ALLEGANY COLLEGE OF MARYLAND SELECTS STUDENT SPEAKERS FOR MAY 15 COMMENCEMENT
CUMBERLAND, Md. (May 5, 2021) – Three hundred and ten Allegany College of Maryland students are expected to earn approximately 392 degrees and certificates during the college’s virtual spring commencement ceremony at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 15. The college selected four students to provide the traditional student address: Emily Imgrund, Bedford, Veronica McMillian, Oldtown, Rachel Mickle, Woodbury, and Jennifer Thomas, Cumberland. The ceremony will be streamed on ACM’s Facebook page @alleganycollegeofmaryland and later posted to the college’s YouTube channel @theACMutube.
Emily Imgrund, a Teacher Education major, graduated from Bedford High School in 2018. She knew at the age of five that she wanted to be a teacher. An active member of the Omicron Pi chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society at ACM, Imgrund served as the organization’s Vice President of Fellowship and appeared on the college’s Dean’s List. She will be a transfer student and elementary education major at Frostburg State University this fall and aspires to one day teach near her home state of Pennsylvania. In her speech, Imgrund discusses growing up as the daughter of an ACM employee and viewing the college as her “playground” as a child. She shares how the college banded together to support her, like only family can, during a health crisis, and her experiences as a student. If she could offer advice to future ACM students, Imgrund would encourage them to strive to improve their time management skills early in their college career.
Veronica McMillian, a Cybersecurity major, graduated from Allegany High School and the Center for Career and Technical Education (CCTE) in 2019. She articulated five courses from CCTE to ACM to jumpstart her college career and earn her associate degree in only one year. McMillian credits Mike Dignan, an Allegany County Public Schools Instructor, for going above and beyond to create a family environment in his IT classes at CCTE, and Richard “Dick” Soderman, an ACM assistant professor in computer technology, for his advising help and career encouragement. A first-generation college student, she chose ACM because of its location and reputation (and the fact that her aunt was also an ACM student) and found support from her instructors not only in her classes but in preparing for job interviews. She is a member of ACM’s Omicron Pi chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society and appeared on the college’s Dean’s List. After gaining experience in the tech industry, McMillian plans to pursue her bachelor’s degree. In her speech, McMillian talks about overcoming challenges like fears, time and sometimes sleep to achieve one’s life goals.
Rachel Mickle, a Multimedia Technology major, graduated from Northern Bedford County High School in 2018. After taking a gap year, she enrolled at ACM after family suggested that the multimedia technology program might help her grow her creative talents. She was hooked immediately. Mickle lived in the college’s on-campus housing complex, Willowbrook Woods, and pushed herself to embrace student life activities. She became active member of the Omicron Pi chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, appeared on the Dean’s List, and was an ACM Foundation scholarship recipient. She was elected the 2020-2021 Maryland/DC president for the Phi Theta Kappa Middle States Region. She will be a transfer student and graphic design major at Stevenson University this fall. In her speech, Mickle discusses how stepping back from a situation or a project can offer a different (and sometimes better) perspective. It was advice offered by one of her instructors and an important lesson for handling the “flaws” of everyday life. If she could provide guidance for future students, Mickle would encourage them to not simply go to class and go home, but to get involved in activities and engage with their classmates.
Jennifer Thomas, a Culinary Arts major originally from Powder Springs, Georgia, earned her high school diploma in 2013. After high school, she traveled to India and Kenya where she worked as a missionary. A nontraditional student, she found her way to the college’s Culinary Arts program after two semesters as a General Studies major due to her interest in holistic nutrition and the program’s one-year certificate program in Dietary Management. She is a member of the Omicron Pi chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, appeared on the Dean’s List, and was an ACM Foundation scholarship recipient. Following graduation, she and her spouse plan to hike the Appalachian Trail in two parts, ultimately ending in Georgian to connect with family before determining their future plans. In her speech, Thomas discusses how the college offered, in addition to credentials and diplomas, intangible degrees in integrity, vision and passion, and fostered an environment where she and other students could gain lessons in character, teamwork, perseverance and resilience. She encourages her fellow graduates to use every degree they possess to reach their fullest potential.
ACM students with a 3.75 or higher GPA were invited to audition to speak. The student speakers were selected by the college’s Commencement Committee. Their speeches were professionally recorded by college faculty.