The Commencement Stage at Graduation

Graduates Who Have Made Their Mark

by Alec De Yong '20

 

 


Rachael Fulton '19

Photo of Rachael Fulton '18

 

  • Pre-Professional Biology major

  • Center for Community Service Scholar

  • Internship at HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital

  • Member of Sigma Zeta Honor Society, Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society, and National Society of Leadership of Success


Whether it be their sport, their major, or both, it would be a challenge to find a McKendree student that isn’t passionate about what they do here. In the case of pre-professional biology major Rachael Fulton ’19, her passion stretches beyond the borders of McKendree proper.

“I began volunteering with individuals that have developmental disabilities in 2015,” Rachael said, “I found my passion in those moments.” Rachael brought this passion with her to McKendree and has done amazing things with it. The chief example of this is the program that she started at the Lyn Huxford Center for Community Service. Her program is centered around “immersing students into homeless outreach” and was inspired largely by her core belief that “we all deserve a little love.”

Rachael is motivated by her passions and her love for others, but the positive results of her work were not reserved exclusively for others—she gained a great deal from her experiences as well. “In the beginning, I failed,” she said, “Upon hitting rock bottom, I knew that I couldn’t let that discourage me.” She persevered and now because of her dedication, the program makes four site visits per month and helps countless individuals. “This just shows me that if you want something enough, you will find a way to succeed.”

Alongside her work with the Lyn Huxford Center for Community Service, Rachael’s proudest accomplishments also include her foray into biology. “I am also extremely proud of myself for taking a leap of faith out of my comfort zone and into the world of biology.” Her passion for helping others and her dedication to learning have helped to develop her life goal of becoming a doctor for individuals with developmental disabilities.

While the effects of Rachael’s work and passion have undoubtedly made their mark on McKendree, they will not stop here. Upon leaving McKendree after graduation, Rachael will be taking a gap year before medical school. She will be spending the year bringing her passion to those in need across the globe. Rachael will be traveling to Belize and then Cape Town, South Africa where she will “have the opportunity to be hands on and active while working within their hospital systems.” Rachael also plans to “enjoy a safari, dive with sharks, and fully experience the culture of SA [South Africa].”

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“I am extremely excited for this new adventure and cannot wait to bring back many beautiful memories.”

 

 


Kevin Magee '19

Photo of Kevin Magee '19

 

  • Computational Science and Math major from Mascoutah, Illinois

  • Founder of McKendree’s esports team

  • Captain of the collegiate cyber defense competition team

  • Internship with McKendree’s IT department

  • President of the Association for Computing Machinery

  • Member of the marching band

  • Member of Alpha Delta Gamma fraternity

 

From esports to cyber defense, Kevin Magee ’19 has left a digital footprint on McKendree’s campus that will not soon be forgotten. The computational science and math major has become something of a pioneer during his time at McKendree—founding our first esports team and serving as the captain of McKendree’s first collegiate cyber defense competition (CCDC) team. However, Kevin’s ambition was not reserved solely for the digital. He has more than made his mark both on-campus and off.

Kevin has taken his passion and knack for technology and applied them to great effect during his time at McKendree. As captain of the CCDC team, Kevin led them to 4th and 2nd place finishes in their first two years competing. He also showed his initiative and leadership when he started McKendree’s esports team. Kevin says that he saw the potential and the desire for an esports team on campus, but didn’t see anyone else stepping up to the screen. “The whole time I attended McKendree I heard talk every year about people wanting to start an esports team, but no one ever [went] through the process to really start it,” Kevin said.

Kevin began the process of founding the team as a registered student organization, but wanted to find out more about what starting an esports team would take. To start the team off on a good foot, Kevin began reaching out to other colleges that had already undergone the process to “get helpful hints on how to make this program start the best way it could.”

