Double Major Student Named HSS Valedictorian

Published: April 20, 2020 | Author: Savannah Byers | Read Time: 3 minutes

Taylee Ciccone HSS ValedictorianTaylee Ciccone is thrilled to be named 2020 valedictorian for the College of Humanities of Social Sciences at Southern Utah University. Ciccone is graduating with dual degrees in psychology and criminal justice.

During high school, Ciccone was heavily involved in sports playing basketball, softball, soccer, volleyball, and running long distance in track. These activities provided mental and physical escapes from her anxiety and depression. She selected her first major, psychology, to learn more about mental illnesses and specifically how to help people experiencing them.

“I don't know if I can say enough good things about Taylee,” said Dr. Kevan LaFrance, assistant professor of psychology. “She's a very insightful student. She knows how to think deeply about things, is willing to ask questions, and she's just snarky enough to keep things interesting and bring her awesome sense of humor to the topics and discussions (always appropriately respectful to peers, the professor, and the content, of course). She's an absolute delight to know and have in class. I will miss her as she goes forth to be awesome.”

Ciccone’s second major, criminal justice, stems from her childhood interests in the FBI and CIA. She’s always enjoyed solving puzzles and mysteries. Once, she spent a summer investigating the Zodiac Killer - trying to find things the detectives might have missed. SUU has supported her variety of interests and provided her opportunities to discover new ones.

“As a student, but more importantly as a person, Taylee is simply fantastic,” said Dr. Jeanne Subjack, assistant professor of criminal justice. “She is a strong, motivated, and kind individual, and it was no surprise to me to learn that she was the HSS valedictorian. You would be hard pressed to find a more focused and driven person, who can truly do anything she sets her mind to. Like her favorite drink, Dr. Pepper, she's a unique blend of several traits, well-educated, bold, and helps others get through the day.”

During her time at SUU, Ciccone has been involved in the Psi Chi and Criminal Justice clubs, and she did an internship with Student Affairs during her final semester. For the past two years, Ciccone has been involved with the Student Programming Board as the assistant director her junior year and as the event director her senior year. This opportunity has helped her connect with other students on campus, and helped her find her talent for event planning.

“Taylee has put forth so much effort and thought into bettering the experience of students it has been infectious to the rest of the team,” said Heather Garcia, assistant director of Student Involvement and Leadership. “When given a task, Taylee takes things to the next level and executes it brilliantly in a way that you didn't see as possible. Taylee has been such a go-to leader on the team that her innovative thought, strong work ethic, and her dynamic ability to juggle multiple things at once will truly be missed. She has made such a positive impression on our organization, and we cannot thank her enough for the service she gave to SUU.”

Because of her time as a student leader on campus, Ciccone has found a new passion and talent for event planning and specifically, making everyone feel welcomed and loved. After graduation, she plans to work in student affairs for higher education.

Her advice for SUU students is to step out of their comfort zones and push themselves. Her motto is, “Always forward, never back.”

“I really love fighting for social justice, fighting to fix injustices, and making people feel like they belong and are loved,” said Ciccone. “We all deserve to have the same rights: to feel safe and to feel loved. You are NEVER alone while attending SUU. Your student leaders, advisors, professors, and staff on campus care about you. Don’t be afraid to reach out.”

In recognition of their hard work and dedication, five incredible students have been named SUU’s valedictorians for 2020.

Tags: College of Humanities and Social Sciences Graduation

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