Graduates Who Have Made Their Mark

by Stephanie (Coartney) Dulaney '10

 

 


Megan Jensen '20

Photo of Megan Jensen '20

 

  • Double major in Sport Management and Public Relations Studies with a Digital Media Management Emphasis

  • From Union, MO

  • Member of the Honors Program and Lambda Pi Eta, Sigma Beta Delta, and Phi Eta Sigma Honor Societies

  • Named to President’s List and Dean’s List

  • President of Sport Management Society

  • Global Ambassador with International Studies Abroad, Inc.

  • Women’s Basketball Team

  • Studied Abroad in Australia

  • Interned with the River City Rascals and St. Louis Cardinals


From studying abroad in Australia to interning with both minor and major league baseball teams, Megan Jensen ’20 had a McKendree experience that truly immersed her in her field of interest: the sporting industry.

Megan’s passion for sports is what first led her to McKendree when she joined the women’s basketball team. A member of the Honors Program, she also earned academic accolades for her work balancing two majors, Sport Management and Public Relations Studies. The blend of coursework introduced her to topics that piqued her curiosity and encouraged her to explore. “I was able to study abroad in Australia and complete research on female sport media coverage,” she said.

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I spoke with athletes and sport professionals to understand the role of female athletes in their society.”

Megan’s research focused on the differences between sports media coverage in the United States and Australia. After analyzing data from the ESPN and Fox Sports Twitter accounts in both countries, she made a discovery that would serve as the foundation for her future career goals. “I found that 4-6 percent of all tweets in a week were about female athletes or female sports,” she said. “The large disparity in media coverage really influenced my decision to work toward increasing female sport media coverage and building up women in sports. Studying abroad was one of the most influential experiences during my time at McKendree. I was able to take my research and the experiences I had in Australia and often relate them to what I was studying in my Sport Management or Public Relations classes.”

Back in the States, Megan went on to complete a promotions internship with the River City Rascals and a community relations internship with the St. Louis Cardinals. One of her favorite parts was assisting with the Player Ticket Program, in which non-profit groups enjoyed a pre-game field visit and tickets to the game. “This was my first introduction into the sport industry and really solidified my confidence that I could be successful,” she said. “It also taught me that the relationships I could make in my career were really what drove me.” Through it all, Megan is grateful she could pack so much into her time as a McKendree student and looks forward to her next steps in the sport industry.

 

 


Matija Pucarevic '20

Photo of Matija Pucarevic '20

 

  • Computational Science major from Belgrade, Serbia

  • Men’s Swimming and Diving Team

  • Four-time qualifier for NCAA Swimming and Diving National Championship

  • Member of Sigma Zeta and Phi Eta Sigma Honor Societies

  • Member of the Association for Computing Machinery and the Robotics Club

  • Math and Computer Science Tutor

  • Volunteer for Swim Across America

  • Internships at MarketView and Saga in Serbia

  • Named to the President’s List and Dean’s List


Matija Pucarevic ’20 came a long way from his home country of Serbia to find a university that fit him perfectly, and McKendree proved to be the place where he could make his mark in the classroom and in the pool.

His interest in computing prompted him to get involved on campus in a variety of ways, from joining student organizations in robotics to tutoring his fellow students. One of Matija’s most unique ways of giving back to the university, however, was through his senior project, McKendree Chatbot. This innovative software tool uses speech recognition technology to better serve users with frequently asked questions on McKendree web pages. “The idea was born when I was working at the Academic Records Office and noticed a lot of people asking the same type of questions to faculty and staff,” he said. “Figuring out how to create something that would facilitate the disbursement of information at McKendree gave me the idea to build a knowledgeable machine that students, parents, and others can talk to and receive an answer.”

Matija’s summer internships at home in Serbia also enabled him to apply concepts he learned in class to real world situations. His first role at MarketView gave him experience as a software developer. Then as a Data Science intern at Saga, he created a classifier that analyzed scanned documents from the Pension and Disability Fund of the Republic of Serbia. It was this experience that he says inspired him to seek a career in Data Science.

