Class acts: Senior stories of distinction


Dennis Brown


May 13, 2004


The University of Notre Dame’s 2004 graduating class can be defined collectively, through a variety of numerical and statistical observations, as well as individually, through the stories of seniors with compelling tales to tell.

Some of the numbers are:

Beyond the numbers, here are some individual senior stories of distinction:

Lauren Barkmeier, Appleton, Wis. -- Born 11 weeks prematurely, Barkmeier lost her hearing soon after birth for reasons that are not completely known. Throughout her elementary and secondary school years, she attended regular classes with the assistance of a sign language interpreter and was graduated from Appleton North High School in 2000. At Notre Dame, she says any needs associated with her hearing loss were met in both Cavanaugh Hall, where she served as secretary, and the classroom, where she excelled. A summa cum laude graduate in psychology and computer applications, she received a Senior Recognition Award from the psychology department and has been accepted into the doctoral program in educational psychology at the University of Minnesota, one of the leading programs in the world. "Low literacy is epidemic among the deaf, and academic achievement at the level of graduation from an elite university is definitely to be celebrated," said Michael Pressley, formerly on the psychology faculty at Notre Dame and now at Michigan State University. One of Pressley's colleagues at Notre Dame suggested Barkmeier seek his counsel for graduate school. "I was skeptical at first, but the skepticism evaporated rapidly as I got to know her," Pressley said. "She is a really inspiring story." Barkmeier is interested in teaching and research at the university level. Her father is a 1971 Notre Dame graduate, her mother was graduated the same year from Saint Mary's College, and her brother Andrew and sister Sarah also are graduates of Notre Dame, in 1999 and 2001, respectively.



University of Minnesota- Driven to Discover