Lees-McRae College celebrates academic and career placement success for the class of 2015

May 18, 2015

Lees-McRae College conferred 214 degrees upon the class of 2015 in a beautiful commencement ceremony held on historic Tate Lawn. As a result of excellent career preparation and an 88% placement rate, the new graduates are embarking on a journey of endless opportunities.

Jamison Carrigan, an honors student, earned a Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude in both psychology and religious studies. Carrigan has been awarded a fellowship to begin doctoral studies at the University of Texas at Austin College of Education this fall, where he will pursue a degree in educational psychology. “I didn’t come to Lees-McRae expecting to become a school psychologist. However, because of the inspiration I received from my professors, I saw not only the viability of this career choice, but also the need for it,” said Jamison. “I am thankful to Lees-McRae for giving me an education that prepared me for graduate school.”

Also earning a dual-degree summa cum laude, Rebekah Harp, has been admitted to the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine. After earning a Bachelor of Science at Lees-McRae in both wildlife biology with a concentration in wildlife rehabilitation and biology with a concentration in pre-professional science, she plans to advance her studies and focus on wildlife and exotic animal medicine and pursue a career at a zoo or wildlife reserve. “My time here at Lees-McRae has prepared me in many different ways,” commented Rebekah. “The hands-on approach at the May Wildlife Rehabilitation Center has given me valuable knowledge of animal care and handling, as well as helped foster my love for wildlife. The one-on-one time and dedication of the professors here is really second to none.” Rebekah was an honors student and has been an active member and leader of various organizations and activities on campus. “Lees-McRae College has helped me grow not only academically, but socially and emotionally as well.”

Thomas “TJ” Trotter, earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration with a concentration in marketing and is one of the first students to graduate with the unique minor in cycling studies. TJ will be relocating to Ogden, Utah to work with the Spanish cycling component company, Rotor Components, as a customer service and sales representative. TJ is the company’s first hire within the United States. “Every company I interviewed with was very interested in my cycling minor and there is no doubt that completing the minor helped me land this job.”

Earning a Bachelor of Science summa cum laude in biology with a concentration in health sciences, former student-athlete and honors student, Rachael Nobbs, will attend the highly selective Duke University Doctorate of Physical Therapy program this fall. Her advanced studies will prepare her for career goals that include specializing in traumatic brain injuries and working in the growing field of concussion prevention and management. Rachael stated, “I believe Lees-McRae prepared me for Duke by allowing me to be involved in many groups including the honors program, women’s soccer, Order of the Tower and the Student Government Association. Lees-McRae gave me the confidence I needed to ensure a successful future.”

Student Government Association president, Sydnie Taylor, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in communication arts and design with a concentration in creative marketing. She has secured a new position as food and beverage marketing administrator at Linville Ridge Country Club in Banner Elk, N.C. After working in the restaurant at Linville Ridge during her time at Lees-McRae, Sydnie saw an opportunity to revamp the menus at all three of their dining venues. The news of Sydnie’s interest in helping with the project quickly reached both the director of food and beverage and the general manager of Linville Ridge. After presenting her menu ideas to a team of core staff and serving for three months on a contract basis, Sydnie was offered a full-time position with the company. In addition to menu design, Sydnie will be creating, printing and distributing in-house event advertisements and assisting her leaders with a variety of projects. “Working with Linville Ridge over the course of the year has been rewarding and beneficial not only for my personal growth but also my professional growth,” said Sydnie.  “It’s so surreal putting the classroom skills I’ve acquired over the past four years at Lees-McRae College into action in the professional world.”

Graduating magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in musical theatre, Anna Ashburn will share her talents by performing with the company, Unto These Hills, located in Cherokee, N.C. Reflecting on her new career opportunities, Anna shared, “I really want current students to remember how imperative it is to make positive and lasting relationships with their professors and other contacts. A huge advantage at Lees-McRae College was that I was able to get the stage experience that I needed to kick off my career. Talent and hard work are invaluable but these qualities will only get you so far. After that, it is up to your reputation and your references to speak on your behalf.”

Emphasizing the College’s mission to educate and inspire students to approach life and work from a creative, collaborative, and critical perspective in preparation for diverse careers and environments, Lees-McRae students are involved in career preparation from the start. Students complete a core curriculum which allows for exploration of a variety of major and minor degree options and corresponding career opportunities. As part of this core curriculum, a seminar series is completed throughout all four years at the College. The sophomore seminar, titled Career and Life Planning, is a course designed to introduce students to the principles and strategies used to engage in thoughtful and purposeful planning for a fulfilling life and career. Topics covered in the course include self-interest inventory and assessment, resume writing, interview skills and life beyond college. In addition to these courses, the Robb Center for Career Exploration provides centralized resources for students seeking guidance on obtaining internships and jobs by providing resume and cover letter assistance, interview preparation, speaker seminars, formal dinner, an annual career symposium and more. It is because of this unique career preparation model that Lees-McRae boasts an 88% placement rate for students within six months of graduation.

To learn more about career preparation at Lees-McRae College and additional student success stories, visit lmc.edu/careerservices

Media Contact:

Nina Mastandrea  |  Content Manager
Tel: 828.898.8729  |  Email: mastandrean@lmc.edu
Jamison Carrigan
Rebekah Harp
Thomas "TJ" Trotter
Rachael Nobbs
Sydnie Taylor
Anna Ashburn