University News

2017 College Valedictorians

April 26, 2017
Category: Academics

College Valedictorians

Representing each individual college, this year’s valedictorians are among the best and brightest at Southern Utah University. This year there are six exceptional students, along with the University Valedictorian Katelyn Yoakum. These students are the highest academically ranked 

Tanisha Barker

students in their college and were recommended by professors for their dedication and commitment to academic integrity and success. 

College of Humanities and Social Science - Tanisha Barker

Able to combine a love for teaching and history, Tanisha Barker hopes to instill a passion for social studies in her future students. From Centerville, Utah, she studied social science composite, a combination between a social science and a secondary education major.

SUU provided a comfortable learning environment for Barker, something she wants to continue for her future students. “I always felt included here,” said Barker. “I got to know so many different people and had amazing professors who cared about me and wanted to see me succeed.”

Barker is finishing her student teaching in history at Cedar Middle School and is seeking a job at a middle school where she can also coach debate.

Abigail Konerman

College of Education and Human Development - Abigail Konerman and Logan Harker

This year, two individuals tied for the position, making Abigail Konerman and Logan Harker co-valedictorians for the College of Education and Human Development. Both recipients represent the college well, showcasing the vast array of possibilities within its borders.

Konerman grew up in the woods of Bloomington, Indiana, spending her summers in camps and always wanting to be outside. Her parents encouraged her to be outdoors as much as possible, which is one of the reasons why she came to SUU.

Logan Harker

“When I tried to picture what I wanted to do for the rest of my life,” said Konerman, “I could only picture myself outdoors.” She came to southern Utah three years ago to major in outdoor recreation and parks and tourism.

She worked for SUU Outdoors and led many adventures. Her favorite moments include anytime when she was able to share her love for nature with her fellow students.

Logan Harker is an exercise science major from Syracuse, Utah who loves sports and staying active. Growing up, Harker played soccer, basketball, T-Ball, danced, and tumbled. She came to SUU with a soccer scholarship and played all four years.

During her time she got involved with the Rural Health Scholars program, served on several student committees, and volunteered as a community coach and referee. She will pursue a masters in occupational therapy at Idaho State University this fall.

Jonathan Warren

College of Science and Engineering - Jonathan Warren

From Gunnison Valley, Utah, Warren started at SUU after serving an LDS mission in New York City. As a human nutrition major and business management minor, Warren balanced a demanding academic schedule with work all while starting a family.

“My grandpa taught me the value of a good education and strong work ethic,” said Warren. “I live my life by his advice – ‘If it’s worth doing at all, it’s worth doing it well’.”

Warren credits his academic success to his teachers and tutors who went out of their way to help him learn the material and maintain a 4.0. Focusing his studies on pre-pharmacy, he has already been accepted to the University of Utah’s pharmacy program.

Mallory PetersenCollege of Performing and Visual Arts - Mallory Petersen

As a child, Petersen always wanted to create and make something with her hands. Thinking creatively came easy to her. After graduating high school, she came to SUU with a scholarship and was impressed with the Art and Design program.

“As an artist, I am intrigued by detail,” said Petersen. “I especially like to explore the little details I find in nature and the world around me, whether it be in raindrops, the human body, or even chrome.”

After graduation, Petersen will continue to work as an employee at the Southern Utah Museum of Art and will continue to create art. Petersen never wants her art to become stressful. She said that wherever she ends up, she would like to work in a museum.

Devron JohnsonSchool of Business - Devron Johnson

Graduating with a bachelor’s degree in accounting, Devron Johnson always knew he had a knack for numbers. Traveling to SUU from Delta, Utah, he made a connection with the campus through his caring professors.

“Professor Jeff Orton is the reason I will have a job after I graduate with my masters degree,” said Johnson. “I went to his office one day to talk about a future career, where he proceeded to give me contact information for potential employers. I also admired Professor Price for his involvement outside of the classroom, and Professor Lewis for teaching me what it truly means to study.”

Johnson now plans to continue his education at SUU through the Master of Accountancy program. From there he will work to pass the Certified Public Accountant exam before he starts work at Eide Bailly next January.

SUU is proud of the work these representatives of the Class of 2017 have accomplished. Bright futures and outstanding achievements await these six individuals and the entire SUU 2017 graduating class.

Dianna ChattersonGraduate & Online School - Diana Chatterson

Originally from Shreveport, Louisiana, Diana Chatterson moved to Cedar City in 1997. The single mother of four, grandma and step-mom, started at SUU at age 36, and has now earned her bachelor of science in General Studies through SUU’s online program. Her fundamental belief in the importance of family has helped her find an emphasis is Psychology and Family Life and Human Development.

Chatterson has been employed by programs working with troubled youth, disabled individuals, and in the school system working with the Special Education department. She has volunteered with Enoch Elementary, Colesville Academy, Commonwealth Academy, Cub Scouts of America and in her church.

Chatterson is not only a great example of a non-traditional student and a member of the national honor society Phi Kappa Phi, but is this years valedictorian in SUU’s Graduate & Online School.



Contact Information:
Nikki Koontz, assistant director of marketing
435-586-5487
nikkikoontz@suu.edu