Students set to lead Cameron’s 2014 Convocation

Four Cameron University students have been selected to speak on behalf of Cameron’s student body during 2014 Convocation, a celebration of Cameron’s dedication to academic excellence. Thierno Sadou Diallo, Michele Hess, Angelica Lopez and Rhiannon Poolaw will share personal stories of accomplishment and inspiration during the annual event. Convocation, a Cameron tradition highlighted by musical performances and colorful pageantry, will take place at 10 a.m., Friday, September 26, in the Fine Arts Courtyard and is open to the public.                                        

"Cameron’s annual Convocation ceremony is a celebration of the academic achievements of our students," says Dr. Ronna Vanderslice, Vice President for Academic Affairs. "We will hear from students representing each of Cameron’s four academic schools and will recognize additional students for their academic performance." 

CU’s student body is the focal point of Convocation. Honor students are selected to carry banners for each academic department. Faculty and staff members attired in academic regalia complete the processional. During the ceremony, honors and scholarship students receive special recognition for their academic achievements.

About the speakers

A native of Ziguinchor, Senegal, Thierno Sadou Diallo came to the United States in 2000 to attend college at the Community College of Philadelphia.  He has had a long trek to earn his degree, which he will do at Cameron next year. He met his wife while she was attending optometry school in Philadelphia. While she completed her degree, he stayed at home with their daughter. After moving to Lawton in 2012, he immediately enrolled at Cameron to continue his studies. Diallo is the president of Delta Sigma Pi and the vice president of Delta Mu Delta. He has received the School of Business Tuition Waiver, Reginal C. Brown Endowed Scholarship, and the James R. and Irene J. Lawrence Memorial Endowed Trust Scholarship. He is also a volunteer coach for his daughter’s youth soccer team, the Predators. Diallo receive his bachelor of business administration with a concentration in finance in December 2015.

Michele (Shelly) Hess moved to the Lawton area when she was just two years old, moved to Meers when she was 10, and has made southwest Oklahoma her home ever since.  A graduate of Cache High School, she attended Cameron directly out of high school in 1987 but was unable to finish her education. She returned to Cameron in 2009 to pursue her dream of achieving an education, completing a promise she made to her son and mother to earn her college degree. She has succeeded in graduating while working full-time, caring for her mother who was diagnosed with kidney cancer, her son being deployed to Iraq, and suffering from serious health issues of her own. Despite these challenges, she has excelled in the classroom, serving as project lead for her capstone computer information systems class project and team leader for a database class project. Hess has made the honor roll, received a freshman writing award, and passed the ISA (Information Systems Analyst) Core exam to earn her national ICCP certification. She will receive two degrees this December, an associate in information technology as well as a bachelor’s in computer information systems.

Angelica Lopez is the first in her family to go to college. Born in Dallas and raised in Vernon, Texas, she is the middle child of seven. The family moved to Altus when she was a junior in high school. After graduating from Altus High School, Lopez received an associate degree in biology from Western Oklahoma State College before enrolling at Cameron in Fall 2012. She has been a member of the Health and Physical Education Club for the past two years, including serving one year as the organization’s Student Government Association representative. She is the recipient of the Bill G. Shahan Family Endowed Scholarship in Health and Physical Education and the Karen J. Dowd Undergraduate Student Scholarship presented by the Oklahoma Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. Lopez will receive her bachelor’s degree in sport fitness management this December and plans to enroll in a physical therapy program after graduation.

Born in Salisbury, N.C., Rhiannon Poolaw moved to Lawton when she was in fifth grade. A graduate of Eisenhower High School, she began her academic career at Oklahoma State University before transferring to Cameron after one semester. She has balanced her academic career while raising her three-year-old daughter. Poolaw is a member of the Multimedia Design Club, the Multimedia Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta, and is a past vice president and president of Moms and Dads on Campus. She is the winner of the 2013 Leigh H. Holmes Prize for Creative Nonfiction and is the recipient of the Jessie Mae Hines Scholarship in English. Poolaw will receive her bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in creative writing and a minor in multimedia design this December.

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September 24, 2014

PR#14-161