As one of the founding athletes on the men’s swimming and diving team, Matija also came to McKendree to help start the team. He was the first McKendree swimmer to win a race at the GLVC Conference and qualified for the NCAA Swimming and Diving National Championship an impressive four times. This year he was set to bring home a first-place finish for McKendree when the unexpected happened. “This year's meet was the most important one to me because this was my last chance to help the team win NCAA,” he said. “Unfortunately, my goal was crushed when the championship meet was canceled due to the COVID-19 virus. It was disappointing because our men's team had the top score so far and undoubtedly was going to win our first NCAA Championship as a four-year-old program.”

In spite of this, Matija is proud of what he and his team achieved as Bearcats and knows he will carry the family atmosphere that he found at McKendree wherever life takes him next.

 

 


Sydney Rey '20

Photo of Sydney Rey '20

 

  • Exercise Science and Sports Performance major from Columbia, IL

  • Women’s Swimming and Diving Team

  • Winner of the NCAA Elite 90 Award for Swimming

  • Qualified for NCAA National Swimming and Diving Championship in 100 and 200 meter backstroke and 50 meter freestyle

  • Member of the National Athletic Training Honor Society and Phi Kappa Phi and Sigma Alpha Pi Honor Societies

  • Chapter Advisor and President of Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society

  • Volunteer with Special Olympics, Relay for Life, and Swim Clinics

  • Student Ambassador and member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes

  • Named to President’s List and Dean’s List


As the first Swimming and Diving recruit to visit campus, Sydney Rey ’20 remembers having “no idea what college was supposed to be like, but I fell in love with the campus and the people by my second day there. People had told me until that point in my life, ‘Oh you’ll just know. There’s a feeling you get, and you just know you belong there.’” Sydney said yes to that feeling and found everything she had hoped for.

While being one of the first members of a new athletic team can be challenging, Sydney is honored to have been team captain for two years and is proud of the team she helped create. “We were all freshmen so we kind of got baptized by fire when it came to formulating a team culture of our own,” she said. “Soon came BBQ kick-offs, ‘Piano Man’ by Billy Joel, and full heads of purple hair at conference. We had more fun than any other team we competed against!”

Sydney soon earned a reputation for herself, qualifying for nationals in the 100 and 200 meter backstroke and the 50 meter freestyle, while also maintaining top grades in the classroom. Her dedication led to her receiving the prestigious 2020 NCAA Elite 90 Award for Swimming, presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative GPA who participated at the finals site for each of the NCAA Championships. Sydney calls the moment when her name was called “one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.”

Along with her athletic talents, Sydney notes that she has always been interested in studying sports, especially from the medical perspective. It’s what led her to major in Exercise Science and Sports Performance, and it’s also one of the reasons she is now pursuing her Master’s in Athletic Training through McKendree’s new 3+2 Athletic Training program. Sydney spent her senior year taking graduate-level courses in the field that she loves, enabling her to graduate with her Bachelor’s degree this year and her Master’s degree next year.

Looking to the future, Sydney plans to start her career as an athletic trainer working with collegiate or professional athletes. “I gained everything I knew I was going to when I first committed to coming to McKendree,” she said. 

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I have a great family around me, including my teammates, coaches, peers, and professors. I gained relationships at McKendree that I know I will have the rest of my life.

 

 

Isabela Scaturro '20

Photo of Isabela Scaturro '20

 

  • Communications Studies major from Granite City, IL

  • Speech Captain of the Speech and Debate Team

  • Member of Lambda Pi Eta and Pi Kappa Delta Honor Societies

  • Named to the Dean’s List

  • Student Ambassador


For some people, the thought of public speaking is enough to cause sweaty palms and a nervous stomach, but just the opposite is true for Communications Studies major and Speech Captain Isabela Scaturro ’20. She found her passion for speech at a young age, and thanks to her accomplishments as a McKendree student, she is set for success in Illinois State University’s graduate program.

“When I was in eighth grade, my high school’s speech team came and did a performance at our middle school, and from that moment, I fell in love with the activity,” she said. “Speech is about sharing your voice and messages to audiences from all over.” Isabela knew she wanted to attend a university that would enable her to continue growing her skills and compete at forensics tournaments. McKendree’s Speech and Debate Team proved to be just what she was looking for. Some of her favorite highlights on the team were winning two years in a row at the Gorlok Gala Tournament and having a successful run at the National Forensics Association Tournament.

