Eight students will be honored during Fall 2016 Commencement ceremonies as the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Alumni Association’s Outstanding Graduates.

Every spring and fall semester, deans from eight academic colleges each nominate a student as an Outstanding Graduate, based on leadership, scholarship and service. A selection committee of the Alumni Association interviews the candidates and selects one to receive the overall award.
The overall Outstanding Graduate will be announced during the Fall Commencement General Assembly on Friday, Dec. 16, at the Cajundome. That ceremony begins at 11 a.m.
Here’s a look at this semester’s Outstanding Graduates.

Nataly Kruh Elendt is the Outstanding Graduate for the College of the Arts.

She is a music major, with a concentration in performance. Elendt has a 3.84 GPA, and received the Honors Academic Excellence award three consecutive years.Elendt earned the Friends of Music Scholarship, an Alumni Association Scholarship and the Strings Endowed Award. She has been second violin principal for the UL Lafayette Symphony Orchestra for two years and is a member of the University’s Chamber Singers. Elendt is an academic coach and tutor for the Student-Athlete Academic Center. She is a member Greenpeace, an international environmental organization.Elendt is active in two church choirs in Lafayette.She has helped recruit high school students during choir and strings tours. Elendt has also performed at University events such as Sneaux Day, Commencement General Assembly, and the faculty and staff Holiday Luncheon. Elendt will enroll in graduate school at UL Lafayette. She also wants to earn a master’s degree in music therapy at the University of Toronto.Elendt hopes to combine her interest in music, psychology and visual arts to assist people with developmental or psychological disorders through innovative therapy methods.She is the daughter of Leonardo Kruh and Regina Elendt of Chia, Colombia.



Casey M. Dugas is the Outstanding Graduate for the B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration.

A marketing major with a concentration in professional sales, she has a 3.96 GPA. Dugas received the University Honors Program’s Academic Excellence Award and was a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success.She was the first student vice president of membership and public relations for UL Lafayette’s chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma, an international business honor society. Members of that organization are in the upper 7 percent of the junior class or upper 10 percent of the senior class.Dugas received numerous scholarships. She was a member of the Ragin’ Sales Team. It won both the University’s collegiate sales competition, and the Bayou Sales Challenge pressure round at Nicholls State University in Spring 2016. The team was also a quarterfinalist at the National Collegiate Sales Competition at Kennesaw State University in Spring 2016. It was a semifinalist at the Russ Berrie Institute Sales Competition at William Patterson University in Fall 2015. Dugas is a founding member of the Theta Phi Chapter of Alpha Delta Pi sorority and was named its Miss Community Service. She volunteered with organizations such as Festival International, First Baptist Church of Broussard, The Big Event, Ronald McDonald House Charities, Faith House, Samaritan’s Child, and Miles Perret Cancer Services.Dugas was a member of the Baptist Collegiate Ministry and a peer mentor for the Office of First Year Experience.She will become an inside sales representative for Hewlett-Packard Enterprise in Dallas.



Amanda Sphar is the Outstanding Graduate for the College of Education.

She is an instrumental music education major with a 3.95 GPA, and has been on the President’s and Dean’s lists.Sphar received the Friends of Music Award and the School of Music Presser Foundation Award.The College of Education recognized her as its Most Outstanding Junior.She received the Clarence H. and Ezell Butaud Coleman Memorial Endowed Scholarship and the Joan and Alexander Haig Endowed Scholarship. Sphar participated in many organizations and activities. She was a member of the University Wind Ensemble, Pride of Acadiana Marching Band, Kappa Delta Sorority, National Honor Society of Leadership and Success, and the University’s Young Life College. She played intramural volleyball and soccer. Sphar is a member of Associated Professional Educators of Louisiana, and the National Piano Guild.She performed community service with more than a dozen organizations.Sphar plans to apply for music positions in Acadiana. She will continue to teach private piano and flute lessons and to teach at the Music Academy of Acadiana. She also plans to earn certification to teach elementary and middle school students.Sphar is the daughter of Ernie and Mona Sphar of Lafayette, La.



Benjamin Brady Como is the Outstanding Graduate for the College of Engineering.

A petroleum engineering major, he has a 3.8 GPA. He is a member of Alpha Lambda Delta, Phi Kappa Phi, and Pi Epsilon Tau honor societies. Como was a member of a UL Lafayette team that placed second in the world, and first in North America, in 2016 Petrobowl Competition. The tournament was held at the Dubai World Trade Center. PetroBowl tournaments match student teams from colleges in contests to answer questions related to petroleum engineering. This year, 103 teams from 28 countries competed in regional qualifier tournaments held throughout the world. The final eight teams included universities from the United States, Colombia, Indonesia, Mexico, the Netherlands, and Nigeria.Como received numerous scholarships.He is an Eagle Scout and an assistant scoutmaster. Como has been active in many University organizations, including chapters of the Society of Petroleum Engineers and the American Association of Drilling Engineers. He was vice president of the University’s Society of Petrophysicists and Well Log Analysts chapter.Como was a founding member of the rechartered Louisiana Beta Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity and its finance committee chairman.He will pursue a graduate business certificate at UL, then a career as a deepwater well site engineer in the oil and gas industry.His parents are Brady and Patricia Como of Broussard, La.