Kevin’s involvement was not restricted to McKendree either. In his spare time, he shared his talents with local high school students. Through McKendree, Kevin has been allowed “multiple opportunities to work with … organizations, such as CyberPatriot.” CyberPatriot is an organization that “builds cyber skills in middle and high school students.” Kevin also used his 10 years of drumline experience to give back, saying “Marching Band has given me the opportunity to work with high school students in drumline to build their skills and prepare for their marching season …”

Wherever Kevin goes after graduating, he will go with an impressive list of accomplishments. He will depart McKendree having gained valuable experience and professional skills.

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The Cyber Defense Team has prepared me by giving be the tools and environment to learn … Other departments have helped me with creating a resume, learning how to interview, and what to expect in a computing job search.” He has also learned “how to communicate well with people less knowledgeable than me in a subject, so that I can make an environment that is fun and makes them want to learn.

 

 


Josh Cobbins '19

Photo of Josh Cobbins '19

 

  • Public Relations Studies major from Crete, Illinois

  • Communications intern for MilliporeSigma

  • Communication and outreach intern at MITRE

  • Chapter Vice President and National Student Representative with Alpha Delta Gamma Fraternity

  • Marketing Coordinator for Campus Activities Board

  • Student Ambassador

  • Show Choir

  • President of the Residence Hall Association

  • First-generation Peer Mentor

  • Member of the Black Student Organization

 

For public relations studies major Josh Cobbins ’19, the journey to graduation has been far from a smooth one. While it is not at all rare for college students to change their majors, Josh changed his seven times before settling on public relations studies. Josh jumped from major to major, and insisted that he “fell out of love” with many of them before switching. He eventually, through the help of the late Dr. Betsy Gordon, found his way to public relations.

You might think that this habit would occupy much of Josh’s time, but he managed to find more than enough to make his mark on campus. Before Josh became involved in the multitude of organizations and majors, he came to McKendree to be a part of show choir. “It was hard because we were pushed,” Josh said. Show Choir remained one of the constants throughout his dynamic educational career. “It’s not like playing football…but it challenged you in a different aspect,” Josh said.

Josh credits Alpha Delta Gamma with having the largest impact on him while here. “I went through a period of time where I was…going through a really big low in my life and ADG was…the one thing that kept me up and kept me going.” Josh joined ADG his sophomore year and served as the vice president of internal affairs during his first semester as an active member. After that, he transitioned to vice president, and later to national student representative. ADG provided Josh with an array of different opportunities to travel, meet new people, and make connections all over the country.

In his work with ADG and other organizations, Josh said that he learned patience, as well as how to better understand and work with different types of people. “Being in a fraternity… none of us are alike, so working with them … definitely gave me opportunities to expand my professional horizon,” he said.

Dipping his toes into so many majors and organizations, Josh has inevitably had an impact on campus. “I think my impact revolves around the people,” he said, “I work with these people and I just … always try to be a positive light.” One way Josh has done this is through research that he has done on campus for students and faculty of color and who are LGBTQA+. Josh has taken pride in providing this research and in helping people who may not have to deal with the same issues change their perspective.

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“Don’t be afraid to speak up when it comes to race and ethnicity and gender … take those opportunities to learn.”


Among his list of accolades, Josh does have a glaring omission. One thing that Josh has always wanted to do, but has not been able to make time for, is study abroad. To remedy this, Josh plans to teach English as a second language in China after graduation. After this he hopes to pursue his masters in health communication and continue his work in international communication.

 

 

 

Matt Hendricks '19

Photo of Matt Hendricks '19

 

  • Political Science major from Chicago, Illinois

  • Chapter president of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity

  • Member of Pi Sigma Alpha Honor Society

  • Student athlete on the men’s fencing team

  • 2018 Homecoming King

 

Political science major Matthew Hendricks ’19 has gone above and beyond to make his mark on McKendree. Many students would get second-hand exhaustion after hearing of the breadth of Matt’s involvement on campus. For Matt, however, it’s second nature to take part in so many groups and activities.

