Alumni association picks "outstanding grad"
April 29, 2012

JOPLIN – Michelle Dimza, pictured, of St. Louis has been named “Outstanding Graduate” by the Missouri Southern Alumni Association. The award was formally announced at the Honors Convocation on April 25, 2012, on campus. A graduate of Notre Dame High School in St. Louis, Dimza will receive a bachelor's degree in biology/pre-med this May.

According to Lee Elliff Pound, director of Alumni Affairs at Missouri Southern, the Outstanding Graduate is selected on the basis of superior involvement and leadership on campus and community, high academic achievements and respect of fellow students and faculty. Dimza has demonstrated all these qualities. In addition to being on the Deans’ List all eight semesters, she has served as a biology tutor for the past three years, providing individualized learning for students in courses such as general and medical micro biology, anatomy and physiology, general biology, principles of biology, computer literacy courses and EMT certification courses; a tutor each semester at the Exam Cram sessions; a biology tutor for Project Stay and a peer mentor for the First Year Experience.

Dimza has served as a team captain on the Missouri Southern women's soccer team for the past three seasons. She has been a four-year letter winner, as well as a four-year starter. She is a three-time All-MIAA selection and won the 2010 MSSU Leadership Award. Dimza was also an MIAA Presidential Scholar, a three-time member of the MIAA Academic Honor Roll, as well as a three-time MIAA Scholar-Athlete

This past year Dimza served as a research intern at the University of Minnesota Life Science Undergraduate Research Program. In that capacity, she performed a compositional analysis of heat resistant Salmonella using surface enhanced raman spectroscopy (SERS). She also presented an independent research project at the University of Minnesota Poster Symposium and participated in weekly career development luncheons, bio-ethical seminars and Women in Science panel discussions.

Dimza has been a volunteer with the Special Olympics of Southwest Missouri for the past four years. She has helped coordinate track and field events for the organization, as well as referee basketball games and participate in bingo and dance events.

Last May, after the Joplin tornado, she served as a volunteer in the recovery effort and has worked at the YMCA Big Sister event where she participated in a Christmas gift exchange and helped set up activity stations.

Dimza says although sports led her to MSSU, it was not the deciding factor in her decision to stay.

“Soccer is what originally brought me to Southern,” she said. “However, my decision to commit to MSSU was based on the small class sizes and the hospitality of the people I met while visiting. I am very happy with the four years I spent at Missouri Southern. The experiences I have had as an athlete, student, and member of this community were not only memorable, but also shaped my character into the person I am today. I think the faculty and staff do a great job of making success very attainable, rather than creating obstacles for students.”

After graduation, Dimza will play soccer for a Women’s Premiere Soccer League (WPSL) team in Seattle, WA, while studying for the Medical College Admission test (MCAT).

“Next fall, I am excited to start my life post-soccer,” she said. “I will dedicate a new wealth of free-time to working in a hospital in St. Louis and volunteering as much as I can.”

Dimza’s career goal is to become a physician in an area in which she can incorporate medical research.

She is the daughter of Mike and Mary Dimza.

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