FAU Celebrates Fall 2016 Commencement

FAU will confer more than 2,680 degrees today and tomorrow during five commencement ceremonies in the Carole and Barry Kaye Performing Arts Auditorium, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus.

By kelsie weekes | 12/15/2016

Florida Atlantic University will confer more than 2,680 degrees today and tomorrow during five commencement ceremonies in the Carole and Barry Kaye Performing Arts Auditorium, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus. The new graduates will join more than 153,160 alumni who have graduated from FAU since the University opened its doors in 1964.

“I am honored to be here today to celebrate the hard work of these Florida Atlantic University students,” said FAU President John Kelly. “I know they will make the FAU family proud, and I join their family members and friends in congratulating them on this major milestone.”

Fall commencement also highlights the accomplishments of outstanding graduates, including:

  • Kathryn Edmunds, 22, will graduate today at 9 a.m. with a bachelor’s degree in communications. Edmunds has held several leadership positions at FAU, including governor of the Boca Raton campus and Student Government president. Edmunds recently interned for a non-governmental organization (NGO) in Thailand, and will travel to Hong Kong following her graduation to work for Crossroads Foundation, an NGO dedicated to collecting resources and distributing them to those in need. Following her time in Hong Kong, Edmunds will return to the U.S. to attend graduate school in Texas.
  • Nasim Alavi, 48, and her daughter, Emon Alavi, 18, will both graduate from FAU this semester. Nasim will graduate with a doctorate in educational leadership during today’s 1 p.m. ceremony, while Emon will graduate magna cum laude with a degree in biological sciences during tomorrow’s 9 a.m. ceremony. Emon, a graduate of FAU High, is currently conducting research on misophonia, a disorder characterized by extreme sensitivity to certain sounds. Her future plans include studying for the MCAT and attending medical school. Nasim recently completed her dissertation on the best delivery method of health information to adults 25 years of age and older. Following graduation, she hopes to secure a full-time administration or teaching position at a college or university.
  • David Parshenkov, 23, will graduate today at 5 p.m. with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and marketing. Last semester, Parshenkov was crowned as winner of FAU’s 2016 Business Plan Competition and the Tech Runway Launch Competition, earning $35,000 in prize money for a picture-and-video messaging platform he created called FacePlay. Right now, Parshenkov’s attention is focused on a new project, a mobile application called Magic Touch. Using movement technology, the app understands voice commands and motion gestures to create graphics that can be used in videos, photos or text messages. In addition to Magic Touch, Parshenkov is in talks with Microsoft to create an artificial intelligence computer vision learning application.  
  • Ramon Garcia-Areas, 31, will receive a doctorate in integrative biology from the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science during tomorrow’s 9 a.m. ceremony. Garcia-Areas has accepted a post-doctoral fellowship at Institut Curie, one of the world’s leading research institutes. His research at FAU focused on a novel gene in breast cancer that can be used as a prognostic marker for the risk of metastasis. His research was the first of its kind, and he’s since been awarded a patent for his research and has been published in eight peer-reviewed scientific journals.
  • Justin Cooke, 28, will graduate summa cum laude with a degree in biology during tomorrow’s 9 a.m. ceremony. Cooke has spent more than 1,000 hours volunteering in the community, and currently runs Splash Pals Adapted Aquatics, a program that offers aquatic activities to children with disabilities at FAU. They’ve helped improve the lives of more than 100 children so far. Additionally, Cooke spends his time volunteering for the Children’s Miracle Network and Kids Cancer Foundation, recently creating a program called “A Bear Because We Care,” where FAU students hand-make teddy bears and deliver them to people in the community.
  • Sunil Mittoo, 36, will graduate with a degree in criminal justice during tomorrow’s 1 p.m. ceremony. Mittoo is a U.S. Army veteran who worked as a chemical operations specialist during his deployment in Iraq. After an honorable discharge, Mittoo chose the field of criminal justice in order to continue to serve and protect his country. While getting his degree, Mittoo took advantage of the services provided by the FAU Veterans Affairs Department and Student Accessibility Services. Following his graduation, he hopes to work for the federal government.

Some interesting statistics regarding the fall graduating class include that fact that 98 of the degree recipients are over the age of 50, and 12 are over the age of 60. The graduates represent 47 countries.

For the convenience of family members and friends who cannot attend the commencement ceremonies, the proceedings will be cybercast at www.fau.edu.