Amélie Desormeaux is the Outstanding Graduate for the College of Liberal Arts.

A political science major with a concentration in international relations, she has a 4.0 GPA. Desormeaux was a member of the Phi Kappa Phi honor society.She has conducted research projects on a wide range of topics, from the social power of microfinance to how hazardous waste is treated in NAFTA. Desormeaux was instrumental in the formation of the University’s chapter of Catholic Relief Services and served as its president.She has performed community service at the St. Marguerite d'Youville Home in Lafayette, where she educated homeless, pregnant women on reproductive health, and early childhood development, and where she worked as a Spanish translator. She helped start the Freetown Friends Society and led cleanup efforts in the Freetown neighborhood. Desormeaux also helped found the Lafayette Creatives, which showcases local artists.She has participated in multiple missions in Costa Rico and in Mexico. During those trips, she helped establish safe houses and soup kitchens, and build and paint homes. In 2013, she spent a month working at Shanti Dahn in India, Saint Teresa of Calcutta’s home for disabled women.Desormeaux will spend four months in Peru teaching English, conducting empowerment workshops, and creating a bakery in a dormitory for girls. She then will pursue a dual master's degree at Tulane University in maternal and child health, and social work. She is the daughter of Catherine and Scott Desormeaux of Abbeville, La.



Angelle Lasalle Patout is the Outstanding Graduate for the College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions.

A nursing major with a 4.0 GPA, she has been on the President’s and Dean’s lists.She has received numerous scholarships, including the Rotary Club of Lafayette Scholarship, the Sister Agnes Marie Fitzsimons/Lourdes Regional Medical Endowed Scholarship, the Dolores Bess Endowed Scholarship, the Sister Janet Falgout Memorial Endowed Scholarship, the Lynn Coco Hinrichs Endowed Scholarship for Clinical Nurses, the Dr. Harold P. Chastant Award for Clinical Excellence Scholarship, and the Mr. and Mrs. Aguste Verot Memorial Endowed Scholarship.She also received the Nursing Pharmacology Award.Patout is a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success, and Sigma Theta Tau, the international honor society of nursing. Her community service work includes volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, Companion Animal Alliance, Iberia Parish Humane Society, and the Walk for Life.Patout plans to seek a job as a registered nurse with the surgical unit of a local hospital. She also plans to enroll in the University’s nurse practitioner graduate program in Fall 2017.Her parents are Virginia Lasalle Barnett and Ric Patout of New Iberia, La.



Juliane G. Mahoney is the Outstanding Graduate for the Ray P. Authement College of Sciences.

She is a biology major with a 3.92 GPA. She has been on the President’s and Dean’s lists.She received a TOPS Honor Scholarship, a UL Academic Scholarship, a Tommy Comeaux Traditional Music Scholarship, a Student Government Association Scholarship, and a David Caffery Mills Scholarship.Mahoney is president of the University’s Chi Alpha Christian Ministry, which received the Most Philanthropic Organization at the 2015 Ragin’ Recognition Awards ceremony. Mahoney has guided other students through the Department of Biology’s mentoring program.She is active in Acadiana's Cajun music scene and art organizations.Mahoney is a guitarist and vocalist with the Angelle Aces, UL Lafayette’s Cajun music ensemble. A dancer and choreographer with Lafayette Ballet Theatre, she choreographed ballets for UL's Symphony Orchestra for four years.Mahoney volunteers for Acadiana Symphony Orchestra and Louisiana Folk Roots, a nonprofit cultural preservation organization. She is a member of Redeemer City Church in Lafayette.Mahoney plans to apply for graduate school to study coastal ecology or folklore. She will live, work, and play music in Lafayette.She is the daughter of John and Jill Mahoney of New Iberia, La.



Erica Didier is the Outstanding Graduate for University College.

She is a General Studies major, with a concentration in humanities.Didier has a 3.58 GPA, and has been on the President’s and Dean’s lists.She was invited to join several academic honors societies.Didier received the Distinguished Freshman Scholarship. She is a member of Ragin’ Cajun Catholics, UL Students for Life, and College Republicans.Didier has performed community service for Habitat for Humanity, Crowley Christian Care and the Crowley Soup Kitchen.For most of her academic career, she has worked full-time.She plans to earn a master’s degree in Library Science at LSU, and hopes to work as a librarian in a Catholic school while continuing her education. Her long-term goal is to work as a librarian in a public library. Didier is the daughter of Leo and Claire Didier of Rayne, La.