Charisse Laura Mandimika ’09
B.S. in Biology with a Chemistry minor
Charisse, in your four years at Denison you have cut a swath that is as wide as it is deep. As a biology major you have written an academic record so strong that now you must choose between acceptances at the Yale and Vanderbilt Medical Schools. Your passion to study medicine traces back to your roots in Zimbabwe when you resolved to become a physician and practice medicine in an under-served area of the world. You have carefully nurtured that vision ever since, resulting in your attendance at a prestigious academic enrichment program at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and culminating in two successive summers doing original research at the Yale University School of Medicine. You brought that experience home to Denison when you founded the Annual Student Research Forum for students interested in pursuing summer research.
In addition to your academic accomplishments, you have been energetic in numerous other activities. Everyone recognizes you from your many appearances with Tehillah, which you co-founded, and which has become a shining jewel in the crown of á capella performance at Denison. And you’re a movie star! -- we all recognize you as that enthusiastic student who added so much luster to the Higher Ground campaign video. You have been a dynamo in other ways, serving as biology teaching assistant, Resident Assistant, Head Resident, and facilitator for Quest. Your other involvements include Sexual Harassment and Rape Advocate, secretary of the African Students Association, violinist in the Symphony Orchestra, and participant in Sustained Dialogue, the Gospel Choir, and Agape. You have worked loyally on the Vail Series staff, and it is emblematic of your commitment to Vail that, when you exceeded your work-study limit, you pleaded for the privilege of working for nothing!
One of the signature songs from the Tehillah repertory contains the following lines:
- There will be mountains that I will have to climb,
And there will be battles that I will have to fight.
But victory or defeat, it's up to me to decide,
But how can I expect to win if I never try?
Charisse, in your time at Denison you have not only tried, but you have cheerfully and nimbly scaled every mountain that has stood in your path, earning the deep respect and pride we feel in you as a graduate of our College.
Dean's List; Parajon Scholarship; Richard E. & Marian D. Trumbull Memorial Scholarship; David Shepardson Award; Alpha Epsilon Delta (Health Pre-Professional Honor Society); Mortar Board (National College Senior Honor Society); Omicron Delta Kappa (National Leadership Honor Society); Department of Biology – Teaching Assistant; Office of Campus & Residential Life – Head Resident, Resident Assistant, Resident Assistant of the Month; Vail Series Office – Intern, Head Usher; Office of Public Affairs - Assistant; Summer Research Symposium – Founder, Administrative Facilitator; DU Lead – Student Facilitator; Student Relations Committee; Women’s Spirituality; QUEST – Student Facilitator; Religious Life Advisory Board; Tehillah – Co-Founder, President; SHARE Advocate; African Students Association – Secretary; Sustained Dialogue; Gospel Choir; Symphony Orchestra; Agape Christian Fellowship; Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges; Yale University School of Medicine – Biomedical Science Training and Enrichment Program; Columbia University College of New York, N.Y. – Physicians and Surgeons Summer Medical/Dental Education Program.