Outstanding Graduates 2022
Robert Roser (Computer Science, Cyber Operations, and Mathematics) – Robert is the recipient of Department of Defense Cyber Scholarship (DoD CySP). His academic aspirations and involvement in different undergraduate research projects show his commitment to set himself apart from his peers. Robert constantly challenges himself and has performed outstandingly in all his courses. Robert is a member of the Citadel Cybersecurity Club and ACM Club Citadel Chapter. He is a member of The Citadel Programming Team. Robert is a member of The Citadel Cyber Team that participated in Southeast Collegiate Cyber Defense Contest (SECCDC 2020, 2021), National Cyber League (NCL 2020, 2021), National Cyber Exercise (NCX 2021, 2022), and Red Team CTF 2020 organized by Naval Information Warfare Center, Charleston. Robert worked on a research project where he used Deep Learning Algorithms for Efficient Detection of Intrusions and Malwares. His name was in the Gold Star’s List for his outstanding academic achievement (3.7 GPA or higher) in Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, and Fall 2021.
Alexander Stensland (Physics) – Alexander Stensland, from Chicago, Illinois is a senior cadet majoring in Physics. Alexander has held rank throughout his cadet career and now serves as Golf Company’s Executive Officer. Alongside his cadet career accomplishments, his pursuits of academic excellence have extended far outside the classroom. Alexander completed his Model-Based Systems Engineering certification at The California Institute of Technology in the Fall of 2020. He has also worked on countless summer research projects over the years as part of The Citadel’s SURE Program. He also has been involved with numerous internships in the defense contracting industry throughout his sophomore, junior, and senior year as a cadet. His academic and cadet success qualified him to be inducted into the Society of Physics Students, Sigma Xi, and numerous other honor societies. Upon graduation, he plans to start his professional career in the semiconductor industry in California.
Akhil Prathipati (Chemistry) – Akhil Prathipati grew up in Summerville, SC. A member of the Honors Program, he is pursuing a B.S. in Chemistry with a specialization in Biochemistry and a minor in Spanish. Akhil is on an Army scholarship and will be commissioning into the Army's reserve component. He serves as the 2nd Battalion Adjutant this year. He is actively engaged on campus, serving as the Vice President of the Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society and the Omicron Delta Kappa Honors Society. Among other things, he has also served as the President of The Citadel Pre-Health Society and the Secretary of The Citadel American Chemical Society. Akhil has been nominated to the Dean's List, Gold Stars, President’s List and Commandant’s Distinguished Service List. He is a recipient of the Army's Reserve Officer's Association Award. After graduation, he hopes to attend medical school and serve as a doctor in the U.S. Army.
William "Jay" Smith (Health and Human Performance) – William "Jay" Smith is the son of Frank and Tina Smith and is currently a senior in Mike Company. He is on the football team and Is the company’s and football team’s honor rep. Jay majors in physical education and plans on getting his masters in tactical strength and conditioning. Jay’s hobbies are to go kayaking, fishing, and spend time outdoors. His biggest thing in life is family. “I will always put my family first because they have done so much for me so the least, I could do is provide for them and try to take care of them the best I can.”
Joel Baslot (Nursing) – Joel Baslot is a graduate of Wilson High School in Florence, SC. His academic excellence in The Citadel nursing program is evident with his 3.8 grade point average and having made the Dean’s List and the Gold Star List 7 times. His academic excellence qualified him to be inducted as a member of Sigma Theta Tau, the International Honor Society of Nursing. His service to The Citadel and to fellow classmates is noted in his active engagement with the Palmetto Battery (2018 – 2022), as a Corporal and Color Corporal (2019), and as an Academic NCO (2021). Joel received his Emergency Medical Responder certification at The Citadel and assists in a first-responder capacity as needed. Upon graduation he plans to seek employment as a Registered Nurse and practice in South Carolina.
Malcolm Jackson (Nursing) – Malcom Jackson, from Bloomingdale, Georgia, is a senior cadet in the nursing program 22’ and is contracted with the Army upon graduation. As a junior he was elected as an Academic NCO. He worked alongside his Commander and created success plans that emphasized time management for students who were struggling to adapt to the life of a cadet or to meet their academic goals. During his senior year, Malcolm serves as the Company Commander. He identifies his contribution to this role as placing an emphasis on respect. Malcolm is an active mentor of the Proficiency Pack for Minority Cadets (PPMC) to guide and encourage minorities to accept, and to excel, in leadership roles. His academic success with a grade point average of a 3.8, qualified him to be inducted into the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi and Sigma Theta Tau, the International Honor Society of Nursing.
