Students Talking on Lawn at New Student Orientation

Meet Your NSO Leader

Photo of Bryce Bambic ‘20 

Bryce Bambic ‘20

 

  • Biopsychology major, sports psychology minor from Nashville, IL

  • McKendree Marching Band Color Guard

  • Vice President for Kappa Sigma Tau sorority, Vice President for Psi Chi honor society, and fellow for the Lyn Huxford Center for Community Service

  • Member of Phi Eta Sigma honor society

  • One thing most people don’t know about me: I love to read. Getting lost in a book is one of my favorite pastimes!

For Bryce, everyone deserves to have someone cheering them on! When she is not coordinating volunteer service on campus and in the greater community, she’s showing her support for her fellow Bearcats at McKendree games.


Quotation Graphic"You have to be willing and open to new experiences in order to learn new stuff about yourself! As an NSO leader, I want to be the person who helps our incoming students find themselves and show them the ropes of being a Bearcat."

 

 

 

Photo of Tori Brooksher '21

Tori Brooksher ‘21

 

  • Elementary education major from Granite City, IL

  • First Year Introduction Leader, Student Ambassador, and Vice President of Kappa Sigma Tau sorority

  • Member of honor societies Kappa Delta Pi and Phi Eta Sigma

  • One thing most people don’t know about me: I hate mac and cheese. I get called un-American all the time.


Tori lives by the mantra that your college experience is only as good as you make it. From education classes that spark her creativity as a teacher to sorority sisters who are just like family, she’s making her McKendree experience one she’ll never forget.


Quotation Graphic"All the advice I was able to get from my NSO leaders about campus life really helped me. I wanted to be a leader so I could help the next students feel as accepted and comfortable as my leaders made me feel."

 

 

 

Photo of Caylin Dean ‘21

Caylin Dean ‘21

 

  • Pre-occupational therapy major from Griggsville, IL

  • Member of Phi Eta Sigma honor society, the National Association for Leadership and Success, and McCAT Group

  • One thing most people don’t know about me: Most people assume I’m from the south because of my twang, but I actually live a few hours northwest of Lebanon. I live on a farm, so that must be where it comes from.

Whether she’s exploring her creative side in a writing class or cheering on her peers at Bearcat hockey games, Caylin has found that balancing work and play is the key to success in college. She advises new students to find that sweet spot to get the most out of their McKendree experience.


Quotation Graphic"I want to be able to introduce my NSO group to the ins and outs of the campus to enable them to be as successful as possible and guide them in the right direction, as well as be a resource and a friend when needed, just as my NSO leader was to me."

 

 

 

Photo of Brian Duvendack ‘21

Brian Duvendack ‘21

 

  • Political science major, public relations minor from Canton, IL

  • Member of Alpha Delta Gamma fraternity, Debate team, Bad Movie Club, Bible study, and volunteer for the Lyn Huxford Center for Community Service

  • One thing most people don’t know about me: I have Tourette’s and I also love white water rafting.

Getting to know his professors and hanging out with his fraternity brothers are some of Brian’s favorite parts of being a McKendree student. With so many ways to connect with others on campus, he encourages new students to soak up their NSO experience and try new things.


Quotation Graphic"Get involved. It's the best way to meet people and find what you're passionate about."

 

 

 

 

Photo of Kara Grafton ‘20

Kara Grafton ‘20

 

  • Music education major from Columbia, IL

  • Member of the honor societies Kappa Lambda Iota, Phi Kappa Phi, and Phi Eta Sigma

  • Member of the National Association for Leadership and Success, National Association for Music Education, and McKendree Marching Band

  • One thing most people don’t know about me: I was a dancer for 10 years.

Music is what moves Kara, and bringing that musical appreciation to life for others is what inspired her career choice. She loves being able to guide people through new journeys, which is why she also believes her role as an NSO leader is so important.


Quotation Graphic"I love the feeling of home that I get at McKendree. I also love all of the friendships that I have been able to make here."

 

 

 

Photo of Jennifer Greene ‘21

Jennifer Greene ‘21

 

  • Middle school education- social science major, economics minor from O’Fallon, IL

  • Women’s lacrosse team

  • Member of Phi Eta Sigma honor society and Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority

  • One thing most people don’t know about me: I got paid to play Call of Duty in high school.

Her favorite class is Technology Integration in the Classroom. Her favorite pastime is competitive gaming. With a passion for all things tech-related, Jennifer loves sharing her interests with others and enjoying the wide range of ways to get involved on campus.


Quotation Graphic"My advice to new students is meet as many new and different people as possible. I've been able to meet people from so many different backgrounds by getting involved, and it's allowed me to make great friends that I'll keep forever."

 

 

 

Photo of Kathryn Krouse '20

Kathryn Krouse ‘20

 

  • Psychology major from Albion, IL

  • Member of the Honors Program, the National Society for Leadership and Success, and the honor societies Psi Chi, Pi Gamma Mu, Phi Eta Sigma, and Phi Kappa Phi

  • President of Spectrum Alliance

  • Flutist in Concert Band and volunteer with the Lyn Huxford Center for Community Service

  • One thing most people don’t know about me: I have been to over 100 different zoos/aquariums.

Involved in a little bit of everything, Kathryn says her favorite class has been Child and Adolescent Psychology. The course showed her a new field of study she didn’t know she was interested in. If you don’t try new things, you may miss out on discovering something about yourself too!


Quotation Graphic"All of the faculty, staff, and students really care about each other and want to help everyone succeed. College can be very stressful, but it is much easier when you have people you feel comfortable going to for help."

 

 

 

Photo of Abbey Levin ‘22

Abbey Levin ‘22

 

  • Elementary education major from Columbia, IL

  • McKendree cheerleading team

  • One thing most people don’t know about me: I’m a dog mom.

Abbey loves dogs, Netflix, and hanging out with friends. She also has a passion for helping students make the transition to college life and introducing them to the homey atmosphere she’s found at McKendree.


Quotation Graphic"My advice to first year students is 1.) Go to class, 2.) Don’t schedule 8 a.m. classes, 3.) Join clubs and get involved on campus."

 

 

 

Photo of Ebony Luster ’20

Ebony Luster ’20: NSO Student Coordinator

 

  • Secondary English education major, psychology minor from Cahokia, IL

  • Member of the National Association for Leadership and Success, Student Government, Residence Life, Black Student Organization, and United Feminists

  • One thing most people don’t know about me: I’m very emotional. I cry all the time about pretty much anything.

After two different professors told Ebony she would make a good NSO leader, she decided to give it a try. She discovered that getting to know your professors one-on-one affects so much more than just what happens in the classroom.


Quotation Graphic"College is the time to discover who you are and to embrace everything (even the rough times) because it's all in the process of growing into the person you are meant to be."

 

 

 

Photo of Andrea Mellenthin ‘19

Andrea Mellenthin ‘19

 

  • Human resource management major from Roxana, IL

  • Women’s golf team

  • Member of Phi Beta Lambda business fraternity and volunteer at local animal shelters

  • One thing most people don’t know about me: I have four dogs and a cat.

In addition to her passion for golf, Andrea also loves being a resource for incoming students and contributing to the friendly campus environment that she values so much.


Quotation Graphic"My advice for incoming students is ask as many questions as you can. The answer is always no if you don’t ask."

 

 

 

Photo of Alyssa Morris ‘21

Alyssa Morris ‘21

 

  • Marketing major from Mattoon, IL

  • McKendree cheerleading team and member of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority

  • One thing most people don’t know about me: I used to be a dancer.

Hiking and hanging out with friends are a couple of Alyssa’s go-to pastimes, but there are so many opportunities for fun, meaningful experiences on campus that she encourages incoming students to get out of their comfort zone and explore.


Quotation Graphic"I think the best part about being a Bearcat is knowing I’ve got such supportive faculty there for me."

 

 

 

Photo of Jazmine Patton ‘20

Jazmine Patton ‘20

 

  • Double major in organizational communication and psychology from Springfield, IL

  • Member of the McKendree cheerleading team, Assistant Resident Director of the Suites, Student Ambassador, and First Year Introduction Leader

  • One thing most people don’t know about me: I'm ambidextrous.

When she’s not cheerleading or hitting the gym, Jazmine dedicates her time to helping new students and their families get to know McKendree, while preparing them for all the ins and outs of college life. Her biggest motto is “Don’t be afraid to try new things!”


Quotation Graphic"The community and sense of family is the best part of being a Bearcat. I chose to be an NSO leader because I wanted to be the first person to welcome our new Bearcats, all while having an impact on the most amount of students."

 

 

 

Photo of Emmanuel Segbedzi ‘25

Emmanuel Segbedzi ‘25

 

  • Double major in pre-medicine and computer science from Accra, Ghana

  • Men’s soccer player

  • Volunteer for the Lyn Huxford Center for Community Service and McKendree Center for Faith and Spirituality

  • One thing most people don’t know about me: I’m a Renaissance man.

With his hometown in West Africa, Emmanuel literally lived half a world away before coming to McKendree. Being a Bearcat has meant gaining a second family for him, and he hopes to give back to new students by welcoming them to his McKendree family.

 
Quotation Graphic"My advice to new students is ‘Strive not to be a man of success, but a man of value to the whole world."

 

 

 

Photo of Erica Sims ‘20

Erica Sims ‘20

 

  • Secondary education, mathematics emphasis from O’Fallon, MO

  • Member of Kappa Sigma Tau sorority and the honor societies Phi Kappa Phi, Kappa Delta Pi, Pi Mu Epsilon, and Phi Eta Sigma

  • Math tutor

  • One thing most people don’t know about me: I kickbox five times a week.

From math to sorority sisters to kickboxing, Erica keeps life interesting with a wide variety of interests and goals. Her main motto is to step outside of your bubble and make memories that you’ll never forget.


Quotation Graphic"The best part of being a Bearcat is feeling like you have a family away from home. Everyone is friendly and caring towards everyone."

 

 

 

Photo of Georgia Slaughter ‘21

Georgia Slaughter ‘21

 

  • Athletic training major from Springfield, IL

  • Member of the National Association of Colored Women’s Club and Black Student Organization

  • One thing most people don’t know about me: I’m not a morning person.

As an athletic training major, Georgia loves attending all the different sporting events McKendree has to offer. In the classroom, she enjoys expanding her knowledge base in areas she’s not as familiar with, such as sociology, which has since become her favorite class.


Quotation Graphic"My advice to new students is to be yourself and don’t stress over the little things."

 

 

 

 

Photo of Molly Smalley ‘21

Molly Smalley ‘21

 

  • Biology major from Windhoek, Namibia

  • Women’s swimming and diving team

  • Member of Phi Eta Sigma honor society

  • One thing most people don’t know about me: I was born and raised in Africa and lived there my whole life.

For Molly, being part of the McKendree swim team is not just about swimming. She loves the volunteer work and fun she has with her teammates every day. Having a team that feels like family helps her feel at home even as an international student.


Quotation Graphic"The best part about being a Bearcat is that you are surrounded by family. Everyone is always lending a helping hand."

 

 

 

Photo of Brianca Spells ‘20

Brianca Spells ‘20

 

  • Accounting major with a double minor in management and organizational communication from Chicago, IL

  • Member of the National Association of Colored Women’s Club and ELITE (Exceptional Ladies Impacting and Transforming with Elegance)

  • One thing most people don’t know about me: I was raised in Chicago, but I was born in Fayetteville, NC.

Leaving an impact on the world and staying true to yourself are words to live by for Brianca. It’s why she was inspired to be an NSO leader, and it’s her guiding light as she strives to make real connections through the many opportunities to get involved on campus.


Quotation Graphic"I chose to be an NSO leader because I love to be a part of the incoming students’ journey as they go through their first few years in college. I love that I am able to impact students in a positive light, but also give them real tips on how to be a college student."

 

 

 

Photo of Allison Stephens ‘21

Allison Stephens ‘21

 

  • Sociology major, emphasis in social work from West Salem, IL

  • Member of Kappa Sigma Tau sorority and coach for the Edwards County Football League 5-8th grade Cheerleading Squad

  • One thing most people don’t know about me: I come from a very small town and live on a farm. I travel the country showing Hereford and Simmental cattle and Boer goats on a nationally competitive level.

Allison’s small town background helps her feel right at home in McKendree’s close-knit community. With so many new experiences and students from across the world, the campus also gives her unique opportunities that she says are best gained when you immerse yourself with an open mind.


Quotation Graphic"My NSO leader was such a huge help, and I wanted to become someone who made a difference like her."

 

 

 

Photo of Paris Suzuki ‘21

Paris Suzuki ‘21

 

  • Organizational communications major, Spanish minor from Covina, CA

  • Women’s ice hockey team

  • Member of Kappa Sigma Tau sorority, Phi Eta Sigma honor society, National Society for Leadership and Success, and the Residence Hall Association

  • One thing most people don’t know about me: I’ve donated my hair five times, which equals out to five feet, which is how tall I am.

Hockey has been Paris’ favorite activity since as long as she can remember. When she came to McKendree though, she found so many more things to enjoy, from her fun sorority events to interesting work study jobs to her Spanish classes that are helping her reconnect to her Hispanic roots.


Quotation Graphic"Being half way across the country, I know what it is like being away from home, and I want to be there for students to have as support. McKendree has many clubs, sports, performing arts, and work study opportunities on campus. It is so much fun to be part of the community here, so make sure to get involved!"

 

 

 

Chanaya Thomas ‘20

 

  • Psychology major from Chicago, IL

  • Resident Assistant, Vice President of the National Association for Colored Women’s Club, and member of the Black Student Organization

  • One thing most people don’t know about me: I’m very quiet, but once you get to know me, I cannot shut up!

For Chanaya, going to college doesn’t mean you have your life already planned out; it’s a place to discover where you want your life to go. Through psychology and sociology courses that inspire her and friendships that build her up, she’s found that everything falls into place when you keep an open mind.


Quotation Graphic"I chose to become an NSO leader because I would like to make an impact on students who could have a similar background to me, such as being a first generation student and coming from a single parent household. I want students to know that despite your situation, you are able to do anything you can put your mind to."

 

 

 

Photo of Craig Tompkins ‘21

Craig Tompkins ‘21

 

  • Psychology major, leadership studies minor from Oklahoma City, OK

  • Men’s swimming and diving team

  • Member of the National Society for Leadership and Success and Phi Eta Sigma honor society

  • One thing most people don’t know about me: I have an older sister.

Craig enjoys being part of a university that encourages you to expand your horizons and tap into talents you didn’t know you had. Even though it’s not in his major, ceramics has been his favorite course so far.


Quotation Graphic"The best part about being a Bearcat is the support. No matter what issue you are having, there are always people around you who can and will help."

 

 


Learn more about our New Student Orientation (NSO) and McKendree University.


 


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