CDE 2020 Graduates A-G

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Ahmed Abdelgadir

Photo of Ahmed Abdelgadir

Hometown: Khartoum, Sudan

Degree: Pharm.D.

Major: Pharmacy

Future Plans: Clinical Pharmacist

UI Experience in Three Words: Diversity, excellence, leadership

My Greatest Achievement: My graduation with a Pharm.D. degree, coupled with my transition to the United States, I have gained the skills of adapting to new cultures, environments, and perseverance.

Gustavo Aguilera

Portrait of Gustavo Aguilera.

Hometown: Davenport, IA

Degree: Bachelor of Science

Major: Neuroscience with a minor in Psychology

Future Plans: Working with Scribeamerica and pursue a master’s degree.

UI Experience in Three Words: Exciting, unforgettable, life-changing

My Greatest Achievement: Being a member of the UI Marching Band, and getting hospital workers to work by driving CAMBUS during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Olumayokun Akinbo

Portrait of Olumayokun Akinbo.

Hometown: Brownsburg, IN

Degree: Bachelor of Science

Major: Biochemistry

Future Plans: Pursuing a PhD in immunology at the University of Iowa.

UI Experience in Three Words: Exciting, fulfilling, memorable

My Greatest Achievement: I think that my greatest achievement from the past 4 years is that throughout every adversity I faced, I was able to persevere, learn from it, and adapt for the future.

Oluwatayo Akinbo

Portrait of Oluwatayo Akinbo.

Hometown: Indianapolis, IN

Degree: Bachelor of Science

Major: Human Physiology

Future Plans: Nursing school.

UI Experience in Three Words: At Iowa I grew, overcame, and learned.

My Greatest Achievement: My greatest achievements at Iowa include finding and creating my own communities and overcoming personal and academic challenges and succeeding.

Srilekhya Akkina

Portrait of Srilekhya Akkina.

Hometown: Waukee, IA

Degree: Bachelor of Business Administration

Major: Management

Future Plans: Undecided, but have job offers from Keyot and Transamerica.

UI Experience in Three Words: Unique, vitalizing, festive

My Greatest Achievement: My greatest achievement while at the University of Iowa has been building relationships with my peers, creating an everlasting network, and making an impact on many students.

Tartil Ali

Portrait of Tartil Ali.

Hometown: West Des Moines, IA

Degree: Bachelor of Arts

Major: Psychology

UI Experience in Three Words: Eye-opening, encouraging, life-changing

My Greatest Achievement: My involvement on campus and striving to make a difference.

Vanessa Alizo

Photo of Vanessa Alizo

Hometown: Venezuela

Degree: Bachelor of Science

Major: Neuroscience with a minor in Psychology

Future Plans: Pursuing my PhD at the University of California Irvine for Neuroscience.

UI Experience in Three Words: Amazing programs for minorities to become involved with science (LSAMP and IBA).

My Greatest Achievement: Completing my undergraduate education after being out of school for 4 years.

Jean Almonor

Photo of Jean Almonor

Hometown: Coralville, IA

Degree: Bachelor of Science in Engineering

Major: Electrical Engineering

Future Plans: Work/have my own company in the future.

UI Experience in Three Words: Positivity, perseverance, and patience

My Greatest Achievement: My experience in Iowa have thought me the ability to break Achilles heel and to become a conqueror; furthermore, to have more determination to achieve concrete goals in life.

Mona Alsheikh

Portrait of Mona Alsheikh

Hometown: Khartoum, Sudan

Degree: PharmD

Major: Pharmacy

Future Plans: Work as a clinical pharmacist.

UI Experience in Three Words: It is great to be a hawkeye!

My Greatest Achievement: The greatest achievement at the University of Iowa was interacting and working with the UI Mobile clinic team to help underserved populations in and around Iowa City.

Sonia Anand

Photo of Sonia Anand

Hometown: Atlanta, GA

Degree: PhD

Major: Epidemiology

Future Plans: Working in industry.

UI Experience in Three Words: Collaborative, supportive, challenging

My Greatest Achievement: My greatest achievement while at the University of Iowa is receiving grant funding from the National Cancer Institute for my dissertation research.

Ariana Arias

Portrait of Ariana Arias.

Hometown: Joliet, IL

Degree: Bachelor of Arts

Major: Criminology

Future Plans: Work as a prison counselor.

