus, I wanted to push myself out of my shell. I never knew that I would end up being a go to person for advice and a mentor for those around me. I have learned that my passion lies in improving the lives of students and especially students of color. I want everyone to have the opportunity to have a good education and enjoy their experiences. I have learned that being a good leader means you are here to serve those in need and be there to help guide others into leadership roles as well."