A wide shot of the auditorium from the back of the room.

Spring semester 2016 outstanding students

Ten students were selected spring semester outstanding students at Metropolitan State. The honored students are Brielle Bernardy, School of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice (SLC) graduate; Naw Dah Bu, School of Urban Education; Victoria Bugayev, College of Management (COM) graduate; John Lee Clark, College of Individualized Studies; Nora Dragich, COM undergraduate; Kathryn Herzog, College of Health, Community and Professional Studies (CHCPS) graduate; Maxwell Ingram, SLC undergraduate; Brittney Rademacher, CHCPS undergraduate; Rasmita Shrestha, School of Nursing graduate; and Michael Shyne, College of Arts and Sciences.

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Brielle Bernardy

Bernardy, Fridley, who graduated summa cum laude with a master’s in criminal justice, is a student intern/analyst for the Ramsey County Attorney’s Office, where she works on special investigations projects.

Bernardy, who earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Metropolitan State in 2014, was active in student activities, including serving as editor of Haute Dish. She was also a member of the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Club and an at-large member of a national Greek organization for criminal justice students.

Bernardy, who recently presented her research paper on sex offenders’ release options to the Midwest Sociological Society, is a member of nine professional associations, including the American Bar Association and the International Association of Crime Analysts. She was active in community service, serving as a math and English tutor for Minneapolis Public Schools Adult Basic Education Center, and she assisted the Roseville Police Department with crime analysis and the Roseville Citizens Academy. Bernardy, who is scheduled to teach a Century College class this fall on intelligence and crime analysis, may eventually pursue a PhD.

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Naw Dah Bu

Dah Bu, Saint Paul, is one of a select few members of the Karen ethnic group to graduate from college in Minnesota. The elementary education major, who graduated summa cum laude, was a toddler when she and her family were uprooted from their rural Burma home by the military, which commonly looted and burned villages and enslaved and killed villagers. She spent 16 years in Thailand refugee camps before arriving with her family in the United States in 2004.

Dah Bu, a part-time social service translator for Twin Cities-area Karens, was a Karen teaching assistant and student teacher at Hmong College Prep Academy, Saint Paul. Active in the community, she has participated in a church mission to assist Canadian homeless families; volunteered at the Karen booth at the Festival of Nations in Saint Paul; and served as a translator and assisted with youth programs at a Saint Paul church. Dah Bu, who participates in Karen singing competitions, plans to teach in urban settings and then perhaps pursue a master’s degree. Given the right circumstances, she eventually hopes to return to Burma to teach.

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Victoria Bugayev

Bugayev, New Brighton, who earned a Master of Management Information Systems degree, is an IT security manager who oversees a team of three at Merrill Corporation, a Saint Paul provider of IT and marketing services for regulated industries.

Bugayev—who earned her undergraduate degree in business administration from Metropolitan State in 2007—is a member of InfraGard, a professional association serving as a public-private partnership between the FBI and U.S. businesses. She is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional and has obtained a SANS Global Information Assurance Certification. Bugayev has volunteered for several nonprofits through Target, her previous employer; assisted at the Minnesota Valley Humane Society; and tutored math at Ascension Catholic School, Minneapolis.

The native of Saint Petersburg, Russia emigrated to the United States in 1995 with her family, who was granted political asylum through the World Relief Organization. Bugayev, mother of a 15-month-old son, expects to pursue other professional certifications and participate in research processes to improve security management at organizations.

Clark, Hopkins, is one of Minnesota’s leading advocates for people who are deaf and blind—termed DeafBlind. Clark, who is deaf and blind, crafted his own major in DeafBlind Studies. He provides vocational rehabilitation training to the DeafBlind as a contractor for the Minnesota State Services for the Blind, specializing in teaching Braille and an emerging technique for communicating with DeafBlind called Pro-Tactile.

Among other things, he also does educational outreach and consults with Gallaudet University, Washington, D.C. Clark is a long-time poet, essayist, author, editor and publisher on deaf and DeafBlind issues and myriad other subjects. He has authored hundreds of poems and essays and published two books and edited two anthologies. For years, Clark—who has won several grants and fellowships for his poetry—operated his own publishing company that published the work of deaf and DeafBlind writers.

Mary Kirk, his Metropolitan State advisor and a recently-selected professor emerita, wrote of Clark: “John Lee Clark is, without equivocation, the most intellectually gifted student that I’ve worked with in 20 years of teaching at three universities.” Among other things, future plans for Clark, a married father of three, may include continuing to work with Gallaudet to launch a proposed Tactile Mind Center.

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Norna Dragich

Dragich, New Richmond, is a human resources major who graduated summa cum laude. She formerly worked for 10 years as a veterinary technician and specialized in the emerging field of veterinary dermatology.

She graduated from Argosy University in 2005 with a veterinary technician degree. She volunteers for Store-to-Door, which offers grocery-ordering delivery to seniors; Surly Gives a Damn, a community-service arm of Surly Brewing Co., and Second Harvest Heartland, a nonprofit for which she also served as a Metropolitan State intern. Dragich, who recently lost more than 70 pounds, ran her first half-marathon one day before commencement. She was interviewed by a Twin Cities TV station in the 1980s because she expressed interest in becoming a sports broadcaster, an extreme rarity for females during that era.

