College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Celebrating our Fall 2019 Graduates

Posted on Thursday, December 5th, 2019
Congratulations to our graduating Panthers! Below are a few of the many inspirational CSBS students graduating this semester.

jalie_bellomaJalie Belloma

Hometown: Centerville, Iowa
Major: Sociology
Minor: Criminology
Post-graduation plans: Jalie plans to utilize her degree to build a career in human services. She hopes to work in the field to build experience before returning to college to get her master’s degree in sociology and teach at the community college level.

“I have enjoyed every minute of my time spent at UNI. Each professor I have had has helped me to grow and learn new things that will stay with me forever. It has been a privilege to learn from individuals who love learning as much as I do, and who truly want you to succeed in life no matter what path you choose. I have been able to take something valuable away from each of the classes I took while attending UNI and will be much better prepared for my future because of my time spent here.”

syntesha_burtSyntesha Burt

Hometown: Waterloo, Iowa
Major: Sociology
Minor: Criminology
Post-graduation plans:  Syntesha has been offered, and is currently considering, positions with Bakari Behavioral Health and Resilience Counseling Agency. She hopes to start looking into grad school sometime next fall.

“What I enjoyed most about UNI was the experience itself. I have gained some good relationships both personally and professionally. On this campus, Dr. Belinda Creighton-Smith has influenced more than she will ever know. From the very first time I met her here on campus, she welcomed me, taught me and made sure I got all that I needed even outside of her classroom. Some others on this campus that have been helpful are Keyah Levy, Jamie Chidozie, Nick Sullivan, Allyson Rafanello, Marybeth Stalp and lastly, but one of my favorites, Allison Cox.”

danielle_dunneDanielle Dunne

Hometown: Marion, Iowa
Major: Political Science and Criminology
Minors: Politics and Law
Post-graduation plans: Danielle will be attending law school at Drake University.

“I had so many opportunities at UNI – jobs, internships and activities. Having multiple discussion-based courses really allowed me to experience and learn from other students who are different than myself. The courses I took were amazing and I would recommend them to everyone.”


james_dubbeldeJames Dubbelde

Hometown: Larchwood, Iowa
Major: Manufacturing Engineering Technology
Minor: Advanced Leadership Techniques (ROTC)
Post-graduation plans: James will be completing the Transportation Basic Officer Leaders Course at the Army Logistics College in Ft. Lee Virginia and then continuing onto graduate school in the engineering management program at UNI.

“What I enjoyed most about attending UNI was working closely with UNI faculty and staff. Being exposed to their wealth of knowledge and hearing about their unique experiences and skill sets has enriched my learning experience and has helped me excel as a student and as a person.”

sahira_garciaSahira Garcia

Hometown: Des Moines, IA
Major: Family Services
Minor: Mental Health
Post-graduation plans: Sahira is currently in the running for a position at UNI.

“The most influential people during my time at UNI have been William Henninger, Heather Kennedy, Nick Sullivan and Kristin Woods. These faculty and staff have gone above and beyond to help me in any way they can. Whether it’s just a quick conversation or advice for a soon to be professional. Not to mention they have made me feel like I do belong on UNI’s campus.”

taylor_hauserTaylor Hauser

Hometown: Clear Lake, Iowa
Major: Textiles and Apparel
Minor: Marketing
Post-graduation plans: Taylor will be working as the chief operating officer for Dhakai, a sourcing startup launched by a UNI alumnus.

“Future Panthers should choose UNI because UNI gives you the best education. The small class sizes enable you to make close relationships with both peers and faculty. I believe building relationships is essential for receiving advice and support. At UNI I have always felt at home and at ease. I have built such a great support system here and every one of my professors has pushed and believed in me. I am so thankful I chose UNI. It was definitely the best decision I’ve ever made!”

joyce_epps_hunterJoyce Hunter

Hometown: Waterloo, Iowa
Major: Family services
Minor: Gerontology
Post-graduation plans: Joyce is undecided in her post-graduation plans at this time.

“UNI allowed me to go beyond what I ever expected I could and become a college graduate, that was a dream come true. I am grateful at my age (66) to have this opportunity to be a scholar and to be able to now go out into the world and make a difference.”


Brooke Jacobsenbrooke_jacobsen

Hometown: Grimes, Iowa
Major: Psychology and Criminology
Post-graduation plans: Brooke will be pursuing a master’s degree in childhood psychology at Manchester Metro University in Manchester, England.

“There was one experience and one person that had the largest impact to me. Studying abroad gave me the motivation to further my education to pursue a more advanced professional career and Dr. Lefler has had the biggest impact on me. Her thoroughness and intentionality to prepare her students to be mental health professionals is unmatched; the preparation and confidence I feel going into my future is a direct effect of her teaching style.”

Megan megankookerKooker

Hometown: Pella, Iowa
Majors: Gerontology (Long Term Care Administration) and Social Work
Minors: Spanish and Family Studies
Post-graduation plans: Megan will be doing an internship with Friendship Village in Waterloo.

“One of my favorite experiences so far within my major has been getting to know the amazing faculty in my programs. They provide a lot of support and learning opportunities. It has been such a fun experience to get to volunteer at an adult day center with Dr. Elaine Eshbaugh.”


Lance Williamsonlance_williamson

Hometown: Fort Dodge, Iowa
Major: History Education
Minor: Special Education, Instructional Strategist II
Post-graduation plans: Lance has been hired as a special education teacher at West High School in Waterloo, starting in January 2020.

“During my time at UNI, the one thing that stood out to me was the incredible people that I was fortunate enough to meet here, both students and faculty. I have met so many great peers that were interested in the same things as me, as well as pushed me to be the best person I can be. Along with that, I greatly appreciate my professors in the history department who have challenged me in their classes and encouraged me to keep exploring my passion for history, specifically Dr. Dise and Dr. Roberts. My professors in the special education department were fantastic as well. The time and energy they put into molding me into the best teacher I can be is second to none.”