USAO names Outstanding Graduates for fall 2018

Left to right: Ethan Gorrell, Shyanne Alexander, Benjamin Verser, and Savanah Barrett

USAO names Outstanding Graduates for fall 2018


The four academic divisions at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma have each named their outstanding graduates for the fall 2018 term.

Ethan Gorrell, Yukon, was named the outstanding graduate for the Division of Arts and Humanities. Shyanne Alexander, El Reno, received the outstanding graduate award for the Division of Science and Physical Education. Benjamin Verser, Verden, received the award for the Division of Social Sciences and Business. Savanah Barrett, Sterling, was the recipient in the Division of Education and Speech-Language Pathology.

Gorrell graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in sculpture. He plans to continue exhibiting his work as an independent artist and hopes to find work in woodworking, furniture building or sculpture fabrication.

“Since I started working with Ethan, I have been extremely impressed by his openness to challenge,” said Jordan Vinyard, associate professor of art. “He displays a quiet mindfulness and can always be found in the studio further pushing his work and researching the philosophies that support it.”

Alexander graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in biology. Her goal is to become a veterinarian technician as she pursues a veterinary medicine degree at Oklahoma State University.

“Shyanne came to USAO as a transfer student to complete her degree in biology,” said Dr. Jeannette M. Loutsch, associate professor of biology. “She has always been a great student and really embraced the curriculum here. She took classes that were very challenging and always excelled.”

Verser graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in history. He plans to pursue a career as a high school history teacher.

“Ben will certainly be successful in his future endeavors and will provide a valuable service,” said Dr. Kevin Crow, professor of history. “He was one of the most well-informed and well-read students that I have encountered in some time. His abilities to analyze sources and explain events in history to another person will certainly make him an asset in any classroom.”

Barrett graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in early childhood education. She will begin her career as a teacher in January at Adams Elementary in Norman, Okla.

“Savanah is one of a kind,” said Shaylee Kimbro, instructor of early childhood education and director of the child development center. “Her contagious, positive personality and diligent workmanship, both in and out of the classroom, has been a major factor in her many successes.”

During the fall and spring commencement ceremonies, the faculty of each of USAO’s four divisions picks one or two students who exemplify both the educational objectives of that particular field of study as well as the mission of the university as a whole. These criteria include a cumulative GPA over 3.5, interpersonal skills, involvement in campus and community activities, motivation and character.

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