Speakers for 2019 Winter Commencement Announced
Photo: Two graduating students will deliver an address during the winter commencement exercise at East Stroudsburg University. From left: Angela Pender communication student from Philadelphia, Pa and Nicole Warner an instructional technology graduate student from Blakeslee, Pa.
East Stroudsburg University will hold its winter commencement exercise on Saturday, December 14 at 9:45 a.m. in Koehler Fieldhouse. Nicole Warner will be the graduate student speaker Angela Pender will speak on behalf of undergraduate students. Two doctoral degrees will be awarded.
Graduate Student Speaker
Nicole Warner, an instructional technology graduate student from Blakeslee, Pa., is a full-time chemistry teacher at Easton Area High School, and serves as one of the building’s techsperts (technology experts). Warner graduated from DeSales University in 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and earned a master of education in professional and secondary education from ESU in 2014. She earned a National Board Certification for her teaching degree, is a Level 1 Google Certified Educator, and has a Cyber Endorsement of Teaching Certificate. Warner returned to ESU with the goal of attaining her Specialist Certification in instructional technology, but her interest in research motivated her to commit to a second master’s degree. “Working toward this degree has afforded me the opportunity to apply what I have learned and use it to affect change in my classroom and in my school community,” Warner said. “This journey has also helped me embrace the true meaning of what it means to be a Warrior.” While pursuing her degree, Warner became a first-time mother to a premature baby. “Despite the challenges, I was able to reach all the goals I set for myself. I also passed the Warrior mindset on to my daughter.” Warner is a life-long learner who hopes to empower others to push through their challenges and embrace the Warrior within them.
Undergraduate Student Speakers
Angela Pender, a communication student from Philadelphia, Pa., was a facility manager at the Mattioli Recreation Center, a tour guide, a public relations intern for the Warrior Tutoring Center, a member of the National Council of Negro Women, a member of the Public Relations Student Society of America, a writer for the Stroud Courier, and a member of the communication honor society. But, her days at ESU were not always filled with campus involvement and worthy of honor societies. After her first year at ESU, Pender found herself on academic probation. “My mother told me, ‘You either want this or you don’t,’” Pender said. “I wanted it, and I knew I was capable of doing it.” She began to get more involved on campus, met influential people who helped her along the way, and as she became more involved her grades began to improve. Pender believes each person is the master of their own fate, and hopes to inspire others to turn their lemons into lemonade. She is thankful to ESU for giving her a second chance.
Christina A. Figueroa is an English teacher in Whitehall-Coplay School District where she has been a faculty member since 2008. She is a building representative for the Whitehall-Coplay Education Association (WCEA) Union and serves as the advisor for The Anime Club. During her time at Whitehall High School, Christina has advised The Creative Writing Club, The S.A.D.D. Club, and The RESPECT Club. Prior to completing her Ed.D. at East Stroudsburg University, Christina earned her B.S. from Kutztown University and her M.Ed. from Cabrini College. During her time as an undergraduate student, she chaired many committees and organized numerous campus events through her involvement with the Housing and Residential Life Organization.
Peter J. Mayes is a first-generation college student in ESU’s educational leadership doctoral program from Bethlehem, Pa. He is the principal of Nitschmann Middle School in the Bethlehem Area School District. He has served the Bethlehem Area and Allentown School Districts as an elementary teacher, middle school teacher, and school principal over the past 22 years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Bloomsburg University, a master’s degree in secondary education from Kutztown University, and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Wilkes University. He encourages developing leaders and teachers as a professor of graduate and undergraduate students at Moravian College. Through the support of his wife and children, completing the ESU doctoral program is the pinnacle of his academic career.