Kent State Journeys to Be Chronicled This Academic Year
Kent State Today will be following a group of Golden Flashes for the 2023-'24 academic year chronicling their efforts and successes during the fall and spring semesters. The group includes students, faculty and administrators who are at different places on their Kent State University journeys.
Today, we kick off the series by introducing the group.
Alison Caplan: As the new director of the May 4 Visitors Center, Caplan will be an integral educator and advocate in the university’s efforts to remember and commemorate the events and continuing impact of May 4, 1970. As the witnesses to May 4 grow older, Caplan will work to connect all stakeholders – from witnesses to current students – to the center as a site for reflection and discussion.
She has lived most of her life in Akron, Ohio, and previously served as the director of education for the National First Ladies Library in Canton, Ohio. At the visitors center, she said, her mission is like that of her previous position but now she is working with the resources and people of a large university. Caplan already has implemented some of the programs and events in her plan to continue and grow community engagement with the center.
Hannah Fender: A senior psychology major from Chagrin Falls, Ohio, Fender, 20, is a student in the Honors College, who has devoted much of her college career to taking part in undergraduate research. Her degree program includes a concentration in counseling careers, and she is pursuing minors in Spanish and creative writing.
This is an important year for Fender as she prepares to defend her honors thesis in the spring and will have to make decisions on whether to look for a job or begin the process of applying to graduate school programs.
Raiful Hasan: A new assistant professor of computer science in the College of Arts and Sciences, Hasan, 33, is just beginning his career as an academic. A native of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Hasan arrived on campus in August, just weeks after receiving his doctorate degree in computer science from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
He earned his undergraduate degree in computer science from the University of Dhaka, and after working several years in the private sector, decided to head to the United States to pursue his advanced degree. Hasan intended to go back to the private sector upon graduation, but his time spent working on research and with fellow academics convinced him that teaching and continued research was the future he desired.
Hasan and his wife, Taiaba Afrin, both received their doctorate degrees on the same day from Alabama (hers is in biology) and soon made the move to Ohio. The 2023-'24 academic year promises to be one of firsts for this newly minted professor, who also will be experiencing his first northern winter.
Kaleigh McGreal: A senior fashion design major in Kent State’s Class of 2024 from Parma Heights, Ohio, McGreal is returning to the Kent Campus for her senior year after studying at Kent State New York City Fashion. While in New York, McGreal interned at Partow US, designer Nellie Partow’s New York-based apparel and fashion company. She also assisted noted designer Victor de Souza in the creation and presentation of his first bridal collection.
As she enters her senior year, McGreal is looking forward to commencement, while she continues to build her skills in pattern making and using fashion design software. In her spring internship, she will be doing design research for Cleveland-based fashion designer William McNicol, creator of the William Frederick brand. She also will be applying for jobs in New York, as she plans to return there after she graduates.
Emmy Ragain: A 27-year-old sophomore non-traditional student who is majoring in psychology, Ragain returned to college last year after Lyme disease made it impossible for him to continue running his construction company, and he realized how important a college education is to his future. He works as a maintenance supervisor at Kent State Hotel when he is not studying at the Kent State Library or working on his home that was once owned by his grandfather, the late Kent State professor and poet Major Ragain.
Don’Marie Reid: A senior biology/pre-medicine major, Reid spent most of her childhood in the LeBron James Family Foundation's I Promise program, earning four years of tuition to Kent State. In addition to her rigorous course schedule of organic chemistry, cell biology, physics and her favorite class, Zumba, Reid, an Akron resident, will be mentoring freshmen as a second-year lab leader for CommUNITY Lab's four-year cohort program that is housed within Community Engaged Learning at Kent State and volunteering at Summa Health in Akron.