The Commencement Stage at Graduation

Where Our Graduates Are Headed

by Stephanie (Coartney) Dulaney '10


Madelaine Zinser '17

Photo of Madelaine Zinser '17


  • Computational Science and Biology Major with Emphasis in Engineering Physics from Mascoutah, Illinois

  • Interned with the MITRE Corporation in Washington, D.C.

  • Interned with the National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias in Fairview Heights, Illinois

  • President of Upsilon Pi Epsilon Computing Honor Society

  • Member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and Sigma Zeta Science Honor Society

  • Member of the McKendree Chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)

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

  • Tutor in the Student Success Center

  • McKendree Competitive Dance Team

  • New Student Orientation Leader

  • President of Senior Class Gift Committee

Madelaine Zinser ’17 will always remember where she was when she signed her first job acceptance letter. Sitting at a table in McKendree’s Career Services Office, she was surrounded by a support team of faculty and staff whose guidance and encouragement meant so much to her over the last four years. Now they cheered her on as she entered her next phase of life as a Software Engineer at MITRE Corporation in Washington, D.C. “How cool is it that the Dean of Students watched me sign my first full job offer?” Madelaine said. “Only at McKendree.”

As a student, Madelaine’s dedication in the classroom and passion for learning landed her two impressive internships, giving her the opportunity to test out her strengths in the real world of science and technology. At the National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias, she researched medical reports, test results, and databases on Ectodermal Dysplasia, a genetic disorder affecting the skin, hair, nails, teeth, and sweat glands. She developed a 300-page report on the genetic factors she collected to help redefine how this complex disorder is diagnosed.

Madelaine’s next internship took her from genetic research to the technology behind the nation’s Defense Department. A federally funded research and development center, MITRE is a non-profit organization that supports government and military projects. While working with cloud development and mission management for MITRE at Scott Air Force Base over the summer, Madelaine heard that several company vice presidents would be visiting the site.

“I took a chance and set up a meeting with them,” she said. “I was interested in their stories and why they founded MITRE. Because I was interested in machine learning, they flew me out to headquarters to learn more about their projects in McLean, Virginia. This trip turned into a full-time job offer.”

Madelaine was thrilled to accept a position in MITRE’s research labs in Washington, D.C., and looks forward to applying her degree in a meaningful way. Ultimately, however, she hopes to make her way back to academia by pursuing a doctorate in Computer Science or Mathematics and becoming a professor.

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“I have had such wonderful connections with my advisors and instructors at McKendree. I want to give back and inspire new students like they’ve inspired me.”



Erica Schuelke '17

Photo of Erica Schuelke '17


  • Sport Management Major from Germantown, Wisconsin

  • Interned with the Cleveland Cavaliers in Cleveland, Ohio

  • Member of the Dean’s List and Sport Management Society

  • Infielder on Softball Team

  • Named Academic All-GLVC Honoree for the Great Lakes Valley Conference

Erica Schuelke ’17 has always dreamed of one day working in the sports industry. From an incredible summer internship with the Cleveland Cavaliers to four exciting seasons on the Lady Bearcats softball team, Erica gained everything she needed to reach her lifelong goal at McKendree. Now, she’s headed to sunny Florida to begin her professional sports career as a Ticket Sales Representative for the Miami Heat.

As a junior, Erica heard about the opportunity to interview with pro sports teams for a one-of-a-kind sales internship in her desired career field. Although she was hesitant to take the plunge and attend the conference at first, one of her professors saw her talent and enthusiasm for sports and encouraged her to go. “McKendree introduced me to the sales conference that really got me started in this part of sports,” Erica said. “Not only did it give me great sales training, but it also developed a great network for me.”

Her decision led to an unforgettable summer internship with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the same summer in which the team won its first NBA championship in the 2016 NBA Finals. Erica fell in love with her job of sharing in the fans’ excitement and making ticket sale pitches for the Cavaliers, Lake Erie Monsters, and Cleveland Gladiators. Within the first two weeks, she met the company’s entire leadership team. Their open door policy allowed her to seek one-on-one career advice from top executives managing Cleveland’s pro sports teams.

“My internship with the Cavs really set me apart because they are one of the top sales teams in the sport industry,” Erica said.

