Seahawk Stars: UNCW Graduates Soar

Please visit the Commencement 2014 Photo Gallery for more great photos from the May 9-10 ceremonies.

Friday, May 09, 2014

More than 1,900 undergraduates, 336 graduate students and five doctoral students graduated into careers and advanced education following commencement ceremonies May 9-10. Below are the stories of several members of the class of 2014 who have excelled in and out of the classroom.

Colleen Bove, a marine biology major (chemistry minor), completed her work on coral physiology, in particular the effects of ocean acidification on coral metabolism. Her work won Best Student Presentation at the recent international Benthic Ecology Meetings. She also presented at the 2014 CAA Conference at Towson University, participated in two study abroad programs (semester at University of Southampton, UK, and a faculty-led trip to Curaçao for a research diving course), and is continuing her honors thesis research this summer to publish it in an academic journal. A Raleigh native, she plans to work in a research lab and pursue a Ph.D. in marine sciences following graduation.

While pursuing her master’s in liberal studies, Sarah Elizabeth Bode founded Palaver, an interdisciplinary, academic online journal housed in UNCW's graduate liberal studies program and served as editor-in-chief for four issues. She was also the student-director of UNCW’s production of the Vagina Monologues, a fundraiser for the Carousel Center for Abused Children, Rape Crisis Center of Coastal Horizons Center Inc. and V-Day International. In 2011, she earned a bachelor's degree in English and a BFA in creative writing (women's studies minor) and recieved a Publishing Certificate. A Wilmington native, Bode is anxious to get started on a career in publishing. 

Laurel Hardy, a biology major with chemistry and forensic science minors, hopes to pursue a master’s in forensic science at Marshall University in the fall. During her undergraduate studies, she completed research on the cell biology of hearing, specifically the molecular basis of communication between sensory neurons in the ear and processing neurons in the brain. This work lends to understanding the processes that lead to many forms of hearing loss, both genetic and environmental. The Terrell, N.C., native played intramural sports all four years with friends she made living in Honors House her freshman year.

As president of the PreVet Medical Association, Laura McSweeney studied using the equine herpes virus as a treatment for human brain cancer. The Raleigh native worked as a veterinary assistant and interned with Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center and Skywatch Bird Rescue while earning her bachelor’s in biology (psychology, neuroscience and chemistry minors). She was also president of Beta Beta Beta Biological Honors Society her junior year and vice president her senior year. She completed a directed individual study under Arthur Frampton Jr., followed by three semesters of honors research. An honors scholar, she successfully completed her honors thesis titled “Selective targeting of human brain cancer cells with a recombinant EHV-1 vector.” She will be attending NC State University College of Veterinary Medicine starting in August.

Brent Trubia will soon be starting a piano refurbishing business called the Cape Fear Piano Shop. As an undergraduate, Trubia began purchasing used pianos, repairing and selling them. A Wilmington resident, he has been playing piano for most of his life and has always liked working on and fixing items. “Combining the two made sense,” he says. Trubia currently has 30 pianos, mostly uprights, with the newest being from 1990, and the oldest from 1888. Along with selling refurbished pianos, he also tunes them.

Michael Wadkins transferred from Stanly Community College and double majored in creative writing and English. Originally from Oakboro (near Charlotte), this past year, he interned in the Office of University Relations and put his writing talents to use crafting magazine articles and campus announcements. Building upon the graphic design skills he learned in community college, he also helped with the redesign of the College of Heath and Applied Human Sciences website. He is currently rewriting his first young adult novel and hopes to publish it in the near future. Aside from writing, his other main passion is book cover design.