Dragich, a member of the Society for Human Resources Management, hopes to work as an HR professional performing volunteer management for a nonprofit.

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Kathryn Herzog

Herzog, who has lived in Minneapolis, has conducted wide-ranging research garneringattention internationally and nationally. Her research—which she has presented at the International Society of Political Psychology and the Society of Personality and Social Psychology annual conferences—has touched on everything from the socio-cognitive influences in political attitudes and judgements to motivations behind giving to panhandlers.

Herzog, whose master’s degree was in psychology, worked as a graduate research assistant in the university’s psychology program. Active in student activities, she was a founding member and secretary of a recently-established group called the Behavioral Science Student Association and was a member of the Psychology Club. Herzog, who received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Metropolitan State, was inducted into the Psi Chi International Honor Society for her academic prowess and was selected CHCPS’ outstanding undergraduate.

Active in the community, she has participated in a get-out-the-vote campaign and has volunteered with Feed My Starving Children and the Ramsey County Public Library system. Herzog, who attended the 2015 Political Psychology Summer Academy, has been accepted into the PhD program at the University of California, Merced this fall.

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Maxwell Ingram

Ingram, a long-time Excelsior resident, was recently hired as a sheriff’s deputy in McKenzie County, North Dakota, which is part of an oil-fracking region where he researched organized crime while attending Metropolitan State. Previously, Ingram was a fugitive recovery agent, also known as a bounty hunter, for a Midwestern-based national firm.

The criminal justice major, who graduated summa cum laude, says his biggest life accomplishment is remaining sober. He often visits chemical dependency treatment facilities or detoxification centers and counsels persons recovering from drug and alcohol dependency. Ingram had planned on a military career, but a freak accident involving a large, foot-chomping muskie on a northern Minnesota lake prevented him from performing certain physical activities in the military.

His longer-term plans may include attending graduate or law school and pursuing a career in law enforcement specializing in investigations, organized crime, sex trafficking, narcotics and other areas.

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Brittney Rademacher

Rademacher, Mounds View, participated in multiple research studies while completing majors in both psychology and gender studies. She has presented her research at conferences for the national Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP) organization, the Midwestern Psychological Association (MPA) and the Minnesota Undergraduate Psychology Conference.

A member of the Psi Chi International Honor Society for academically gifted psychology students, she received a Metropolitan State academic achievement scholarship. Rademacher, who graduated magna cum laude, was very active in student organizations, serving as treasurer and then president of the Psychology Club and spearheading activities that benefited the community. She was also a member of the Behavioral Science Student Association, the Student Activity Fee Allocation Committee, the Law Enforcement Criminal Justice Club and Lavender Bridge.

Active in professional organizations, she is a member of SPSP, the MPA and the Minnesota Psychological Association. The mother of three small children plans to attend graduate school this fall at Saint Catherine’s University. Eventually, Rademacher plans to pursue a PhD, establish her own practice in clinical social work and teach and conduct research at a university.

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Rasmita Shrestha

Shrestha, Rosemount, is a Nepal native who earned a Doctorate of Nursing Practice. For her capstone project, she developed a client-centered approach to increase annual cervical cancer screening among HIV-infected women in an urban HIV clinic. Shrestha, a registered nurse who works part-time on the medical-surgical floor for Abbott-Northwestern Hospital, Minneapolis, departed Nepal for the United States in 2005.

The native of Kathmandu graduated with academic honors with a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Minnesota State University, Mankato in 2010. Active in the community, Shrestha volunteered in the simulation lab at Metropolitan State’s School of Nursing, where she earned a “Woman’s Club of Minneapolis” scholarship.

She also organized a fundraiser to raise money and distribute medical supplies for Nepal earthquake victims, and she assisted at Feed My Starving Children and is trained to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. Shrestha, a Minnesota Nurses Association member, intends to work as a family nurse practitioner after her and her husband’s first child is born.

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Michael Shyne

Shyne, Saint Paul, was selected student commencement speaker. The accomplishments for Shyne—an applied mathematics major who graduated summa cum laude and received three scholarships through Metropolitan State—are noteworthy because he has struggled with depression for years. He works as a part-time math tutor at the university’s Center for Academic Excellence. He also volunteered as a math tutor for middle school and high school students in Saint Paul.

Shyne, who was a member of the student Math Club and is a member of the American Statistical Association, previously was employed as a math enrichment tutor for an AmeriCorps program called Minnesota Math Corps. He and his wife achieved some renown from Twin Cities media in 1997 when they were married in a funeral home. Shyne, who has two teenage daughters, has been accepted into the biostatistics master’s program at the University of Minnesota.

“For the longest time,” says Shyne, “I didn’t think graduating from college was an option. So the fact that I’m not only graduating but going on to graduate school, that’s really exciting.”