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Saint Mary’s names valedictorian

| Friday, May 16, 2014

Editor’s Note: A version of this article appeared in the March 17 edition of The Observer.

Senior Brianne Michaels, a computational mathematics major and economics minor, has been named Saint Mary’s College valedictorian, making her the student with the highest cumulative grade point average in the class of 2014. Brianne_web

Michaels, a native of Valparaiso, Ind., said she has had a love of math for as long as she can remember.

“The power of mathematics is so intriguing, and a major in mathematics leads to an endless number of career opportunities,” Michaels said.

Michaels said she has found her niche in the mathematics department at Saint Mary’s, which has become her “home away from home.”

As president of Indiana Epsilon, the College’s chapter of the Pi Mu Epsilon (PME) Mathematical Honors Society, Michaels raised money to send nine members to the Joint Mathematics Meeting in Baltimore.

“These sales were record-breaking, and more importantly, the number of members we were able to send to the conference was also a new record,” Michaels said. “It was very exciting, [and] I have loved serving my term as president of PME.”

Chair of the mathematics department Colleen Hoover said Michaels’ dedication to raising money to send students to the conference was impressive.

“As a faculty advisor for Pi Mu Epsilon, I can say that I have never witnessed this kind of unfailing dedication to student travel, and we all owe Brianne a debt of gratitude,” Hoover said.

Joanne Snow, professor of mathematics, said she got to know Michaels better through her work as president of PME and having Michaels in class.

“Brianne is an excellent student. She is also very conscientious and very thorough in her work,” Snow said. “If she takes on a task, then you know it will be done and done well.”

Snow said Michaels has distinguished herself at Land O’Lakes Inc., where she had an internship last summer. Michaels was honored with the Intern Award for her outstanding performance and leadership, and she will continue there as an Information Technology Rotational Analyst after  


Michaels said she is looking forward to her new career and plans to continue to challenge herself both in her career and academically.

“I wish to learn as much as possible throughout my life,” Michaels said. “I have always viewed a college education as my ticket to a successful future as an independent woman, and this is proving to be true.”

Friend and classmate Megan Golden said she had always told Michaels she would receive the valedictorian award because of her work ethic and the long hours she puts into her schoolwork each day.

“[Brianne] is intrinsically motivated and extremely confident in her abilities, so I know she will be successful in achieving her goals in the future,” Golden said. “She is the type of person who works very hard but always makes time for her friends.”

Michaels said she owes much of her success at Saint Mary’s to her supportive friends and family.

“I have gained life-long friends at Saint Mary’s, which is just as valuable to me as the outstanding education I have received,” Michaels said. “The campus is filled with intelligent, independent women, and I am honored to call myself a Saint Mary’s student and soon-to-be graduate.” 

“I have made it a priority to perform to the best of my potential in school and to learn as much as I possibly can,” she said. “I strive for excellence in academics, because it is what makes me happy. Being declared valedictorian is just a bonus.” 

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About Kelly Konya

Kelly Konya is an English major bred on Catcher in the Rye and Roman cornettos.

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