Southwestern

Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

Senior Stories

Southwestern prepares its students well for the future - academically and socially - or so say many of our 15,000+ alumni, including the 10 recent graduates profiled here. Learn more about each of their unique, and yet similar, Southwestern Experiences and how most of them are connected to one another in some way.

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    Paige Duggins came to Southwestern to play soccer, but her Southwestern Experience was so much more. Before graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in education, Paige earned the 2014 Academic Internship Student Achievement Award from the Cooperative Education and Internship Association (CEIA), a national organization that recognizes students who not only excel in their internships, but also shine academically and actively serve their communities.
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    Noah Bierwirth spent four years on the Southwestern campus with the nickname “Sunshine,” bestowed upon him for his golden locks and positive attitude. Self-described as an easy going guy with diverse interests, Noah loves to spend time with friends but says he also knows how to buckle down in order to be successful. On campus, he was involved with Kappa Alpha Order, Southwestern Chorale and Student Congress, conducted independent research as a student, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in biology.
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    Friendly, funny, diplomatic and kind—and able to nap anywhere, anytime—Nathan Tuttle was best known on the Southwestern campus as President of Student Congress, a campus tour guide and a member of the Diversity Enrichment Committee. Although he grew up on a college campus not too far away (his dad is Dean of Students at another SCAC school), Nathan chose Southwestern because, he says, “Southwestern felt like more of a community to me.” Nathan graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and a minor in political science.
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    Lilly Duarte graduated from Southwestern with a Bachelor of Art in physics, but not before receiving a Dixon Scholarship, being named to the Dean’s List every semester, and earning the 2013-14 Pirate Anchor Award for her successes on the women’s cross country and track & field teams. She was a mentor for local elementary and high school students and volunteered with The Locker, an organization helping local homeless children.
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    Joey Kyle, the son of Peace Corps parents and born in Honduras came to Southwestern (19 hours away from home) because it is one of only a few schools in the nation to offer a degree in animal behavior. However, after becoming active in SEAK (Students for Environmental Activism and Knowledge), the SU Community Garden, and the Talloires (sustainability) Committee, he changed his major as a senior and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in environmental studies.
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    Daniel Ayala—better known as D.J. for Daniel Junior—graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in business. Always an avid sports fan, he was recruited to play varsity lacrosse at Southwestern, which he did all four years. But, as a Division III athlete, he was still able to be a member of Student Athletic Advisory Committee, Student Congress, and Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. He’s also known for his video gaming talents. “People ask me all the time if I’m a pro,” he says.
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    As the eldest education major in her cohort, Cayla Cano earned the nickname “Mom” from her peers. The Army veteran and “non-traditional” student describes herself as determined, sarcastic, animated and loyal, and earned her Bachelor of Science in elementary and special education from Southwestern in May 2014.
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    A first-generation college student, Bree Billingsley’s Upward Bound mentors encouraged her to apply to Southwestern and for the UB scholarship, which she received. Before earning a Bachelor of Arts in sociology, Bree was a volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club tutoring and teaching ESL (English as a Second Language), involved in multiple scholastic honor societies, a Science Training Education Program at Southwestern (STEPS) student coordinator and counselor, and a Teach for America Corps member. She also has a six-pound dog who attacks on command.
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    Often called “AnnBann” by her friends, Anne Bannister can cry on demand, put her foot behind her head, and has always wanted to have “ginger” hair. On a more serious (or studious) note, Anne graduated from Southwestern with a Bachelor of Arts in fine art and a minor in communication studies. As a student, she was active in Alpha Phi Omega national service fraternity as member at large, historian and president. She was also a Student Ambassador in the Office of Admission and was a photographer for both the Theatre Department and the website newsroom.
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    Bayoan Santiago-Calderon likes challenging himself and pushing his limits, as evidenced by his determination to speak four languages…so far. The native Spanish speaker graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in economics, with minors in political science, mathematics, French, and Chinese. On a personal note, he values friendship and loyalty and is able to interact with all kinds of people.