Lake Superior State University Celebrates the Exceptional Achievements and Inspirational Journeys of the Graduating Class of 2023-2024

Contact: Sheridan Worth, Director of Marketing at Lake Superior State University, , 906-635-2689

(Top row: Emilee McDaniel, Artsiom Barshchou, Jenna Fleming | Bottom row: Drew Hulse, Emma David, Scott Smith – Photo capturing a handful of diverse talents from the Graduating Class of 2023-2024)

(Sault Ste. Marie, MI)  – Lake Superior State University (LSSU) proudly celebrates the achievements of all 2023-2024 graduates, each representing an extraordinary journey and valuable contributions to their respective fields. As a distinguished institution dedicated to fostering innovation-driven, transformative education, we prioritize preparing our graduates with the knowledge and practical skills needed for meaningful careers. 

Embedded within our mission at LSSU is a profound commitment to enriching the quality of life within the Great Lakes region and beyond. We firmly believe in the transformative power of identifying potential, fostering success, and propelling social mobility for all our students. By empowering our students academically, ethically, and socially, we cultivate a community where they can thrive personally and professionally.

As we eagerly anticipate the approaching commencement season, we are excited to shine a spotlight on a group of students and their unique stories, each serving as a testament to the diverse paths and remarkable achievements of our LSSU community.

Emilee McDaniel: Graduating Student Speaker and Academic Advocate

Emilee McDaniel, graduating student speaker for the 2023-2024 commencement ceremony, chose Lake Superior State University for its reminiscent feel of home and the tight-knit community, which fosters close relationships with professors and abundant undergraduate opportunities. 

Her time at Lake Superior State University has been filled with notable experiences, such as completing a fulfilling senior thesis that required interdisciplinary knowledge and collaboration. Her involvement in volleyball outside of academics has helped her develop leadership and communication skills, along with fostering lasting friendships. Throughout her academic journey, Dr. Li served as a significant mentor, guiding Emilee’s academic and career pursuits, particularly in veterinary studies. Emilee encourages incoming students to seize research and extracurricular opportunities, leveraging the unique experiences LSSU offers. “Take advantage of the labs and research opportunities you have available to you at LSSU,” said Emilee. “Many other universities do not provide undergraduates with the experiences we have here.” LSSU prepared Emilee well for veterinary studies, providing a robust foundation in biology and chemistry fundamentals. 

Currently placed on the waitlist for Michigan State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, Emilee is gaining practical experience at a local veterinary clinic while coaching volleyball, planning to continue these activities while awaiting further opportunities.

Artsiom Barshchou: Balancing Athletics and Academics

Artsiom Barshchou accepted his offer to LSSU primarily for its Division I hockey program, a decision that has been very rewarding. Winning the WCHA title in his first year was a standout moment, marking a significant achievement for both the team and the community. His academic pursuits and extracurricular activities have been instrumental in his personal and professional growth, providing him with valuable skills and experiences. Barshchou credits faculty members Dr. Ralf Wilhelms, Interim Dean Mindy McCready, Professor Robert Boston, and Professor Marta Diaz for their support and outstanding teaching. “I’ve gained knowledge and discipline through academics, while extracurriculars have honed my leadership, teamwork, and networking skills,” Barshchou claims. His advice for incoming students includes embracing opportunities, utilizing resources, and enjoying the unique experiences the university offers. 

LSSU has equipped Barshchou with the knowledge, skills, and confidence necessary for his future career or further studies. Barshchou has plans to assess future opportunities as the hockey season concludes, considering options such as continuing in the NCAA or pursuing a professional contract.

Jenna Fleming: A Testament to Personalized Education

Jenna Fleming gravitated towards LSSU for its small class sizes, personalized attention from faculty, and its proximity to her home in Canada. She highlights memorable experiences from her time at LSSU, particularly in Track and Field, where she represented the university at the championship. Joining the Kinesiology club and participating in extracurricular activities has shaped her personal and professional growth, instilling leadership skills and teamwork. Jenna acknowledges the faculty and mentors at LSSU for their significant role in her journey, providing guidance academically and personally. “I look up to each and every one as mentors and guides in different aspects of my academics and personal life. From navigating coursework to advice on personal challenges, or just lending an ear to hear me out, I respect and trust their guidance to help me gain perspective and grow,” said Jenna. 

Her advice to incoming students emphasizes involvement in clubs and building relationships with professors and peers. LSSU has prepared Jenna for future endeavors through academic knowledge, personal growth, and practical skills applicable to her desired career path in sports administration. Post-graduation, Jenna plans to enter the workforce in sports administration, potentially pursuing further education while remaining dedicated to volunteering within athletics.