Isabela’s experiences on the Speech and Debate Team were enhanced even more by the material she learned in her Communications courses. Together with the relationships she developed with faculty members, it all inspired her to further her education in graduate school. “My professors in the Communication Department are quite literally the reason I am pursuing a Master’s degree,” she said.

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Dr. Trask and Dr. Murphy taught me well and I’m so glad to be able to have them as friends for the future.


Not only will Isabela attend Illinois State University’s Master’s program in Communications Studies this fall, but she also accepted a graduate teaching assistantship there. She is thrilled for the opportunity to teach introductory Communications courses to undergrads just like she was. With her time at McKendree drawing to a close, Isabela says she will never forget the connections she made and the ways in which she was able to continue pursuing her passions as a McKendree student and beyond.

 

 


Adeja Powell '20

Photo of Adeja Powell '20

 

  • Political Science major from Belleville, IL

  • Debate Captain of the Speech and Debate Team

  • Co-winner of the 2020 National Parliamentary Debate Association’s National Championship and third-place finish in individual debate

  • Named to the Dean’s List

  • President of Pi Kappa Delta Forensics Honor Society

  • Avidity Independent Winter Guard, Marching Bearcat Band Color Guard, and McKendree Dance Ensemble

  • Coaches color guard at Central Community High School

  • Works full-time in the Parking and Transportation Department at Washington University


There are few who can say they’ve made school history during their time as undergraduates, but Adeja Powell ’20 finished her senior year strong, bringing home McKendree’s only first-place finish at the National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) National Championship. Along with her Debate Team partner Mitch Deleel ’21, she treasures the unforgettable memories she made along the way and feels that a historic win was the best way to celebrate the end of her time in debate.

Adeja’s decision to first come to McKendree was not immediate. Debate Team Coach Joe Blasdel was one of the judges at a high school debate competition in which she was participating. After seeing her present, he knew the McKendree team needed her talent and invited her to attend a local collegiate tournament with them. “After a few more conversations, I ended up committing to debate at McKendree,” she said. “It was the best decision I made!”

As a freshman, Adeja was often paired with upperclassmen for debate competitions, so she had to learn quickly how to think on her feet to succeed on the college level. It wasn’t long before an unexpected partner change happened, and she found herself matched to Mitch, who had just begun debate for the first time. “Mitch was the most promising new debater we had at the time, but there was a huge experience gap, so we weren’t sure if qualifying for nationals that late in the season would be possible, but Mitch and I started debating in December and ended up attending the NPTE in March and placing ninth!” she said.

They went on to win six large regional tournaments and 23 consecutive debates, setting a new team record. This past season concluded their nearly three-year partnership with a historic win at nationals. Adeja is grateful for her experiences on the Debate Team and so many other McKendree organizations in which she was involved. From the dance ensemble to color guard and Avidity winter guard, she gained friendships, memories of late-night rehearsals, and lessons in teamwork. Through her Political Science classes, she says she new ways of thinking.

Now Adeja is working for the Parking and Transportation Department at Washington University and plans to pursue a Master’s in Communication in the future. “

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I’m hoping to stay involved in debate coaching and judging on the circuit too,” she said. “I’d love to return to McKendree and give back to the team!

 

 


Edward Hill '20

Photo of Edward Hill '20

 

  • Double major in Health Psychology and Human Movement Ergonomics from Chicago, IL

  • First Chapter President of Phi Beta Sigma, the first African-American fraternity at McKendree

  • President of Brotherhood of McKendree

  • Member of Alpha Phi Omega Fraternity, Black Men of McKendree, Wonders of Wellness, Campus Activities Board, Black Student Organization, Residence Hall Association, and the President’s Social Justice and Equity Committee

  • Student Ambassador

  • Tutor and mentor at AmeriCorps and Lebanon Kids

  • Fencing Team and Marching Bearcat Band

  • Volunteer with the Special Olympics, Lebanon Care Center, and Relay for Life


Edward Hill’s ’20 dedication to serving others led him to take an active role in many of McKendree’s student organizations and volunteer opportunities. From planning events on the Campus Activities Board to tutoring students through AmeriCorps and Lebanon Kids, he made his mark on not only McKendree, but also the greater community.

