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From here, it’s possible

ASU grads continue to blaze trails

Every year at Homecoming, Angelo State celebrates several of our distinguished alumni. But quite frankly, it seems almost miraculous that the Alumni Association is able to choose from so many outstanding candidates.

Our alumni have taken their ASU degrees and gone on to become high-ranking military officers, top executives for national corporations, award-winning journalists, best-selling authors and famous football coaches, to name just a few. They also left behind some rather large footsteps for our current and future students to fill.

But if you take a quick look at some of our most recent top graduates, it is reassuring to see that ASU’s academic reputation continues to shine – and the footsteps they have left behind to fill have not gotten any smaller.

2019 Top Graduates

Evelyn Burch Evelyn Burch

Presidential Award Winner (Top Graduate in Class)
Hometown: Clinton, Md.
Degree: B.A., political science, summa cum laude
Of Note: Only student ever to win the Dennis Boe Research Award at two annual Great Plains Honors Council Conferences
Where is she now? Evelyn went back to work for the U.S. Department of Defense, where she completed multiple internships while at ASU. She also plans to pursue graduate studies in the geospatial intelligence field.

Brianna Gabaldo Brianna Gabaldon

Distinguished Student Award, Archer College of Health and Human Services
Hometown: Lubbock
Degree: B.S.N., nursing, summa cum laude
Of Note: Member of the Alpha Chi and Phi Kappa Phi national honor societies and the Sigma Theta Tau national honor society for nursing
Where is she now? Brianna went to work in an Intensive Care Unit at University Medical Center in Lubbock and plans to earn a Master of Science in Nursing – Nursing Education degree.

Talon Shoemake Talon Shoemake

Distinguished Student Award, College of Arts and Humanities
Hometown: Deweyville
Degree: B.A., English, magna cum laude
Of Note: Was one of only 17 students nationwide selected to participate in the prestigious Student Independent Research Council at the 2018 National Collegiate Honors Council Conference
Where is he now? Talon was accepted into the Ph.D. in English program at Louisiana State University.

Angela Chen Angela Chen

Distinguished Student Award, College of Science and Engineering
Hometown: San Antonio
Degree: B.S., biology, summa cum laude
Of Note: One of only 14 students nationwide selected for the CPRIT Summer Undergraduate Cancer Research Scholar Program
Where is she now? Angela was accepted into the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) School of Medicine with plans for a career as a primary care physician.

Claire Benschoter Claire Benschoter

Distinguished Student Award, College of Education
Hometown: Austin
Degree: B.S., interdisciplinary studies, summa cum laude
Of Note: Graduated with Grade 4-8 and Early Childhood – Grade 12 Special Education teacher certifications; Studied abroad at Ewha Women’s University in South Korea
Where is she now? Claire was accepted into the Master of Science in Education in educational psychology program at Baylor University.

Lacey Maurice Lacey Maurice

Distinguished Student Award, Norris-Vincent College of Business
Hometown: Bulverde
Degree: B.B.A., accounting, summa cum laude
Of Note: Held multiple leadership positions in ASU’s Delta Zeta sorority; Named ASU Greek Scholar of the Year; Inducted into the Order of Omega national leadership society
Where is she now? Lacey went to work at the Ryan LLC tax consulting firm in Dallas with long-term plans to earn her MBA., CPA licensure, and a Juris Doctorate degree specializing in business law.

And it’s not just our 2019 top graduates who impress. A look back at Presidential Award winners over the previous five years shows more of the same.


Brenna Hudson of Pflugerville
Entered Doctor of Physical Therapy program at Texas Woman’s University


Christian Garcia of San Angelo
Started two-year Venture for America Fellowship


Katelyn Macleay of San Antonio
Entered TTUHSC School of Medicine


Aimee Denham of Bandera
Entered TTUHSC School of Medicine


Sean Motl of San Angelo
Entered University of Texas Southwestern Medical School

Distinguished Student Award winners and nominees from 2014-18 were impressive, as well. Several went straight into Ph.D. programs at such institutions as Baylor University, Stanford University, Colorado School of Mines and College of William and Mary. Others entered ASU’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program or headed to medical schools at TTUHSC, University of Texas and University of North Texas. A couple went to law school at Baylor and Texas Tech.

That theme of matriculating into graduate schools also saw many of ASU’s top students continue their studies in accounting, agriculture, atmospheric studies, biology, business, communication, education, English, history, hydrology, public administration, public health, security studies and social work at the master’s degree level. Many stayed at ASU, while others went to Texas Tech, Baylor, UT, UT-Arlington, UT-Dallas, Texas State University, Purdue University and the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, among others.

Still other top students from 2014-18 went straight into their careers in software development, teaching, accounting, engineering, nursing and water conservation – and with the U.S. Foreign Service and Department of Defense.

However, as we beam with pride over the accomplishments of our top graduates, we must not forget that hundreds more ASU students graduate every year and become alumni. Like them, most of the alumni lauded annually at Homecoming were not Presidential Award winners and didn’t have a “cum laude” designation. They simply took their ASU degrees, worked hard, gave back to their communities, and earned the honor of being singled out as distinguished alumni.

We encourage you to take a close look at the Class Notes section toward the back of the printed magazine and at the many more alumni recognized in the online Class Notes to get an even better feel for the incredible amount of success that is being enjoyed by ASU graduates whose class years stretch back to the 1970s. And keep in mind, these are just the ones we know about.

Every one of them is a shining example of what can be accomplished with a degree from Angelo State. Each is also the epitome of our motto: From here, it’s possible.

  • Tom Nurre

    Tom Nurre

    Tom Nurre is a news and information specialist at Angelo State University. 
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