UI Experience in Three Words: Incomparable, blissful, and inspiring

My Greatest Achievement: My greatest achievement is making it to graduation. I'm the first of my family to graduate with a bachelor degree and making it this far is so fulfilling.

Paul Arnal

Photo of Paul Arnal

Hometown: Excelsior, MN

Degree: Bachelor of Science

Major: Integrative Biology

Future Plans: Dental School

UI Experience in Three Words: Community, friendships, respect

My Greatest Achievement: By challenging myself each semester with tougher and tougher schedules and commitments, I have learned how boundless my potential is for success.

Jessica Arteaga

Portrait of Jessica Arteaga.

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Degree: Bachelor of Arts

Major: Psychology

Future Plans: Find a job in Chicago in the mental health field and after a year apply to grad school.

UI Experience in Three Words: Friendship, memories, journey

My Greatest Achievement: My greatest achievement would be making it on the Dean's List after putting in hard work that semester.

Catia Atienza

Portrait of Catia Atienza.

Hometown: Maquoketa, IA

Degree: Bachelor of Arts

Major: Interdepartmental Studies

Future Plans: Attend UI College of Dentistry.

UI Experience in Three Words: Self-reflective, individualized, refreshing

My Greatest Achievement: At the University of Iowa I was able to meet lifelong friends from all walks of life. These people have each individually impacted the person I am today, and that is my greatest achievement.

Moala Bannavti

Photo of Moala Bannavti

Hometown: North Plainfield, NJ

Degree: Master of Science (non-thesis)

Major: Civil and Environmental Engineering

Future Plans: Continuing with my PhD here at UI in Civil and Environmental Engineering.

UI Experience in Three Words: Great people, loving staff and faculty, rigorous program

My Greatest Achievement: I am working on publishing my first paper. I became the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Chair of Graduate and Professional Student Government.

Madhuri Belkale

Portrait of Madhuri Belkale.

Hometown: Plano, TX

Degree: Bachelor of Science

Major: Psychology and Political Science

Future Plans: I will be pursuing my J.D. at Columbia Law School in New York and continuing a career of advocacy.

UI Experience in Three Words: Enriching, eye-opening, community-building

My Greatest Achievement: I have served as a mentor in several communities on campus. I am especially proud of the incredible advocacy and work I see each of these students go on to do!

Nora Bensellam

Photo of Nora Bensellam

Hometown: Ames, IA

Degree: Bachelor of Arts

Major: Enterprise Leadership

Future Plans: I plan to become a physician.

UI Experience in Three Words: Happiness, excitement, love

My Greatest Achievement: My greatest achievement at the University of Iowa was learning to believe in myself and learning to never give up.

Ricardo Betancourt

Photo of Ricardo Betancourt

Hometown: Highland Park, IL

Degree: Bachelor of Arts

Major: Criminology, Law & Justice

Future Plans: Chicago police officer.

UI Experience in Three Words: Achievement, greatness, and love

My Greatest Achievement: At the University of Iowa, I was able to step out my comfort zone and grow as an individual. I have learn to adapt to change, and accept diversity.

Ash Beteta

Photo of Ash Beteta

Hometown: Topeka, KS

Degree: Bachelor of Arts

Major: Anthropology, Spanish minor, Latina/o Studies minor

Future Plans: I will be applying to graduate schools and working.

UI Experience in Three Words: Beautiful, expanding, connections

My Greatest Achievement: I'd consider my greatest achievement to be studying abroad in Chile; going abroad has been a goal of mine for years and it was such an incredible experience!

Anamar Blanes Díaz

Portrait of Anamar Blanes Díaz.

Hometown: Carolina, Puerto Rico

Degree: Bachelor of Science

Major: Chemistry

Future Plans: Attend graduate school at Georgetown University.

UI Experience in Three Words: Enriching, entertaining, and fulfilling

My Greatest Achievement: My greatest achievement while at the University of Iowa has been being a coauthor on research manuscripts.

Jerilyn Cabrera

Portrait of Jerilyn Cabrera.

Hometown: Marshalltown, IA

Degree: Bachelor of Arts

Major: Criminology/Sociology

Future Plans: Attend law school.

UI Experience in Three Words: Successful, unbeatable, delightful

My Greatest Achievement: My greatest achievement while at the University of Iowa was building amazing connections and life-long relationships with my peers and professors.

James R. Caldwell II

Person sitting in car wearing yellow shirt. Neutral facial expression.

Hometown: Dayton, Ohio

Degree: Bachelor of Arts

Major: Communication

Future Plans: Continue to teach.

