Seven top honor graduates honored at BU

For immediate release: May 14, 2007

BLOOMSBURG — Seven top honor graduates were honored during Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania’s spring commencement Saturday, May 12, at the campus’ Redman Stadium. The students, who graduated with the highest grade point average in their colleges, are:

College of Business
Joseph Mensinger, Mifflinville, bachelor of science, business administration/finance. Mensinger earned dean’s list standing every semester at BU. A member of Beta Gamma Sigma International Honor Society, he plans to pursue a career in corporate or investment banking and, eventually, attend graduate school.

College of Liberal Arts
Daniel “D.J.” Swank, Ringtown, bachelor of arts, English. Swank, a member of the national English honors fraternity, Sigma Tau Delta, won BU’s Fuller Fiction Award and was named Outstanding Liberal Arts English Major for 2006-07. He was active in BU’s marching and jazz bands and co-hosted a campus radio show. A member of the Hazleton Liberty Band and the Nuremberg Community Players, he co-wrote, co-directed and co-starred in an original musical comedy, “When Fairy Tales Collide.” He plans to pursue a writing career.

College of Science and Technology
Ashley Yelinek, Youngwood, bachelor of science, biology. Yelinek, named to the dean’s list each semester, was honored as Outstanding Senior Biology Student this year. A member of both Phi Kappa Phi, an interdisciplinary honor society, and Beta Beta Beta, the biology honor society, she received a Kozloff Undergraduate Research Award for her two-semester independent research project, “Relationship between tethered swimming and race performance in competitive male and female swimmers.” She presented the research at the 2007 Pennsylvania Academy of Science and her abstract will be published in the academy’s journal. A member of BU’s swim team for four years, she was named the senior scholar athlete at the Senior/Most Valuable Player banquet. She was a four-year Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) qualifier and medalist and a two-time champion in the 1650-yard freestyle. Yelinek hopes to attend medical school.

College of Professional Studies (a four-way tie)

  • Tanya Averso, New Castle, bachelor of science, elementary education/education of the deaf and hard of hearing. As a BU student, Averso worked at the Columbia Child Development Program for seven semesters, eventually becoming assistant group supervisor in the infant room, and served as a counselor last summer for a Christian music camp. She is a member of Kappa Delta Pi honor society and plans to continue her education in BU’s deaf master’s program this fall.
  • Rachel Bedford, Schuylkill Haven, bachelor of science, special education/elementary education. Bedford, a member of Phi Kappa Phi honor society and Kappa Delta Pi education honor society, was named to the dean’s list each semester at BU. The recipient of several scholarships, she completed an independent research project on career awareness as part of BU’s honors program. Bedford was the student representative on the search committee for the dean of professional studies and a member of the Camp Victory Student Organization. She traveled to Jamaica on a mission trip with her church group during summer 2005 and is an instructor in the summer enrichment program at Jerusalem Lutheran Day Care Center, Schuylkill Haven. She currently is seeking a teaching position in the York/Harrisburg area.
  • Leela Persaud, Gillett, bachelor of science, speech pathology/audiology. Persaud, who received a Board of Governors scholarship, is a member of Phi Kappa Phi honor society and was co-chair of the National Student Speech-Language Hearing Association. She was an active volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, the Share tutoring program and Loyalton Assisted Living Center and served as a minority mentor with the Peer Academic Leadership (PAL) program. She spent last summer studying in London. She will return to BU to study for her doctorate in audiology.
  • Lindsay Wenk, Gardners, bachelor of science, early childhood education, and bachelor of arts, Spanish. A member of Phi Kappa Phi honor society, Wenk also was active in Kappa Delta Pi education honor society, which she served as secretary. Wenk worked for the Bloomsburg Area YMCA before- and after-school program, eventually serving as site coordinator. She spent a semester studying at the University of Puerto Rico and, last April, made a presentation on transitioning from a practicum to student teaching at the National Social Science Association Conference in Las Vegas. She plans to teach in an elementary school in south central Pennsylvania.

Approximately 1,125 students participated in BU’s undergraduate commencement ceremonies; more than 200 master’s and doctoral candidates took part in graduate commencement Friday, May 11, in Haas Center for the Arts.

Bloomsburg University is one of 14 universities in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The university serves approximately 8,000 students, offering comprehensive programs of study in the colleges of Professional Studies, Business, Liberal Arts and Science and Technology.