An even more tangible way that he influenced university life, however, is through the chartering of McKendree’s first chapter of an African-American fraternity, Phi Beta Sigma. Although the organization came to campus in 2014, it had not yet met the qualifications for achieving charter status. Then in 2017, Edward and several other students took it upon themselves to lead the charge and bring an official chapter of Phi Beta Sigma to campus.

As the first Chapter President, Edward is passionate about celebrating the black community and especially providing a way for black men on campus to connect with each other under a common set of principles. “What inspired me to join and help make efforts in chartering Phi Beta Sigma was the brothers themselves and the mission and principles the men of Sigma stood on,” he said. “These ideals are founded in brotherhood, scholarship, and service and provide ‘Culture for Service, Service to Humanity.’ I also wanted to help bring diversity to McKendree Greek Life since there were no Black Greek Lettered Organizations on campus.”

One of his most memorable experiences as a part of the group was the chance to meet Phi Beta Sigma brothers from across the country, along with their counterpart, the sisters of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, for the national fraternity conclave held in Las Vegas. He says it not only gave him experience networking with others, but also helped groom him to become a better leader.

Those leadership skills will come in useful as he graduates this year and makes plans for a career in human movement ergonomics with the goal of attending graduate school. Edward hopes to utilize his double major in Health Psychology and Human Movement Ergonomics to continue to serve others and one day earn a Master’s degree in Health Education, Public Health, or Psychology. Wherever his path takes him, he is proud of his accomplishments as a McKendree student.

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It's a great feeling to see that the legacy of Sigma will continue and that the mark of Sigma would be made on the McKendree campus.

 

 

 


Alexandria Glaudé '20

Photo of  Alexandria Glaudé '20

 

  • Double major in Sociology and Speech Communication with a minor in Ethnic Studies

  • From West Sacramento, CA

  • 68kg Women’s Freestyle Wrestler for McKendree and Team USA

  • WCWA National Women’s Wrestling Champion (155 lbs.) in 2019 and 2020

  • WCWA National Championship and NWCA National Dual Championship in 2020

  • Senior Women's National Team member and Bronze Medal winner at the 2018 U23 World Championships

  • Earned a qualified spot for the 2020 Olympic trials

  • Student ambassador

  • Named to the Dean’s List

  • Communication Graduating Senior Honors Convocation Award winner


When Alexandria Glaudé ’20 first came to McKendree, she had little wrestling experience but big dreams for her future. Now after winning WCWA National Women’s Wrestling Champion two years in a row and bronze medaling at the U23 World Championships, she concludes her time as a Bearcat wrestler with a qualifying spot for the 2020 Olympic trials.

Family has always been an important part of Alexandria’s life, so going to college hundreds of miles from her home in California was not a decision she made lightly. She wanted to be part of something special, and she found that in McKendree’s Women’s Wrestling Team. “My journey is heavily thanks to people who have believed in me along the way,” she said. “They made it possible for me to push myself, give my all, and zone in on my goals."

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There have been periods of my journey where I have struggled to believe in myself, but I could always look to my family and my coaches, who never wavered in their belief in me.

Her coaches and fellow Bearcat wrestlers became her family away from home and helped give her the confidence she needed to succeed. This year, Alexandria led the team to a first-place finish at both the WCWA National Championship and NWCA National Dual Championship. Her efforts on the mat also led her to be named WCWA National Women’s Wrestling Champion in her weight class in 2019 and 2020. Before that, she earned a spot on the Senior Women’s National Team and won bronze on the world stage. “I dreamed about making the national team as a freshman,” she said. “These experiences were not easy, but they have always been worth it. They reassured me that I am a great wrestler, I am skilled, and that what I am doing is working.”

This year, all of Alexandria’s hard work culminated in earning a qualifying spot on the 2020 Olympic trials. Although the date of trials is currently unknown due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she says she will be ready whenever the decision is made. In the meantime, she plans to continue training to make the Olympic and World teams, and one day, she hopes to earn a Master’s degree and become a public speaker.

Alexandria’s McKendree professors have been just as crucial to her personal growth as her team, and she says she’ll miss her conversations with them the most. “I’ve had some of the best professors who have helped me find confidence in my voice,” she said. “They’ve instilled in me a more fearless attitude and have pushed me to be a lifelong learner. When I graduate, I will remember all of those heart-to-hearts and stay confident in myself.”

 


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