The 2023 Commencement Ceremony will complete a seven-year journey for Rose Sebastian at NDMU. Sebastian first enrolled in NDMU’s 3+4 program, which allows participants to attend one fewer year of school while earning bachelor’s and Pharm.D. degrees, back in the fall of 2016. She began her pharmacy coursework three years later after earning a bachelor’s degree in biology, and she has excelled as one of the top students in Notre Dame’s School of Pharmacy during her time on campus.
A two-sport athlete who was a key performer on NDMU's soccer and lacrosse teams during runs to the CSAC tournament, Cesia Diaz also excelled academically throughout her time at Notre Dame while majoring in behavioral neuroscience.
Ashley Engles’ goal in life is simple: to be there for people who need help. She will soon have an opportunity to do that on a daily basis after graduating from NDMU’s School of Nursing later this month. Engles spent the 2022-23 academic year serving as president for NDMU’s Student Association of Nurses at Notre Dame (SANND). Her role with SANND is one of several initiatives that she has been a part of during her time as a student to support her fellow future nurses.
Brenda Rivera worked hard to emphasize the importance of earning a college degree to her three daughters. Rivera had been unable to attend in her younger years due to her family’s financial difficulties, and she wanted to give her children every opportunity to be successful. Rivera got her wish, with all three of her daughters attending and graduating from college. Later this month she will join them, fulfilling a lifelong dream by graduating from NDMU’s School of Education.
Ayana Brim was a vital contributor throughout one of the best three-year stretches in the history of NDMU’s women’s basketball program, a run which culminated in a Colonial States Athletic Conference (CSAC) Championship this winter. During that time period, she put an equal amount of energy into her efforts to become a teacher, including working full-time as a substitute teacher at her K-12 alma mater this semester.
Laura Calderon Lugo learned earlier this semester that she will be returning to her home in Puerto Rico much sooner than expected. Pharmacy residencies on the island are extremely competitive, with many of the limited opportunities typically offered to students who attend pharmacy school in Puerto Rico. The School of Pharmacy’s 2023 Class President, however, overcame those odds to earn a spot at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in San Juan beginning this fall.
Gabrielle Taganas is a two-time All-CSAC performer who has helped the volleyball program compete for championships in each of her three seasons with the Gators. Her NDMU experience, though, extends well beyond the volleyball court. Her role as president of Notre Dame's Business & Economics Society, along with affiliations with the Morrissy Honors Program and Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, helps Taganas maintain a close connection with campus life while attending Notre Dame as a commuter student.
After 10 years working in early childhood education, Marissa Vaughn was ready for a career change. She felt that she had gone as far as she could in the profession, and she was ready to try something new. That desire to shake things up led Vaughn back to a previous childhood desire to become a nurse. Fast forward four years, and she is one step closer towards achieving that goal when she graduates with honors from NDMU with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing later this month.