Senior Plans After Graduation
Hardin-Simmons gives students high-quality education to prepare them for life after college. As our seniors prepare for graduation on Dec. 14, they look forward to careers and graduate programs.
Alex Gonzalez is majoring in business administration and minoring in Spanish. After graduation, she will be the Clinical Coordinator at Abilene Regional Medical Center.
“It was the teachers who encouraged me as a whole,” she said. “Dr. Reynolds gave me a lot of life lessons. Dr. Pogue always brings God into her lectures, and that was what I loved about her. I will use Dr. Davis’ business communication and management classes in my career. He taught me how to proofread emails and conduct phone interviews. Alyssa Rasco also let me know about great job opportunities.”
Gonzalez said some of her best memories were participating in the club tennis team and going to events on campus.
“Special events like Sophomore Ring Dunk, De-Stress Fest, and the Christmas Lighting made HSU more than a regular college,” she said. “There were things planned every single week as an undergrad. Little events like these make us a family-oriented community.”
Daniel Ooi is an English language arts and reading (7-12) major and honors minor. After graduation, he plans to be an English teacher for Abilene ISD.
“I get to watch teachers lead and cheer students on and battle apathy day after day. What other majors get to watch their professionals in action every day? The professors in the English and Education departments inspire me with their compassion, humor, and dedication…If there is one way HSU has prepared me to be a teacher, it is by surrounding me with exemplary educators who fight students for the students’ own sake, who know that despite our objections, we students want to be enlightened; we want to be woken up.”
Ooi’s favorite memory from HSU is International Week. At chapel, the country of each international student was represented as they carried the flags of their countries down the aisle and onto the stage.
“Against the rainbow of countries, the worship team sang “How Great is Our God” in English, Mandarin, and Indonesian, and when I felt that lump well up in my throat, I knew that HSU—faculty, staff, and students—believed every tongue and color under the sky were made by God and it was good.”
Madison Houston is a psychology major and leadership minor. In the spring, she will be a substitute teacher, and in the fall, she will attend Dallas Baptist University to pursue her master’s in global leadership.
“HSU has prepared me for this by giving me the skills to adapt to new situations,” she said. “I learned in moving to HSU how to be resilient in situations that I am not familiar with. I was also provided a very solid support system that helped me learn and grow in difficult situations. As a psychology major, I have been equipped with critical information that I can use in everyday life to best love and take care of people. Because of Hardin-Simmons, I feel that I will be successful in the world.”
Houston’s favorite memories are participating in All-School SING and Stampede. She says both of these experiences made HSU home for her.
Emilio Tolentino is an art major. This summer he interned with HV Chapman & Sons bookbinding company and hopes to get more experience with them before moving to the metroplex or Austin to work in graphic design.
“My graphic design courses with Mike Jones prepared me very well,” he said. “His classes have taught me to be on time with everything to meet certain standards. He taught me to set small, daily goals when working on a big project.”
While attending HSU, Tolentino was the assistant layout editor for The Brand student newspaper. He says that experience also helped him to be organized and practice his skills.
Tolentino’s favorite memories from HSU involve being a part of the Kappa Pi art society. He served as the group’s secretary last year, and this year he is serving as president. He fondly remembers their parties, day trips, and laughs they have shared.
“The people I met in the art department are people I feel like I’ll be connected to for life,” he said.
Katelyn Thompson is an English major and legal studies minor. After graduation, she will be moving to Orlando, Florida to work at Walt Disney World as part of the Disney College Program internship. Afterward, she will go to grad school for English or psychology.
“Hardin-Simmons has been nurturing a love for academics in me since the first day I stepped into a classroom,” she said. “The professors in my department have been incredibly encouraging, and they have supported me in every possible way as I’ve tried to become a student who can excel in graduate school. Hardin-Simmons allowed me to take a graduate-level English class this semester, which has given me a glimpse into the structure and requirements…I know that any way I excel after graduation, in graduate school or in a career, will be because of the support I received at HSU.”
While Thompson has many wonderful memories from her time at HSU, she most enjoyed nights studying at the library.
“Spending time with friends while studying is encouraging (though occasionally distracting), and I’ve also spent quite a few nights there working in the Writing Center, getting to help students write better papers and bond with my fellow tutors,” she said.
Zachary Cave graduated from HSU in 2016, majoring in psychology and minoring in philosophy. In December, he will graduate with his master’s in clinical counseling and marriage and family therapy. He is currently working at Serenity House, teaching at-risk students about coping skills, positive role models, and the risks of narcotics. Cave says he tries to be an educator as well as foster open conversations with students.
After graduation, Cave will begin working on his Licensed Professional Counselor Intern license. The will continue working at the Serenity House, gaining the 3,000 hours of experience the license requires.
“I want to use art therapy, sand tray therapy, and other creative methods,” he said. “I also want to connect with the parents and work with them, connecting them with resources…Half of therapy is working with parents.”
Cave says his experiences at HSU have given him many experiences and helped him establish networking connections. His favorite memories are participating in the Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity.
“We always had really fun fellowship events,” he said. “At our Christmas parties, we always gave silly gifts…I still have a pair of socks with UFO’s abducting dinosaurs.”
Laurie Miller is majoring in communication and minoring in leadership. She will get married later this month and plans to attend graduate school to study human rights law to be a legal and social advocate for the rights of refugees and immigrants.
“The experiences I have had at HSU have molded my passions and pursuits,” she said. “The diversity of viewpoints and backgrounds which I have interacted with have widened my views and appreciation for cultural diversity.”
Miller says her best experiences at HSU have been the connections she has made with the faculty, staff, and students on campus.
“The friendships that have grown, the mentors that have invested in my life, the many people who care deeply for me and I for them, those are the memories I treasure most and the ones that will follow me throughout my life,” she said.