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Nine Outstanding Graduates chosen to represent the nine academic colleges at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette will be honored during Graduate School commencement ceremonies on Saturday, Dec. 13 at the Cajundome. During this ceremony, the UL Lafayette Alumni Association will name the Fall 2003 Outstanding Graduate.

Selected by the Alumni Association Awards Committee, the Outstanding Graduate award is based on leadership, scholarship and service. The nine finalists are nominated by the deans of their respective colleges. These finalists include Mandy Richard of Kaplan, College of Applied Life Sciences; Michael Lahey of Lafayette, College of the Arts; Sarah Bolding of Lafayette, B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration; Crystal Compos of Sunset, College of Education; Brody Viator of Erath, College of Engineering; Amanda Babineaux of Arnaudville, College of General Studies; Stephanie Etie of Breaux Bridge, College of Liberal Arts; Travis Lukasik of Lafayette, College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions; and Stacy Crochet of Loreauville, College of Sciences.

Mandy Richard, daughter of Jude and Terrie Richard of Kaplan, is an apparel design and merchandising major in the College of Applied Life Sciences. She is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Gamma Beta Phi, Alpha Lambda Delta, Phi Eta Sigma and the UL Lafayette Honors Program. In addition, Richard is the recipient of several scholarships including the UL Lafayette Centennial Scholarship, the UL Lafayette Valedictorian Scholarship, Domengeaux, Wright and Roy Scholarship and the Lance Corporal Daniel Lewis Scholarship among others.

She has served in various capacities in several organizations including the UL Lafayette Collegiate 4-H and the Professional Fashion Merchandising Association. Her community service includes working with Louisiana Girls State, Lafayette and Vermilion parishes 4-H and Future Farmers of America among other organizations. Upon graduation, she plans to attend graduate school at UL Lafayette and work on a Master’s degree in Business Administration. She plans to continue working as a financial representative intern for Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.

Michael Lahey, son of Leo Jerome and Mary Lahey of Lafayette, is a music media major and has been on the Dean’s List throughout his college career. He is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and the UL Lafayette Newman Club. Lahey was also a Vermilion staff writer for two semesters. He has been a St. Mary’s Life Teen Core Team member for two years and a member of the music ministry for three years.

In addition, Lahey has played in the UL Lafayette Jazz Ensemble, which travels to area schools to promote jazz music and the university. He also played in the UL Lafayette Cajun/Creole Ensemble, whose music can be heard in the short film, Nutria. Following graduation, Lahey will continue teaching guitar lessons at the Acadiana Symphony Conservatory and is also considering a Master’s degree in music. He hopes to one day teach on the university level.

Sarah Bolding, wife of Ronny Bolding of Lafayette and daughter of Lynn and Terry Tyler of Anchorage, Alaska, is an accounting and finance major and has been on the Dean’s List throughout her college career. She is a member of the UL Lafayette Chapter of Gamma Beta Phi and the UL Financial Management Association’s International Honor Society.

She is the recipient of the U L Lafayette Accounting Department Scholarship and was a volunteer for MDA Labor Day Telethon. She also was nominated for Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities and tutored convicted criminal adults to help them obtain their high school diploma. After graduation, Bolding plans to obtain an auditing position. She will sit for the CPA exam in 2004 and may seek a graduate degree later.

Crystal T. Compos, wife of Vincent Compos of Sunset and daughter of Walburn and Shirley Thibodeaux of Sunset, is an elementary education major and has been on the Dean’s List throughout her college career and was also the National Dean’s List in 2003.

She joined the Gamma Beta Phi National Honor Society in Spring 2000 and has served as chapter president. She was also elected the Gamma Beta Phi National Honor Society Louisiana State vice president and is a member of Kappa Delta Pi and Phi Kappa Phi.

Compos coordinated and participated in numerous personal item and toy drives for residents and helped raise $750 for the St. Jude’s Up-Til-Dawn event, which pays for research of childhood cancers. She also helped tutor high school residents of Maison Des Meres, which is a shelter for abused teen girls. After graduation, she plans to return to UL Lafayette to receive a graduate degree in counseling and a graduate degree in administration.
Brody Viator, son of Kenneth and Shirley Viator of Erath, is a telecommunications engineering major and has been on the Dean’s List every semester. He is president of Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society and is bridge correspondent of Eta Kappa Nu Electrical Engineering Honor Society.

