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Senior class representatives value experiences at University

by Sherry Fisher - May 15, 2006

A student studying graphic design and illustration and another in the combined medical program were selected as this year’s senior class representatives.

Senior class representative Matthew Billard
Senior class representative Matthew Billard addresses the Class of 2006 during morning undergraduate Commencement ceremonies May 7.
Photo by Jordan Bender

Matthew Billard, a fine arts major, delivered remarks to the graduating class during the morning Commencement ceremony on May 7.

“UConn offers so many opportunities,” says Billard, an Honors Scholar, who last summer spent three weeks in inner Mongolia studying Chinese painting with a prominent artist.

He is now skilled in two styles of traditional Chinese painting and has 25 works to prove it.

His study was funded by a grant from UConn’s Office of Undergraduate Research.

Billard, whose grade point average is 3.986, is not the first member of his family to attend UConn; his grandmother and older brother are graduates, and his twin brother graduated in December with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.

Billard also started in the engineering program but switched his major to become a graphic designer and illustrator.

Billard is a founding member of Reformed University Fellowship, a Christian group; and is a member of the intervarsity Christian Fellowship.

When he was growing up, his father’s job at Pratt & Whitney took the family overseas: Billard went to high school in Cairo, Egypt – his high school graduation took place in front of the pyramids; he has also lived in South Africa, Wales, and Brazil.

His future plans include working for a web graphic design company.

Senior class representatives Andrea Gross
Senior class representative Andrea Gross addresses the Class of 2006 during afternoon undergraduate Commencement ceremonies May 7.
Photo by Peter Morenus

Andrea Gross, a physiology and neurobiology major, delivered remarks to the graduating class during the afternoon Commencement ceremony.

Gross, from Simsbury, has a 4.0 GPA.

She is both a University Scholar and an Honors Scholar.

She has been in the combined medical program at the University, and will attend the UConn School of Medicine in the fall.

She hopes to work in pediatric medicine, but is keeping an open mind about her specialty.

During her undergraduate degree, Gross conducted research both at the Storrs campus and the Health Center on allergic airway disease and asthma in mice.

She was named a Babbidge Scholar three times, and was inducted in the Phi Beta Kapa honor society in 2004.

She has been active in the Honors Program community, and served as treasurer of the Honors Council for several years.

She was a founding member of UC-Med (a club for members of the eight-year baccalaureate/medical program), and participated in UConn’s Model UN, the Juggling Club, and the Huskython, a fund-raising event that benefits the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

She also volunteered each week as a tutor at Mansfield Middle School.

“I’ve gotten a very good education here,” Gross says, adding, “I’ve also enjoyed meeting people and making friends.”  

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