UI Experience in Three Words: Unforgettable, exciting, met great people

My Greatest Achievement: Obtaining my degree after 40 years at age 66.

Erick James Calma

Portrait of Erick James Calma.

Hometown: Joliet, IL

Degree: Bachelor of Science in Engineering

Major: Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Mathematics

Future Plans: Going into industry to work in engineering design/consulting.

UI Experience in Three Words: Initiative, relationships, daring

My Greatest Achievement: My greatest achievement at the University of Iowa was my election as the president of the professional engineering fraternity, Theta Tau.

Sarah Carmona

Photo of Sarah Carmona

Hometown: Rye Brook, NY

Degree: Bachelor of Arts

Major: Double in Political Science and Ethics & Public Policy

Future Plans: Move back to NY to pursue a career in public policy.

UI Experience in Three Words: Rewarding, fun, special

My Greatest Achievement: My greatest achievement while at the University of Iowa is confidence I have gained in myself and my abilities.

Joao Castro

Portrait of Joao Castro.

Hometown: Rio de Janeiro

Degree: Bachelor of Arts

Major: Political Science

Future Plans: Travel somewhere.

UI Experience in Three Words: Approachable, welcoming, mentor

My Greatest Achievement: I don't have a single greatest achievement. Challenging myself, turning losses into victories, and learning from my mistakes are my achievements.

Cameron Chen

Portrait of Cameron Chen.

Hometown: Burlingame, CA

Degree: Master of Science

Major: Computer Science

UI Experience in Three Words: Challenging, growth, independent

My Greatest Achievement: I participated in some PhD level courses and worked on interesting projects.

Kevin Chiang

Portrait of Kevin Chiang.

Hometown: San Jose, CA

Degree: Bachelor of Science; PharmD

Major: Biochemistry

Future Plans: Infectious diseases pharmacy.

UI Experience in Three Words: Adventurous, surprising, transformative

My Greatest Achievement: One of my greatest achievements while at the University of Iowa is networking and understanding people. Second, personal growth. Lastly, obtaining my PharmD would be among the three.

Jheison Chinchilla

A portrait of Jheison Chinchilla.

Hometown: Storm Lake, IA

Degree: Bachelor of Science

Major: Biology

Future Plans: Gain work experience and attend grad school eventually.

UI Experience in Three Words: Once-in-a-lifetime experience, remarkable, joyful

My Greatest Achievement: Obtaining a degree in biology and a minor in environmental science, despite the hardships I went through as a first-gen student. Also, help bring Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity, Inc. to campus.

Devonte Chism

Portrait of Devonte Chism.

Hometown: Waukee, IA

Degree: Bachelor of Arts

Major: Global Health Studies

Future Plans: Currently pursuing an opportunity to teach ESL in South Korea.

UI Experience in Three Words: Growth/development, achievement, support system

My Greatest Achievement: Thankfully the university has helped me garner multiple achievements, but my greatest one thus far is certainly graduating from college as a first generation student who planted their own footsteps.

Simone Clemmons

Portrait of Simone Clemmons

Hometown: South Holland, IL

Degree: Bachelor of Arts

Major: Health & Human Physiology

UI Experience in Three Words: Rewarding, encouraging, exciting

My Greatest Achievement: "Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world." – Harriet Tubman

Asjah Coleman

Portrait of Asjah Coleman.

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Degree: Bachelor of Arts

Major: Health & Human Physiology, Pre-Med

Future plans: I will be taking a gap year to prepare and study for the MCAT in which I will then go on to apply for medical school.

UI Experience in Three Words: Humbling, tenacious, and fruitful

My Greatest Achievement: My greatest achievement while at the University of Iowa was participating and being the president of the Summer Health Professionals Education Program and creating a future for my career in medicine.

Andrea Courtney

Photo of Andrea Courtney

Hometown: Burlington, IA

Degree: Masters of Arts

Major: Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Future Plans: Specialize in providing psychotherapy to people with disabilities and chronic illnesses.

UI Experience in Three Words: Challenging. Empowering. Fleeting.

My Greatest Achievement: My greatest achievement at the University of Iowa has been actively participating in the initiative and overall activism to relocate the Student Disability Services office.

Daisy Cruz

Portrait of Daisy Cruz.