Even before Matt set foot on McKendree’s campus, he participated in several sports from football to swimming, leading him to eventually join the men’s fencing team at McKendree. Along with the fencing team, Matt has counted himself among the ranks of the Student Government Association, Black Student Organization, the Campus Activities Board, and was even the 2018 Homecoming King. These are just a few of the groups and activities that Matt has been a part of in his time here. On top of all of these, he has made the Dean’s list and spent a semester abroad in Costa Rica.

Being so involved, Matt drew inspiration from both of his parents. For a good portion of Matt’s life, his mom had to fill the roles of both mother and father. Matt said that his parents set examples of hard work, determination, respect, and self-control that he follows to this day.

Matt is a member of the Nu Gamma Sigma chapter of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity and served as the president of his chapter for 2 years. He was chosen by Phi Beta Sigma to present an honorary plaque to Congressman and civil rights leader John Lewis. As someone who hopes to enter the world of politics in the future, it was a special opportunity for Matt. “Meeting John Lewis, because I want to be in politics, was like another bridge for me.” Matt was chosen because of his community service and activism. Matt’s community service stretches from high schools to fundraising. Much like Congressman Lewis, Matt holds a belief that “everybody has a voice and they need to be heard.”

When first choosing which college to attend, McKendree wasn’t even on Matt’s radar. In fact, he had his choice of schools. Matt said “I got accepted to every college that I applied to,” but he ultimately chose McKendree for its diversity and because he wanted something new in his life. He hoped that McKendree would help to prepare him for the life that he wanted in politics.

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“I just wanted some diversity in my life and to see how to interact with other cultures.”

 

 


Jordan Jackovich '19

Photo of Jordan Jackovich '19

 

  • Marketing and Human Resource Management major

  • Internship as a visitor services coordinator at ILLINOISouth Tourism

  • President of Sigma Sigma Sigma

  • President of the Green Team

  • Member of Phi Eta Sigma

  • National Society of Leadership and Success

  • Student athlete on the women’s volleyball team

 

Looking at her list of accomplishments now, it might be hard to believe that Jordan Jackovich ’19 spent her first year at McKendree hardly involved in anything around campus. This would not remain the case for the marketing and human resource management major, and she has more than made up for it since. “Freshman year I was not involved in anything and I decided to change that and go out and meet new people and network,” she said.

In the three years since then, Jordan has made her mark in a big way. She has served as president of both the Green Team and Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority, and added “I have considered myself fortunate to be very involved at McKendree.” She balanced these positions with her volunteer work with Food for the Poor, her collegiate volleyball career, and her internship as a visitor services coordinator at ILLINOISouth Tourism.

Jordan’s proudest, and most unexpected, accomplishments were born from her position as the president of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority. “It was not a position I had ran for but my sisters believed I would be a good leader and seeing the confidence they had in me helped me to learn how to lead,” she recalled.

Her experiences also went beyond McKendree’s campus. Jordan was able to study abroad in Rome and be a part of a mission trip to Jamaica. She strove to learn as much as she could in her time here. Jordan explained that she did not want to sit idly by, saying “I wanted to get involved with as many things as possible to just experience as much as possible throughout my time in college.”

Jordan’s involvement has kept her learning in and outside of the classroom, and ensured that McKendree is a place that she will never forget. “I have learned quite a bit from these experiences,” Jordan said, “I have learned … how to network, and how rewarding it is to step outside of your comfort zone.” Through her relentless work on and off campus, Jordan has gained more than valuable experience in her field. “I have taken away many friendships that I will cherish forever, as well as trips to new places, and have learned new skills that apply to the workforce and to day to day life,” she said.

While Jordan has given much of her time to these organizations, she believes that it has been a two-way street. “McKendree has impacted me in so many more ways than I could have ever impacted it,” she said.

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“The professors have helped me with so much and my coach even helped me get the job I have now.” 

 


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