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Stories this week at WFU

By Jacob McConnico
336-758-5237
May 5, 2005

MEDIA INFO FOR ARNOLD PALMER'S COMMENCEMENT ADDRESS — Members of the media are invited to cover Wake Forest University's commencement ceremony at 9 a.m. May 16, featuring golf legend and Wake Forest alumnus Arnold Palmer as speaker. Information about media arrangements will be distributed this week. Wake Forest News Service-issued parking passes and media credentials will be required to enter campus the day of the event. To request parking passes for your news staff, contact the News Service as soon as possible.

Contact: Jacob McConnico, mcconnjn@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

PEACE CORPS RECRUITS PREPARE TO SERVE THE WORLD — Mary Catherine Rich of Wake Forest, N.C., is one of six Wake Forest seniors who will enter the Peace Corps after graduation. Rich, fluent in Spanish, plans to serve in Ecuador. The history major has been president of the Wake Forest equestrian team, an interpreter for the Community Care Clinic in Winston-Salem, a translator for Brunson Elementary School in Winston-Salem and a volunteer at the Riverwood Therapeutic Riding Center. Andrew Ice, a senior from Spokane, Wash., will serve in South Africa. Others are waiting for assignments. Seventeen Wake Forest alumni are currently serving in the Peace Corps.

Contact: Cheryl Walker, walkercv@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

DIVINITY SCHOOL GRADUATE MINISTERS TO LOCAL PRISONERS — At 49, Margaret Deans, a graduating student in the Wake Forest Divinity School, said she finds herself more motivated to succeed than ever before. That drive compelled her to return to school after her daughters graduated from high school, selecting the Divinity School at Wake Forest because of its reputation for open inquiry and choosing to drive from her home in Charlotte to attend classes in Winston-Salem. A personal interest in spirituality and art led Deans to apply for the Divinity School's William Kay and Velma Preslar McGee Internship in Prison Ministry, a program that allows students to work with the nonprofit group Forsyth Jail and Prison Ministries. Deans has been working with inmates in the Forsyth Correctional Center on an art project that gives them a chance to paint four-inch square Bisque tiles with a variety of Christian symbols. "I hope that the men gain an appreciation for themselves for being able to paint the tiles. Some of them balked at the idea of painting the tiles, but they did a great job with a little bit of encouragement," said Deans, who plans to form a band of the tiles around the prison chapel. "I hope that when they see the tiles on the wall, they are not only proud of what they have done, but also proud of what they have done as a community."

Contact: Jacob McConnico, mcconnjn@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

ARMY ROTC CADET TO BE COMMISSIONED BY HER FATHER, MAJ. GEN. MARTIN DEMPSEY — Caitlin Dempsey, a senior Army ROTC cadet, will be commissioned by her father, Maj. Gen. Martin Dempsey, during a ceremony May 15. General Dempsey, who served as the 1st Armor Division commander in Iraq in 2003 and 2004, will be the guest speaker for the commissioning ceremony at 3 p.m. in Wake Forest's Information Systems building. Twelve other cadets will also be commissioned, including Matthew Gallagher, who will be commissioned by his grandfather, retired Rear Admiral John Scott, and Samantha S. Rieger, who will be commissioned by her sister, 1st Lt. Jennifer Rieger.

Contact: Cheryl Walker, walkercv@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

TEACH FOR AMERICA VOLUNTEER BETS ON IMPROVING ODDS FOR LAS VEGAS YOUTH — You might say that graduating senior Aaron Blades is a gambling man. Bound for Las Vegas, the economics major has his sights set on improving the odds that students at one of the city's poorest performing elementary schools will succeed academically, finish school and perhaps one day go to college. Blades, like 12 of his classmates at Wake Forest, was selected for Teach for America, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the quality of public education in disadvantaged communities. Beginning with the 2005-2006 school year, Blades will join other Teach for America recruits in Las Vegas to help develop the program, which will be in its second year. "Las Vegas seems to be excited to have Teach for America come to its schools," said Blades, who is from New York. "I believe the awareness of the educational achievement gap is one of the most important obstacles to equity, and this is a great opportunity to start raising awareness with a relatively clean slate."

