Jordin Jones ‘19 did what was necessary to earn her degree by working in USI’s Financial Aid Office, tutoring middle school and first graders, and helping USI’s Biology Department set up and tear down labs for the Botany, Principles of Biology, and Plant Systematics classes, as well as taking care of the Biology Department’s greenhouse. She received an associate degree at a community college and came to USI to major in biology, but changed to a teacher education major with a focus in biology. The switch expanded her career opportunities as she could seek positions in both medical and teaching fields. “USI really helped me figure out who I was and what I wanted in life,” she said. “The situations and hard times I dealt with during my time at USI pushed me to my absolute limits. I know that I can handle whatever life throws at me because of this.”×
Katelyn Earl always knew she wanted to be a Screaming Eagle. “I’m from Carmi, Illinois, and my family and I would always come to Evansville to go shopping, and I always used to say, ‘One day I’m going to go to USI,’” she says. After touring USI’s beautiful campus in the midst of narrowing down her college search, Katelyn knew immediately the search was over the minute she stepped onto Screaming Eagles territory. “Being able to see the campus in person and in full-bloom, and not just from the road driving in the car, really opened my eyes and showed me this is where I belong,” she says. “The Climbing Center was also a huge deciding factor for me. In Carmi, you never get to experience things like that.”
She was inspired by her father to pursue a degree in radiologic technology and imaging sciences. Her father, a Vietnam veteran, has seen his fair share of doctors’ offices, and Katelyn has always been there to support him through his battles. She noticed that some of the hospitals and doctors’ offices her father frequented were not giving the top-quality care people, especially veterans, deserved. “It pushed me to want to become a better practitioner for people like my dad, who have served our country, and for people who are not veterans,” she explains. “People in general deserve better care.”
Throughout her four years at USI, Katelyn has taken on a strenuous classwork load, and put in countless clinical hours, all while working three jobs – she works in St. Vincent’s Nuclear Medicine Department, at the RFWC’s Climbing Center and at Deaconess as an x-ray and CT aide. “I’m excited to graduate and hopefully go from three jobs to one,” she laughs.
Although going from three jobs to one will take a heavy load off her shoulders, Katelyn knows she’ll miss the busy lifestyle of being a college student. She’s even thinking about asking her boss at the Climbing Center if they’ll keep her around a little longer.×
Jacksonville, Florida resident Richard Weaver has been a student his whole life. It began with his learning the meaning of hard work from his mother, who worked two jobs in order to raise her children, and continued as he learned about sportsmanship from his high school football coaches. He learned about brotherhood as an Army medic and he learned compassion, as a licensed practical nurse, working at Jacksonville’s University Medical Center, which serves a large homeless and indigent population. “That was hard work, you not only had a high nurse/patient ratio, but you were dealing with mental health needs, drugs and AIDS. That experience really shaped me into the nurse I am today.”
After completing his RN, he believed he could do more for underserved populations by teaching other young nurses how to treat vulnerable patients. He looked at USI’s Master of Science in Nursing program, based on a recommendation from a preceptor who was enrolled. Weaver looked at the program’s website and saw that the goals and strategies aligned with his. Being ranked 28th Best Online Nursing Program according U.S. News and Word Reports convinced him USI was the perfect fit. He found mentors in Dr. Melissa Hall, Graduate Chair of Nursing Program, and Dr. C. Elizabeth Bonham, associate professor of Nursing, and was determined to not only complete his master’s but his doctorate as well. As an academic, he looks forward to working with graduate students and encouraging them to work hard and not settle for anything ordinary. “My education at USI has really been an extraordinary experience.”
2020 Spring Commencement Ceremonies Cancelled
Updated July 17, 2020
As a result of the continued increase in positive COVID-19 cases in Southern Indiana, the extension of Stage 4.5 of the Back on Track Indiana plan by Governor Eric Holcomb and following extensive consultation with local and state health officials, Spring 2020 Commencement Exercises scheduled to take place in the Screaming Eagles Arena at the University of Southern Indiana have been cancelled.
“This is not the decision I hoped to have to make. We have worked extremely hard to explore a way that we could celebrate our graduates,” said Dr. Ronald S. Rochon, USI President. “After reviewing the data that we are receiving for our county and community, and after consulting with the Indiana State Department of Health, the Vanderburgh County Health Department and our elected officials, it became apparent that, despite our best efforts, holding in-person Commencement ceremonies would not be possible without putting the health and safety of those in attendance at risk.”
Spring 2020 Commencement ceremonies, originally scheduled for Friday, May 1 and Saturday, May 2, had initially been postponed to August 14-16 due to the coronavirus pandemic. In-person ceremonies were to have been held with face coverings required and physically distanced in the Screaming Eagles Arena, which would have limited attendance to graduates, a few ticketed guests per graduate, and a small number of USI faculty and administrators.
“2020 has delivered some big challenges to date, with regard to our personal, and our nation’s health and well-being,” said Rochon. “The Class of 2020, which has been challenged in ways no one could have imagined, has worked to come together and understands that we all must serve each other. Graduates: we are humbled by your discipline, proud of your accomplishments and excited to see what you will do next to serve your family, your community, this region, our nation and the world. This pandemic cannot take away your education. You have persevered despite it.”
Members of the USI Class of 2020 will receive a commencement program and gifts from the USI Alumni Association via mail in the coming days. Diplomas will be mailed to all graduates who have submitted a diploma mailing address to the Registrar’s Office. Graduates may also arrange to pick up their diploma, as well as their diploma cover and any honor stoles and tassels, physically on campus.
Further questions about diplomas and/or transcripts, may be directed to email@example.com. Graduates may also contact the USI Campus Store regarding questions about regalia or refunds at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information about the full USI Safe Return to Campus Plan, visit USI.edu/COVID-19.
2020 Fall Commencement
The 2020 Fall Commencement ceremonies are tentatively scheduled for Saturday, December 19, 2020 in the Screaming Eagles Arena on the USI campus. This is subject to change based on timely guidance related to the coronavirus by state and federal health authorities and government officials.