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Degree: Juris Doctor

Future Plans: Attorney at California Rural Legal Assistance

UI Experience in Three Words: Community, knowledge, resilience

My Greatest Achievement: Being elected and serving as Editor in Chief of the Journal of Gender, Race & Justice. Working in the Legal Clinic representing low-income Iowans.

Shemaa Dafalla

Portrait of Sheema Dafalla.

Hometown: Dubuque, IA

Degree: Bachelor of Science

Major: Global Health Studies, Pre-Medicine Track

Future Plans: Attend medical school.

UI Experience in Three Words: Bold, eventful, rewarding

My Greatest Achievement: Being a Resident Assistant to 120+ residents. Helping them navigate their first year and supporting them through their highs and lows is something I will always be proud of doing.

Alda Dansou

Photo of Alda Dansou

Hometown: Muscatine, IA

Degree: Bachelor of Arts

Major: Public Health

Future Plans: To participate in the AmeriCorps Vista program for a year and then attend graduate school for an MPH in Community and Behavioral health.

UI Experience in Three Words: Gratifying, enthusing, dynamic

My Greatest Achievement: I was able to find a major that I am passionate about. Being PH has challenged my skeptic mindset and has given me confidence and faith that I too am capable of bringing about positive social change.

Jazmine Davis

Portrait of Jazmine Davis.

Hometown: Streamwood, IL

Degree: Bachelor of Arts

Major: Psychology with a minor in Spanish

Future Plans: I will be attending UNLV in the fall to earn my MSW.

UI Experience in Three Words: Exhilarating, opportunistic, inspiring

My Greatest Achievement: Learning to challenge and push myself beyond my comfort zone. I’ve used my experiences to discover who I am and what I can accomplish, and I’m excited for what the future will offer me.

Mariama Diallo

Portrait of Mariama Diallo.

Hometown: Iowa City, IA

Degree: Bachelor of Science in Engineering

Major: Chemical Engineering with a minor in Chemistry

Future Plans: Working in a manufacturing industry.

UI Experience in Three Words: Growth, innovative, challenging

My Greatest Achievement: Getting inducted into the chemical engineering honor society, Omega Chi Epsilon.

Yeabsira Doornink

Photo of Yabby Doornink

Hometown: Sioux Center, IA

Degree: Master of Social Work

Future Plans: Social worker at area education agency or therapist.

UI Experience in Three Words: Community, diligent, encouragement

My Greatest Achievement: Being able to complete my education while being a mom, a wife and working.

Charlsie Dougherty

Portrait of Charlsie Dougherty.

Hometown: Stuart, IA

Degree: Bachelor of Liberal Studies

Future Plans: Attend the University of Iowa School of Library and Information Science.

UI Experience in Three Words: Supportive and encouraging

My Greatest Achievement: Staying on the Dean's List.

Kaydee Ecker

Photo of Kaydee Ecker

Hometown: Stockton, CA

Degree: Bachelor of Arts, Certificate

Major: English & Creative Writing, Disability Studies

Future Plans: Work for a few years, then attend graduate school for Disability Studies.

UI Experience in Three Words: Challenging, insightful, rewarding

My Greatest Achievement: My greatest achievement while at the University of Iowa has without a doubt been helping to relocate the Student Disability Services office out of the basement of Burge Hall.

Nouran Felo

Portrait of Nouran Felo

Hometown: North Hollywood, CA

Degree: Doctor of Medicine

Future Plans: Internal Medicine Residency at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.

UI Experience in Three Words: Supportive environment, lifelong mentors, perseverance

My Greatest Achievement: In the Teaching Distinction Track I realized my love for education & mentorship. I mentored both undergraduates interested in the healthcare field as well as medical students at CCOM longitudinally.

Celine Fender

Portrait of Celine Fender.

Hometown: North Liberty, IA

Degree: Master of Arts

Major: Higher Education and Student Affairs

Future Plans: Continue as a doctoral student at Iowa in Education Policy and Leadership.

UI Experience in Three Words: Patient, encouraging, joyful

My Greatest Achievement: My greatest achievement so far from Iowa was being accepted to do a comparative project at The University of Oslo, in Oslo, Norway - this project was also accepted into an international conference.

Oscar Fernandez Mendoza

Person is standing in a black suit and red tie against dark grey background.

Hometown: Waterloo, IA

Degree: Bachelor of Arts

Major: Enterprise Leadership

Future Plans: My future plans are to work for a year before applying for law school. During this time I hope to be able to spend more time with my family, friends, and being more involved in my community.

UI Experience in Three Words: Personal growth. Community. Education.

