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Student-Athletes, Research Assistants Among CSU’s Spring 2024 Valedictorians

2024 Spring Valedictorians
Valedictorians from five of Cleveland State University’s eight colleges will be acknowledged at the Spring 2024 Commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 11 for their excellence in their respective schools and beyond. Join us in congratulating them all!

Ashley Banas, College of Health 
Banas worked as a research assistant for CSU's Departments of Anthropology and Health and Human Performance. She will graduate with a degree in health sciences with minors in anthropology, biology and English. 

“In the future, I intend to pursue my master’s degrees in public health and information science,” said Banas. “Fundamentally, I am passionate about connecting communities with the resources, programs, and services they need to live well and be healthy—physically, mentally, and emotionally.”

Courtni Began, Levin College of Public Affairs and Education 
Began currently serves as a development and experience intern at Destination Cleveland. In the past, she has worked as a student assistant for the College of Sciences and Health Professions, a student enrichment assistant for the Center for Public & Nonprofit Management and a major projects unit intern for Greater Partnership Cleveland, among other roles. Began, who is a member of the President's and Dean's Lists, will receive a Bachelor of Arts in Urban and Regional Studies with a concentration in urban and regional planning. 

“Looking ahead, I am filled with optimism and a sense of purpose, thanks to the concrete support and unique opportunities I received from Cleveland State University,” said Began. “From mentorship by dedicated faculty to hands-on learning experiences, CSU provided me with the tools and experiences necessary for success.”

Jenna Deang, Monte Ahuja College of Business 
Deang, who will earn her Bachelor of Business Administration Marketing, has worked as a commercial bank marketing intern at Huntington National Bank during her time at Cleveland State. She has also starred on the CSU softball team, earning two first-team All-Horizon League selections. The four-time Dean's List and three-time President's List selection was a Jack, Joseph and Mandel Scholars Program member from 2020-22.

“My collegiate journey has been one of personal growth, [and] I am forever indebted to Cleveland State University for granting me a wealth of knowledge, irreplaceable experiences, my best friends and lasting memories,” said Deang. “Undoubtedly, I will step into my new life journey post-graduation forever embodying the values of a CSU Viking.”

Cyenna Ulrich-Cech, College of Arts and Sciences 
Ulrich-Cech worked as an office assistant and a success coach for TRIO/Student Support Services, a program offered through the U.S. Department of Education. Her research interests and specialties include anthropology, environmental science and environmental studies. She will receive bachelor's degrees in anthropology and environmental science while adding on a minor in environmental science and a Certificate in Urban Geographic Information Systems.

“I am eternally grateful to CSU for preparing and providing me with the confidence to take the next steps in my academic journey in pursuing a Ph.D.,” said Ulrich-Cech. “I am eager to contribute to the continued success and excellence of our institution as a proud Viking.”

Kierstin Clark, Washkewicz College of Engineering 
Clark has experience as an undergraduate research fellow at the University of South Carolina and the Lerner Research Institute at Cleveland Clinic. She has spent four seasons with CSU's women's soccer team, earning her first career start during a 4-1 win over Saint Francis on Sept. 7. She was also a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Society of Women Engineers and Sisters in STEM, among others. Clark will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and a minor in mathematics.

“I am extremely thankful for my time at Cleveland State University,” said Clark. “Despite being 12 hours away from my hometown, I chose CSU for its unique blend of academic and athletic opportunities, allowing me to continue my soccer career while pursuing a degree in chemical engineering.”