Cohort of 2014 Prepares to Graduate

At this time four years ago, I had two months of high school left and was nervously anticipating the transition to college. My fellow incoming members of the Templeton 2014 Cohort and I had posted some overly formal Facebook posts introducing ourselves and our interests. We had no way of knowing what awaited us in the next four years and looking back, that was part of the adventure.

One week-long Adirondacks camping trip later, and we had transformed from a group of awkwardly enthusiastic strangers to a group of closely-knit friends. Freshman year flew by in a whirl of academic memes, movie nights, essay-writing, and cramming ourselves all around a single circle table because we could just not rationalize eating separately.

Now that graduation is quickly approaching, I consider my time with the Templeton Honors College and I realize that I cannot separate my college experience from the beautiful people who experienced it alongside me. We have laughed together, cried together, been admonished together, and spent countless hours discussing the Good, whether it be in reference to Plato, Aristotle, or Wawa.

Because of the way our education has been shaped by one another, I thought it only appropriate to ask some of the members of the 2014 Cohort to reflect on their experiences at Eastern University, and what their lives will look like going forward.    

Clayton Bender

While at Templeton, Clayton Bender studied Accounting and Finance, with minors in Mathematics and Astronomy. When he wasn’t doing things with numbers or looking at the stars, he ran for the Eastern Eagles Cross Country and Track teams. He was a Cross Country captain as a junior and a senior. After graduation, he will begin working for SEI Investments, and he plans on pursuing a career in the financial services industry in the Philadelphia area. Clayton also wants to keep reading wonderful books and spending as much time outdoors as possible. He says that he will miss all the wonderful people he has met and the great conversations he has been a part of during his time at Templeton.

Nicholas Fales

The Cohort of 2014 on the last day of their freshman year camping trip.

During his time at Templeton, Nicholas Fales studied Chemistry, with a minor in Mathematics. Having finished classes this past semester, Nick is currently working in an R&D lab in Malvern. Over the next few years, Nick hopes to get a master’s degree and pursue a potential career in science journalism. When contemplating his time at Eastern and Templeton, Nick says that he will really miss the professors, and he doesn’t expect to ever find a collection of people as genuine, wise, and sympathetic as them in one place again.

Wayne Brown

Wayne Brown studied History, with a minor in Accounting during his time at Eastern. Wayne also acted as Triumvir of ISI Montaigne Society and the Treasurer of the Eastern Engineering Society. After graduation, he will be marrying fellow member of the 2014 Cohort, Emmalee Moffitt. Wayne plans on going into investment management, with an intention to pursue a career in private equity in the greater Philadelphia area. He will miss being required to read the Great Books and engage in the great conversations Templeton cultivates, as well as the privilege of being afforded leisure time for the reading of those great works.

Laurie Sara Oliver

Laurie Sara will be graduating with a custom major in Linguistics and Anthropology and a minor in Spanish. In addition to her studies, she worked as a nanny throughout her time in Templeton. Future plans for Laurie Sara include traveling over the summer and working to save up money before eventually pursuing graduate school. While she is excited about her future endeavors, she will miss the community and conversations she was a part of at Templeton.

Matt Thiemsen

While attending Eastern, Matthew Thiemsen studied Biology, with minors in Biochemistry and Astronomy. He found himself consistently taking on positions of leadership, having lead the Recreational Activities Club, acting as a Resident Assistant, working as an astronomy lab assistant, and doing research for the biology department. Matt has enjoyed filling his time with lots of meaningful work and juggling multiple hats.

He has truly enjoyed his time at Templeton and plans to work at a commercial or research laboratory after graduation. Matt will be getting married to his wonderful fiancé Chrissy this coming June and intends to apply to medical and PhD programs for the fall of 2019. In reflection of his time at Eastern, Matt says that he will miss both the students and faculty he has befriended within the biology department. He says that although he will continue to keep in touch with them, it saddens him to leave after becoming an active member of the department.

Ciara Nelson

Ciara Nelson studied English Literature during her time at Eastern University. She also acted as a Resident Assistant and participated in various dance organizations. In the future, Ciara will be living anywhere from D.C., to Philadelphia, to Scranton, depending on where she and her husband, Zach Nelson, get jobs or admission to graduate school. Ciara would love to teach sometime in the future, work in ministry, or work for a pro-life organization. While she does not know what she and Zach will be doing next, Ciara does know that they will be loving on their precious son Andrew. Looking back at her time in Templeton, Ciara states that she will miss reading so many great books and having so many great people to read them with.

