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Wayne State College Winter 2018 Commencement

Published Friday, December 7th, 2018

Winter Commencement

A total of 200 degrees will be conferred by President Marysz Rames at the commencement ceremony Dec. 14.

Wayne State College will hold a commencement ceremony for graduate and undergraduate students at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 14 in Rice Auditorium. A total of 200 degrees will be conferred by President Marysz Rames. Those students receiving their degrees include 150 undergraduates and 50 graduate students of the college’s Master of Science in Education, Master of Organizational Management, Master of Business Administration, and Education Specialist programs.

View the Commencement Program

For additional ceremony information, please visit www.wsc.edu/graduation.

Melody Martin, Invocation Speaker

Melody Martin of Blair, Neb., will deliver the invocation during the graduation ceremony. She is earning her Bachelor of Science degree. She is the daughter of Lori Martin of Round Rock, Texas.

Martin majored in K-12 instrumental and vocal music education. She was named an Outstanding Freshman Music Student and was a member of Alpha Lambda Delta academic honor society. Her activities included Wind Ensemble, Marching Band, Clarinet Choir, and the National Association for Music Education.

Martin plans to move to Texas and teach middle or high school band in the fall. 

Lacey Chantel Brooks, Undergraduate Commencement Speaker

Lacey Chantel Brooks of Norfolk, Neb., will deliver the undergraduate commencement address. She is earning her Bachelor of Science degree. She is the daughter of Miles and Annette Kerber of Norfolk, Neb.

Brooks majored in speech communication with emphases in organizational leadership and public relations. Her honors include Lambda Pi Eta Honor Society and Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society. She served as the secretary of the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow Club. 

She plans to attain employment and hold a position that is communications related somewhere around the Norfolk area. Lacey is married to Todd Brooks, who graduated from Wayne State in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice.

Megan Gebhardt, Graduate Commencement Speaker

Megan Gebhardt of Norfolk, Nebraska, will deliver the graduate commencement address. She is earning a Master of Business Administration degree. She is the daughter of Leon and Kathy Gebhardt of Norfolk.

Gebhardt earned her bachelor's degree in finance from Wayne State College in May 2017, graduating Summa cum Laude. Her awards as a Wayne State student included the Delta Sigma Pi scholarship Key, 2017 business student of the year, the Presidential Scholar award (2014-2018), and Female Honor Student-Athlete of the year (2016 and 2017). She was a member of Sigma Beta Delta Business Honorary Society, Delta Sigma Pi Professional Business Fraternity, Phi Kappa Phi Academic National Honor Society, and the President's Philomathean Honorary Society. She participated in volunteer programs including the Wayne Green Team, WSC Student Food Pantry, Mercy Meals, Wayne youth volleyball programs, and went on a mission trip to Malawi, Africa, through her church in the summer of 2018. 

As a setter for the Wayne State volleyball team, she was named to the Academic All-American Second Team in 2017. She is ranked fifth in WSC history for all-time set assists with 3,315. She played on a team that made three trips to the NCAA Division II national tournament, including one appearance in the final four in 2015.

Gebhardt plans to work in the loan and finance department at BankFirst in Norfolk, Neb. 

Debra A. Bodenstedt ’78, Alumni Achievement Award

Debra BodenstedtDebra Bodenstedt will receive the Alumni Achievement Award during the ceremony. Bodenstedt was born and raised in Wayne County. Her education began in the same one-room rural school her father had attended. She graduated from Wayne High School and earned her Bachelor of Arts in education from Wayne State in 1978. While at Wayne State, she participated in varsity volleyball and softball, German Club, Panhellenic Council, Student Council, Chi Omega sorority, and myriad intramural sports. She taught high school for three years before joining the United States Navy, earning her commission as an Ensign at Officer Candidate School in March 1983.

Bodenstedt’s 27 years in the military was marked by distinguished service. She was the first woman to qualify as a Submarine Rescue Chamber operator while assigned temporarily onboard USS Kittiwake. She participated as a diver in the Space Shuttle Challenger salvage. She served as Commanding Officer Consolidated Divers Unit in San Diego, Calif., from March 1998 to May 2000, where her divers completed the first double in-water aircraft carrier propeller change on USS John C. Stennis, and maintained the Navy’s only certified underwater welding team. She participated as a diver in the historic salvage of the Civil War vessel USS Monitor and oversaw the ordnance salvage efforts for USS Cole after the suicide bombing in Yemen.

She was inducted into the Women Divers Hall of Fame in 2002, the Women in Military Service Memorial in 2008, and was recognized as a Hometown Hero by Modern Woodmen of America in 2017.

Her personal military service awards are the Legion of Merit, Defense Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal with gold star, Navy Commendation Medal (three gold stars), Joint Service Achievement Medal, and Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

Her United States Navy service included Basic Diving, Salvage courses at Naval Diving, and Salvage Training Center and Surface Warfare Officer's School; USS Yellowstone as a Division and Diving Officer; Operations Officer and Director of the Naval Surface Force Atlantic Second Class Diving School from 1986 to 1988; Operations Officer in USS Grasp from 1988 to 1991; Executive Officer in USS Safeguard from 1992 to 1994; Officer in charge of Naval Ordnance Center Detachment in Rock Island, Ill., from 1995 to 1998; Commanding Officer Consolidated Divers Unit in San Diego, Calif., from 1998 to 2000; Executive Officer of Atlantic Ordnance Command in Yorktown, Va., from 2000 to 2002; Naval War College in Newport, R.I., where she received a Master’s Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies in 2003; Deputy Logistics Support Division and Munitions Branch Chief, U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii from 2003 to 2006 as Logistics Response Cell Supervisor for the Tsunami recovery/relief operations in Southeast Asia via Operation Unified Assistance in 2004; and command of Navy Munitions Command East Asia Division, the Navy’s ordnance provider for Operation Enduring Freedom and the entire Pacific, with a workforce of over 700 personnel in eight locations throughout the Pacific and Indian Ocean, and an ordnance inventory valued at over $4 billion, in 2006. Captain Bodenstedt retired from active duty in August 2010.

After military retirement, Bodenstedt immersed herself in her new home town of Yankton, S.D. She has served as director of the Red Cross and volunteered as a disaster responder. She is an active member of Habitat for Humanity, an officer with the VFW, American Legion, and the regional director for IRS/AARP volunteer tax preparation at the local Senior Center. She has served as vice chair for the county Republican Party for six years and as a delegate to the 2012 National Republican Convention. She is nearing completion of her first four-year term as a Yankton County Commissioner. She currently is vice chair of the commission.

Bodenstedt was selected by the governor of South Dakota in 2015 to chair the commissioning committee of the USS South Dakota. The purpose of this committee is to organize, fund, and execute all events surrounding the commissioning of the first ship in over 70 years to bear the name South Dakota. The Virginia-class nuclear submarine is nearing completion and is scheduled for commissioning in early 2019.

Bodenstedt participates in Senior Games, qualifying and attending four national contests, winning a bronze and silver medal in badminton and softball. She was selected as 2017 South Dakota Senior Games female athlete of the year.