Kennesaw State’s December graduates face 2015 with hope

Left to right: Kelly Hyder Stockdale and Chris Watson

Commencement ceremony caps off uphill climb for many KENNESAW, Ga. (Dec. 10, 2014) — …

Georgia (Dec 11, 2014)Commencement ceremony caps off uphill climb for many

KENNESAW, Ga. (Dec. 10, 2014) — More than 1,800 Kennesaw State University graduates will receive their diplomas on Dec. 16 and 17 at the KSU Convocation Center. All the graduates have unique stories to tell, and here are a few of them.

Kelly Hyder-Stockdale, a psychology major and a member of KSU’s Adult Learner community, is a deaf woman who came to KSU after a 20-year career in government. She is actively looking for a job and plans to attend graduate school. “This is the first educational institution where I experienced actual communication equity; access that was so positive and empowering that it has provided the basis for educational achievement and laid the foundation for my belief in self advocacy.”

Chris Watson, a veteran, is a criminal justice major with a concentration in forensic behavioral science. He has worked for Shaw Industries for eight years and has his sights set on advancing his career internally within the Shaw Industries Corporation. “During my first two years at KSU, I would start work at 7 a.m. and return home from school at 10 o’clock at night. Throughout college, I have worked a full-time job averaging at least 50 hours a week, in addition I served as a Navy Reservist with two different, very busy, high-profile positions until September 2013.”

Brad Nivens began college in 2001 but left, eventually starting his first IT consulting company. Today the information security and assurance major is the senior systems administrator at Doehler USA. He recently joined the German-based flavorings research and development company after running his own security-consulting firm. "Information security is a vastly growing field that blends business and personal concerns with technology needs, it’s the direction I knew I would take." 

Sonya Vazquez works at Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange in risk, compliance and governance for the Information Security division. This single mother from Marietta is an information security graduate who landed her job last summer when a professor suggested that she created a LinkedIn page. Interestingly, ICE found her.  

Media please contact: Robert S. Godlewski,, 470-578-3448




A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit