1780 – The Official Blog of Transylvania University

1780 | The Official Blog of Transylvania University

Transylvania spotlights 10 more seniors before commencement

commencement ceremony

Transylvania University continued to feature graduating seniors for their academic and athletic achievements as well as contributions to the campus and local communities.

These 10 Pioneers, along with 203 others, will be honored during tomorrow’s commencement ceremony. Check out previous spotlights of the Class of 2024.

Jack Dodds didn’t have to guess what going to Transylvania would be like back when he was picking a college four years ago. He already knew about the quality of the education and the doors that open up for its graduates from his mother, Carey Lee Dodds ’93, father, James ’94, and brother Drew ’21. His parents are also alumni of the UofL School of Medicine, where his brother now goes. Dodds has been accepted there as well and will be attending this fall. The pre-med biology major from Madisonville, Kentucky, was a member of the Pre-Health Club, Phi Delta Epsilon, Students Against Hunger and Homelessness and the men’s tennis team. He also was president, VP and recruitment chair for Delta Sigma Phi and minored in chemistry and business.

In true liberal arts spirit, Transylvania senior Christina Duvall is double-majoring in studio art and computer science. She points out how both majors call for attention to detail, critical thinking, presentation and creativity. By developing these skills across disciplines, she’s been better able to make important connections along her path to a well-rounded education. The Lexington native, who’s minoring in art history, has also played for the women’s tennis team and served as a tutor and Writing Center staffer. Over the summer, she plans to work as a tennis instructor and then find a computer programming job for the fall.

Arjun Gupta didn’t stop with being a standout tennis player. He wanted to get all he could out of his time at Transylvania — while giving back to his school community. Most recently he and other Pre-Health Club leaders spearheaded our first Transy Dance Marathon to benefit pediatric cancer patients. The health and exercise science major (pre-med) from Fort Collins, Colorado, has also been a member of Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and Delta Sigma Phi. After graduation, he plans to conduct research with a Louisville cardiologist and then apply to medical school next spring. His classroom achievements were recognized when he was named to the College Sports Communicators Academic All-District Team — and his talent on the court was celebrated his sophomore year with HCAC Player of the Year honors.

Math, of course, doesn’t come easily to everyone. So it’s good when people like Megan Mattingly feel so passionate about the subject they want to help their fellow students figure it out. In her roles as peer tutor and Embedded Learning Forum fellow, she’s also developed leadership skills and built self confidence that will benefit her in her future career. The math major from Lexington works as a data science intern for Infineon Technologies, where she plans to stay on for a year before graduate school. Mattingly also got practical experience helping professor Michael Kelly on a grant-funded summer research project, presenting the results at campus symposium. With a 4.0 GPA, she has also served as academic excellence chair for Phi Mu, minored in French and studied in Paris via KIIS Abroad.

Graduating Transylvania seniors Drew and Seth Meader exemplify the NCAA Division III focus on the importance of academics for student-athletes. The twins from London, Kentucky, ran track and cross country and were regulars on our dean’s list. They also earned Tom Bohlsen All-HCAC Academic Honors for varsity athletes with at least a 3.5 GPA — and were inducted into our Delta Chapter of the Chi Alpha Sigma national college athlete honor society. Drew is a health and exercise science major and chemistry minor who set school records in several long-distance events and earned All-Conference honors. He plans to attend the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. Seth recently returned from Europe after studying accounting and logistics management in the beverage industry there. The accounting major plans to pursue his MBA at UK.

Jade Neace has helped make campus feel like home for our Pioneers — from serving as a resident adviser to crocheting for them. The classics major from Lotts Creek, Kentucky, is also co-founder of Transy Pagan Student Association and was a member of TUnity. Neace, who’s minoring in anthropology, plans to return home and focus on building work experience before pursuing a museum job. At our first-ever Makers Market, they sold crocheted octopuses, shawls and scarves, telling Fox 56, “I’m just super excited because I know people get joy out of this stuff, and I am excited for people outside of my usual sphere to get to see them.”

College is about more than just studying and passing tests. Students like Jenna Shalash have also embraced the chance to develop into a leader who impacts their campus and surrounding communities. The political science major and WRC minor has served as an admissions ambassador, president of the Muslim Students Association, It’s On Us, vice president of the ODK chapter and as member of Pi Sigma Alpha, SGA and Black Student Alliance. Out in Lexington, she has mentored middle and high school students with Common Good and tutored youths at Lexington Universal Academy. Shalash, who is from the West Bank of Palestine, also got first-hand career experience as a prosecutorial intern for the local commonwealth’s attorney office, along with coordinating events like an CivicLex On the Table community discussion. She plans to attend the Washington University School of Law this fall.

Over the past four years, Alina Sharipova’s intellectual curiosity and passion for foreign languages have made a positive impact on our school community. Alina, who is from Russia, served as president of our German and French clubs and vice president of the Multicultural and International Student Organization. The German studies and international affairs double-major also tutored her fellow Pioneers through our Academic Center for Excellence (while minoring in French). She plans to pursue a master’s degree in global health at NYU, hoping to one day help foster friendly relations between countries.

When Dasia Thornton says she wants to be the U.S. president one day, it’s not just a pipe dream. After all, this is someone who helped lead her basketball team on a 64-game winning streak that included a national championship — someone who will soon be promoting literacy in the Dominican Republic as a Peace Corps volunteer. The international affairs major from Cincinnati has engaged with her campus community as a member of the Muslim Students Association, Black Student Alliance and the Sigma Delta Pi Spanish honorary (she’s a Spanish minor). Her numerous basketball highlights as a forward include being named an D3Hoops First Team All-American and HCAC Player of the Year, along with ranking second in program history for rebounding (1,000) and ninth for scoring (1,411 points). She plans to play pro basketball and work for the State Department … and then, of course, in the Oval Office.