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Media Memo: UW-Eau Claire 2012 May featured graduates

May 11, 2012

TO:News Editors and Directors

FROM:Judy Berthiaume

DATE:May 10, 2012

SUBJECT:UW-Eau Claire 2012 May featured graduates

Commencement ceremonies for more than 1,400 University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students will be held Saturday, May 19. Ceremonies will begin at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. in Zorn Arena.

While each of our students has a story to tell about their path to graduation, the following are just a few of those stories that may be of interest to your readers, viewers or listeners.

  • Karie Wallace, a Bloomer native who now lives in Eau Claire, will graduate Saturday with a degree in psychology. Karie is a single parent and military veteran who returned to college after 10 years of active duty service in the U.S. Air Force, where she served in the Middle East, Europe and Africa. You can reach Karie Wallace at
  • A mother and her daughter will graduate together Saturday from UW-Eau Claire with degrees in nursing. Amy Lavin, Medford, will earn her master's degree in nursing and her daughter, Sara Lavin, Medford, will earn her bachelor's degree in nursing. Amy Lavin says Saturday will be a day of celebration for her and her daughter as they have traveled this journey together, supporting each other and cheering each other on. Amy Lavin graduated with her bachelor's degree in nursing from UW-Eau Claire in 2008, the same year Sara Lavin graduated from high school. You can reach Amy Lavin at and Sara Lavin at
  • Adam Schneider, Middleton, will graduate with degrees in chemistry and biology, a double major he completed in just three years. Within those three years, Adam studied for one semester in Ghana and spent three months last summer working at the Charles Darwin Research Station in the Galapagos Islands. He also has two faculty research mentors, Dr. Tali Lee in biology and Dr. James Boulter in chemistry. Adam received an honorable mention in the highly competitive national Goldwater Scholarship program and he received UW-Eau Claire's College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award. In the fall, Adam will begin a Ph.D. program in botany at the University of California, Berkeley. You can reach Adam Schneider at
  • Travis Gulmire, Green Bay, will receive his master of business administration degree on Saturday. Travis was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2008 at the age of 25. After receiving a bone marrow transplant in 2008, he was told he could not return to his job for at least a year so he opted to begin working toward his MBA. He started classes in spring 2009 but had to withdraw in fall 2009 when his cancer returned. After his doctors told him he had a couple months to live, he entered a clinical trial at the University of Minnesota in November 2009, hoping that the findings would help children with the disease. After more than a month in the clinical trial, Travis had a bone marrow biopsy. There was an improvement but he wasn't in remission. He returned home and prepared for hospice. A week later his doctor did a bone marrow biopsy and the cancer slipped into remission. Travis needed additional chemotherapy and treatments in the spring of 2010. He finally returned to the MBA program in the summer of 2010 and will graduate Saturday. You can reach Travis Gulmire at
  • Elise Rooney, Onalaska, will graduate Saturday with a degree in broadfield social studies, history/political science. Elise's journey to graduation has taken her from Eau Claire to numerous states within the U.S., as well as South Africa, Cameroon and Bahrain. Elise currently is in Cameroon student teaching, an experience she says is enhancing her education and expanding her perspective on the world. During her years at UW-Eau Claire, Elise also went to South Africa to sing with a choir ensemble, spent time in the South as part of the Civil Rights Pilgrimage and in Washington, D.C., where she taught in inner-city schools. Elise will travel to Manama, Bahrain, to teach after graduation. You can reach Elisa Rooney at
  • Christopher M. Brown, Onalaska, has been selected as one of 36 American students to participate in the Japan-America Student Conference this summer. He is the first UW-Eau Claire student to earn a spot in the group of JASC delegates. A Spanish major with minors in Japanese, language studies and economics, Christopher will graduate Saturday. JASC is a student-led exchange program, initiated in 1934 by students concerned about the breakdown of bilateral relations prior to World War II. Students from the U.S. and Japan are competitively selected each year to spend one summer month together, studying and analyzing Japan-U.S. relations while visiting four regions in the host country. JASC alternates its host country every year, emphasizing the personal connections between the two cultures. You can reach Christopher Brown at
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