2010 Outstanding Graduates

San Jose State recognized three top graduates at commencement.

Outstanding Graduating Seniors

Vanessa Brewer, BS Nursing

Vanessa Brewer's graduation is the culmination of what she calls a "15-year journey" toward fulfilling a lifelong dream. Beginning first at Gavilan College, Brewer, of Morgan Hill, has worked toward a career in nursing one or two classes at a time while tending to three active children, working part time, fundraising for the Leukemia Society and volunteering in support of her children's activities and at Stanford University's Center for Advanced Pediatric Education. Aside from studying hard to achieve a 3.86 GPA and founding a nursing student organization, Brewer says her best San Jose State memories will be of her peers and professors who mentored and encouraged her.

Bridget McKee, BA Anthropology

Bridget McKee embraces opportunities to excel. As a member of the 6th-ranked women's water polo team, she earned one of the top five GPAs of San Jose State's 450 student-athletes -- 3.87. When she wasn't competing in the pool, the Newbury Park native made time to support the research of two anthropology professors by creating excavation layouts and artifact illustrations. She also volunteered to help get donated food to low-income senior citizens and as a reading partner to elementary school students. McKee says the experience of being a student-athlete provided her with the "work ethic and team mentality that are essential to any achievement."

Outstanding Thesis Award

Nancy Shostak, MS Geology 

Nancy Shostak has always been fascinated with earth science, but she fell in love with geology after taking a class through San Jose State's Open University. Once in the master's program, she says the field trips, which included hiking east of the Sierras to "look at rocks," only sweetened the deal. For her thesis, "Intensity of the 1906 Earthquake In and Near San Jose, California," she studied the underlying geology of the area in order to explain the varying patterns of shaking during the earthquake. Shostak hopes to combine her Bryn Mawr College mathematics bachelor's degree and her number-crunching experience as an actuary with her recently acquired earthquake knowledge in a new career: estimating post-earthquake losses.