Spring 2020 Disability Graduation Graduates

Please join us in celebrating these amazing graduates!

Graduation photo of Andrea Courtney

Name: Andrea Courtney (she, her, hers)

Degree: M.A. Clinical Mental Health Counseling

Favorite Memory of UI: Being told that SDS will be relocated from the basement of Burge Hall.

Quote: "Protect your heart." ― Katryn Duarte

Thank yous: Thank you to the faculty and staff in the RCE department for teaching, supporting and encouraging me, but especially to Dr. Barnes and Dr. Johnson! Thank you to my clinical supervisors during my graduate experience, Adam Robison, Katryn Duarte, Dr. Jacob Priest, Dr. Armeda Wojciak, and Aiden Rohwer-Nutter. Finally, thank you to my partner Kaydee Ecker, my friends, and my cohort, for keeping me going throughout these last two years!

Photo of Kaydee Ecker

Name: Kaydee Layne Ecker (they/them/theirs)

Degree: B.A. English and Creative Writing, Certificate in Disability Studies

Favorite Memory of UI: Probably my first Hawkeye Service Breaks trip to Biloxi, Mississippi. The friends I made on that trip showed true care and love for me exactly as I was, and the self-confidence and self-love I gained as a result catapulted me into all of the campus activities I eventually became involved in. It was a phenomenal experience I am so grateful for that I'll never forget! It changed my life.

Quote: “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thank yous: Thank you to all of the staff at CDE and the Office of Leadership, Service, and Civic Engagement for affording me opportunities for growth and empowering me in my journey as a student and a leader.

Name: John Earl Hardesty (he/him/his)

Degree: B.A. Informatics (Human-Computer Interaction), Minor in Psychology



Photo of Newfal

Name: Nawfal Kulam (he/him/his)

Degree: B.B.A. Accounting

Photo of Jessica McMurrin

Name: Jessica McMurrin

Degree: B.A. Communication Studies, Minor in Dance

Favorite Memory of UI: Going to my first Hawkeye football game!

Quote: "But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." ― Isaiah 40:31

Thank yous: Thank you Mom and Dad for supporting me in everything that I do.

Photo of McKenna Raimer

Name: McKenna Margaret Raimer

Degree: B.A. Criminology; B.A. Medical Anthropology; B.A. Religious Studies

Quote: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.” ― Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Thank yous: I am thankful for the support I received from the College Diabetes Network nationally and our chapter here at The University of Iowa. I appreciate the effort to continue to advocate for “Insulin as a Human Right” and equal access for diabetics. I look forward to the next chapter in my fight for all diabetics at the University of Iowa College of Law.

Name: Michael A. Penniman (he/him/his)

Degree: B.B.A. Finance

Favorite Memory of UI: I'll never forget the friends I made, the brotherhood and support of my fellow phi Kappa psi fraternity, the fun and excitement of football game day and attending kinnick, and the feeling of Sunday scaries eating a Sunday slice at the airliner.



Photo of Javon Stovall

Name: Javon Stovall (he/him/his)

Degree: B.A. Political Science

Favorite Memory of UI: Turning in that last final from an 8-year undergraduate career - I made it!

Quote: "Don't count the days. Make the days count."

Thank yous: My parents, My sister, Kaydee Ecker, Andrea Courtney, everyone at SDS, and everyone in UISDAA

Photo of Yanet Valasquez

Name: Yanet Abigail Velasquez (she/her/hers)

Degree: B.A. Political Science; Minor in Psychology; Minor in Social Justice; Minor in Latino/a Studies

Favorite Memory of UI: There was so many. I loved the sporting events, the events downtown and on Campus, and interacting with students.

Quote: "The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of them all."

Thank yous: Thank you to my friends, family, and University Faculty motivating me during these four years. I wouldn't be where I am if it weren't for you!

Photo of Ali

Name: Alithea Nell Charlson Zorn (she/her/hers)

Degree: MPH in Biostatistics

Thank yous: I would like to thank my husband David Zorn for his continued support throughout the last two years, I couldn't have done this without you