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“I got the job with the Miami Heat by using the connections I had from my internship and my mentor Murray Cohn, the former VP of ticket sales for the NBA.”

She also credits her experience as a McKendree student athlete as beneficial to her career and one of the most memorable parts of her four years as a student. “Sales is really about your personality, and softball has brought out a lot of qualities in me that people can’t teach. Working together and hard as a team is something I’ll never forget. I know we have paved the way for future softball greatness to come.”



Ronald Drummond '17

Photo of Ronald Drummond '17


  • Biopsychology Major from New Baden, Illinois

  • President of the Green Team

  • Named to President’s and Dean’s Lists

  • Treasurer of Psychology Club

  • Vice President of Student Government

  • Member of Phi Eta Sigma First-Year Honor Society, Pi Gamma Mu Social Sciences Honor Society, and Psi Chi Psychology Honor Society

  • Member of Nascent Psychology Circle and Psychology Research Group

  • Presented Original Research at ILLOWA Undergraduate Research Psychology Conference at Monmouth College

  • Published in Scholars, McKendree’s Scholarly Journal of Undergraduate Research

For Ronald Drummond ’17, pursuing his doctoral degree in the nation’s highest-rated Occupational Therapy program wasn’t just the result of his own effort. It came about with the help of his McKendree professors and fellow Psychology students, who he says helped shape him into the person he is today.

This fall, Ronald will attend Washington University School of Medicine’s prestigious Occupational Therapy graduate program. His goal is to one day treat patients, as well as teach on the college level and research issues in neurocognitive degeneration, such as Alzheimer’s disease and stroke. He knows he wouldn’t be where is today, however, without the unforgettable memories and people that made up his McKendree experience.

“The thing that has most prepared me for this next step is the ability to achieve the unachievable,” he said. “I truly believe I would not have acquired that from a different college or university. I’ve been able to discover myself, my passions and desires, and I learned how to become a strong writer.”

Ronald had the opportunity to exercise these important skills at one of the oldest Psychology conferences in the United States, the ILLOWA Undergraduate Research Psychology Conference. During his senior year, he presented his original research on color perception, which combined his findings from two experiments he conducted for two different Psychology courses. “The experience was absolutely life-changing,” he said.

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“I made great connections for the future, was exposed to my first professional-like conference setting, and increased my passion for research. After an intense year and semester, the conference was a snapshot of my last semester in one, 15-minute presentation.”

Along with his scholarly achievements, Ronald has been active in McKendree campus life, taking on leadership roles in the Psychology Club, Green Team, and Student Government. He’ll take with him that same desire to effect positive change in the world as a graduate student too. “I want to determine the most effective treatment plans for patients,” he says. “But I also want to be able to train the future occupational therapists so they can make the world a better place.”




Diana Nevarez '17

Photo of Diana Nevarez '17


  • Sociology Major from El Paso, Texas

  • Women’s Wrestling Team

  • Secretary for Student Athletic Advisory Committee

  • Member of Bearcat Rotaract

  • President and Founder of the McKendree Chapter of Define American

  • Change Ambassador for the Social Justice and Equity Committee

  • Member of Phi Eta Sigma First-Year Honor Society and Alpha Kappa Delta International Sociology Honor Society

  • Named to President’s and Dean’s List

  • Resident Assistant

  • Interned at Puentes de Esperanza in Fairview Heights, Illinois

“It was when I took the McKendree class Social Problems that I knew I wanted to study Sociology,” recalls Diana Nevarez ’17.

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“I realized Sociology is everywhere. It completely changed me, and I wouldn’t want to look at the world in any other way.”

Ever since that first Sociology class years ago, Diana has immersed herself in McKendree’s many activities, discussions, and opportunities to explore societal issues and encourage diversity and equality. She founded and led the McKendree Chapter of Define American, a student organization dedicated to bringing change and awareness to the human aspect of immigration. She also participated in the university’s Alternative Spring Break Trip to the Arizona-Mexico border to learn firsthand about the lives of immigrants in the U.S. The trip was one of the most memorable parts of her time at McKendree and inspired her to keep fighting for human rights.

