ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. — St. Bonaventure University seniors Nicole Markert and Thomas Waters Jr. were recognized as Ideal Bonaventure Students on Saturday, May 14, at the university’s Honors Ceremony and again Sunday during St. Bonaventure’s 151st Commencement Exercises.
The Ideal Bonaventure Students exemplify the spirit of St. Bonaventure and the ideals of St. Francis through community service and academic excellence. They are selected by a committee that considers nominations from the campus community.
The honorable mentions were Courtney Bullock, an elementary education/special education major from Endicott, N.Y., and Kevin Okapal, a biology major from Sylvania, Ohio.
Nicole Markert is a mathematics major with dual minors in psychology and computer science. The Auburn, Ohio, native has been a member of the women’s varsity soccer team for four years and was team captain for the past three years.
She has assisted as a math tutor at the Teaching and Learning Center for five semesters and, since 2005, has worked as on-site director for Hands On Soccer Campus for children in Cleveland.
During the spring, Markert interned with The Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts on campus in which she designed a tour relating art and mathematics for students of middle school, high school and higher education.
Described by faculty members and coaches as an exceptional role model, head soccer coach Manoj Khettry said Markert consistently leads by example.
“Her desire to be a role model for our younger players, her ability to set a high example in training and in support of her teammates, and her ability to be a loyal supporter of me and my staff has been exceptional. … Nicole has been picked by her teammates to be a captain because she is a very conscientious teammate, a wonderful listener and a mature advocate for her team,” said Khettry.
As a senior, she broke the program record for shutouts in a season (six) and led the Bonnies to their first Atlantic 10 Tournament win.
Markert was a Presidential Scholar, was on the dean’s list all semesters and on the Atlantic 10 Commissioner’s Honor Roll (3.5 GPA or above) every semester. Other honors include being named to the A-10 Academic All-Conference and All-Tournament teams as well as ESPN the Magazine Academic District I Second Team. She also was the first St. Bonaventure student-athlete to receive the prestigious NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship this past spring.
The recipient of the 2011 Mathematics Award, also announced Saturday, she was inducted as a sophomore into Pi Mu Epsilon, the National Honorary Mathematics Society, and has been the SBU Chapter president for the past two years. She is also a member of the Mathematical Association of America, the world’s largest organization dedicated to undergraduate mathematics education.
She also served as president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, as well as the representative for the women’s soccer team.
Markert will pursue a master’s degree in education at the University of Kentucky this fall. She plans to teach mathematics and coach soccer at the high school level.
She is the daughter of Kevin and Michele Markert.
Thomas Waters Jr. is a biology major and Spanish minor from Corona, N.Y.
His college career was anything but typical.
Waters came to St. Bonaventure in the fall of 2005 in cancer remission. During his first year, he regularly went to Olean General Hospital for treatment, taking care of these responsibilities while attending to his academics in the process.
When the leukemia returned, Waters took a two-year break from his studies to concentrate on his health.
Spurred in part by his illness, he decided to pursue a pre-med track in college with sights on a career as a pediatric oncologist/hematologist. Having leukemia has also prompted him to reach out to others, especially young people, with cancer.
Since 2003, Waters has worked with young patients at the Stephen D. Hassenfeld Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at New York University Langone Medical Center.
“He is always looking to share his experience with cancer and help others move along this path in a positive way,” said Margaret Bryner, director of the Arthur O. Eve Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) at the university.
Waters entered St. Bonaventure through HEOP, which is designed for students with special academic and financial needs. He used his own opportunities and skills to assist other HEOP students as a tutor.
“He represents the university in the best way possible as a wonderful role model and with his high ethics and professional demeanor,” said Bryner.
This past fall, Waters got a close-up glimpse of life in a community hospital through The Experience in Clinical Medicine at Olean General Hospital. The semester-long experience includes six clinical rotations at Olean General. Students visit the hospital once a week for observational rotations in the emergency and operating rooms, the lab, the cardiology and radiology units, and with hospitalists — physicians making inpatient rounds.
Outside of class, Waters was a member of the Spoken Word Poetry Club, a student coordinator at the Warming House and a resident assistant. He previously was an ambassador for the campus multicultural center, the Damietta Center, and was a senator and member of the Black Student Union. He also was a charter member of the Chi Alpha Epsilon national honorary society.
Waters plans to gain experience in biology research for the next year before applying to medical school.
He is a son of Susan Culberson-Akha and the late Thomas Waters Sr.
About the University: Inspired for more than 150 years by the Franciscan values of individual dignity, community inclusiveness, and service, St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them. No wonder U.S. News and World Report has for years considered us a “Great School at a Great Price.”