2013 Outstanding Recent Graduates announced

September 30, 2013

Emporia State University is honoring four alumni who have launched distinguished careers soon after receiving their diplomas. Outstanding Recent Graduate awards will be presented during Emporia State’s 2013 Homecoming celebration to Emily Aronis of Wichita; Michele Burke of Salem, Ore.; Ashton Ludden of Knoxville, Tenn.; and Jeremy Rusco of Emporia.

The award recognizes career achievements, community service, and dedication to Emporia State. The university’s undergraduate colleges and schools annually select the award recipients.

“We’re proud to recognize this year's class of Outstanding Recent Graduates,” said Tyler Curtis, executive director of alumni relations.

“They make us proud to count them among the almost 60,000 alumni of our institution,” said Curtis.

The four will be recognized by Emporia State’s Alumni Association at the Alumni Awards Celebration beginning with a 5:30 p.m. reception Friday, Oct. 11 in the Memorial Union’s Webb Hall. The public is invited to attend. For more information, call 620-341-5440, email alumni@emporia.edu or go online to www.emporia.edu/homecoming.


About the honorees

Emily Aronis

Wichita, Kan.

BS 2006 – Health Promotion

Workers at some of Wichita’s largest employers are healthier, thanks to the work of Emily Aronis. A member of the Health and Wellness Coalition of Wichita, Aronis has worked with employers including Bombardier, IMA, Meritrust Credit Union and Conco to develop their health risk management program strategies.

Now a Benefits Analyst in charge of wellness program implementation at Spirit Aerosystems, Aronis developed running clubs when she worked at Bombardier and IMA to encourage coworkers to become more active.

Aronis returns to Emporia State each fall to take part in Worksite Wellness Program speaker panels, sharing her career journey, experience, and professional advice with current health promotion majors.


Michele Burke

Salem, Ore.

MLS 2006 – Library Science

Michele Burke is Reference Librarian at Chemekta Community College, Salem, Ore. A frequent guest speaker at Emporia State’s School of Library and Information Management (SLIM) classes in Portland, Burke shares her expertise with information literacy and leadership skills.

She founded the Information Literacy Advisory Group of Oregon (ILAGO), an initiative that works to expand college students’ access to information available in libraries. Her attitude of respect and willingness to listen has made her a major player among Oregon’s academic librarians in their statewide effort to create shared information literacy standards and desire to improve consistency across varied institutions and curricula. 

Burke was president of the Oregon Library Association in 2013 – 2013, and was named a Library Journal “Mover and Shaker” in 2012.


Ashton Ludden

Knoxville, Tenn.

BFA 2009 – Engraving and Printmaking, Art History minor

One of two undergraduates to ever receive a 2009 Kansas Arts Commission Emerging Artist Award Fellowship while at Emporia State, Ashton Ludden is completing her Master of Fine Arts degree in printmaking at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville.

Ludden has been serving as a Graduate Teaching Associate and the UTK Letterpress Studio Coordinator. White at UTK, Ludden has furthered her curiosity with animal agriculture and has lectured at the 2012 Animal, Ethics and Law Symposium. She completed a five week Artist-in-Residency at the Academy of Fine Arts in Wroclaw, Poland, and received the 2013 Frogman’s Graduate Scholarship Award. Her prints have been exhibited internationally.


Jeremy Rusco

BSB 2006 – Business Administration

Emporia, Kan.

Emporia is cementing its status as a mecca for alternative sports, particularly with the work that Jeremy Rusco has accomplished in the past few years. Disc golf is said to be one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States, partly because of Rusco’s work to promote the fast-growing sport.

Rusco owns Dynamic Discs in Emporia, a premier disc golf retailer that he started as an eBay company in 2005. The business has expanded from an attic to three different basements before settling into retail storefronts in Emporia, Kansas City, and Lewisville, Texas.

He was co-director of the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA) Amateur and Junior Disc Golf World Championship tournament that attracted 550 of the world’s best amateur disc golfers to Emporia in July 2013.



Achievement - Emporia State University

Check out our students' achievements and accomplishments on Emporia State's meritpages.com site