Shiloh Smiles (Cyber and Computer Science) –Opportunities to learn at The Citadel extend beyond the classroom. Smiles holds leadership roles in several cyber clubs on campus, including a competition club, which took her from practicing to performing and gave her the opportunity to apply what she learned in the classroom in real-world scenarios. During her junior year, Smiles competed with three of her classmates in a Red Zone Capture the Flag competition at the National Cyber Range Complex Charleston, located at the Naval Information Warfare Center Atlantic. The Citadel competed against 35 other teams, mostly military and civilian cybersecurity professionals. Smiles’ team earned sixth place.
Smiles holds leadership roles in several cyber clubs on campus, including a competition club, which took her from practicing to performing and gave her the opportunity to apply what she learned in the classroom in real-world scenarios. During her junior year, Smiles competed with three of her classmates in a Red Zone Capture the Flag competition at the National Cyber Range Complex Charleston, located at the Naval Information Warfare Center Atlantic. “We were the government of a made-up nation trying to hack into the boat of a made-up terrorist group,” she said. The Citadel competed against 35 other teams, mostly military and civilian cybersecurity professionals. Smiles’ team earned sixth place.
The moment when it all came together is when Smiles felt her confidence and self-esteem grow. Even working as a team, there are individual accomplishments that push each cadet to keep learning. Smiles’ passion for cybersecurity is a timely one. The industry is a fast-growing field that has more available roles than skilled workers. From locally-owned stores to national defense institutions, cybersecurity professionals are in high demand. Smiles is currently interning in Norfolk, Virginia, in the combatant craft division of the U.S. Navy. She retired as a senior and has served as the regimental recruiting officer.
Jaret Price (Health and Human Performance) – Jaret is a senior Health-Human Performance major from Aiken, South Carolina. Jaret is on an Army scholarship and contract and will be commissioning into the active-duty component of the Army. He hopes to commission into the Medical Service Corps with intentions of becoming a physician/administrator in the health care field. Jaret is the Health-Human Performance representative for the Swain School of Math and Science and is also a member of the Omicron Delta Kappa Honors Society. He serves as the Sierra Company Commander this year, and as the President of the Association of the United States Army. He is the recipient of multiple gold stars and deans’ lists, as well as a member of the President’s List and Commandant’s Distinguished Service List. Jaret is the recipient of the Department of the Army’s Superior Cadet Decoration, and The Citadel’s Colonel Harvey M. Dick Official U.S. Army Sword. Jaret was named a Distinguished Military Graduate, ranking in the top 20% nationwide for all Army contracts. He currently serves Alpha Epsilon Delta as a committee member and looks forward to what the club and The Citadel have to offer to cadets aspiring to work in the medical field.
Hannah Dion (Biology) – Hannah Dion graduated in December 2021. She was a senior cadet-athlete from Raleigh, North Carolina, who was a recipient of the full academic Citadel Scholars Scholarship and a member of the Honors Program. She majored in biology and minored in chemistry. She played on The Citadel's Division 1 women's soccer team until medical retirement in the spring of 2021. She is also a two-time published author in The Citadel's nonfiction publication The Gold Star Journal, with articles exploring Beowulf and Cleopatra, respectively. Graduating early in December, she finished her undergraduate career with a 4.0 GPA and is currently working full-time as an overnight veterinary assistant in a veterinary emergency and specialty center. Following this passion for science and animals, Hannah has been accepted into veterinary school and will begin her doctorate degree in August.
Bonnie Ertel (Biology) – Bonnie is passionate about advocating for our ocean ecosystems’ health and believes that is best achieved through both research and education. She earned her BS in Environmental Science from UNC Chapel Hill (’18) and her MA in Biology from the Citadel (’21). She has a strong background in plastic research and has actively conducted research in the lab of Dr. John Weinstein since 2019 on multiple grant-funded projects assessing the production, transport, and fate of microplastics in the Charleston Harbor. Bonnie has won presentation awards at local and national scientific conferences and enjoys sharing her research by engaging with members of the public. She is a student fellow of the Lt. Col. James B. Near Jr USAF 77 Center for Climate Studies and is planning to next pursue a PhD degree.
Brian Monk (Biology) – Brian Monk ’22, is a graduate student in the Physical Education program. He graduated in 2020 from the Citadel Graduate College with a Master’s degree in Health, Exercise and Sport Science and decided he wanted to continue his education further to become a Physical Education teacher. He grew up in Summerville, South Carolina, and now resides in Hanahan with his wife and two sons. After graduating from the College of Charleston in 2011 with an B.S. in Exercise Science, Brian substitute taught and coached football in Orangeburg, South Carolina before joining the United States Army where he was stationed at Schofield Barracks on the Island of Oahu, Hawaii as a 19D Cavalry Scout. Brian is currently finishing up his student teaching internship at Academic Magnet High School where he also happens to coach the Varsity Baseball Team. Brian is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and is finishing both Master’s degrees with 4.0’s. He desires to teach PE and coach baseball and football until retirement where he hopes to live the rest of his life on the lake in the mountains with his family.
