Before enrolling at Roosevelt in 2013, Laura Miller Hill hadn’t been in a college classroom for nearly 20 years. While at Roosevelt, the full-time special education assistant and suburban mother has interned at The Field Museum in Chicago and written extensively on sustainability issues. A sustainability studies major, Miller Hill is this winter’s prestigious Student Commencement speaker, addressing fellow graduates at Roosevelt’s Auditorium Theatre graduation. “I was the oldest person in my classes, but it never really bothered me,” Miller Hill said. “Roosevelt is the type of place that’s accepting, and the subject I chose to study (sustainability) is something that’s been progressive.”
Davey Hines is a 22-year-old biology major and budding painter whose Roosevelt experience is putting him on a career path to become a medical illustrator. “Davey and I have talked in depth about his love for art and science,” said Kelly Wentz-Hunter, associate professor of biology. She advised the December graduate to do a research project on a scientific topic, and to tell the story with his paintings. Davey chose the evolution of man, creating colorful Neanderthal skulls that Wentz-Hunter proudly displays in her office. “We’ve sat down a number of times talking about career possibilities, and I’ve asked him to think about ‘What are you really interested in?’” The Roosevelt professor recently wrote a letter of recommendation for Hines, who is considering applying to graduate school for an advanced degree in biomedical communication. “My Roosevelt professors taught me a lot about science and they’ve also encouraged the artist in me,” he said.
Tong Yu is a 27-year-old violinist from China who came to Roosevelt and the United States in 2013 with a dream of improving her musicianship. Receiving a master’s degree in violin performance, Yu has not only achieved her goal, but mastered English and recently earned the second violin seat with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, an appointment that lasts two years. “My instructors at Roosevelt taught me how to prepare for the audition,” Yu said, who has been a member of Roosevelt’s Chicago College of Performing Arts (CCPA) Orchestra. “Their coaching helped me to win this position, and I am now looking forward to gaining even more experience with an orchestra.”
Zachary Fabos is headed to the nation of Georgia where he will be teaching English with the Peace Corps. The 21-year-old international studies major was an honors student and participated in the Newberry Library’s prestigious Seminar Program earlier this year. “My favorite part of my Roosevelt experience has been my professors,” said Fabos. “They encouraged me to go outside my comfort zone and explore different things that I otherwise wouldn’t have considered.” The Roosevelt student recently completed his honor’s thesis comparing nationalism in post-Soviet countries. He begins teaching in Georgia in April 2017.