2019 grads pursue impressive plans

2019 grads pursue impressive plans

May 21, 2019

Maryville College students go on to do great things after graduation, and the bicentennial class is no different. Ready and excited to move on to the next phase of life, members of Maryville College’s Class of 2019 will scatter to all parts of the country – and world – to pursue internships, graduate school studies and jobs. Read more about some of these graduates and their impressive post-graduation plans.   

Photo of LaKwan BainLaKwan Bain, a music major from Nassau, Bahamas, has been accepted into the Master of Music program in organ performance at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Read more about Bain's journey from the Bahamas to Maryville.

Photo of Colby BeachColby Beach, an exercise science major from Maryville, Tenn, will attend George Washington University, where he will pursue a Master of Public Health (MPH) in Global Health Epidemiology and Disease Control.

“I want to pursue this degree because I think it best prepares me to enter the field of Epidemiology with hopes of serving in the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service,” said Beach, who was offered a graduate assistant position at GWU to cover the cost of attendance. “I hope to study and help prevent infectious disease outbreaks around the world. I’m hoping to be a field Epidemiologist working on the worst disease outbreaks that occur around the world. With the current popularity of the antivax movement, I believe I’m really hitting a peak time to enter.”

Beach said the support and mentorship from his MC professor, Dr. Jeremy Steeves, is one of the factors that helped prepare him for the graduate program.

“Before transferring to MC, he offered to take me on as an undergraduate research assistant, and our partnership is what drove me to transfer,” he said. “Over three years, we conducted tons of research, and I got to present at three professional conferences. I also was able to design my own research study, which was published in a national journal, as well as be an author on a second paper. We hope to publish a third time this summer. Without the research experience and guidance I received at MC, this next step would not have been possible!” 

Photo of Kalyn CarpenterKalyn Carpenter ’19, a political science major, has been accepted to the London School of Economics, where she will pursue a Master of Science (MSc) in Gender, Development and Globalization.

The London School of Economics was recently ranked fourth in the world for politics and international relations and third in development studies, Carpenter said, adding that the program she’ll enter is competitive – only accepting 28 of 158 applicants for the 2017 year, “an intake percentage that only continues to decrease each year as the discipline becomes more popular.”

“By studying the MSc in Gender, Development and Globalization, I'll be able to excel in a variety of fields professionally, whether working in business, policy or non-profits, due to its broad but intensive coursework,” said Carpenter, who is from Granbury, Texas. “This means that I will not only be maximizing my work opportunities, but that I'll also be maximizing the ways that I can make a positive impact.”

Photo of Victoria DealVictoria Deal, a biology major from Huntsville, Ala., will attend West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.

“I am very interested in medicine and want to help with both proactive and reactive care for my patients,” Deal said. “I chose WVSOM because I felt that the atmosphere of the school and town was conducive to that mentality. In addition, they have several opportunities such as a student-run clinic for first and second years, as well as opportunities to go to mining towns and experience what it is like to be in the mines so that you can better understand the life and position of your patients by taking a walk in their shoes.”

Deal hopes to pursue a career in primary care, and she is interested in internal medicine.

“I know that at WVSOM, I will get plenty of hands-on experience and opportunities to work with patients and also receive plenty of support and encouragement from my peers, faculty, staff and the residents of Lewisburg, W.V. In addition, WVSOM has relationships with several residency programs that I am interested in after graduation.” 

Photo of Morgan GastMorgan Gast, a math major from Georgetown, Ohio, will attend the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she will pursue a master’s degree in business analytics.

Photo of Lauren KellyLauren Kelley, a psychology major from Louisville, Tenn., will continue her education in the fall at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she’ll pursue a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling and continue working as a substance abuse counselor at Stepping Stone to Recovery.

Kelley, who is interested in how substance abuse and addiction affect the brain, recently had her research published in NeuroRegulation, a peer-reviewed journal published by the International Society for Neurofeedback and Research with a focus on electroencephalogram (EEG) findings. The journal article is based on Kelley’s Senior Study research, which focuses on the physiological differences between children diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and those with intrauterine drug exposure (IUDE) due to similarities between the two groups. 

Photo of Nate KiernanNate Kiernan, a writing communication and design double major from Andersonville, Tenn., has joined Cirrus Insight in Knoxville.

“I will be working with the lead product manager to develop their software as they prepare to move forward following their purchase by a private equity firm,” Kiernan said. “Though I am technically the intern, I am being given a great deal of responsibility in terms of assignment, working on everything from redesigning the interface of the app to compiling a company Wiki. In addition to this, I am helping facilitate cross-departmental cooperation, bringing together different areas of the company to help move the product forward in something approaching a unified fashion.”

He found out about the position through his professor, Kim Trevathan, who told him about the recent MC writing communication majors who joined Cirrus Insight after graduating from MC. He also credits his MC experiences – including presentations, projects and his design classes – for giving him confidence and skills needed for the position.