Matthew Blair (Mathematics and Computer Science) – Matthew Blair (Class of 2020), majoring in mathematics and computer science, worked on research projects in elementary number theory while he was an undergraduate student here. He is particularly interested in Fibonacci sequences. Blair started working on research projects with Dr. Flórez and Dr. Mukherjee as a sophomore. As a junior, he published the research paper entitled Matrices in the Hosoya Triangle in The Fibonacci Quarterly in 2019. Matthew Blair (Class of 2020), majoring in mathematics and computer science, worked on research projects in elementary number theory while he was an undergraduate student here. He is particularly interested in Fibonacci sequences. Blair started working on research projects with Dr. Flórez and Dr. Mukherjee as a sophomore. As a junior, he published the research paper entitled Matrices in the Hosoya Triangle in The Fibonacci Quarterly in 2019.
As a senior, he published the research paper entitled Matrices in the determinant Hosoya triangle in The Fibonacci Quarterly in 2020. In another impressive project he undertook, Blair successfully bridged the combinatorial triangular arrays with graphs and geometric patterns. This project culminated with him giving several presentations at mathematics conferences and the publication of the paper entitled Geometric Patterns in the Determinant Hosoya Triangle in INTEGERS. In the same year, he also published an expository article entitled The Wisdom of The Crowd in The Gold Star Journal (published by The Citadel) and he won the Best Undergraduate Submission award for his article.
The most significant achievement for Blair was that he received the Dwight Camper Outstanding Undergraduate Student Research award from the South Carolina Academy of Sciences in April 2020. This award is given to undergraduate students of the state of South Carolina that have shown outstanding achievements in undergraduate research including publishing peer-reviewed articles while still studying as an undergraduate student. He continued working on patterns in the Pascal and the Hosoya Triangle in 2020, and this project was just published as an article entitled Honeycombs in the Hosoya Triangle in the Math Horizons magazine in February 2022. Only a few colleges are able to have such collaborations between faculty and undergraduate students which eventually lead to publications in high quality research journals.
Alexis Ryan (Health and Human Performance) – Alexis Ryan (Class of 2022) is a graduate student from Granite City, Illinois, who was a recipient of The Citadel Graduate College Scholarship. She earned her BA in Sport Management & Sport Marketing at McKendree University and is in her last semester of graduate school pursuing her MA in Sport Management with a 4.0 GPA throughout the program. Alexis is passionate about advocating for equitable opportunities for female athletes and in breaking the stigma of women working in the sports industry, who currently only make up 28% of the industry's workforce. Alexis has experience working in player operations, community relations, events, and marketing for professional, minor league, recreational, and youth sports both in St.Louis, MO and Charleston, SC. She currently is applying her studies through coaching the girls varsity soccer team at Lucy Beckham High School as well as teaching Sports Management and Sports Marketing at the East Cooper Center for Advanced Studies in Mount Pleasant, SC.
Giovanna Leone (Health and Human Performance) – Giovanna Leone (Class of 2021) graduated with a Master of Science in Health, Exercise, and Sport Science. She was a graduate research assistant in the Citadel's Health and Human Performance department, as well as a research assistant at Medical University of South Carolina's Neurology department. She was one of four students in South Carolina to receive the SCIRF grant, which provided two years of funding to conduct neurology research at MUSC. As a Citadel graduate assistant, Giovanna worked on the Citadel Cadet Research Initiative, where she collaborated with University of South Carolina and the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine. She focused her research on motor development and motor competence, completing her M.S. thesis on motor competence and physical fitness levels in cadet students. She was involved in multiple motor development research committees including NASPSPA and IMDRC, where she served as a student ambassador for their annual research conferences. Giovanna finished her graduate program with a 4.0 GPA and is going on to University of South Carolina this year to pursue her Ph.D. She will be continuing her research on motor development as a graduate research assistant.
Renae Ahring (Nursing) – Renae Ahring (Class of 2022) is a nursing student in The Citadel evening nursing program. She stated that her decision to apply to our nursing program was part of a five-year plan that required a thoughtful transition from one successful career to another. Renae has a degree in Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism, and worked in this industry for 17 years. Now she balances the daily activities of having a 2-year-old son and managing rentals properties during the day. By late afternoon and throughout the evening, Renae takes on the role of a student nurse. Renae’s successful ability to juggle multiple demands is well noted with her achievement of making the Dean’s List with a grade point average of a 3.97. Upon graduation she will be working on a medical-surgical floor in Roper Hospital.