NMU Names Outstanding Graduates

Northern Michigan University academic departments recognized their 2015-16 outstanding graduates—both seniors and graduate students—in advance of spring commencement. Honorees were selected based on their academic performance, campus leadership and personal qualities.

The outstanding graduating seniors, along with their respective departments and a portion of their biography in the honors banquet program, were:


Alpena: Weston Bailey, Technology and Occupational Sciences. Bailey is now a field engineer with Mortenson Construction and works for its renewable energy division in Texas.

Charlotte: Alic Spellman, Physics. Spellman plans to pursue a doctorate in applied physics and space sciences.

Escanaba: Maggie Rose, Political Science. Rose’s paper, “Life in Syrian Refugee Camps,” earned second place in the Lois and Willard Cohodas Literary Contest.

Grandville: Melissa Orzechowski for two departments: Earth, Environmental and Geographical Sciences and English. She was a triple major who helped to establish the Northern Climate Network.

Gwinn: Ethan Hausmann, Business. He is an Eagle Scout and served as a Dean’s Student Advisory Council Member and TEAM Business president for the 2015-16 academic year.

Hudsonville: Shaley Valentine, Biology. Valentine was president of the NMU chapter of The Wildlife Society and gained experience as a research field assistant in Canada.

Iron Mountain: Zoe Ryan, Philosophy. She was a double major in Philosophy and Zoology and was involved in the NMU Philosophy Club.

Ishpeming: Mary Zhulkie, Economics. She was noted for exceptional achievement in both theoretical and applied economics.

Kingsford: Jessica Cary-Davis, Social Work. She interned at Northpointe Behavioral Healthcare Systems, co-facilitating a group for teens with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and has taken a BSW position there.

Manistique: Millicent Weber, Psychology. Weber plans to pursue a doctorate in industrial/organizational psychology.

Marquette: Jordan Jackson, Criminal Justice. Jackson completed internships with the Marquette County Juvenile Court and with three separate Marquette County Treatment Courts; Allie Penn, History. Penn interned for two years with the Michigan Iron Industry Museum and will be enrolling in a graduate program at Wayne State University; Bailey Tryan, International Studies. Tryan worked as a Global Ambassador for International Studies Abroad and was a peer mentor with NMU’s International Programs Office; Andrew Shirtz, Mathematics and Computer Science. He developed software for psychology research on the rehabilitation of amputees; Ryan White, Communication and Performance Studies. He designed stage makeup for local theater companies in the Marquette area.

Midland: Meghan Trombley, Education Leadership and Public Service. Trombley is a Title 1 Specialist at Huron Elementary.

Muskegon: Amy Peterson, Art and Design. She was hired by the State of Michigan to convert government websites to a mobile-friendly design.

Negaunee: Abby Walimaa, Nursing. She graduated Summa Cum Laude and was inducted into nursing’s most prestigious honor society, Sigma Theta Tau International.

Quincy: Brook Adams, Health and Human Performance. Adams conducted diabetic screenings in rural clinics in Belize.

Spruce: Amanda Temple, Sociology and Anthropology. She was president of the Anthropology Club and will serve as the teaching assistant for the archeology summer field school.


Apple Valley: Sophie Albright, Modern Languages and Literatures. Albright worked at a wildlife sanctuary in Bolivia, where she acted as a substitute parent for two baby red howler monkeys and as a caregiver/researcher for two Andean bears.

Rochester: Amanda Slack, Clinical Sciences. Slack completed a six-month internship at the Mayo Clinic in molecular genetics.


Milwaukee: Cecilia Volk, Chemistry. Volk was active in undergraduate research on a project synthesizing and characterizing donor-accepted molecules.

Tony: Amanda Fliflet, Music, Amanda is the department’s first McNair scholar and is currently student teaching under Gordon Erickson and Betsy Grugin in the Westwood school system.


The outstanding graduating graduate students, with their respective departments, are:


Ishpeming: Trish Sippola, Education Leadership and Public Service. Her leadership through the Michigan Reading Association and the Marquette-Alger Reading Association has helped to connect teachers to professional development.

Marquette: Amy Hansen, English/MFA. Her poetry has appeared in “Cream City Review,” “Hippocampus,” “LIT Magazine,” “Stirring” and many others; Janey Joffee, Business. Joffee is a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma International Honor Society; Alicia Romano, Postsecondary Biology Education. She single-handedly sought out and created an internship opportunity at the University of Florida, where she oversaw active learning in a large-lecture biology course.

Niles: Matthew Ftacek, English/MA. He plans to pursue a doctorate degree in literature.

Saint Clair: Kelly Morrow, Psychology. Part of Kelly’s thesis work has been published in the IEEE Haptics Symposium 2016 proceedings.

Saint Clair Shores: Alex Strobehn, Public Administration. He developed a city parks and recreations master plan for the City of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., and worked on it while he was deployed to the Middle East for six months.


Clam Lake: Anna P. Rice, Biology. Rice was hired as a laboratory technician at Pharmasan Labs, Inc. in Osceola, Wis.

Neenah: Andrew Ernst, Health and Human Performance. Ernst was the author of papers presented at the 2015 meeting of the International Society of Biomechanics in Sport held in Poitiers, France.

Prepared By
Student Writer
May 5, 2016