Zachary Nelson

Zachary Nelson studied History while attending Eastern University. In the future, he may end up in a wide range of places on the East Coast, depending on if he goes to graduate school or jobs in D.C., Philadelphia, or Scranton. No matter where he ends up, Zach hopes to teach or serve the Church in some capacity. As his time with Templeton draws to an end, Zach will miss reading great books in a program where professors share a unified vision for education and deep love for their students.

Emma Buchanan

While at Eastern, Emma Buchanan studied Anthropology and Environmental science. After graduation, Emma will be headed to the West Coast, and then onto Au Sable Institute for Environmental Studies in Washington state, where she will work as the kitchen manager. In the fall, Emma will be working as a sustainable agriculture intern with an organization called A Rocha on a farm near Vancouver, Canada. As graduation approaches, Emma says she will really miss the conversations she has had with friends and professors who have challenged and encouraged her. (She will not miss Aristotle.)


Some members of the Cohort of 2014 at Templeton’s annual Christmas party during their senior year.

Ashley Kafton

Ashley Kafton studied Economic Development with minors in Anthropology and Sociology during her time at Eastern University. She was a member of Delta Mu Delta, and editor of The Christian Ethnographer. After graduation, Ashley will attend Ohio University’s Master of International Development Studies program and continue learning Thai. Moving forward, Ashley will miss her relationships with her professors, and the opportunity to live in community with her friends.  

Emmalee Moffitt

Emmalee will graduate with a B.A. in Philosophy and minors in European History and Orthodox Thought and Culture. She was also the president of the Eastern University Philosophical Society, co-founder and Trimvir of the ISI Montaigne Society, co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Basilian Journal (a journal on Orthodox thought and culture), and served as a research and editorial assistant to multiple professors. Emmie is very grateful for her experience at Templeton, and particularly the way that it has formed her thinking about what it means to live a good life. She will miss classes with amazing professors and peers, and the challenging, enlightening discussions that are so abundant at Templeton. Emmie would like to go to graduate school and pursue an academic career eventually, but in the meantime will be working locally and getting married to fellow Templeton graduate, Wayne Brown, in the Fall.

Abigail Crawford

While in Templeton, Abigail Crawford studied Chemistry with minors in Mathematics and Astronomy. Abby was President of the American Chemical Society Chemistry Club, and a beloved student worker for Eastern University Admissions. In the future, Abby will be in Philadelphia, pursuing a PhD in Physical Chemistry at Temple University as a Presidential Fellow. (She adds that she hopes in addition to her advanced schooling, she will also have time for hobbies, friends, and family time.) Abigail says that she will really miss the supportive community that Templeton creates and the wonderful people she met during her time at Eastern.

Rebecca Drew

Rebecca Drew studied Biochemistry with a minor in Astronomy (meaning that she lived in Andrews Hall and the Bradstreet Observatory). When Rebecca wasn’t in the lab or taking pictures of stars, she was a Resident Assistant in Hainer, building community (they like that word) and forming deep relationships she would not have made unless she was an RA. Rebecca finished her classes in December, and since then she has gone abroad to Croatia for a surgical shadowing program which propelled her straight into studying for the MCAT and preparing for medical school applications.

She has been refreshed while living at home because she has been able to spend quality time with family and friends, as well as serving at her church. During her gap year, Rebecca intends to study spend time with loved ones, work on some home improvement with her dad, and spend time in the presence of God to further develop a foundation of faith that she will carry with her to whatever medical school she ends up attending. Having already spent some time away from Eastern and Templeton, Rebecca says she misses the deep conversations she has had with people who genuinely care about finding truth while encouraging others to seek Christ first. She also really misses the lab and Andrews Hall as a whole.

Liz Margolis

During Liz Margolis’ time at Eastern, she created a major in Public Policy and Ethics, along with minors in Christian Thought and French. Liz was also an active leader of the Political Activism Club and a member of Refuge. Her post-grad aspirations are to get a job in development where she can use her French and do program work internationally for an NGO. Liz says that Eastern and Templeton have brought many amazing friends and mentors into her life and she will miss being in constant community with them. Liz will also miss being in an environment of constant learning and discussion; she hopes that she can create ways to continue fostering this environment after graduation.

The Cohort of 2014 after their Freshman Banquet.

Jadon Ramsing

While in Templeton, Jadon Ramsing studied Economic Development, with minors in Finance and Spanish. Jadon also was a captain of the men’s soccer team, a member of Delta Mu Delta International Business Honors Society, a member of Enactus Club, and SGA Senior class Secretary. Jadon’s future plans include getting married on June 8 and moving back to the Baltimore or D.C. area with his lovely wife, Sydney. He intends to work in urban community development. Looking beyond graduation, Jadon will really miss the intentionality of the studies and discussions at Templeton, an intentionality aimed not just at learning but genuinely aimed at living good lives.