“I hope to eventually be hired full-time by Cirrus Insight, so my immediate goal of finding a job post-graduation is being fulfilled, as this seems increasingly likely as I am given more tasks to complete and further brought into the company fold,” he said. “I hope to work in graphic design and am getting a lot of experience with all aspects of design, as well as the corporate world, which I previously did not have any experience with. I also did not do much UX design at school, so my internship so far has been almost a class in itself on what is becoming a highly sought-after skill.” 

Photo of Taylor LeonardTaylor Leonard, a neuroscience major from Knoxville, Tenn., recently completed a year-long internship with the Pat Summitt Clinic at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville. During her internship, she worked as a cognitive tester, checking patients’ vitals, administering tests like the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MOCA) and scoring and storing the test results.

She has been asked to stay on at the Pat Summitt Clinic as a full-time, paid cognitive tester. She hopes the additional experience learning and working in her field will set her apart as she applies to graduate schools and works toward a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.

Photo of Lenny LivelyLenny Lively, a religion and theatre studies major from Pikeville, Tenn., will be working as a stage technician at the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City, Utah, for the 2019 summer season.

“I got the opportunity through professional networking at the Southeastern Theatre Conference,” Lively said. “I am excited to begin my adventure at Utah Shakes, because it is one of the most reputable regional theaters in the United States. In the future, I'd like to pursue theatrical technical directing, so working on the caliber of shows Utah Shakes puts on will be a significant learning experience.” 

Photo of Cassidy MahanCassidy Mahan, a psychology major from Knoxville, Tenn., has joined Teach for America. She will work for two years as a secondary (6th-through 12th-grade) educator on a Sioux reservation in western South Dakota.

“Growing up in eastern Kentucky, I had heard about Teach for America, since they provide teachers in the Appalachian region,” Mahan said. “Last semester, I began researching the positives (and negatives) of the program, hoping that it may give me an opportunity to (in the words of MC founder Isaac Anderson) ‘do good on the largest possible scale’ in a forgotten/neglected area of our country.”

After several conversations with TFA recruiters, she decided to apply in February and went through an extensive interview process. After a month and a half, she got an offer to teach in South Dakota.

“My long-term goal – for now – is to attend graduate school for clinical or counseling psychology,” Mahan said. “My time with TFA will be beneficial because I want to understand socioeconomic disparities better. We learn about them in our classes and how they affect who seeks counseling; however, I feel like teaching in a school system will give me a field example of how these differences in wealth, age, gender and race – along with many other things – affect the development and decisions of individuals.  Yet if I move to South Dakota and fall in love with the position, I will definitely consider staying out there and continuing a career in education.” 

Photo of Joshua MetcalfJoshua Metcalf, a mathematics and computer science double major from Maryville, Tenn., will work Chris Mitchell Management Consulting in Norris, Tenn., where he will work with the company’s website.

“Currently, they have a lot of analysis tasks, which they run when asked to by customers,” he said. “The intent is that I extend the website to make it make reports which run the data analysis. This will result is faster response time and less work by employees, which will enable CMMC to expand their customer base.”

Metcalf, who found the opportunity through the Maryville College Career Center, said the job offers plenty of options for professional development and career advancement, and it gives him experience doing analyses on bigger data. He said Maryville College prepared him for the opportunity in several ways.

“The content from my math and computer science majors and statistics and analytics minors are immediately useful, making me able to handle the tasks,” he said. “The Smart RIA internship I had last summer provided job experience without which this new job would have been intimidating. Finally, my work at the Academic Support Center improved my communication skills, which makes the necessary teamwork easier.” 

Photo of Andrew PierceAndrew Pierce, a finance/accounting major from Maryville, Tenn., is working at Y-12 Federal Credit Union as a junior financial analyst. He will also pursue a Master of Accountancy (MAcc) degree through Tennessee Tech University’s online program.

“I was able to secure my job at Y-12 through my summer internship, where I worked closely with the CFO and the financial analyst,” Pierce said. “This line of work relates to my career goals because it defines a path that I can follow.”

Pierce said his long-term career goal is to be the chief financial officer of an East Tennessee company.

“Maryville College not only challenged me to participate in a summer internship, but it also prepared me to act professionally, continue education and connect the classroom to the workplace,” he said. “The last point was put into action through my thesis, following my internship. For my thesis, ‘A Study of Credit Union Profitability Through the Scope of Analytical Processes,’ I was able to take data and concepts from my company and apply it to a scholarly research study. My thesis was well-received by both the college and Y-12 through mutual benefit.” 

Photo of Sam PhillipsSam Phillips, a religion major from Knoxville, Tenn., has been accepted to Columbia Theological Seminary and will begin studies there this summer. While he was accepted – and received a full scholarship – to Princeton Theological Seminary, he decided to pursue a Master of Divinity degree at Columbia Theological Seminary for several reasons. He liked the institution’s urban setting near Atlanta, Ga., and he was interested in studying with some of Columbia’s faculty, including Dr. William Brown, whom Phillips cited in his Senior Study.

