Meet Your 2015 Valedictorians

Rollins College names five valedictorians from the Class of 2015.

This May, the Rollins College Class of 2015 will be represented by five valedictorians from Arts & Sciences and the College of Professional Studies.

Shelby McGuire ’15 has been selected to deliver the official valedictory address at the commencement ceremony on May 10.

Lisa Duemmling ’15


Major: Physics
Campus organizations: Treasurer of Phi Eta Sigma, vice president of the Society of Physics Students, residential advisor.
Post-graduation plans: I had an internship last summer at a management consulting firm in Miami, Florida, and I have accepted their job offer.
Most proud of: I’m proud of the fact that during my time at Rollins, I was a full-time student and a part-time employee. And importantly, I’m proud that I stayed an engaged equestrian. I’ve been riding horses since I was a child and the sport has had a huge impact on my live. I wasn’t sure if I’d have the time to keep my equine passion alive with so many other opportunities at Rollins that I wanted to try, but I was able to keep horseback riding a priority along with academics and multiple jobs.
Favorite memory at Rollins: Fox Day every year. Everyone is so excited and the energy on campus is amazing. It’s great to have a day where the Rollins community can take a step back from their hectic schedules and get together to relax and appreciate the beauty of the moment.
Advice for fellow graduating seniors: Stay steadfast and don’t give up. You learn the most about yourself and what you’re truly capable of in the most challenging situations.

Meredith Lax ’15 ’16MBA


Major: Communications studies, 3/2 Accelerated Management Program
Campus organizations: R-Pride, Eco-Rollins, Rollins Cares, Rollins Entertainment Programs, vice president of sales for The First Movers, Inc., member of the Leadership Student Advisory Board for the Center for Leadership Development, exchange/international student mentor with the Office of Student Services.
Post-graduation plans: I’m in the 3/2 Accelerated Management Program, so next year I’ll continue with my graduate studies in the Crummer Graduate School of Business. I plan to graduate from Crummer with an MBA in 2016 and I hope to remain in Central Florida. However, I am open to relocating should the opportunity present itself!
Most proud of: I am most proud of my work with Assistant Professor of Communication Anne Stone as a research assistant. I participated in the Student-Faculty Collaborative Scholarship Program for two summers and also did an independent study with Dr. Stone. Our research expanded the research she had already done on the quality of life of caregivers of loved ones and patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. We also examined the use of deception in the context of dementia care. I would not have had the incredible opportunities to present at local, national, and international academic conferences and to be published in the Florida Communication Journal at any other institution.
Favorite memory at Rollins: My favorite memories involve spending time with my friends on campus in the dorms, by the lake, and walking around Park Avenue. I look forward to keeping in touch with my friends forever. They have taught me so much about living life to the fullest and finding happiness in each day.
Advice for fellow graduating seniors: I encourage you to take advantage of any and all opportunities that come your way. You never know where an opportunity will take you, so try everything that you can. Be everything you can be and a little more. Live your lives with kindness, love, care, thoughtfulness, honesty, loyalty, respect, and the presence of an open mind. Most importantly, learn to listen—and give before you take.

Shelby McGuire ’15


Major: International relations
Campus organizations: Active in the Center for Leadership & Community Engagement, leadership positions in JUMP and Student Support Foundation, member of Amnesty International, member of the German Club, German tutor, residential assistant, intern for Bonner Leaders Program.
Post-graduation plans: I don’t have anything set in stone yet. I’m an alternate for a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to South Africa. Beyond that, I am planning to take a gap year before graduate studies. I plan to pursue a job the with U.S. federal government as part of my Boren Scholarship for international study. And I will begin applying for master’s programs in peace and conflict resolution in both the U.S. and Germany.
Most proud of: I’m proud of the time I spent studying abroad in Rwanda. For someone who had never been outside of the U.S., spending a semester studying abroad was a big change. And through the experience, I learned so much about myself and I proved to myself that I a was stronger, more confident person than I had ever known.
Favorite memory at Rollins: It’s hard to say I have one favorite memory. But if pressed, I would have to say that it was the first moment that I really felt like I belonged at Rollins. This happened at the end of the first semester of my first year. JUMP put on a ‘Jump for JUMP’ event with a bunch of fun, bouncy, inflatable things on The Green. I just remember feeling really happy jumping around with friends, playing Frisbee, and laying in the sunshine.
Advice for fellow graduating seniors: Life is not a race. This is something I have to constantly remind myself of. It’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy of trying to get to the next step or milestone. But it’s important to stop, take a look around, and enjoy where you presently are in life. Enjoy the people who are in your life and try not to constantly worry about what’s next.

Chelsea Penther ’15


Major: International business
Campus organizations: Member of Beta Gamma Sigma honor society, member of Phi Eta Sigma honor society, member of the National Society of Leadership and Success, member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, tutor for international business, ninth grade tutor, member of Rho Gamma for recruitment, member of the Rotaract Club.
Post-graduation plans: I will attend law school in New York City on a full-tuition scholarship.
Most proud of: I am most proud of being able to achieve great academic success without having to sacrifice my social or personal life. I did not just excel academically during my time here at Rollins, I also met some really great friends!
Favorite memory at Rollins: My favorite memory from my time at Rollins has to be Fox Day during my first year. Every new student anticipates this day from when they first arrive on campus. That morning the halls of Ward were filled with excited students and everyone was thrilled they would finally experience one of Rollins’ best-known traditions.
Advice for fellow graduating seniors: We should all look forward to the future and the endless possibilities it holds. Every one of us needs to make sure we are not afraid to achieve our dreams because life is short. Also, we all will leave our own indelible mark on the world so it is up to each of us to make certain that mark is one that is significant and meaningful.

Jessica Wilson ’15


Major: Economics
Campus organizations: Volleyball team (captain for two years), member and committee executive leadership for the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, and tutor for applied calculus, statistics, and economics.
Post-graduation plans: I’m going to begin my career—I’m nearing the end of a job search (hopefully) in a couple of days.
Most proud of: I’m most proud of the opportunity to be a valedictorian. And I’m proud of my accomplishments on the volleyball team. 
Favorite memory at Rollins: Upsetting teams and winning in the final set—winning by two points in volleyball in our regional tournament a couple of years ago. And the campus community storming the basketball court after we upset Florida Southern University—that’s a great memory to have.
Advice for incoming and current students: Figure out the ‘why’ behind questions—why you came to Rollins and why you chose your major. Also, go to class. It’s one of the best ways to be successful and gain the most experience out of Rollins.