Ian Wright

Ian Wright studied Theology and Accounting while at Eastern University. Ian was an RA for three years and was also president of the Theological Society. In the future, Ian will be working at Vanguard as a Fund Financial Associate in Malvern. He will live locally and looks forward to staying in touch with friends and playing pick-up soccer every chance he gets. Looking back at his time in Templeton, Ian will miss the stimulating and meaningful conversations with classmates and professors.  

Emily Golden

Emily Golden will be graduating with a B.A. in History, though she studied a wide variety of subjects, including anthropology and psychology. She also worked at St. David’s Episcopal Church throughout her time in college. While at Templeton, Emily enjoyed being surrounded by peers and professors who had all chosen to enter into important conversations and ask difficult questions. She currently works at Compass Ion Advisors, LLC in Client Services, and hopes to pursue a future in finance.

Laura Bleacher

While attending Eastern University, Laura Bleacher majored in Mathematics with a concentration in Secondary Education. Laura also tutored for the Abelian group and CCAS. Laura has spent the spring semester student teaching, and she plans on looking for a high school math teaching job in Lancaster County. Laura also plans to get married to her fabulous fiancé Collin in the summer of 2019. She will really miss the community at Eastern and Templeton, as it feels like family. She says that everyone is kind and supportive, and she will miss being around such extraordinary people.

Carolyn Sigman

Carolyn Sigman majored in Mathematics with minors in Astronomy and Spanish, which she completed during her semester abroad in Seville, Spain. During Carolyn’s time at Eastern, she was Chair of the Templeton Student Council for two semesters as well as an Agora Institute fellow. Carolyn finished her courses in December 2017, and then started a full-time position as a Compliance Administrator in Fund Financial Services at Vanguard. She spends her post-graduation free time reading and experimenting in the kitchen.

Although Carolyn has only been out of Templeton for a semester, she regularly finds herself missing the conversations and the community. She says that not everyone is willing to grapple with hard topics quite like the Templeton community does and she has realized how difficult it is to lose that regular interaction.

Russell Risden

While in Templeton, Russell Risden studied Political Science with a minor in European History. He also was a member of the Air Force ROTC, president of Pi Sigma Alpha Honors Society, and a deacon and involved member of the Baptist Church in the Valley. Russell also raised funds for the restoration of a portrait of Charles Walton Sr. After finishing his classes last year, Russell entered a graduate studies program for Theology at the University of Oxford. Once he finishes his studies in England this June, he will continue working towards his goal of becoming a Chaplain in the U.S. Air Force.

As the summer approaches, Russell looks forward to hiking, fishing, and sailing. Beyond that, Russell hopes to own a farm someday, have a family, and perhaps do a little writing, teaching, and preaching. Russell thanks God for His steadfast love and faithfulness. He is thankful for his time at Eastern, and says it was a blessing to be a part of the Templeton community and to study under the Eastern faculty. Russell says he misses the conversations the most – those that occurred between friends, professors, and those who attended his church.

Students from the 2014 Cohort SaraGrace Stefan, Abby Crawford, Connor Basilici, and Matt Thiemsen.

Connor Basilici

Connor studied Mathematics and Engineering during his time at Templeton as part of the EU-Nova 4+1 Engineering Program offered by Eastern University and Villanova University. He was the president of the Eastern Engineering Society for two years and the vice president for one. He also took courses in Finance and Accounting and has been an intern at Valley Forge Financial Group and Forge Wealth Management.

Throughout his time at Templeton, Connor has been grateful for the community he’s found here—one in which he’s always been able throw around thoughts and questions on faith, philosophy, or whatever “crazy math thing” he happens to be interested in at the moment. Now that he is graduating with his B.A. in Mathematics from Eastern, he will go on to complete the Fast-Track program and spend one more year earning his M.S. in Cybersecurity.

SaraGrace Stefan

SaraGrace Stefan studied English Literature, with minors in Political Science and Creative Writing during her time in Templeton. She was also a writing assistant in the writing center, a research assistant for the Campolo Institute for Applied Research in Social Justice, a contributor to Inklings literary journal, and the editor-in-chief of the Waltonian newspaper from 2017-2018.

SaraGrace will be returning home to New Jersey to lifeguard for the summer, and she will then pursue a job teaching literature and writing at a classics school, or working in editing and proofreading. She hopes to eventually pursue her PhD in literature (Dr. Stefan has a nice ring to it). SaraGrace is extremely thankful for the time she has spent in Templeton, and the many ways it has helped her grow into the person she is today. She will miss the ever-present excuse to read books, as well as the students and faculty whom she has grown to love and admire.

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