Leon Hostetler and Carol Rauen Named Outstanding Graduates

(Bradenton, Fla., May 8, 2015) — State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) graduates walked the stage to receive their diplomas before a standing room-only crowd in the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall at Spring 2015 commencement on Friday, May 8.

SCF President Dr. Carol F. Probstfeld highlighted recent students’ outstanding accomplishments in the 2014-15 academic year, including SCF’s first Brain Bowl team claiming the state and national championships and the Model Un team winning SCF’s first Outstanding Delegation Award and earning the highest team average at the Southern Regional Model United Nations Conference’s 25-year history. Four SCF students were named All-Florida Academic Team members, and SCF students in nursing and dental hygiene had a 100 percent pass rate on licensing exams.

“You make it so easy to brag about the amazing students we have at SCF and to tell everyone what a great college this is. SCF proved it has some of the best students in the nation because our faculty challenged them in the classroom and inspired them to pursue knowledge,” Probstfeld said.

Out of 907 students who were eligible for graduation, 375 graduates were expected to participate in the ceremony. They included 334 associate degree graduates, 35 baccalaureate graduates and six certificate graduates.

Sarasota resident Leon Hostetler and Palmetto resident Carol Rauen were the recipients of the Outstanding Graduate Award, which recognizes students who have shown superior leadership, academic achievement and community service while attending SCF.

Hostetler grew up in an Amish family and came to SCF to pursue his dream of studying physics. He was the science expert on the Fire Team, SCF’s first Brain Bowl Team to win state and national championships and defeat prestigious universities. Hostetler is president of the Zeta Xi Math Club, and his team ranked fourth at the FTYCMA/UNF Mathematics Olympics. He has co-presented workshops and papers at regional and national mathematics conferences and won a Best Presentation award. He is a member of the American Physical Society and the Nu Zeta Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society, and was a recipient of the Amish Descendant Scholarship Fund. After graduating with an Associate in Arts degree, Hostetler plans to earn a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Florida State University and later a Ph.D. with the goal of becoming a researcher.

Rauen is a single mother who has overcome challenges with the help of supportive professors. She earned her Associate in Science in Nursing degree from Manatee Community College and worked as a registered nurse in intensive care for 13 years. As a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program student, she completed a prestigious summer internship with the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center and has been invited to present at Sarasota Memorial Health Care System’s New Knowledge and Innovation Conference. Rauen is treasurer for the Suncoast Nursing Honor Society and chair of the society’s Research and Evidence-based Practice committee. She volunteers for the Manatee Medical Reserve Corps and serves as a basic life support instructor for the American Heart Association. She is a member of the American Nurses Association and was the recipient of the Elton Louise Bunderman Nursing Scholarship through the SCF Foundation. After graduation, Rauen plans to continue serving the community and earn a master’s degree with the goal of pursuing a career that fosters her interests in research and quality improvement. 

Other finalists for the Outstanding Graduate Award were Andres Gomez Aunca, Bradenton; Andrea Huertas-Meza, Myakka City; Angel Kelly, Bradenton; Megan Orlando, Bradenton; Matthew Ruch, North Port; and Nelly Wilson, Bradenton.

Funding for SCF's Outstanding Graduate Award is provided by the State College of Florida Foundation Inc.

Dr. Larry Thompson, president of Ringling College of Art & Design, was the graduation speaker. Other graduation program participants were SCF President Dr. Carol F. Probstfeld; Gary Russell, vice president of academic affairs; Dr. Donald Bowman, vice president of student affairs; Matthew Ruch, SCF Venice Student Government Association president; Erin Tribble, SCF Bradenton Student Government Association president; Janet Samuels, assistant professor, mathematics; and the Rev. Bryan D. O’Carroll, campus ministries.

The national anthem was sung by the SCF Chamber Choir directed by Melodie Dickerson, SCF Music Program and choral/vocal studies director.

Ken Erickson, SCF alumnus and Theatre Program director, served as the macebearer in the ceremony. He has worked at SCF for 35 years and will retire June 30.

Leon Hostetler
Leon Hostetler, recipient of the Outstanding Graduate Award

Carol Rauen
Carol Rauen, recipient of the Outstanding Graduate Award

OGA finalists

OGA winners Leon Hostetler, Carol Rauen with other finalists Angel Kelly, SCF President Dr. Carol Probstfeld, Andres Gomez Aunca, Nelly Wilson, Megan Orlando, Matthew Ruch and Andrea Huertas-Meza

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