Photo of Elijah RachellElijah Rachell, a finance/accounting major from Decatur, Ga., will work as a financial analyst with Discovery Inc. in Knoxville, Tenn. He was offered the job after interning with the company during the spring semester. He eventually hopes to attend graduate school and earn a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) license. 

Photo of Boomer RussellBoomer Russell, a biology major from Harrogate, Tenn., will attend the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where he will pursue a Ph.D. in the university’s Department of Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology.

He said he would eventually like to become a college professor, adding that “I like the research, and I like working with students – and I want to be a role model for people in STEM."

Photo of Ian SchomerIan Schomer, a mathematics major from Knoxville, Tenn., will pursue a master’s degree in electrical engineering with concentration in power systems from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

I am pursuing this degree to prepare me for a career in the renewable energy industry, where I will strive to bring environmentally sustainable energy solutions to first- and third-world consumers alike,” Schomer said. “I also hope that my graduate education will open up opportunities for international travel in my work. I would love to align volunteerism and missional opportunities with my work on energy.”

Schomer said MC helped prepare him for this next step in several ways.

“Even as a mathematics major, my application was accepted by every school I applied to, which really speaks to the potential students have here,” he said. “I think it’s important to note that this was the case because I took advantage of my resources here, specifically the one-on-one aspect of nearly every class and extracurricular activity, in order to round myself out as a full scholar and not just a limited specialist.”

Photo of Madi SmithMadi Smith, a finance/accounting major from Knoxville, Tenn., will attend Tennessee Tech University, where she will pursue a Master of Accountancy (MAcc) degree. She is also interviewing with two accounting companies that she would like to work with long-term. In the meantime, she is getting hands-on, practical experience as a teller at CBBC bank and through an ;internship with the bank’s internal accountant.

“I’ve learned how to analyze financial data and history to make decisions regarding transactions, aid customers and balance credits and debits on a daily ledger,” she said. “These skills will be helpful when working as a public accountant, once I have my CPA and Master of Accountancy degree. While I have enjoyed my time at the bank, I feel it will be more beneficial to work in an accounting firm to be more prepared for success as a CPA.” 

Photo of Marigny SmithMarigny Smith, an exercise science major from Birmingham, Ala., will attend Emory University to pursue a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree.

“I first got interested in physical therapy after a sports injury in high school,” Smith said. “That interest continued to grow, leading me to major in exercise science at MC. I have enjoyed learning about the human body and am excited to take my education to the next level. When going through the application and interview process for PT school, I was very impressed with Emory’s faculty, curriculum and reputation. They have excellent connections that will give me great opportunities when I graduate with my DPT in three years. It was ultimately my top choice school, and I am so excited to begin this summer!” 

Photo of Kai WangKai Wang, a child development and learning major from Shijiazhuang, China, will begin a master’s program in curriculum and teaching at Boston University this fall.

“I will monitor the development of technology in the education field, and I hope that I can apply technology or online teaching in the field of special education to help more people in need,” she said. 

Photo of Jacob WilliamsJacob Williams, an economics major from Cleveland, Tenn., will attend law school at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich., where he will pursue a JD/MBA dual degree.

First, he will take a gap year to continue gaining experience in the law field. For the past three years, he has worked as a legal assistant at the law offices of Costner & Greene in Maryville – an experience that has confirmed his desire to be an attorney, he said.

Williams said his MC experiences have played a large part in his decision to pursue a career as an attorney. Specifically, he participated in the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature (TISL), which allows Tennessee college students to convene at the state capitol to “exchange ideas, express their opinions and learn how government works,” according to the organization’s website. The experience also gave him an opportunity to meet Maryville College alumnus and Tennessee Court of Appeals Judge Neal McBrayer ’86, who has been a helpful resource for him.

Also during his gap year, Williams will continue to pursue boxing – a hobby that he started in March 2017 and has allowed him to compete in Golden Gloves competitions and even an Olympic Qualifier in Chattanooga.

“I would love to go on and do great in boxing, but it’s not a career path for me,” he said. “It’s something I’d like to continue, because it gives me the ability to step away from my professional life as a lawyer and participate in an activity that, as a sport, is about as competitive as you can get.”


Maryville College is a nationally-ranked institution of higher learning and one of America’s oldest colleges. For more than 200 years, we’ve educated students to be giving citizens and gifted leaders, to study everything, so that they are prepared for anything — to address any problem, engage with any audience and launch successful careers right away. Located in Maryville, Tennessee, between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the city of Knoxville, Maryville College offers nearly 1,200  students from around the world both the beauty of a rural setting and the advantages of an urban center, as well as more than 60 majors, seven pre-professional programs and career preparation from their first day on campus to their last. Today, our 10,000 alumni are living life strong of mind and brave of heart and are prepared, in the words of our Presbyterian founder, to “do good on the largest possible scale.”