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Winter Graduation March 16

Graduation Recap

Valedictorian speech - Dasia V. Castergine


The next million-dollar idea may have been hatched on the Columbus State campus. When Dan Wilson, 35, receives his associate degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology, he'll continue developing an interlocking pallet system partly conceptualized in his Columbus State classes.

Wilson says, "I couldn't figure out why people waste so much space on pallets because they're all built to a standard size, so I designed something that can be locked together to make a pallet of any size. It saves time and shipping costs."

With a partner, he formed Capstone Innovations to develop the concept. The company was one of five to be awarded $20,000 in a central Ohio business startup competition known as 1492. The money will allow the product to go into full production this spring. "All of my instructors were incredibly helpful whenever I asked for advice with the design," he says.

Jennifer E. White, 32, will be earning her second degree from Columbus State. She had studied massage therapy and first graduated in 2005. "However, a few years after graduating, I realized all along my true passion was in the hospitality industry," says White. She will now also hold an associate degree in Hospitality Management. White's skills and talents are already in daily use at the Columbus Brewing Company restaurant where she serves as a general manager.

Nineteen-year-old Spencer Gardner is among the students successfully completing a full-ride scholarship in the Future Scientists of Ohio program. It's designed to encourage students studying science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine to stay in Ohio.

"After I came here I was totally blown away," says Gardner. "The classes are small, the teachers genuinely care about the students and there are many services to help students succeed." Spencer will transfer to Ohio State University to study biochemistry or bio-molecular engineering.

Dasia Castergine, who will receive a degree in surgical technology, is the class valedictorian. In all, 553 students have petitioned for graduation for the Winter quarter ceremony.

The commencement address will be given by Robert Restrepo, Jr., Chairman, President and CEO of State Auto Insurance Companies in Columbus.

Graduation begins at 10 a.m., Friday, March 16, 2012, at Veterans Memorial Auditorium, located at 300 W. Broad St., Columbus. The event is free and open to the public. The ceremony will also be available on a live stream.