Four graduating students were honored with Outstanding Senior awards during Baker University’s commencement ceremonies on Sunday, May 17 at the Collins Center. Carly Berblinger, Buhler, Kansas; Rachel Haley, Lawrence, Kansas; Jacob Mogle, Columbus, Kansas; and Dustin Turner, Overbrook, Kansas; all received the award.
Nomination criteria included superior achievement in the fields of academics, leadership, service, co-curricular activities and off-campus educational opportunities. Nominations are reviewed and decided upon by a committee of faculty, staff, coaches and students.
According to a nominator, Berblinger consistently focused on helping others while “(seeking) no notice for herself despite her stellar leadership abilities, shining intelligence and deeply compassionate heart.” These characteristics helped her earn a position with Teach for America beginning in the fall.
Berblinger achieved a 3.98 grade-point average and double-majored in English and sociology while serving in Student Senate and as an orientation leader, university admissions assistant and editor for Watershed, Baker’s student literary and arts magazine.
Through her Senior Sociology Seminar course, Berblinger developed and facilitated a poetry-writing workshop for 11 incarcerated writers at the Topeka Correctional Facility.
“She is very passionate in her beliefs and will do what it takes to make sure she is heard,” one nominator said about Haley. “She thinks about how things will impact a large group for the better.”
Majoring in psychology, Haley was an active member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority and Panhellenic executive council, as well as serving as an orientation leader and a BrAv peer educator. Haley also served as Student Senate President and was elected as a student lobbyist for Alpha Chi Omega with important initiatives such as Title 9 and sexual assault prevention.
Mogle maintained a 3.8 GPA as a communication major while actively participating in a variety of organizations on campus, including speech choir, jazz band, Baker chapel ambassadors and Zeta Chi fraternity. He was an instrumental leader of the House of Hanover class gate building and fundraising project, as well as a $40,000 fundraising effort through his fraternity for merit-based scholarships. Mogle also represented Baker and North American Universities as one of 26 students selected to attend a global affairs conference in Washington, D.C., on education, youth and social unrest.
“He is one of the few people I know who strives for his goals with humility, benevolence and a true notion of helping other people,” one nominator said.
A 3.95-GPA business management and computer science major, Turner held numerous roles, including student-athlete, residence life staff member, student tutor, four-year member of the wrestling team and volunteer youth wrestling coach.
“My legacy to Baker is inspiring others to work hard and persevere through difficult situations, knowing that hard work and determination can overcome many of life’s most difficult challenges,” Turner said. “I hope to leave as large a mark on Baker as Baker has left on me.”