by Pamela Young, Published December 13, 2011
YPSILANTI - Ann Arbor resident Susan Fowler previously worked 17 years in a salon as a hairdresser. But change is in store for her after she graduates from Eastern Michigan University Sunday, Dec. 18.
Fowler, 44, who will receive an undergraduate degree in information assurance, is now a certified forensics examiner who has conducted digital forensics research on small-scale devices. She will be attending Purdue University's Cyber Forensics Program, one of the top research programs in the country. Her future plans include working as a forensics analyst for the government or a law enforcement agency.
Other noteworthy students include:
Joseph Ferris, 49, of Manchester. He is graduating Sunday with a bachelor's in health administration. Before returning to college in 2007, Ferris owned and operated an automotive consulting business for 13 years. Not only did he take classes year-round, he earned a 3.87 grade point average while working part-time. Ferris plans on pursuing a project manager position at a medical facility.
Jhazmin Taylor, 22, of Lansing. She is graduating with a bachelor's degree in psychology. She is one of the top students in Eastern's McNair Scholars Program, which offers academic advising, mentoring and research experience to students who plan to pursue a doctoral degree. Taylor focused her research on the relationship between parents' perception of child weight, parent-feeding style and child body-mass index among low-income African American preschoolers. Her goal includes obtaining a doctorate in social work in order to be an elementary school counselor.
Jordan Dekker, 22, of Grand Rapids. He will receive a bachelor's in international business, specializing in supply chain management. He was president of the Honors Student Association and vice president of Circle K, Eastern's community service organization. Dekker won the Honors College senior thesis award for his paper about air cargo infrastructure in India. He currently works in purchasing at Ford Motor Co. Jordan's goal is to earn an MBA.
Eastern Michigan's commencement ceremony is at 2 p.m. in the Convocation Center. Approximately 1,271 undergraduates and 570 graduate students will receive their degree.
George Gervin, a basketball legend both at Eastern and in the NBA, and a major benefactor of youths in San Antonio, will be the commencement speaker. He will receive an honorary doctorate in education from Eastern Michigan.
Gervin earned fame as one of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players. Nicknamed The Ice Man for his cool demeanor on the court, he is known nationally for his skills both on the basketball court and as a civic leader. He played two years at EMU, leading the Hurons to the Final Four of the NCAA College Division's National Championship in 1971-72, before leaving to join the pros. After turning pro, he played with the Virginia Squires of the American Basketball Association, and the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs.
He now dedicates himself to providing educational support, mentoring and job placement to others. He has established seven charitable organizations for young people, including the George Gervin Youth Center, which opened in 1991.