ArtSci student marshals

Carrying the banner: Meet the 2019 student marshals

At the university-wide Commencement ceremony on May 17, small groups of students will represent every branch of Arts & Sciences by carrying banners for the College, the Graduate School, and University College. It’s an honor to be selected; each student marshal was chosen for their exemplary student career. Ahead of the big day, the ArtSci student marshals reflect on their journeys and share their favorite memories.


College of Arts & Sciences

Rob Curran

Ryan Chang, LA ’19
Major: Physics

What is something WashU has taught you to appreciate?

Through my journey here at WashU, I have learned to appreciate how hard it is to get to the truth and how easily we can fool ourselves at times. When your professors show you on the blackboard how to solve a problem, what is not shown are the other failed attempts at solving it. Until you try it for yourself and struggle through the problem, you will not really understand the relevant concepts. When you see someone publish a gorgeous paper, what is not shown are the hundreds of hours behind it and the other failed paths taken to tackle the problem. I experienced this firsthand when I thought I had observed an interesting phenomenon, but after more careful examination of the issue at hand, I realized that I had almost tricked myself into seeing what I wanted to see, rather than what actually is. This reminds me of a quote I came across in high school from Hu Shih. “Daring in putting forward hypotheses; careful in searching for proofs.” It seemed to me a clichéd epithet at the time, but now I have come to understand that nature is fantastically complicated.



Sophie Elliott, LA ’19
Major: Linguistics

What is one of your favorite memories from your time at WashU?

One of my favorite memories at WashU is from the second semester of my first year, on the first day of classes. I was sitting in Intro to Linguistics and about halfway through the lecture, I felt this moment of reassurance that I was, in fact, in the right place: this would become somewhere I could explore issues I didn’t even know I cared about and ask questions I didn’t even realize I had, all alongside professors, advisors, and classmates who were just as invested as I was. At this point I still had no idea that I would ultimately declare a linguistics major, but even just one hour into the lecture I was already thinking about language in entirely new ways and was just so grateful to be in that classroom.



Ebonie Pollack, LA ’19
Major: Art History

What accomplishment are you most proud of in your time here?

I would have to say that the accomplishment that I am most proud of in my time here was the completion of my senior honors thesis which happened only a few days ago. I think that the entire process of researching and writing, which has spanned over two years for me as a Mellon Mays Fellow, has challenged me to grow as an intellectual and as a scholar. Holding the finished product in my hands was almost surreal. I know that beyond my own extreme efforts to make it happen, I owe a great deal of thanks to my advisors, my close friends, and my Mellon Mays cohort for supporting me along the way. 


The Graduate School

Heather Himes

Ninecia Scott, PhD '19
Concentration: Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis 

What accomplishment are you most proud of in your time here?

Over the course of my time here at Washington University, I have had the opportunity to serve as a student leader and advocate through the Association of Black Biomedical Graduate Students, Student Advisory Committee, Graduate Student Senate, Diversity and Inclusion Student Council and the Washington University Board of Trustees. Through each of these experiences, I helped enhance the student experience and support as well as increase awareness about the necessity of student and faculty diversity, especially with those who identify as underrepresented minorities - African Americans, Latin Americans, Pacific Islanders and American Indians. I am truly proud and humbled that students were able to allow me to connect with them by sharing their experiences and entrusting me to advocate on their behalf. I too am proud that faculty and administrators are willing and open to address student concerns from diverse student populations. 


Red Samaniego, MFA '19
Concentration: Creative Writing, Fiction

What is one of your favorite memories from your time at WashU?

My favorite memory of WashU has been taking action with the WashU Grad Workers Union and the campaign for $15/hr and childcare for all at WashU.




Elizabeth Wolfson, MA '19
Concentration: Master of Liberal Arts with Thesis

What is something WashU has taught you to appreciate?

My time at WashU has taught me to appreciate the value of continuing education, regardless of one's age or stage in life.




University College

Melanie BehbahaniKatie Chandler, BS '19
Concentration: Integrated Marketing Communications

What accomplishment are you most proud of in your time here?

I am most proud of being able to balance the responsibilities of working full time and completing my degree program. It was not always easy, but as a non-traditional student, I knew the journey to completing my degree was going to look different. The outpouring of support and encouragement that I received from the faculty and staff really helped keep me focused. Additionally, the friendships I created along the way is something I will always treasure. I cannot stress enough how important these relationships are for those of us who are trying to balance our careers and education.



Gabriel Habtemariam, BS '19
Concentration: Psychological & Brain Sciences

What is something WashU has taught you to appreciate?

My time at WashU really taught me to be more appreciative in general. My education here informed me about local, national, and global issues and just how fragile the privileges and rights I take for granted really are.



Ann Doyle, MS '19
Concentration: Clinical Research Management

What accomplishment are you most proud of in your time here?

I've been employed by the School of Medicine for almost 22 years. At age 59 I decided to go back to school and received my RN to BSN through an accelerated 1 year program under a scholarship provided by WU and Goldfarb. I completed that degree in August 2016 and thought "that wasn’t so bad”!! I started my Master’s Program in January 2017 through University College. So here I am, at age 62, finally graduating….. it’s never too late and you’re never too old to learn!!