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Eight UL Lafayette students recognized as Spring 2023 Outstanding Graduates

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April Bourlet is the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s overall Outstanding Graduate.

Bourlet is among eight award finalists who will be recognized Friday and Saturday during Spring 2023 Commencement ceremonies. Individual ceremonies for UL Lafayette’s eight academic colleges will be held at the Cajundome and the Cajundome Convention Center.

Each spring and fall semester, deans from the University’s academic colleges nominate a student as Outstanding Graduate. Nominations are based on leadership, scholarship and service. An Alumni Association committee interviews candidates and selects one to receive the overall award.

In addition to being the spring semester’s overall honoree, Bourlet is an Outstanding Graduate Finalist for the College of Engineering. A chemical engineering major, her GPA is 3.95.

She was a research ambassador the Department of Chemical Engineering. Bourlet earned a Supervised Undergraduate Research Experience grant from the Louisiana Board of Regents. She researched superhydrophobic surface coating. Her findings earned Bourlet a Leaf Award from the University’s Student Center for Research, Creativity and Scholarship.

For her senior design capstone project, she developed effective methods to optimize a propylene oxide manufacturing plant. As a member of the Chem-E-Car team, she helped build a small, chemically powered car that placed highly in several categories against an international field of 32 teams.

Bourlet is a co-author on a peer-reviewed paper that was published by the American Chemical Society’s “Langmuir” journal. She will work as a process engineer. Her parents are Terry Bourlet and Brett Bourlet of LaPlace, La.

Here’s a look at the remaining Spring 2023 Outstanding Graduates.

Lane Bergeron is an Outstanding Graduate Finalist for the College of Education & Human Development. He is majoring in secondary education. Bergeron, who completed his degree requirements in three years, has a 4.0 GPA.

Bergeron conducted research that addressed literature gaps on topics relevant to K-12 educators. He helped to create a drop box program, collaborating with area retail businesses to seek donations that helped the underserved.

Bergeron was vice president of the campus chapter of Kappa Delta Pi, the international honor society in education. In that role, he reinstituted its “Read Aloud” program, which enables volunteers to read to young children at area libraries.

His plans include teaching high school in Lafayette Parish. Bergeron also intends to earn a master’s degree followed by a doctorate, with a goal of becoming a university professor. His parents are Ann and Keith Bergeron of Scott, La.

Amy Dartez is an Outstanding Graduate Finalist for the Ray P. Authement College of Sciences. A biology major, she has a 4.0 GPA.

Dartez was recognized for academic excellence by the Black Faculty and Staff Association four times; she was selected one of the Top 50 undergraduate students in the College of Sciences three times.  

Dartez tutored fellow students for the college’s Academic Mentoring Matters program. She also mentored K-12 students in Science, Engineering, Technology and Math, or STEM, subjects during interdisciplinary summer camps. Dartez was a member of Alpha Alpha Alpha, a national honor society for first-generation college students.  

She plans to attend medical school and become a pediatrician, a career choice shaped by her volunteer work with Healing House. The nonprofit organization provides support and resources for grieving children. Her parents are Carlene and Ronnie Dartez of Sunset, La.

Mary Harrel is an Outstanding Graduate Finalist for the College of the Arts. An industrial design major, her GPA is 3.72.

She was appointed to the college’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Committee. Harrel was recognized for academic excellence by the Black Faculty and Staff Association three times. She attended the Industrial Designers Society of America national conference; Harrel also served as public relations chair for the society’s campus chapter.

She has earned several awards for design excellence and merit, and received the School of Architecture and Design’s Student Service Leadership Award. Harrel belongs to the campus chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success.

She will work as an industrial designer, and envisions designing products that address quality of life and equity considerations. Harrel also plans to earn a master’s degree in design. She is the daughter of the late Agnes Gobert-Harrel, of Baton Rouge, and the late Leon John Harrel Jr.

Victoria Marks is an Outstanding Graduate Finalist for the B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration. She is a finance major with a 3.76 GPA.

Marks served as president of the campus chapter of the Financial Management Association, a national honor society for finance students. She belongs to Phi Kappa Phi, a multidisciplinary honor society.

Marks presented findings of an independent study at the Southwestern Society of Economics annual convention. She examined the proposed outcomes of tort reform legislation in Louisiana, a project that earned Marks a Leaf Award.

Her community service includes volunteer work with The Hub ministry center and Faith House of Acadiana. She will attend law school. Marks’ goal is to establish a firm in Lafayette, where she will focus on influencing change in areas such as crime rates and gun violence. She is the daughter of Tandy and Kenneth Marks of Carencro, La.

Cydnei Meredith is the Outstanding Graduate Finalist for the College of Liberal Arts. She is a psychology major. Her GPA is 3.8.

Meredith has conducted research in the Department of Psychology’s Building Effective Environments through Scholarship Lab and its Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Cognition in Social Organizations Lab.

She participated in a rigorous, six-week computational social science workshop, and has been active in undergraduate research. Meredith presented a total of four research posters at the Southwestern Psychological Association Conference and at a Department of Psychology student research showcase.

Her extensive volunteer work includes assisting fellow students as a peer notetaker for UL Lafayette's Office of Disability Services. Meredith has been accepted directly into the doctoral program in organizational science at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She is the daughter of Gwyn Meredith of Thibodaux, La., and Richard Hawkins III of Buford, Ga.

Kameron Miller is the Outstanding Graduate for the College of Nursing & Health Sciences. A nursing major, his GPA is 3.6.

Miller served in the U.S. Army. As a UL Lafayette student, he earned numerous rankings through the University’s Reserve Officer Training Corps program. Miller was also ROTC Corps of Cadets president and a member of the Army ROTC Color Guard.

He ranked sixth at the U.S. Army Cadet Command Advanced Camp. Miller was recognized as an ROTC Distinguished Military Graduate. He was a member of the LHC Group • Myers School of Nursing’s mentor program. He belongs to the Sigma Theta Tau, the international honor society of nurses.

Miller will work as an intensive care unit nurse in Wichita, Kansas, and as an Army Reserve nurse corps officer. His eventual plans include becoming a nurse anesthetist or a flight nurse. He is the husband of Perla Neave Miller and father of Micah Miller.

Celia A. Theaux is the Outstanding Graduate Finalist for University College. She is a general studies major with a concentration in behavioral sciences. Her GPA is 4.0.

Theaux is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest multidisciplinary collegiate honor society. She has been on the President’s List for academic excellence numerous times.

Theaux’s community service includes volunteer work as a member of Our Lady of Wisdom Church & Catholic Student Center’s student group Ragin’ Cajun Catholics.

She is a self-employed artist. Theaux is the owner of a business that creates portraits of pets that she established during her time as a student at the University. Expanding the business will be a key focus of hers following graduation. Her parents are Mr. and Mrs. G. Ray Theaux of Lafayette.

Learn more about Spring 2023 Commencement.

Photo caption: UL Lafayette’s Spring 2023 Outstanding Graduates, shown from left with Dr. Joseph Savoie, UL Lafayette president, are: Kameron Miller, College of Nursing & Health Sciences: Overall Outstanding Graduate April Bourlet, College of Engineering; Amy Dartez, Ray P. Authement College of Sciences; Cydnei Meredith, College of Liberal Arts; Lane Bergeron, College of Education & Human Development; and, Celia A. Theaux, University College. Not pictured are Mary Harrel, College of the Arts and Victoria Marks, B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration. Photo credit: Doug Dugas / University of Louisiana at Lafayette