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Idaho State University

ISU-Boise awards more than 100 degrees at May 4 graduation Nampa woman receives Student Excellence Award

May, 5, 2007

Boise- When Idaho State University-Boise student Irina Zahradnicek graduated May 4, the Nampa woman expected to receive a bachelor’s degree in clinical laboratory science.

Much to her surprise, she also received ISU-Boise’s 2007 Student Excellence Award. “I am delighted to present this award to Irina, a gifted scientist and wonderful student,” said ISU-Boise’s Academic Dean Bessie Katsilometes as Zahradnicek made her way to the stage at The Grove Hotel Ballroom in downtown Boise.

Zahradnicek, who was educated as a cardiologist in Russia, was one of seven students nominated for the award by ISU-Boise faculty. Other nominees and their departments are Nicole Jordan, counseling; MarLee Harris, dietetic internship; Kate Dunlap, nursing; Gretchen Matthews, pharmacy; Susan Schooler, speech pathology and audiology; and Brian Cavanagh , speech-language pathology.

ISU President Arthur C. Vailas, PhD, told students that graduation is a time not only to reflect on past achievements, but to plan for the future. “Education is a gift -- a privilege our nation has given us… to contribute to the country and world. Education is a gift to pass onto others,” the president said.  Commencement speaker Joal Curtis, an ISU-Boise counseling graduate and co-founder of the Keene Curtis Charitable Foundation, told students it’s never too late to follow a passion or to reinvent themselves. A successful business developer for a computer company, Curtis wanted to pursue his dream of helping people.  In 2002, he enrolled in ISU-Boise’s counseling program and graduated four years later with a master’s degree in counseling.  In 2005, he provided the financial support to open the ISU-Boise Counseling Clinic.“You all have the opportunity to impact the lives of people you come in contact with,” he told the graduates, noting their degrees in the health professions would fill a vital need in the Treasure Valley. The breakdown of degrees includes 23 Doctor of Pharmacy degrees, 38 master’s degrees, 47 bachelor’s degrees, and seven associate degrees. Programs include pharmacy, counseling, nursing, speech-language pathology, audiology, athletic administration, clinical laboratory science and paramedic science.