Graduating students look to the future

Gearing up for commencement

It is that time of year again, where many students are coming to the end of their academic career and will be launched into the world with a newly acquired degree. For some this is a large step, while others, like graduate students, have been through these motions before. Regardless, many students will have the opportunity to share in the graduating experience at the Spring 2018 commencement.

Reactions about walking at this years commencement ceremony were mixed from a few of the graduating students around the university. Joey Bishop, a music education major, has made plans to walk at this years commencement. However, he stated that it was only because it was for his family.

Agnes Lawson, an art major, is also walking at commencement. Like Bishop, Lawson stated that she wasn’t that excited to walk.

“My mom, she didn’t walk at her commencement because she thought she’d go back for her masters and she didn’t,” said Lawson. Lawson went on to say that her mother had concern over Lawson not walking due to the possibility of not finishing her master’s degree, which Lawson stated has a possibility of actually happening.

English major, Sadee Lightner-Martin expressed strong enthusiasm, stating, “It’s a goal I’ve been working toward since I graduated high school in 2009.”

She’s also excited that the university provides a live stream of commencement.

“[It’s] awesome,” said Lightner-Martin, “because my family back home can see me walk without physically being here.”

Plans following graduation

Lightner-Martin said that she wouldn’t be returning home to West Virginia since her wife is in the military and they haven’t found where they’ll be stationed next.

“I plan to go to Hawaii in the mean time,” said Lightner-Martin, “to escape the frozen north where I can soak up some tropical sun, stick my toes in the sand, work on my tan.”

After graduation, chemistry major Sierra Tagaban is leaving in the fall for South America. Like Lightner-Martin, she plans on taking a break before diving back into school as a graduate student.

“I’m just going to travel for a while,” she said. “I plan on going to vet school at some point. But I just want to go see some things before I have to go back to school.”

Lightner-Martin also has plans to eventually return to school for school counseling. She explained her love for working with kids stemmed from having coached middle school volleyball and softball in West Virginia.

“When thinking about what I wanted to do after graduating, I realized that I wanted to have a job that would let me work with kids,” said Lightner-Martin. “I like teaching and inspiring them, and I felt like school counseling would be a close translation from coaching.”

Jumping straight into graduate school, Bryan Bosserman, currently a geology major with a focus in paleontology, is excited to move on. Unlike the others, he doesn’t plan on walking at commencement until after he finishes his graduate degree, and described it as “the big one.”

“It’s not really a good-bye,” said Bosserman, referring to his time at the university.

Bosserman stated that he’ll be working with Mike Wayland, the associate director of the Geographical Institute, in sedimentology.

“We’re going to be doing research work mostly,” he said, talking about the graduate program. He then added that he was excited to be done with his undergraduate degree.

Unlike Bosserman who will be staying in Fairbanks, Bishop plans on leaving for Olympia, Washington, stating that he’s been planning this move since graduating high school. Throughout the Spring semester, Bishop has spent his time student teaching 7th and 8th grade students at Ryan Middle School.

“I hope to get started down there as a school substitute and also a preschool teacher,” said Bishop. “I’ve looked into some of the preschools and schools down there already.”

He continued, “I am so excited for the end of these fun six years. It has been a great time, and I have lived the college culture for so long, I don’t know how I’ll cope. I’m confident I’ll be fine though.”

Commencement will take place at Carlson Center on Saturday, May 5 at 1:20 p.m. More information regarding the 96th graduation ceremony can be found online at

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