Graduate Success Stories

May 03, 2017

For many seniors, the end of a college career marks the start of a new chapter in life. Whether it is students from the May School of Nursing and Health Sciences, to the School of Arts, Humanities and Education, each corner of Lees-McRae has produced shining examples of what a degree from this college can do for you. Read below, and get to know each of the students chosen to represent their respective school.

School of Arts, Humanities and Education

Morgan Leigh Corbett

Hometown: Cornelius, North Carolina

Degree: English major, History minor

Post-Graduation Career Plans: I have applied for Teach for America and I hope that this will take me to new places while giving me a chance to give to people who really need it. Later down the road, I would like to attend graduate school in literature or poetry. I would really like to work in a literacy program, either overseas or in underprivileged areas in the U.S.

Hobbies: I like to draw and write poems, though I am not too great at either just yet! I also love doing anything outdoors, like hiking, swimming, river tubing, camping and anything else I can bring my dog to.

Why did you want to pursue a degree in your field?

I wanted to study literature because it made me think. I learned more life lessons, universal truths and more about myself from books and poems than anything else.

I knew that I was in the right field of study when I realized how personally invested I was in things even as seemingly menial as reading assignments. When my homework made me laugh, cry and really think hard, I knew I didn’t want to study anything else. My major, with the odd exception, has never felt like work. It has been an incredible, introspective and character-changing pursuit for me.

Anything else you would like to add?

I would like to thank Dr. Joslin. He’s taught me, not just about books and poems and photographs, but how to approach learning: with a strong sense of humor and a stronger sense of curiosity.

School of Business and Management

Darius M. Malbon

Hometown: Hickory, North Carolina

Degree: Sport Administration major, Mathematics minor

Post-Graduation Career Plans: General intern for the Hickory Crawdads minor league baseball organization and a Media Outreach Coordinator for Resurrection Church in Hickory, North Carolina. In the fall, I have the opportunity to get my master’s degree in Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Management at the University of Nottingham in England.

Why did you want to pursue a degree in your field?

I enjoy sports and want to be able to use sports in order to allow people to reach their potential. I really enjoy watching people succeed and sports are a perfect way to develop the skills and determination needed in order to succeed in their career.

May School of Nursing and Health Sciences

Thelma Tatiana Barraza

Hometown: Charlotte, North Carolina

Degree: Nursing major

Post-Graduation Career Plans: On May 12 I am headed off to Haiti with three other nursing students. We will be working in several clinics, hospitals, children nutrition programs, orphanages, and with the faculty of Nursing Science of the Episcopal University of Haiti. Upon our return, I will continue my National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) studying, take boards and begin my job. I have a position lined up at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Why did you want to pursue a degree in your field?

I wanted to serve and shape young lives for the better, and I came out with a bright light of creativity and personal understanding. I have always had an innate desire to help people and care for them in times of need, and my passion for nursing was instilled. I quickly learned in nursing school that the profession is much more than just caring for someone, but it was for certain my purpose to advocate, teach, and holistically care for others through what I ascertained.

I also knew the value I would gain from achieving my BSN, RN goal was not just about the reward of the accomplishment. The reward is not just the tangible diploma or salary, but the journey that has given me improved discipline and willpower.

Anything else you would like to add?

To any incoming students, current students and future students:

To transition to college and succeed, take control of your own education and think of yourself as a scholar. There will be a few courses that have life-long impacts on you. Mine were my First Year Seminar with Ms. Padgett and all my nursing classes. They assigned substantial amounts of reading, writing and research, which helped me critically analyze and master new subjects by applying what I have learned. This created a platform for academic, social and personal growth. It helped me establish a foundation of skills required for further development in my career.

Get involved with Lees-McRae activities and workplace! This is home away from home so you must make the best of it. Get to know your professors and take advantage of the library; they are your single greatest resources.

Stay focused, work hard and think beyond the moment. Most importantly…be proud of your alma mater.

School of Natural and Behavioral Sciences

Isauro Estrada

Hometown: Linville, North Carolina

Degree: Biology (Health Sciences) major

Why did you want to pursue a degree in your field?

I wanted to major in science because it is one of the most amazing subjects anyone can learn about. I constantly learned new information and was always left wondering and curious at the end of every class. I have a passion for learning in general; knowing that science is one of the toughest fields of study has always kept me focused on succeeding.

Anything else you would like to add?

My four years at Lees-McRae have been some of the best in my life. Every person I have met has made me a better person, from President Buxton, to my dear friends Charlie and Sherry at the Learning Commons, along with every staff member I have met during my time at Lees-McRae. Lees-McRae believed in my potential and allowed me to continue playing soccer. I will always be thankful for the great memories and education I have received.


Page Bisenieks-Robertson

Hometown: Oakland, California

Degree and Sport: Emergency Medical Services and Management major, Cycling

Post-Graduation Career Plans: I got a job opportunity to be a wildland firefighter for the next five months. The job is based out of Oregon, but we will travel wherever we are needed to fight wildfires.

Hobbies: I am a volunteer firefighter at the Banner Elk Fire Department. I am also the women’s captain on the road cycling team.

Why did you want to pursue a degree in your field?

My dad is a firefighter in Oakland, California, so my entire life I grew up running around the fire station and sliding down the fire pole. When I first came to college I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. My sophomore year I joined the Banner Elk Fire Department and just fell in love. So when the Emergency Medical Services and Management program came to Lees-McRae I was all about it. My dream job is to be a paramedic in the fire department.

Gage Temple Wozniak

Hometown: Newnan, Georgia

Degree and Sport: Business Administration, Lacrosse

Post-Graduation Career Plans: I own a clothing brand, Woz Clothing, so now I have the ability to put all of my time and resources into building it. I started Woz Clothing about three years ago during the summer of my freshman year. Now that I don’t have to worry about balancing business, lacrosse and school I can really put all my time into expanding and growing the brand.

Hobbies: I love anything outdoors which includes snowboarding, lacrosse, soccer and any other sport you can play outside.

Anything else you would like to add?

My time at Lees-McRae and in college was an amazing one. I grew tremendously in all aspects of life and wouldn’t be anywhere close to where I am now without going to college. My favorite class I took was an American literature class with a former teacher Ms. Weaver. I want to thank her for making that class fun and expanding my mind through showing me the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. I also want to say thank you to my Mama for being the most supportive person in the world and the best mom and person I know. My mom has taught me the most crucial things in life not only through words but by her actions and for that I’m forever grateful. Love you mama!

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