Del State honors academic scholars
Delaware State University honored seven graduates with the Presidential Academic Award, all 4.0 GPA scholars, at the virtual commencement May 16.
This group tied the spring commencement record set last year, making it the second consecutive year with seven academically perfect graduates.
For Lindsey Steele, achieving a perfect 4.0 grade point average fulfilled a promise that she made to her father Scott Steele when she was a sophomore.
Her father passed away a couple months after she made that promise. This virtual commencement date would have been his 50th birthday.
“I am so glad I was able to carry out that promise,” said Lindsey Steele, a food and nutritional science major from Frederica. Her father is also survived by her mother Lisa Steele.
Her aspirations in food science date back to her years at Lake Forest High School, where she was placed in a Culinary Pathways Program and represented the school at a sports nutrition competition in San Diego. “When I went to competition, I found my passion,” she said.
Bayhealth Medical Center has hired Steele as dietician. She will start in June and will work at both the Milford and Dover campuses.
Juan Chavez Reynaga is a psychology major with a minor in biological sciences from Mishawaka, Indiana. He is a member of the first group of Dreamers, undocumented immigrant students who enrolled in 2016 through the Opportunity Scholarship and TheDream.US Program.
His 4.0 GPA makes him the highest academic achiever of that inaugural Dreamer group at Delaware State University. He is the son of María Guadalupe Reynaga Ramos and Jose de Jesus Chavez Díaz.
He said he plans to work as a case manager at a psychiatric center in Indiana for a year, and then enroll in medical school to become a psychiatrist.
“For four years, we’ve had the anticipation of having our families come and see how the hard work they put in for us has resulted in what we have dreamed of,” he said. “But we know that it is not the University’s fault.”
Luil Menberu, a physics engineering major from Washington, D.C., is the son of Mesfin Jambra and Africa Peffena.
His next chapter is set and awaiting him. He has been hired as an electrical engineer with the Boeing Company and will be based in St. Louis, Missouri. “After one year, Boeing offers tuition assistance, and with that I will go to graduate school,” Menberu said.
Alyssa Gregor, a social work major from Dover, is the daughter of Dan and Crystal Gassaway, and the wife of Ashton Gregor. She is the first in her family to complete a four-year degree.
When Gregor arrived at Del State, she already had a 4.0 work ethic. She maintained a perfect A-average at Dover High School.
Her aspiration since her high school years has been to become a substance abuse counselor. Now that has translated into a post-graduation job.
“I have been offered a job at my field experience location, Connections [a treatment facility in Harrington],” Gregor said. “So I have my dream job.”
Brynn Dao, a criminal justice major with a minor in psychology from Dover, is the daughter of Christopher and Kara Dao.
Dao plans to pursue a Master of Science in terrorism and homeland security at American University in Washington, D.C. Her aspiration is to be an intelligence analyst for the FBI.
Lily W. Lofton, an agriculture major from Heth, Arkansas, is the daughter of Larry and Laurie Lofton.
Lofton has been accepted into the Plant Pathology Ph.D. Program at the University of Georgia. She has been awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and a Presidential Graduate Fellows Research Assistantship.
She said that she aspires to work in research for the improvement of plant health, food safety and security. She said her passion for teaching could lead her to the classroom as a mentor and in outreach activities.
Boaz Menard, a management information systems major with a minor in computer science from Smyrna, is the son of Fredeline Menard.
After taking about a month off after graduating, Mr. Menard will start working in July for JP Morgan Chase in their software engineering program.