Lauren Caruso of Sun Prairie, who is receiving her bachelor’s degree with summa cum laude, or highest, honors, has been selected to speak on behalf of the graduating class during UW-Green Bay’s mid-year commencement ceremony set for 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts on campus.
Caruso carries a double major in Spanish and Human Biology (health sciences emphasis) and a minor in Chemistry. She plans to pursue additional studies and a career in pharmacy.
The 2008 graduate of DeForest High School is an award-winning Division I student athlete who captained the perennially successful UW-Green Bay women’s swimming and diving team while maintaining a near-perfect grade point average and earning All-Horizon League academic honors.
Caruso’s academic career at UW-Green Bay includes experience as a teaching assistant and graduate mentor for high school students enrolled in the University’s precollege summer programs. She assisted Prof. Craig Hanke, Human Biology, in teaching science content and study skills as part of the Upward Bound and RCMS math and science programs. Caruso also completed a fall-semester 2012 research project, “The effects of echinacea on neutrophil function,” under the supervision of Human Biology Prof. Brian J. Merkel. For her Spanish studies, she worked closely with Profs. Cristina Ortiz and Gabriel Saxton-Ruiz and studied abroad in Alicante, Spain, during summer 2011.
As a student athlete, Caruso was a four-year letterwinner for the Phoenix under head coach Jim Merner. Her teams won three Horizon League championships. She capped her collegiate swimming career last February with a fourth-place finish in the 200-meter breaststroke at the conference finals. A strong season both in the pool and in the classroom led to her selection as one of only seven UW-Green Bay student-athletes from any sport to earn a spot on the Winter 2011-12 Horizon League all-academic team. (Three of those honored were swimming and diving teammates.) She made academic honor rolls — both conference and UW-Green Bay dean’s list — for seven consecutive semesters.
The graduating class speaker is selected by the University’s Academic Affairs Office from nominations made by faculty and staff members. About 450 students are eligible for mid-year graduation.