Drew Hulse: Hands on Experiences for Future Success

Drew Hulse reflects on his academic journey, which began with a pivotal moment during his senior year of high school when he attended a college fair at South Western Michigan University. There, he engaged with a representative from LSSU who enthusiastically praised the university’s outstanding engineering programs. Drew’s immediate interest led him to visit the campus within a week, where he felt a sense of familiarity akin to the small town of Constantine, Michigan, where he grew up. Throughout his time at LSSU, Drew immersed himself in various roles such as Residential Success Coach, math and engineering tutor, and Robotics Lab assistant, fostering strong bonds with his peers and faculty. He attributes much of his success to the supportive environment and the guidance of professors like Professor Devaprasad, who provided invaluable opportunities in the robotics field. “It is crazy to see just how many graduates speak so highly of how well they were prepared for their careers. I spoke to several companies while here and most were aware that graduates from LSSU are great with their hands and know how to get the job done, in comparison to most schools who teach more theoretically,” Drew emphasized. 

Drew’s journey highlights LSSU’s effectiveness in equipping students for prosperous careers, a point exemplified by Drew securing the position of Automation Engineer at Hyperion Automation after graduation.

Emma David: Nurturing Personal and Professional Growth

Emma David’s journey at Lake Superior State University (LSSU) was driven by a desire for a more personalized academic experience. Choosing LSSU meant stepping away from her home state of Wisconsin to immerse herself in a smaller, more intimate educational environment where she could forge close relationships with her professors. These relationships, characterized by meaningful interactions and mentorship, became a cornerstone of her academic journey.

Recognizing the value of holistic development, she actively engaged in a diverse range of extracurricular activities. These included involvement in prominent organizations such as the Psychology Club, PSI CHI, Cannabis Studies Club, and Student Government. Through these engagements, Emma not only expanded her horizons but also honed her leadership and networking skills, laying down a robust foundation for her future endeavors.Emma credits her involvement in these extracurriculars for providing her with a multifaceted perspective on campus life, fostering new friendships, and enhancing her professional portfolio. Reflecting on her experiences, she remarked, “These activities gave me a new perspective of student life and campus involvement. Whether it be creating new friendships or adding to my resume, my time in these organizations has already begun benefiting me.”

Emma emphasized the transformative impact of LSSU’s academic curriculum and supportive environment on her career trajectory. Her role as a Forensic Interviewer for Bay Mills Social Services stands as a testament to the practical skills and knowledge she acquired during her time at LSSU. Looking ahead, Emma envisions pursuing graduate studies in Experimental Psychology and Neuroscience, with aspirations to delve into the realm of Psychopharmacology research.

Scott Smith: Breaking Barriers in Academia 

Scott Smith, a dedicated Laker fan and longtime resident of the area, reflects on his remarkable journey at LSSU with a sense of pride. Scott’s determination and the unwavering support of his peers, faculty, and staff enabled him to excel academically. Transitioning smoothly into a career in the campus IT department, Scott expresses deep gratitude for the mentorship and learning opportunities provided by his colleagues, particularly highlighting the invaluable guidance of Julie Hober and Dr. Evan Schemm. 

Beyond the technical skills acquired in the classroom, Scott emphasizes the profound impact of LSSU’s educators in fostering critical thinking and personal growth, likening their influence to upgrading his own. “My advice for incoming students is to get involved in your education,” Scott shared. “Do not remain passive to the learning experience.  Engage with your classes, ask questions, seek out tutors and mentors. This is where you’re going to grow the most, this is the time to get involved.”

Lake Superior State University Annual Commencement Ceremony

Lake Superior State University eagerly anticipates celebrating the academic achievements of our graduating students at the upcoming commencement ceremony. Scheduled for Saturday, May 4, 2024, this ceremony marks a significant milestone to honor the dedication, hard work, and perseverance demonstrated by our students throughout their academic journey with us.

As they prepare to receive their degrees, our graduating students carry with them a wealth of academic experiences, from rigorous coursework to insightful research endeavors, that have contributed to their intellectual and professional development. This ceremony not only celebrates their individual academic accomplishments but also recognizes their collective contributions to the academic excellence of Lake Superior State University.

To learn more about Lake Superior State University’s commencement ceremony, including details on location, cap and gowns, guests, and other questions, please visit the LSSU Commencement Ceremony website.