Flagler College will celebrate its 2,022 graduating students today with an commencement ceremony at St. Augustine Amphitheater.
A total of 546 graduates will march for the spring graduation exercises at St. Augustine’s private four-year college.
The Record asked Flagler’s administrators to submit profiles of some of the best from this year’s graduating class.
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For the past two years, English writing scholar Ainsley Berg has been diligently working on his capstone project, a collection of poems titled “The Sliding Glass Door.” Five of the poems have been published in national journals, including The Pointed Circle and Chasing Shadows Magazine. Additionally, her English sonnet, “The Dead Deer’s Cry,” won the Iris N. Spencer Poetry Prize, winning a $1,000 prize.
Professor Lauren Tivey, guest speaker and coordinator of the Center for English for Academic Purposes, said: “Ainsley’s work is very refined and shows real talent, as well as careful craftsmanship and important themes.
Berg is currently working on publishing his collection of poetry. But his ambition and his interests go beyond poetry. With a minor in political science, she plans to work in a law firm after graduation to gain a foothold in the legal field.
Digital media production and journalism specialist Maiya Mahoney’s passion for storytelling led her to pursue a career as a journalist.
“I find great joy in being able to share the experiences of others and raise awareness of under-reported events locally and around the world,” Mahoney said.
She credits her time at Flagler for “honing my leadership skills and connecting with various people on campus and the St. Augustine community” through her published stories — in particular, her work as a Pulitzer Center Fellow. in July 2021, where she traveled to the blue zone of Loma Linda, California to report on the secret to longevity.
“Putting myself into a community that I didn’t know and having to make those connections was a transformative experience that I couldn’t have had with Flagler delivering the Pulitzer Class,” Mahoney said.
Flagler’s basketball team captain, Chris Metzger, excelled on and off the court while attending Flagler. With an additional year of athletic eligibility at his disposal, he was able to explore more career options through majoring in Criminology and Sociology in the summer of 2021.
Through an internship program organized by the athletics program, Metzger came into contact with Chris Kamienski, the president of SouthState Bank’s First Coast division.
“Chris went through a 12-week program that rotated him through different departments in a commercial bank,” Kamienski said. “He spent time with the retail teams, learned about the commercial lending process and our business lending process, read and studied leadership books, went to the Chick-fil leadership academy -A and gave a summary presentation on his program to the leadership team.”
Metzger holds the program record for all-time shooting percentage, which was a school record last year. He also earned academic honors from all conferences and was the first player in the program selected to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Court of Honor.
Sam Sawney spent his final year at Flagler on a fourth-year Digital Media Production and Journalism team as undergraduate research interns working to capture contemporary voices around the events of the Robert Kennedy assassination. and Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968.
To date, Sawney has contributed nearly 30 interviews, including those with political dignitaries, such as the mayor of Indianapolis, Indiana’s commissioner of higher education, artists, community members and Moreover. Sawney is a graduate of the Flagler College Honors Program and has accepted an offer to serve the College as an academic advisor for the Center for Advising and Core Experience (CASE).
Deaf and hard of hearing major Chelsea Downes works with a range of deaf and hard of hearing children, typically in grades six to 12, as a reading teacher and specialist instruction provider for other content areas.
Downes aims to create a safe and accessible learning environment for its students.
“Although I am not D/HH myself, I resonate with some of the challenges my students are currently facing, both personally and academically,” Downes said. “As such, it is extremely important to me that my students know how much I care about them. While I maintain high expectations of my students, I make sure they feel secure enough. comfortable making (and learning from) their mistakes.”
Downes plans to teach elementary students in a self-contained classroom after graduation. Eventually, she would like to continue her studies with a master’s degree in deaf or special education.
First-generation student James Mernik is paying handsomely.
Mernik, a fall 2021 class of criminology students, established the Richard and Judith Anderson Memorial Scholarship in honor of his late grandparents and current supporters, Richard and Judy Anderson. The scholarship “will allow many more students to pursue their dreams by furthering their education and improving the world,” according to Mernik.
Giving isn’t new to Mernik, who served in the Flagler College community as vice president of student affairs and vice president of Flagler’s Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. Mernik is inspired by travel and immersion in other cultures.
He shared this advice with new students: “Take risks and get out of your comfort zone. Study abroad, see the world, do it while you can.”
Currently, Mernik is studying for the LSAT and plans to attend law school, possibly Tulane University in Louisiana, to study criminal law.
Flagler College Spring 2022 Graduation:
Back-to-school will take place at 7 p.m. tonight at St. Augustine Amphitheater and will celebrate classes for Fall 2021, Spring 2022, and Summer 2022. Live stream: youtube.com/watch?v=B9MHH9VCYKw.