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University Relations

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May 18, 2006
Contact: Todd Cohen, University Relations, (785) 864-8858.

Graduation stories 2006

More than 7,000 students comprise the Class of 2006. On Sunday, most will make the traditional march down Mount Oread from Memorial Drive, through the Campanile and into Memorial Stadium. For more information, visit Here are some of the faces you will see in the procession and their interesting stories:

Pat Argueta, an accountant in the office of the University Registrar for more than 20 years, used KU's tuition assistance program for employees to earn her bachelor's degree. The program pays for one class a semester. After a dozen years, she will be graduating along with her daughter, Toni Argueta, who took the traditional route and enrolled at KU right out of high school and has earned pharmacy degree. More.

Larissa Ejzak has successfully combined two seemingly incompatible fields of study theater and physics. "I've always had this problem everything sounds interesting," she says. She has maintained a 4.0 GPA and earned a perfect score on the GRE. This month she completely merged her interests, writing and starring in "Burst," a play about survivors of a gamma-ray burst. More.

Andrina Parker was a foster child, or as she puts it bluntly: "I was in 'the system.' " But fortunately she was introduced to Kari Simpson, who Parker calls "the best social worker in the world." Inspired by Simpson, Parker is graduating with a degree in social work and hopes to work with Social and Rehabilitation Services. Someday, after going to law school, she wants to become a U.S. Senator and rewrite policies that govern child welfare and juvenile justice. More.

The Salcedo family moved to Kansas from Ecuador in 1999 so father Galo Salcedo could attend KU, which he chose because of its impressive geology program. His children attended Lawrence schools, and later KU along with their dad. This weekend dad earns his doctoral degree and walks down the hill with daughter Maria, who has earned a degree in journalism and international studies. Brother Galo is set to graduate next year from KU as well. The elder Galo plans to return to Ecuador to teach while Maria is going to the KU School of Law. More.

To escape the Boardwalk Apartments when an arson fire broke out there on Oct. 7, Leigh McHatton had to run through fire, suffering third-degree burns to her feet and hands and second-degree burns to her face. But she was fortunate. Three people, including KU student Nicole Bingham, died in blaze. Despite her injuries and losing all her art supplies and belongings — McHatton kept pace with her studies and is graduating May 21 with a bachelor's of fine arts degree. In addition to her classes, McHatton works at Cottonwood Inc. in Lawrence helping three adults who have mental disabilities with their residential living.

Not surprisingly, Dan Peters is traveling shortly after graduation to an internship in Washington, D.C. In his four years at KU, Peters has participated in two study abroad programs and traveled to 14 countries. Active in an international student organization promoting global awareness on campus, Peters recently won a national award for Best Undergraduate Paper from the American Planning Association and will hit the road later this month for San Antonio to collect the award.

At the journalism school, seeing double has been fairly common. Two sets of identical twins all excellent students -- will be walking down the hill on Sunday, sisters Kristen and Erin Maxwell and Stephanie and Natalie Adams.

A non-traditional student, Daniel Bristow has worked on a farm and behind a microphone, but he'll take on his biggest challenge this fall when he goes to medical school at KU. Bristow, 29, will graduate from KU with a psychology degree this spring. For the past three years, he has managed to work as a deejay at two Lawrence radio stations while taking classes to earn his bachelor's degree. He knows he's not the typical med student, but says society's norms were meant to be broken. "Fear of not fitting in keeps people from going back to school," Bristow said. "That wasn't the case with me."

Born with spina bifida, a birth defect affecting the central nervous system, Lindsey Edmonds, above with her dad Joe Edmonds, was inspired by two nurses, her mother, Kristen Ericson, and Joyce Olson, who worked at the KU Medical Center. But limited mobility prevented her from being a nurse. Undaunted, she earned a degree in dietetics and graduates this month with a master's in dietetics and nutrition from KU. More.

Antoaneta Maneva immigrated to the U.S. in 1999 from Bulgaria not knowing a word of English. A job at McDonalds helped her learn the language and soon she was ready to start classes at KU. She earned her business degree in December and is now working on her master's degree in accounting and information systems. On May 19, she will become an official U.S. citizen. Another KU graduate (not pictured) is Sira Konare Andrews. She came to KU from Mali in 2002 knowing two words of English yes and no. She walks down the hill Sunday with degrees in accounting and business administration.


The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus. | (785) 864-3256 | 1314 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045