Five valedictorians named for the Class of 2018

April 4, 2018 (Notre Dame, Ind.) — Saint Mary's College has named five valedictorians for the Class of 2018, the most in the College’s history. The valedictorians for the Class of 2018 include, Darya Bondarenko, a molecular biology major with a minor in chemistry and studio art; Makenzie Duncan, an integrative biology major with a minor in chemistry; Melissa Henry, a double major in communicative sciences and disorders and psychology; Kristie LeBeau, a sociology major with minors in gender and women studies and education schooling and society at Notre Dame; and Kathleen Price an elementary education major with a minor in English as a second language. These five women will deliver a joint valedictory address at the College's commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 19.

Darya Bondarenko, originally from Vyshgorod, Ukraine, has worked closely with Assistant Professor Calli Versagli ’09 on ovarian cancer research at Saint Mary’s, while also pursuing her passion for art.

A native of LaSalle, Michigan, Makenzie Duncan has researched microbiological populations in bat guano with Assistant Professor Laura Kloepper. She has also been a member of the Belles Softball team for the last four years.

Melissa Henry, of Ada, Michigan, has participated in Computational Social Science Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) in summer 2017. Through the program, she focused her studies on the effect of food insecurity on academic ability.

Kristie LeBeau, of Wolcott, Indiana received a SISTAR grant to research the perspective of teachers in rural communities near her hometown in the summer of 2017 with Professor Leslie Wang.

Throughout her time at Saint Mary's, South Bend native Kathleen Price studied abroad twice. She participated in one-week Ireland program for education majors, as well as, the Uganda program in summer 2017. She said, "these experiences have enhanced my confidence in my ability to teach."

Find more information on the Class of 2018 valedictorians and Saint Mary's 171st Commencement.

About Saint Mary's College: Founded in 1844 by the Sisters of the Holy Cross, Saint Mary’s College is rooted in its mission to prepare women to make a difference in the world. A pioneer in the education of women, Saint Mary’s is a four-year, Catholic, residential, liberal arts college in Notre Dame, Ind. The College is an academic community offering bachelor’s degrees in more than 30 major areas of study, including business, nursing, education, biology, social work, and English. Saint Mary’s also offers co-educational master’s degrees in data science, speech language pathology, autism studies, and a Doctorate of Nursing Practice.

Contact for News Media: Haleigh Ehmsen, Assistant Director of Integrated Communications, Saint Mary’s College, hehmsen@saintmarys.edu (574) 284-5343

Written by Caitlin Blum ’18, media relations intern and business administration major with a concentration in marketing.