In 2003, Viator was selected for the Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges and he was appointed to the Student Technology Enhancement Program committee, where he is responsible for overseeing the proposal process, maintaining bylaws and identifying student technology initiatives.

His community involvement includes serving as assistant youth minister at Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Erath. Viator has been involved with the Life Teen program since its inception. Upon graduation, Viator plans to relocate and pursue a career in electrical engineering. He has already passed the Engineer in Training exam and plans to attain CCNA, CCNP, CCIE and PE certifications in the near future.

Amanda Babineaux, daughter of Micki and Mark Babineaux of Arnaudville, is a general studies major and has been on the Dean’s List. She is treasurer of both Alpha Zeta, an honorary professional service fraternity; and the Pre-Vet Society. She has participated in the clean-up project, Trash Bash 2003 and has also volunteered at Arnaudville Elementary. In May, Babineaux participated in Cade Day, which was an educational experience for elementary school students.

She is a certified pharmacy technician and is currently working to certify as a veterinary assistant. After graduating, Babineaux will work as a veterinary assistant and plans to attend veterinary school, after fulfilling the experience requirement of approximately one year in veterinary medicine. After becoming a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, she plans to open a practice in the Lafayette area.

Stephanie Etie, wife of Jason Etie of Breaux Bridge and daughter of George Bernard Wain of Carencro and Elizabeth Turnage of Broussard, is a political science major in pre-law and has been on the Dean’s List throughout her college career. She is the Political Science Department’s Outstanding Graduate and is also listed in the Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities.

Etie is a member of the Beta Phi Honor and Service Society and is president of the UL Lafayette Law Club. Her community service includes helping Lafayette Animal Aid, Faith House, United Blood Services and Habitat for Humanity. After graduation, Etie plans to attend law school. She is considering seeking a concurrent degree in law and sociology and is currently gathering data on the practices that maximum-security correctional institutions employ to help inmates cope with social isolation and plans to write a book utilizing the data.

Travis Lukasik, son of Mr. and Mrs. Jimmy Lukasik of Leesville, is a nursing major and was elected to Who’s Who in American Universities and Colleges and has been on the Dean’s List throughout his college career.

He is the recipient of the Nursing Foundation Scholarship and joined the Sigma Theta Tau, Delta Eta Chapter Nursing Honor Society. Lukasik is also a member of the Gamma Beta Phi Honor Society and the Student Nurses Association. In addition, he is a member of the Baptist Collegiate Ministry, where he participated in Freshman Bible Study, Leadership Council, Men’s Discipleship Group, One Day National Prayer Conference and Operation Move It. In 2000, he did mission work in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, with the Mt. Moriah Baptist Church and is a member of Lafayette’s Church Without Walls.

After graduation, Lukasik plans to work at Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center. He wants to start his career in cardiopulmonary nursing. After a year, he plans to move to Ohio and obtain his Master’s Degree to become a nurse practitioner. Once he is a nurse practitioner, he plans to join an international medical mission team.

Stacy Anne Crochet, daughter of Kirk and Janice Crochet of Loreauville, is a computer science major and has been on the Dean’s List throughout her college career and was also on the National Dean’s List. She has received the Computer Science Highest Academic Achievement Award in 2000, 2001 and 2002 and is currently working on a research project for the Center of Advanced Computer Studies.

She is the recipient of the Frank Piccione Sr. Scholarship, the Shell Scholarship and the Manning Menard Scholarship. She is a member of the Honors Program, the Association of Computing Machinery and St. Joseph’s Church, where she was a member of the choir and Loreauville T.E.A.M. program. After graduation, Crochet plans to work as a computer programmer in the Lafayette area. She eventually wants to enter Graduate School and major in either computer science or business.
Pictured from left: Brody Viator, Travis Lukasik, Sarah Bolding, Amanda Babineaux, Mandy Richard, Stacy Crochet, Stephanie Etie, Crystal Compos and Michael Lahey.