COPS Outstanding Graduating Students

Graduate Students

Ronda Mannien Education
Ronda Manninen

Ronda is a health occupations teacher at Marquette Senior High School. She received her master’s degree in science education in December 2008. She completed original research and wrote a thesis titled, “Effects of Problem Solving on Confidence and Understanding in the High School Health Occupations Classroom.” Ronda is an expert in integrating science content material with implementing collaborative learning, problem-based learning, and science inquiry in her high school science and health courses. She is active in community service and has been a positive influence in the lives of many Upper Peninsula youth and School of Education, Leadership and Public Service students and faculty.
Health and Human Performance
James LaChapple

Jim is a non-traditional student even for a graduate student. He has been intensively involved in academics, research, and peripheral exercise-related work through his undergraduate program in sports science and his graduate work in exercise science. Jim has also served the HPER Department well as a graduate assistant. In addition, he has been a prolific volunteer assistant for research, GETFIT testing, and as a tutor for other students. He has presented his research on cycling at NMU and has a paper currently under review for publication in Measurement in Physical Education and Exercise Science. He is also working on a manuscript to submit to Sports Biomechanics and is conducting two research projects with Phil Watts. Following graduation, Jim hopes to work with an elite athlete sports science program and/or begin further graduate study at the Ph.D. level.


Clinical Sciences
Heather Varble

Heather graduated in summer 2008. She did two, six-month internships at Bay Area Medical Center in Marinette, Wis., and Marquette General Hospital. Heather won both the CLS Outstanding Student Practitioner Award as well as the CLS Outstanding Associate Degree Graduate Award in 2006. Heather’s file is filled with positive comments from hospital trainers and professors. Last summer Heather was asked to interview at clinical laboratories in Wisconsin, Washington and Colorado and was given job offers at each place. She currently works at St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction, Colorado.
Jenny Sides Criminal Justice
Jenny Sides

Jenny will graduate summa cum laude in May. She was awarded the Outstanding Non-Traditional Student of the Year award in 2007, and has been the recipient of numerous scholarships. Jen is a dedicated student who brings enthusiasm and a love of learning to the classroom. In addition to her academic achievements, Jen is a wonderful human being and is very well liked by her fellow students and the faculty. These qualities are even more astonishing because she has overcome a difficult upbringing, pulled herself up by her own “bootstraps,” and has done all this while being a devoted wife and mother of three. We believe Jen Sides is an example of what is possible with hard work and dedication, and that she serves as an example to all.
Andrew Doutree Education
Andrew Doutree

Andrew is a December 2008 elementary education graduate. He has exhibited exemplary performance throughout every phase of the student teaching program. As noted by his cooperating teachers Carolyn Northey and Shirley Menhennick, he has made a great impact on children during his student teaching: “Andrew Doutree has been an amazing spirit in the classroom. His commitment to students and the teaching profession are inspiring. He not only had a great knowledge of the science subject matter, but he is able to teach and share this knowledge with care and concern. He consistently utilizes varied techniques to motivate students to learn.”
David Hedberg Engineering Technology
David Hedberg

The exceptional academic performance displayed by David has earned him several scholarships, including Marquette Range Engineers, Outstanding Achievement, Michigan Merit, Michigan Competitive, and more. David has been named to the Dean’s List seven times, with a 3.92 GPA. He began his career at NMU in the Freshman Fellows program and has remained active across campus. David has contributed to countless NMU organizations, including the Hybrid Car (5 semesters), Student Leader Fellowship, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, Lake Effect Show Choir (6 semesters), and University Choir (1 semester). Additionally, local high school students benefit from David’s work as an Upward Bound math and science tutor. He also facilitates the district solo/ensemble and is actively involved with his church.
Shinya Abe Health and Human Performance
Shinya Abe

Shinya has an overall GPA of 3.85. As one of his professors writes: “Shinya walked into my office a few years ago, fresh from Japan. He already had a definite focus to study the sport and exercise sciences. I suggested that he take English 111 his first semester, but Shinya replied, ‘No English. Math no problem. Chemistry no problem. Physics no problem, but no English." He wanted a semester to become more comfortable with English, which was new to him. He was correct. For Shinya, math, chemistry, physics were "no problem." In addition to the stringent required courses for sports science, he has also completed MET 211 - Mechanics-Statics, PH 393 - Experimental Instrumentation and Analysis, and directed studies in research. Shinya presented one of his undergraduate research papers at the International Society for Biomechanics in Sports conference in Seoul, Korea, this past summer. He has also presented his joint research on rock climbing and is currently working on two additional research projects. Shinya plans to pursue a graduate degree in biomechanics upon graduation from NMU.
Samantha Lagerman Nursing
Samantha Lagerman

Samantha has exemplified merit throughout her career at NMU. She began as a Freshman Fellow and has continued with mentored research each year - research that has culminated in poster presentations and acceptance at national, regional and local conferences. Samantha has further distinguished herself by receiving four clinical excellence awards in the baccalaureate nursing curriculum and will graduate summa cum laude in May with a GPA of 3.89. As a junior, Samantha was invited and inducted into Sigma Theta Tau International, the honor society of nursing. She volunteers in the community with the Medical Care Access Coalition and Room at the Inn. Upon graduation, Samantha plans to begin her career working in a critical-care setting.
Sociology and Social Work
Francois Vachon

Francois was born and raised in Quebec City, Canada. He moved to the United States in 2005 and enrolled at NMU in 2006. This was his first experience in an English-speaking academic setting. He maintained an overall GPA of 3.91 while completing a double major. Francois has tutored three different courses, served as a counselor at Bay Cliff Health Camp, and as a research assistant on the “Homelessness in the Upper Peninsula” project, on which he will be giving a conference presentation. He intends to earn a Ph.D. and become a professor of sociology.
Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences
Gayla Rovelsky

Gayla has lived in the Upper Peninsula her entire life and is a graduate of Westwood High School in Ishpeming. She has earned an overall GPA of 3.92 and 4.0 in the major. Gayla’s high GPA reflects her ability to incorporate theory into application, which will be key in her graduate studies in speech-language pathology and in future clinical practice. She earned this excellent academic record while pursuing extracurricular activities during her undergraduate career. Currently, she is treasurer of the National Student Speech-Language-and-Hearing Association (NSSLHA), co-captain and competitive member of the NMU Figure Skating Team and coaches group and private lessons in figure skating.
Technology and Occupational Sciences
Elizabeth Miller

Elizabeth completed her degree in hospitality management in summer 2008. She earned a 3.6 GPA. During her tenure at NMU, she had a successful academic career beginning as a student in the business computer information systems program and moving into the position of culinary laboratory assistant in the hospitality management program. Her willingness to learn and desire to serve helped her to quickly become a “go-to” student. She spent hours working with both students and professors to complete food orders for multiple food units, and volunteered to help during many events. She was an active participant in many successful Culinary Students of NMU events, as well as other NMU, Marquette and state culinary events. A month before graduation, she was offered a full-time internship with Levy Restaurants, the food management company at Lambeau Field. During her internship she took over the position of the non-profit organization coordinator, managing over 1,000 volunteers working throughout Lambeau Field before and during events.