My Greatest Achievement: My greatest achievement has been making it this far. Making it to graduation was not easy. I was faced with many unforeseen challenges. I wouldn't have made it this far without my family and friends.

Olivia Fiegel

Portrait of Olivia Fiegel.

Hometown: Springfield, VA

Degree: Bachelor of Arts

Major: English with a minor in Sociology and a certificate in Event Management

Future Plans: Look to get into sport event/marketing.

UI Experience in Three Words: Community, growth, acceptance

My Greatest Achievement: One of my greatest achievements while at Iowa is getting involved in different Christian organizations on campus and growing not only my faith but my community with others as well.

Isabela Flores

Isabela Flores

Hometown: Fresno, CA and Des Moines, IA

Degree: Bachelor of Arts

Major: Elementary Education

UI Experience in Three Words: LNACC, ALMA, and exploring my identity

My Greatest Achievement: My greatest achievement has been finding a way to make this university a better space for me, and for those who follow.

Simona Flores

Portrait of Simona Flores.

Hometown: Des Moines, IA

Degree: Bachelor of Arts

Major: Spanish and Psychology

Future Plans: Take a gap year before going to graduate school.

UI Experience in Three Words: Mentorship, community in unexpected places, helping and being helped.

My Greatest Achievement: With the help of healthy discourse and emotional support from others, my greatest achievement has been learning the ability to interrupt unhealthy thought processes to grow into my authenticity.

Becca Frederick

Photo of Becca Frederick

Hometown: Davenport, IA

Degree: Bachelor of Music

Major: French Horn Performance

Future Plans: I will be a Graduate Assistant at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

UI Experience in Three Words: Amiable, transformative, family

My Greatest Achievement: I got a job where I was fortunate enough to be put in situations where I was faced with adversity. Due to this, I grew substantially. This year I was nominated for "Student Employee of the Year".

Tobias Garcia Vega

Portrait of Garcia Vega.

Hometown: Ames, IA

Degree: Bachelor of Arts

Major: Philosophy and Spanish

Future Plans: Graduate studies in philosophy or law.

UI Experience in Three Words: Inclusion, discourse, growth

My Greatest Achievement: Writing a research thesis for partial completion of the requirements for honors in the major.

Alexandra Gaymont

Photo of Alexandra Gaymont

Hometown: Chicago, IL

Degree: Bachelor of Science

Major: Computer Science

Future Plans: Technical consultant at Avionos in Chicago.

UI Experience in Three Words: Completely life changing.

My Greatest Achievement: I discovered my passion for Math and a way to put it to practical use in my major of Computer Science.

Taha Gesalla

Photo of Taha Gesalla

Hometown: Iowa City, IA

Degree: Bachelor's of Science

Major: Biomedical Science

Future Plans: Medical School

UI Experience in Three Words: Perseverance, Determination, Patience

My Greatest Achievement: Being able to excel in both leadership life and school life wasn't the easiest thing to do but with help of God, family, and TRIO/CDC I was able to accomplish that goal and I am ready for med school.

Chloe Gitlin

Photo of Chloe Gitlin

Hometown: Deerfield, IL

Degree: Bachelor of Arts

Major: Health and Human Physiology: Exercise Science

Future Plans: Attend physical therapy school

UI Experience in Three Words: Educational, meaningful, rewarding

My Greatest Achievement: My greatest achievement is graduating from the University of Iowa.

Mayte Gomez-Cruz

Portrait of Mayte Gomez-Cruz.

Hometown: Des Moines, IA

Degree: Bachelor of Arts

Major: Music Therapy

Future Plans: Music therapy internship at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.

UI Experience in Three Words: Opportunity, growth, empowerment

My Greatest Achievement: My greatest achievement at Iowa was my work to improve cultural competence in the music therapy program, and culminated with my honors recital dedicated to music in Spanish and by Hispanic composers.

Noemi Guerra

Photo of Noemi Guerra

Hometown: Johnston, IA

Degree: Bachelor of Applied Studies

Major: Human Relations and Justice Studies

Future Plans: Law school.

UI Experience in Three Words: Support, encouragement, guidance

My Greatest Achievement: Being able to go to school and graduate (setting an example for my 3 teenagers) while taking care of a marriage, 3 teenagers and a full time job.

If you notice any errors on this website, or if you would like to be added to the list of 2020 graduates, please email Mike Meginnis at michael-meginnis@uiowa.edu.