In her Social Practicum class, Diana discovered Puentes de Esperanza (or Bridges of Hope), the non-profit group where she would later intern. The organization enabled her to use her Spanish-speaking skills to help serve the Latino population of Southern Illinois. It was also the place where she began growing the research interests that she now wants to pursue in graduate school.

“I interpreted for clients, created surveys, entered client data, helped with programs, shadowed some of the employees, and helped with a grant,” she said. “The population they serve at Puentes de Esperanza is what I hope to do my research on in graduate school. I wish to study immigrants in the hopes of better understanding their needs and contributions.”

Diana will be pursuing her Master’s degree in Sociology from Saint Louis University and then plans to either earn her Doctorate or start her career as a Policy Analyst in a non-profit organization. She hopes to work specifically with children, identifying the social problems in their community and putting policies in place to help them succeed. No matter which path she chooses, she’ll always remember her McKendree roots, where her love for Sociology first began.



Alexandra Nash '17

Photo of Alexandra Nash '17


  • Pre-Professional Biology Major from Lebanon, Illinois

  • Worked as an Intern and Full-Time Dental Assistant at Markarian and Diliberto Endodontics in Swansea, Illinois

  • President of Sigma Zeta Science Honor Society and Member of Phi Eta Sigma First-Year Honor Society

  • Winner of the National Sigma Zeta Honor Award

  • Named to President’s and Dean’s Lists

  • Member of the American Student Dental Association

  • Laboratory Assistant

  • Tutor in the Academic Support Center

Having an open mind and taking classes in a variety of different fields was what first led Alexandra (Lexi) Nash ’17 to become interested in dentistry. The Lebanon, Illinois native always thought she would make her career in Art or Education, but McKendree’s rich liberal arts program gave her the chance to see how she could incorporate her creative talents, people skills, and love for science into the Pre-Professional Biology degree.

As a student, Lexi took advantage of every opportunity to dig deeper into her future career while making an impact on campus. She headed the McKendree Chapter of Sigma Zeta Science Honor Society and even organized its national math and science conference. The event brought hundreds of Sigma Zeta honor students to campus from across the country to share their research.

She also took her learning experience outside the classroom by job shadowing and later working for professional dentists in the field. Interning at Markarian and Diliberto Endodontics gave Lexi a one-of-a-kind opportunity to see what it’s really like to be a dentist, and she was even offered a full-time position as a dental assistant.

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“My hands-on shadowing experience and work as a dental assistant allowed my passion and excitement for the field of dentistry to grow exponentially,” she said.

In addition, Lexi found unique ways of serving others through dentistry at volunteer events, in which she and other dental technicians provided free basic dental care for patients in need. She carries that same desire of giving back into her next phase of life as a graduate student at Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine.

“I’m most looking forward to learning about oral health in the classroom and the clinic,” she said. “The university also coordinates mission trips for students to travel abroad while providing dental care to under-served populations. I look forward to being a part of these trips!”

Lexi reflects on her time at McKendree as an unforgettable experience that set the course for her future in dentistry and gave her the support network to reach her dreams.



Eric Abrolat '17


  • Computer Science Major from Ballwin, Missouri

  • Vice President of Upsilon Pi Epsilon Computing Honor Society and the McKendree Chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)

  • Member of Sigma Zeta Science Honor Society and Phi Eta Sigma First-Year Honor Society

  • Named to the Dean’s List

  • Middle Blocker on Men’s Volleyball Team

  • Interned at the Hussmann Corporation in Bridgeton, Missouri

  • Interned as a UX Front-End Developer at Ungerboeck Software International in O’Fallon, Missouri

  • Computer Lab Assistant at McKendree

After two standout internships with St. Louis area software companies, Eric Abrolat ’17 is ready to take his computer programming skills beyond the classroom and into the corporate world. He begins his first job after graduation as the newest IT Programming Analyst at Ameren in St. Louis.

Eric’s academic achievements and practical work experience set him apart as the perfect fit for his role at Ameren. His main job duties will include developing new software and rewriting existing pages for corporate and field use within the company. In many ways, he’s building upon the professional accomplishments he already started during his internships, and he hopes one day it leads him to a project management position.