Contact: Maggie Barrett, barretmb@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237

SENIOR BEGINS LAP ONE AT VICTORY JUNCTION GANG CAMP — Julie Koch, a health and exercise science major from Raleigh, said she sees her May 16 graduation from Wake Forest as the green flag to begin the road to a career in medicine and service. Koch's first stop will be Kyle Petty's Victory Junction Gang Camp in Randleman, where she will serve as a cabin counselor this summer. In that role, she will be responsible for several groups of children battling chronic illnesses. Koch has been dedicated to service during her time at Wake Forest. She has volunteered with many nonprofit organizations including Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Hospice Care and Brenner Children's Hospital. She traveled twice to Calcutta, India, with City of Joy Scholars to attend to the sick and poor in Mother Teresa's homes. Koch, who organized a benefit featuring Dr. Patch Adams at Wake Forest, credits her faith as the driving force behind her devotion to serving others in need.

Contact: Maggie Barrett, barretmb@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

GRADUATE CONNECTS VOLUNTEERS WITH HISPANIC COMMUNITY — To connect Wake Forest students who speak Spanish with organizations in Winston-Salem that need them, Wake Forest senior Jessie Lee Smith started Aprender y Enseñar. In English, it means "to learn and to teach." The student-led service organization places Wake Forest students with local agencies that work with the Hispanic community. Using a Web site (www.wfu.edu/student-organizations/aprender), the students are matched with agencies based on their interests, Spanish-speaking ability and schedule. In addition to providing much-needed volunteers, the program also helps Wake Forest students practice Spanish and better understand Hispanic culture and issues. "Our agency strives to serve as the 'one-stop' volunteer agency where students of all majors, Spanish levels and backgrounds can come and find a community organization that needs their help," said Smith, who has already started a job with the American Cancer Society in Winston-Salem. The network now includes 15-20 partner volunteer organizations in Winston-Salem that are working with Aprender y Enseñar. Among them are the AIDs Care Service, the Second Harvest Food Bank and Forest Park Elementary.

Contact: Cheryl Walker, walkercv@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

COMMUNICATION MAJOR OVERCOMES HEALTH CRISIS TO GRADUATE — Ask Wake Forest graduating senior Lauren Lockard about her post-graduation plans and you'll get an impressive collection of answers that includes graduate studies in health policy at the Bush School of Government and Public Policy at Texas A&M University, and eventually, medical school. Perhaps the only thing more impressive than Lockard's plans is the sudden health crisis she overcame to make it to this point. "In the fall of my junior year, doctors found an unidentifiable tumor in my lower spine," says Lockard, who was forced to miss most of her junior year due to spinal surgery, then brain surgery. Lockard resumed her studies with summer school at Wake Forest in June 2004 and because of her determination, will graduate on schedule with honors.

Contact: Maggie Barrett, barretmb@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

MORE SENIOR STORIES — Rebecca Cook, a biology major and a Rhodes Scholar, grew up in Kijabe, Kenya. She will study medical anthropology in graduate school at England's Oxford University. Cook's goal is to return to Africa as a primary care physician after completing medical school and training in the United States. Cook's classmate, Francesca Winkler, a graduating student with a double major in business and history, helped create The Student, an online magazine billed as a Wake Forest student's guide to campus, Winston-Salem and beyond. She will work as an information technology consultant with the company CGI-AMS in Atlanta. Jenna Schuster, a recipient of the Thomas K. Hearn Jr. Civic Responsibility Scholarship, has been a volunteer in the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center's neurobiology and anatomy program. She has been accepted to the Northwestern University Institute of Neuroscience where she plans to earn her doctorate. In addition to these exceptional graduates others of interest include Angel Hsu, editor of the student newspaper Old Gold & Black, who will be a Teach for America volunteer; Tiffanie Lord of Lexington, who will volunteer with AmeriCorps City Year program; Toyin Okanlawon of Raleigh, a Fulbright Scholar, who will spend the year in western Australia studying public health systems; and Jamie Dean, a blind student from Ohio, who serves as the student trustee on Wake Forest's board of trustees and served on the presidential search committee that selected Nathan O. Hatch as the next president of the Wake Forest. He is president of the university's rowing club and co-chair of the Honor and Ethics Council. These students will be among the approximately 1,450 undergraduate and graduate students receiving diplomas during this year's commencement.

Contact: Jacob McConnico, mcconnjn@wfu.edu or 336-758-5237.

END OF SPRING SEMESTER — Classes ended April 27 and final exams for the spring 2005 semester will be completed May 7.


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