By Kidest Ketema, Class of 2019
Marketing Department Intern
The Class of 2019 eagerly awaits walking across the stage at Commencement on Sunday! After studying four years in classes, pulling all-nighters for exams, and spending hours to finish a 15-page paper, we should be proud of everything we have accomplished and will accomplish in the next chapter of our lives. After all of this hard work, every student has a story to share about what led them to the degree they are earning. In light of that, we introduce you to two outstanding 2019 Cottey graduates.
Melanie Dillon of Kent, Washington, is earning her bachelor of science degree in biology. Melanie has accomplished much at her time at Cottey. She is involved in the Student Government Association (SGA) and served as president two-and-a-half years and treasurer one year. Melanie won the SGA leadership award in 2016 and 2017. She was recognized as Freshman of the Year, a scholar-athlete on the volleyball team, and a top 10 GPA associate student. She is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, Sigma Kappa Delta, Alpha Chi and Golden Key honor societies. She also is a member of Women in Science and Engineering, the Louisiana Suite chair, a P.E.O., a biology research student, an opportunity scholarship recipient as well as summer research grant recipient. After graduation, she will return to Seattle and look for a research position at a biotech company. She plans to continue her education by obtaining her Ph.D. in biochemistry or molecular biology after some time off.
La Min Thiri, an international student from Myanmar, will graduate with her bachelor of arts degree in international business. La Min has been on the Cottey College President’s List for four consecutive years. Students who are included in this list earn a grade-point-average of 3.75, which she has been able to accomplish each of her years in college. She is also part of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society, for which she was secretary in 2016. In addition, she was the Ohio Suite chair for the year 2018- 2019.
We asked Melanie and La Min a few questions about their overall college experience and exciting journey to the finish line.
What have you discovered about yourself in college?
Melanie: “I have discovered that I can be a very outgoing person and am willing to take more risk than I initially gave myself credit. I also realized that I have high ambitions that I am not willing to give up.”
La Min: “That I could be a strong, independent women and that every mistake I make will be my own responsibility. I was able to grow as a person and Cottey empowered me to find myself as a woman and a feminist.”
What inspires you?
Melanie: “I am most inspired by those who have worked so hard to get where they are. I come from a middle class, white family and haven't had to face the adversity that others my age have, so I admire them and find myself wanting to help others to do what I see others do.”
La Min: “I was inspired and my mind was blown by meeting different people and cultures through study abroad and the spring break international trip. I was able to experience a variety of food and what it is like to travel to several countries. It has opened up my eyes to a whole different environment!”
Describe your senior year in three words
Melanie: “Dying but worthwhile.”
La Min: “Excited, emotional and nostalgic.”
What will you always remember about Cottey?
Melanie: “I will always remember the friends I have made here. They are some of my best friends and will always support me no matter how hard things get or how far away we are from each other.”
La Min: “I will always remember the symbols that represent Cottey: daisies and ducks. Moreover, I will remember it as a place that provided me with sisters that will be part of my life forever.”
Which was your favorite event/tradition, and why?
Melanie: “I really enjoyed the serenades. It was always a fun time to get together with friends and sing goofy songs. Even though it was definitely cheesy, I loved doing them with my friends.”
La Min: “I was never involved in traditions but I enjoyed one tradition during which I watched my former Moroccan roommate belly dance as it represented her tradition and culture.”
What was the most meaningful assignment a teacher ever had you do?
Melanie: “When I had to write a grant for Molecular Mechanisms of Disease. It really opened my eyes to how hard I can work and what kind of work I want to do in the future.”
La Min: “One of most meaningful assignment was in my Personal Finance class where the professor asked us to keep track of our expenses for a month and discuss it in class to see how much one spends per month. I learned that I spend a lot monthly and the assignment taught me to be cautious and to practice budgeting.”
Finish this sentence: “In 20 years, I’m going to be…”
Melanie: “I will be living with my own house in Washington State and working as the head researcher or a major biotech research firm.”
La Min: “A businesswoman and philanthropist in Myanmar.”
What dreams do you have for the world of tomorrow?
Melanie: “My dream is that no one has to suffer—that everyone can have equal opportunity to a healthy life, education and opportunity.”
La Min: “To provide them with a sustainable environment where future generations can experience and see the same or better things than we currently do.”
What is the best advice you can give as a senior?
Melanie: “The best advice that I can give is to not hold back. If you hold back, you might regret it in the future.”
La Min: “The best thing is not to stress out on little matters and try to pick the things that are important to you (family, friends, etc.). Your happiness is important and sometimes you have to let life lead you and it should not always be the other way around.”
Cottey friends, I am happy to have been alongside with you in your journey. I would like to wish you the best going forward. There is no doubt in my mind that you are the creators of the incredible futures, where you can do anything with you skills and knowledge. Congratulations, Class of 2019!