As an intern at Hussmann Corporation, Eric worked in electrical engineering and software development, focusing on testing and writing code for web interface. His internship at Ungerboeck Software International saw him working as a UX front-end developer, in which he created and administered a user experience for company employees.

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“The two internships I’ve had over the last two summers have greatly improved my knowledge in the areas of web programming. They gave me experience in a corporate setting while using software engineering tools that are more popular within the field,” said Eric.

He plans to keep his love of learning alive by pursuing a Master’s degree in the future and expand his career opportunities even further. In the meantime, he feels his undergraduate experience at McKendree has given him an excellent foundation for success, as well as lifelong memories.

“My favorite McKendree experiences are traveling with the volleyball team and taking more of a mentorship role as a computer lab assistant by helping students better their understanding of the curriculum and, ultimately, pass their classes.”

From leadership roles in the computing honor society and ACM club to his athletic performance on the volleyball court, Eric truly made his mark at McKendree.




Other Interesting Class of 2017 Career Destinations

Ashtan Marucco ’17 will pursue a master's degree in occupational therapy at Davenport University in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Grant Anderson ’17 will pursue a master's degree in criminal justice at McKendree University.

Scott Armistead ’17 will be an athletic trainer at Athleticare Sports Health Foundation in St. Louis, Missouri.

Max Aviles ’17 will pursue a master's degree in international relations at the University of San Diego.

Lucky Baar ’17 will be an associate system administrator at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

Jeremy Baldyga, MBA ’17 will be an accounts payable representative at Centene Corporation in St. Louis, Missouri.

Nick Berger '17 will be an assistant golf professional at Lake of the Woods Golf Course in Mahomet, Illinois.

Brittany Boucher ’17 will be an eligibility support worker at Serco in Wentzville, Missouri.

Evan Bosaw ’17 will be an instructional assistant at Goshen Elementary School in Edwardsville, Illinois.

Trevor Brumleve ’17 will be an assistant director of operations at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.

Kim Buckley ’17 will be a case manager at Southwestern Visiting Nurse Association in Swansea, Illinois.

Margaret Canizales ’17 will be a software engineer at Tapestry Solutions.

Connor Cooper ’17 will be an inside sales representative at the St. Louis Blues.

Tanner Cooper ’17 will pursue a master's degree in educational leadership and will be a graduate assistant in residence life at the University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama.

Bernadine Dale ’17 will be an administrative coordinator at Lakewood Child & Family Counseling in Tacoma, Washington.

Madison Dauch ’17 will be a materials supervisor at BorgWarner.

Brittany Davis ’17 will be a nurse at St. Anthony's Medical Center in Alton, Illinois.

Shannon Docherty ’17 will pursue a master's degree in business administration-human resource management at McKendree University.

Elizabeth Dykstra ’17 will pursue a master's degree in business administration and will be a graduate assistant in show choir at McKendree University.

Sophie Fairman ’17 will be a caregiver at Home Instead Senior Care.

Sarah Goetze ’17 will pursue a master's degree in criminal justice at McKendree University.

Brad Groleau ’17 will pursue a master's degree in exercise science and will be a graduate assistant in athletic training at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

Abigail Hagler ’17 will be a bank teller at First National Bank.

Mary Hardig ’17 is will pursue a master's degree in clinical counseling at McKendree University.

Danielle Hareb ’17 will be employed at Dynamic Fitness Management.

Hannah Harry ’17 will be a teacher at St. Thomas More High School in Champaign, Illinois.

Robert Hudson ’17 will be a collegiate division head at Travelliance.

Jeff Jacober ’17 will be a staff accountant at Kerber, Eck and Braeckel, LLP.

Lindsey Jansen ’17 will pursue a master's degree in finance at University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas.

Tyler Jewell ’17 will be a 7th grade music teacher at Belleville Public School District 118 in Belleville, Illinois.

Sarah Johnson ’17 will be employed at First Collinsville Bank in Swansea, Illinois.

Alexis Jones ’17 will be a marketing assistant at Glik's Corporate Office in Granite City, Illinois.

Jared Jones ’17 will pursue a law degree at Saint Louis University.

Bailey Kampwerth ’17 will be employed at Bullseye Event Marketing in Fort Worth, Texas.

