Published: Dec. 14, 2016

When Lia Bendix graduates this week, it won’t be her first degree.

Bendix, originally from Cleveland Heights, Ohio, earned a degree in French and Francophone Studies from Carleton College in Minnesota before transferring to CU Boulder to pursue music education. This time, she'll be awarded a Bachelor of Music Education degree.

“In my experience, music classes are amazing places to build community within a school, often with people that you would never encounter during the rest of the day, and to build non-cognitive skills such as perseverance, teamwork and leadership,” she says.

Lia Bendix in a shite short-sleeve sweater and black dress  singing/

Lia Bendix, who was named "Outstanding Graduating Student for the College of Music,"  graduates this week. She plans to teach music.

Her degree will be one of the 1,614 degrees that CU Boulder will be awarding during at the midpoint of the academic year, including 1,214 bachelor’s degrees, 299 master’s degrees, 97 doctoral degrees and four law degrees.

On top of the double degree, Bendix will be able to add another accolade: Outstanding Graduating Student for the College of Music.

“I am honored! When I heard about the honor, I was very flattered that my work and effort had been acknowledged in such an official way,” Bendix says.

A longtime member of the college’s top choral ensemble, the University Singers, Bendix has focused her studies on choral music education—an area about which she’s deeply passionate.

“Music is often a respite for students,” Bendix explains. “Children who maybe don't feel like they have a place in the rest of the school can feel like they belong in a music class where they can express themselves and connect emotionally to a piece of music.”

After graduation, Bendix plans to substitute teach in the area before looking for choral or general music teaching positions in the Denver, Milwaukee and Cleveland areas.

Broadcast news major learned the "magic" of directing and anchoring

When Steven Nelson took his first class in television production at CU Boulder, he began to get a behind-the-scenes view of the craft he’d been steeped in as a consumer. It felt like watching “a magician show his tricks,” he says.  

While growing up in California, Nelson listened to San Francisco’s morning DJs and avidly followed late-night TV hosts. Then, as a student at CU Boulder, after three semesters of not knowing which major he would choose, his passion for broadcast and video drew him to the broadcast journalism track within the College of Media, Communication and Information (CMCI).

At first, Nelson felt overwhelmed. He had to refer to notes for each step of the first three-minute studio segment he directed as part of an assignment. But after several years as an anchor and director for "CU Sports Mag," a weekly student-run sports television show, he now comfortably directs 30-minute programs without notes.

Steve Nelson sits dressed in a black suit with a red tie with a Christmas Tree in front of a backdrop mural of the Fla

Steve Nelson, who graduates this week, followed a broadcast journalism track within the College of Media, Communication and Information (CMCI).

Nelson knows that, like many in the television industry, he will need to start small and work his way up.

“After graduation, I’m gonna start firing away with my resume to all sorts of TV and radio stations,” he says.

But ultimately, he sees himself as anchoring or directing major sports broadcasts and telling the stories of athletes.

“I love the uncertainty of live TV,” he says.

Psychology, education perfect mix for public engagement

Charlotte Truesdell will also graduate in December. The psychology major, who is also getting a minor in education, is graduating one semester early because of the 15 credits from the International Baccalaureate (IB) program she earned at Summit High School in Breckenridge.

Portrait of Charlotte Truesdell wearing a green sweater with green trees in the closebackground.

Charlotte Truesdell hopes to be a mentor through AmeriCorps and then pursue either a teacher's license or a degree in counseling.

After graduation, Truesdell plans to work in her hometown and study for the GRE. Eventually she'd like to be a mentor through AmeriCorps, which engages Americans in intensive service each year at nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community and faith-based groups, and then either pursue a teacher's license or a degree in counseling.    

While at CU Boulder, Truesdell was very involved with Public Achievement, a youth-led, civic engagement initiative that seeks to promote student voice and transformative change for individuals and communities. Most recently she's worked with Columbine Elementary School in Boulder, empowering fourth-grade students to work on the issue of animal abuse. The previous year she mostly worked with third-grade students, who shared their experiences of growing up as Latinos in Boulder.  

Winter Commencement Notes
There is no university-wide winter commencement ceremony this year. Winter 2016 department ceremonies are listed on the Commencement website, but not all departments will be hosting individual ceremonies. All December 2016 graduates have the option to contact their departments if they wish to participate in the university-wide May 2017 graduation ceremony. 

"I liked that I was able to be part of those conversations and facilitate them," Truesdell says.  "I got really close to a lot of the students. They talked about these issues in an amazing way."

She was also very involved with New Era Colorado Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that empowers young people to be active in the democratic process, including getting students registered to vote.

Truesdell said she loved working with both organizations.

"Since going to CU Boulder, I care more about what's going on around me," she says. "I'm more involved in my community."

Note: Graduation numbers can fluctuate on a daily basis as applications for degree completion are received. These numbers reflect the most accurate information available either at the time of publication, or through periodic updates to the content.