May 10, 2013

Vanderbilt honors top graduates during Commencement

Vanderbilt University Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos presented Founder’s Medals to the university’s top scholars during Commencement on May 10.

The 2013 Founder's Medalists (John Russell/Vanderbilt University)

Vanderbilt University Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos presented Founder’s Medals to the university’s top scholars during Commencement on May 10. Since 1877, the university has awarded a gold medal to the student graduating at the top of his or her class from each of Vanderbilt’s 10 undergraduate and professional schools. The awards are named after the university’s founder, Cornelius Vanderbilt, who made a contribution to endow the awards in their first year.

The 2013 Founder’s Medalists are:

Shelby June Flowers, from Highlands Ranch, Colo., Founder’s Medalist for the Blair School of Music, is graduating with a bachelor of music degree in musical arts as a piano major with a composition concentration. Flowers has received many awards and honors, including the Sue Brewer Songwriter’s Award, the David Rabin Prize, the Margaret Branscomb Prize, the Martin Williams Prize for Writing, the Collaborative Arts Award and the Confroy-Lijoi Award for Excellence in Jazz Performance. Flowers’ fellow student composers elected her president of the Composers Forum, which has become, under her leadership, a vital community. She is the recipient of the Anne Potter Wilson Honor Scholarship, the Enid Miller Katahn Piano Scholarship and the Peter and Lois Fyfe Scholarship. After graduation, she will pursue her work of ministry and music for Josiah Venture, an organization in the Czech Republic.

Robert George Tauscher, from Geneva Ill., Founder’s Medalist for the College of Arts and Science, is graduating with a bachelor of arts. A double major in biological sciences and Spanish, Tauscher is an academic All-American in rowing; a member of Sigma Delta Phi, the Spanish Honor Society; a nominee for a Rhodes Scholarship; and active in the Maní+ project, which works to reduce the incidence of malnutrition in Guatemala. This fall, Tauscher will begin his studies at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Frank Eugene Lilley Jr., from Clinton, Miss., Founder’s Medalist for the Divinity School, is graduating with a master of divinity degree. Lilley attended Vanderbilt Divinity School as a Cal Turner Leadership Scholar to pursue congregational ministry in the United Methodist Church. He also received the 2012 Louise and Richard Goodwin Prize for excellence in theological writing and was awarded an Imagination Grant for studying nonprofit organizations and Methodist congregations in Northern Ireland and Mississippi. Following graduation, Lilley returns to his home state to complete a year of clinical pastoral education in Jackson.

Curtis George Northcutt, from Lexington, Ky., Founder’s Medalist for the School of Engineering, is graduating with a bachelor of science in computer science and mathematics. In the last four years, Northcutt has worked at NASA, GE, a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates, Microsoft and three research universities. He has earned numerous awards, including an NSF Fellowship and a Goldwater Scholarship. He has devoted himself to improving his community as a mathematics guest lecturer, student mentor, respected researcher and president of Tau Beta Pi. He is a recipient of the James Geddes Memorial Scholarship and the Jesse Taylor Jr. Scholarship. Northcutt will attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to pursue a doctorate in computer science as an NSF Fellow.

Lindsay Satterwhite Mayberry, from Lexington, Ky., Founder’s Medalist for the Graduate School, is graduating with a doctor of philosophy in community research and action from the Peabody College of education and human development. Mayberry participated in a Kennedy Center training program, served as an expert witness for a district court case and published eight manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals and one book chapter. Mayberry received the Newbrough Award for best paper by a student. Mayberry recently started her postdoctoral fellowship at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center supported by a National Research and Service Award from the National Institutes of Health.

Angela Lee Bergman, from Brookfield, Wis., Founder’s Medalist for the Law School, is graduating with a doctor of jurisprudence degree. A Chancellor’s Scholar, Bergman has received numerous academic awards, including Dean’s List in all semesters; the Scholastic Excellence Award for the highest academic performance in two classes; and the Law Review Editor’s Award, awarded to the third-year editorial board member who has made the most significant contribution to the Vanderbilt Law Review. After Commencement, Bergman will be a first-year associate with Bass Berry & Sims in Nashville.

William Michael Sullivan, from Massapequa, New York, Founder’s Medalist for the School of Medicine, is graduating with a doctor of medicine and a master of education. Sullivan is the first Vanderbilt student to pursue these degrees jointly. He is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. As a curriculum committee co-chair, he helped plan Vanderbilt’s new medical school curriculum. Sullivan coordinated patient care and education at the student-run Shade Tree Clinic and served as a leader of a non-profit organization supporting secondary education in rural Kenya. He is the recipient of the David Hitt Williams Scholarship and the Wills Scholarship. He will continue his training in the combined Internal Medicine and Pediatrics residency program at Vanderbilt.

Chaquetta Thomas Johnson, from Alexandria, La., Founder’s Medalist for the School of Nursing, is graduating with a doctor of nursing practice degree. Johnson is the recipient of the Lulu K. Wolf Hassenplug Scholarship and has received numerous academic honors. She secured a childhood obesity prevention grant and co-chaired a health and disparities forum while earning her D.N.P., and her scholarly work about birth control methods and their relation to sexually transmitted diseases resulted in a more efficient and effective reproductive health clinic model that was implemented statewide in Louisiana in 2012. As the regional consultant overseeing nine health departments, she will implement evidence-based practice in the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals.

Hoang Lan Huyen Ton Nu, from Thua Thien Hue, Viet Nam, Founder’s Medalist for the Owen Graduate School of Management, is graduating with a master of business administration. Huyen has received numerous academic honors, including the Bruce D. Henderson Scholarship for highest GPA. She was an Owen Admissions Ambassador and also an active member of the Student Advisory Committee and finance and consulting clubs. She was inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma International Honor Society, the highest honor a business student can earn. Huyen was a senior financial advisor intern for Healthcare and Life Sciences Finance in Round Rock, Texas, and plans to pursue a career in business and quantitative analytics.

Jesse Mark Neugebauer, from Gering, Neb., Founder’s Medalist for the Peabody College of education and human development, is graduating with a bachelor of science in early childhood education and special education. Neugebauer, a Carell Scholar, graduates with national commendation for outstanding performance on the Praxis exam. An exemplary teacher and a two-time cancer survivor, Neugebauer has demonstrated his commitment to serving the highest-need students by his exceptional performance in high-risk communities in the United States and the Dominican Republic. He has been offered positions in classrooms around the world and is deciding where he will be of most use.