Emily Keeven ’17 will be a staff accountant at Scheffel Boyle.

Marlaina Kehrer '17 will be employed at DISA/DITCO at Scott Air Force Base.

Brian Koch ’17 will be employed at Northwestern Mutual.

Austin Lagesse ’17 will be an athletics communication assistant at the University of Minnesota.

Stephanie Lake ’17 will be a teacher at St. Charles West High School in St. Charles, Missouri.

Samantha Lenz ’17 will pursue a master's degree in criminal justice at McKendree University.

Charley Lett ’17 will pursue a master's degree in biological sciences and will be a teacher's assistant at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Zachary Loehr ’17 will be a partner sales representative at Abstrakt Marketing Group in St. Louis, Missouri.

Holly Magre ’17 will pursue a doctorate degree in optometry at University of Missouri-St. Louis.

Aubrey Masterson '17 will pursue a master's degree in physical therapy at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

Grace McDowell ’17 will be a marketing executive at Mt. Vernon Convention & Visitor's Bureau in Mt. Vernon, Illinois.

Megan Meckfessel ’17 will pursue a graduate degree at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Brandon McPherson ’17 will be an operations/finance assistant at the Chicago Bears.

Quinn McRoberts ’17 will be an accountant at Monsanto in St. Louis, Missouri.

Brooke Moore ’17 will be a middle school english teacher at Kell Grade School in Kell, Illinois.

Jack Myers ’17 will be a wildlife firefighter at the Idaho Department of Lands.

Rebecca Nauman ’17 will pursue a doctorate degree in physical therapy at Northern Illinois University.

Dutch Nave ’17 will pursue a master's degree in higher education and will be a graduate assistant in residence life at Western Michigan University.

Ryan Pearce ’17 will pursue a master's degree in sports administration at Eastern Illinois University.

Megan Porter ’17 will be a teacher at Potomac Grade School in Potomac, Illinois.

Katie Reining ’17 will pursue a master's degree in sociology and will be a graduate assistant at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Acadia Reynolds ’17 will be a 2nd grade teacher at University City Children's Center in University City, Missouri.

Jennie Rodgers ’17 will be a housing specialist at Trinity Services, Inc. in Edwardsville, Illinois.

Taylor Rossi ’17 will pursue a master's degree in sociology and will be an assistant coach for the speech team at the University of Central Missouri.

Abigail Schlueter ’17 will be a youth and family coordinator at O'Fallon YMCA in O'Fallon, Illinois.

Allison Schneider ’17 will pursue a master's degree in business administration at McKendree University.

James Schoeneman ’17 is a mechanical engineer at Toyoda Gosei of Missouri in Perryville, Missouri.

Kaitlyn Schutt ’17 will pursue a master's degree in occupational therapy at Indiana State University.

Brianne Senger ’17 will be an accountant at CliftonLarsonAllen.

Meghan Shackleton ’17 will be a nurse at Southern Illinois Healthcare.

Vincent Spradling ’17 will be employed at Minnesota Conservation Corps.

Monica Stein ’17 will be an accountant at UHY, LLP.

Chelsey Sterrett ’17 will be a family/consumer science and language arts teacher at Mascoutah High School in Mascoutah, Illinois.

Janell Straeter ’17 will pursue a master's degree in business administration at McKendree University.

Zachary Swisher ’17 will pursue a master's degree in accounting at University of Illinois with an internship at Illinois Department of Transportation.

Hannah Valbert ’17 will pursue an internship with the Walt Disney Internship Program.

Carter Vance ’17 will be a wildlife officer at the Arkansas Game & Fish Commission.

Devon VanNote ’17 will be a software developer at E.A. Renfroe & Company, Inc. in Birmingham, Alabama.

Jay Voss ’17 will be a social science teacher at Mascoutah High School in Mascoutah, Illinois.

Maalik Walker ’17 will be a financial advisor at Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management.

Anna Mae Wells ’17 will pursue a master's degree in social work at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Paige Whipple ’17 will be employed at Trinity Services, Inc. in Mascoutah, Illinois.

Taylor Wright ’17 will pursue a master's degree in occupational therapy at Maryville University.


Make It McKendree