Auditorium Theatre from stage during commencement


Roosevelt University will mark its 158th Commencement on Friday, May 10 at the Auditorium Theatre. During two ceremonies, an estimated 800 graduates from a variety of backgrounds and majors will walk across the stage for their diplomas. Below are a few of their stories.

Nicole Braus


"If children are in my future, I will encourage them to come to Roosevelt like my mother did for my sister and me. It's a tradition I would love to see continue."Nicole Braus

Age: 29

Degree: Bachelor's in Sustainability Studies

Her story: Braus will be the third generation in her family to receive a Roosevelt degree. Her grandfather, the late Albert Braus, received a bachelor's in education from Roosevelt in 1948; her mother, Cynthia Braus, obtained a bachelor's in general studies from the University in 1993; and her sister, Amanda (Braus) Butera earned a bachelor's in environmental science in 2007 and master's in biology in 2012. With a passion for urban agriculture, seed collections and Roosevelt's rooftop gardens, Nicole hopes to work in the future for the Environmental Sciences Department of her current employer, Nicor Gas.

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Michelle Jaskula-Dybka


"My end goal is to be a cardiac surgeon, and I'm fully prepared to give it my all."Michelle Jaskula-Dybka

Age: 26

Degree: Bachelor's in Biology

Her story: Jaskula-Dybka is a single mother of twins and a cancer survivor who struggled as a Roosevelt student with health problems, but now has a clean bill of health. Rush University's Master of Science Cardiovascular Perfusion Program recently admitted her for the fall into the competitive program where she will work with surgeons in Rush's operating room as a heart-lung by-pass machine technician. After completing the program, she hopes to attend medical school and become a medical doctor.

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Sarah Kovich


"As musicians, our life experiences inform the way we approach our craft. Despite the physical and mental toll that illness can take, music remains my source of expression."Sarah Kovich

Age: 23

Degree: Master of Music in Violin Performance

Her story: Kovich has spent considerable time as a student striking balance between multiple chronic illnesses and her academic workload. At times when she is tired, she uses visualization techniques for violin practice. She received a bachelor's of music in violin performance from Roosevelt in 2017, and recently won the American Musicological Society Midwest Chapter's A-R Editions Outstanding Paper Award for research on Soviet composer Dmitri Shostakovich's physical and psychological struggle with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). After graduating, she hopes to be a performer, scholar and teacher.

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Andre Mashayekhi


"My father never forgot the opportunity that Roosevelt gave him to earn a degree in accounting … If Roosevelt had not given my father that opportunity, I wouldn't be here today."Andre Mashayekhi

Age: 28

Degree: Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD)

His story: Mashayekhi will be student speaker at the College of Pharmacy hooding ceremony where he will tell the inspiring story of his father, Ata Mashayekhi, who fled Iran for America during the Iranian revolution and later attended Roosevelt where he completed a master's degree in accounting in 1978. His son, Andre, hopes to become a retail pharmacist and to open a women's health clinic in the future with his sister, Nina Mashayekhi, who will graduate from the College of Pharmacy in 2020.

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Konrad Puchalski


"I've learned a lot about the real world as a business student, and the classes I took at Roosevelt have given me vision for how to start my own business step by step."Konrad Puchalski

Age: 26

Degree: Master's in Business Administration

His story: Puchalski is an athlete and international student who played with three different Lakers' teams in soccer, track and field, and tennis.  He has taken what he learned as a graduate student to develop his own business plan for a sports club that will be the hub for Padel, one of Europe's fastest growing sports, which is a cross between tennis and racquetball. Following graduation, Puchalski will return to his hometown of Lodz, Poland where he plans to start the Padel business.

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Additional Stories...

Alumnus Rick Yancey speaking as a guest lecturer in the Murray-Green Library
Arts and Sciences, An Inclusive Community, Chicago, Current Students, Alumni, Academic & Artistic Excellence, Real World Experience

Award-winning author Rick Yancey (BA English ’87) found a home at Roosevelt University — one that would put him on the path to his career as a writer.

Alex Fruin, student commencement speaker
Performing Arts, Commencement, Chicago, Current Students, Alumni

When graduating musical arts major Alex Fruin takes the stage on May 10 at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, he will deliver a commencement speech that is inspired in part by the memory of his late older brother.

Abel Rodriguez, student commencement speaker, spring 2019
Performing Arts, Commencement, Chicago, Current Students, Alumni

There are two ways to look at the success of Abel Rodriguez, a soon-to-graduate marketing major who will address fellow graduates during Roosevelt University's May 10 Commencement.