New graduates excel

Impact, Summer 2003




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The College of Engineering & Science is proud of the accomplishments of its students who graduated May 10, 2003. Three outstanding graduates are profiled below:


Kevin Clinton: Graduation is a family affair for UDM valedictorian

Kevin Clinton with mom, DeniseKevin Clinton had two reasons to be proud at the UDM Commencement ceremony on May 10. Not only did he receive his Bachelor of Electrical Engineering with honors, earning him distinction as the Class of 2003 valedictorian, but his mom, Denise Clinton (NUR ’79), also graduated from UDM that day with her Master of Science in Nursing (Family Nurse Practitioner).

Mother and son both excelled at UDM: Kevin was a member of Alpha Sigma Nu (the National Jesuit Honor Society for students at Jesuit colleges and universities who are in the top 15 percent of their class) and received an Engineering & Science Scholarship Key Award (for those with a 3.8 or above GPA), while Denise was recognized with the Family Nurse Practitioner Academic Excellence Award for having the highest cumulative GPA in the FNP class of 2003.

UDM has become a family tradition for the Clinton family. Kevin’s parents both received their undergraduate degrees from Mercy College of Detroit—father, James in 1976, and Denise, in 1979—but Kevin says his parents actually had little influence on his choice of UDM.

Instead he cites UDM’s smaller size and personal attention as the distinguishing factor. Kevin says, "It was nice to get involved with everything—athletics, academics—you’re not pigeonholed into one activity or group like you might be at a larger school."

As for the future, Kevin worked at NASA through the co-op program for two semesters and will begin work there on a permanent basis in December 2003. His work in the Expendable Launch Vehicles Division will include two projects: the Orbital SpacePlane, which will ferry astronauts and their gear to and from the space station; and the Galaxy Evolution Explorer, a large infrared telescope that will reach distant galaxies and possibly shed light on the origin of Earth’s galaxy.

Kevin has yet another UDM connection: he became engaged to Nursing junior Jamie Leckvarcik in April of 2002. They will marry in August, and perhaps the tradition will continue.


Christopher Koziara: Graduate transferred to UDM with aspirations of success

Chris KoziaraAs he heads toward a career in the automotive industry, dual-degree major Christopher Koziara says of the many accolades garnered since transferring to UDM three years ago, "Every one is a great honor." The Farmington Hills, Mich., resident studied at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids before switching to UDM, where he is earning bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering and mathematics.

Koziara served last year as president of the Michigan Delta Chapter of Tau Beta Pi, National Engineering Honor Society. As such, he spearheaded the implementation of active member bylaws to encourage participation in the organization, led the development of the chapter’s first web site and represented the chapter at numerous events.

He also is vice president of the Beta Sigma Chapter of Eta Kappa Nu, the national electrical engineering honor society. His memberships also include Alpha Sigma Nu, the national Jesuit honor society; Kappa Gamma Pi, the national Catholic college graduate honor society; and Pi Mu Epsilon, the national honorary mathematics fraternity.

The recipient of the IEEE Outstanding Senior Award (2003), he also has been the recipient of the UDM Academic Award, Engineering and Science Key Award (2001-2003), National Science Foundation Scholarship, Ford Scholar Award and Pastors Scholarship.

He also has played soccer at both Aquinas College (NAIA Division I) and UDM (NCAA Division I). Koziara works part-time in the automotive field while holding a near-perfect GPA.

Of his years at UDM, he says, "I’ve received a lot of personal attention. My professors’ doors have always been open to discuss homework assignments or personal issues. It’s been a wonderful experience."


Jill Braun: Community service motivates recent graduate

With her medical career specialty already in focus, she leaves her academic career at UDM for medical school with three major accolades in hand.

  • Braun was selected by her peers as UDM’s Science Student of the Year, for which she was honored at the 71st annual Slide Rule Dinner Dance.
  • She was chosen by faculty to receive the American Institute of Chemists Award, which she received at the April Honors Convocation.
  • She also received the 2003 Student Magis Award, given to students who best exemplify the Jesuit identity of UDM.

Among her many activities at UDM, as cited in her nomination for the Magis Award, Braun has been active in the Chemistry Club, helping organize several of its retreats and recently serving as vice president.

She also has worked in the University Ministry office for several years and was instrumental in the Catholic Faith Discussion Group for students. She served as student chairperson of Hunger Week for two years, organizing support for a food drive and other faith-based activities.

Further evidence of her commitment to service, Braun served as an officer of the UDM chapter of the national community-service society, Alpha Phi Omega. She also volunteered on Saturdays at the campus pre-engineering program for eighth graders. Her memberships also include Alpha Epsilon Delta and Alpha Sigma Nu, a Jesuit honor society.

Braun has served as a research assistant in the laboratory of Biochemistry Professor Mary Lou Caspers. She also served as a summer aide at a nursing home.

As she leaves UDM, Braun says, "I chose UDM because I enjoy the small campus and classroom size." She also appreciates the mentoring from her professors.
"I can ask them anything whether it’s academic, professional or personal. I know I can speak in confidence, and they listen. I’ve had a rewarding experience."



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