Commencement: Chemistry, Theater graduates speak at ceremony May 7

Jennifer Miller

Jennifer Miller

Claudia Gage

Claudia Gage

Jennifer Miller and Claudia Gage are the student speakers at Youngstown State University’s Spring Commencement this Saturday, May 7, in Beeghly Center on campus.

Miller, who is receiving a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry, will speak at the morning ceremony, which begins at 9:30 a.m. Gage, who receives a bachelor’s degree in Theater Studies, speaks at the afternoon ceremony, which starts at 2:30 p.m.

Gage, who has minors in Creative Writing and Photography and also a Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership, is a Leslie H. Cochran University Scholar and has made the Dean’s List every semester. She studied abroad at the University of Winchester in Winchester, England, during Spring 2014 semester. Her publication credits include a poem published in The Penguin Review and photography published in The Jenny Magazine. She was selected as a winner of the PHOTO ’15 Contest at the Multiple Exposures Gallery in Alexandria, Va. She was also selected to participate in the Drama Masterclass at the 2014 National Collegiate Honors Council Conference in Denver. She is a member of Alpha Psi Omega, Phi Kappa Phi, Sigma Alpha Lambda and Dance Club, having held office with Alpha Psi Omega for two years. She spent two summers as a theater specialist with Camp JCC at the Youngstown Jewish Community Center.

After graduation, Gage will complete an internship in the education department of Lexington Children’s Theater in Lexington, Ky. She hopes to pursue a full-time career in educational theater.

Miller, who has a minor in mathematics, is a member of the STEM Leadership Society, Choose Ohio First Scholarship Program, and the YSU American Chemical Society. She began researching with Dr. Matthias Zeller her freshman year and continued on a research-focused path. She worked with Zeller for the next two years, then completed her senior research project with Dr. Brian Leskiw this past year. During the summers, she participated in two National Science Foundation funded Research Experience for Undergraduate Programs, one at the University of Connecticut in 2014 and one at Texas A&M University in 2015. She has presented both her YSU and National Science Foundation research at multiple regional and national conferences, including the National American Chemical Society Conference. Miller has worked at the YSU Center for Student Progress and the Chemistry Department, has volunteered at many campus events, and has worked in the community with Habitat for Humanity, the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation, AwakenYo Ministries, and others. She is the recipient of the YSU Pin Award, Hypercube Scholars Award and Pittsburgh Society of Analytical Chemists Award.

Miller will now pursue a PhD in Physical Chemistry at Pennsylvania State University on a full university fellowship. She then plans to pursue a career in academia.