CBU Lasallian Fellows of the Class of 2017
Lauren Jeu (Natural Science)
RaKesha Gray (Religion and Philosophy)
Taylor Flake (History)
Raymond (Trey) McGinnis (Mathematics, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering)
John Buttross (Biology)
Meet the 2017 Lasallian Fellows
Lauren Jeu is a Natural Science major with an impressive work ethic, outstanding leadership skills, and a penchant for serving others. The term “game changer” has been used in considering students for the CBU Lasallian Fellows award and Lauren definitely has demonstrated this characteristic. Perhaps because of her many gifts, her career goals stretch in two very different directions. While she has strongly considered becoming a Physician Assistant, her prodigious artistic and computer graphic skills (she is minoring in Art) have pulled her in the direction of Graphic Arts.
Lauren is a gifted leader. Her patience and easy-going demeanor make her easily approachable. Younger students respect her abilities and look to her for guidance. Case in point, she was awarded CBU Peer Mentor of the Year in 2016 at the first annual Peer Educator Awards.
Since her sophomore year, Lauren has served as Philanthropy chair, Vice President, and valued trouble-shooter for the Honorary Biology Society, Tri Beta. Next year she and another CBU Lasallian Fellow, John Buttross will serve as co-presidents for this very active group. Some examples of Lauren’s ideas set in motion are a résumé workshop for students and several successful off-campus “Coffee and Conversations” in which small groups of students meet with health professionals. Additionally, Lauren’s contribution as Philanthropy chair has resulted in a much stronger relationship between Tri Beta and the Church Health Center (CHC). Last year, she led brainstorming sessions with other Tri Beta members in creating an on-campus CHC week that included a customized health assessment by medical professionals. It is possible Lauren’s work has made it a bit easier for our students to secure coveted internships at the Church Health Center.
While serving on the Executive Board for the CBU Honors Program for two years, Lauren has also had also had a big impact on this group. She brings the same reliability and work ethic to honors as she does her other organizations. She is definitely a “go-to” student who can be counted on to bring creativity and 100% commitment to every endeavor.
Lauren Jeu is a woman of faith who has a passionate desire to improve the lives of others. Somehow, she has done all of the above while finding time to work with a children’s ministry at her church since 2008. It is indeed clear that Lauren is willing to generously share her time and creative energies. Without a doubt, this young lady is poised to make a real difference in the world, and now she will do so with the title CBU Lasallian Fellow.
RaKesha Gray may be one of the most beloved students to ever walk the halls of CBU; she is simply one of the most positive, inspirational, generous, thoughtful, and loving people on our campus. RaKesha, a religion and philosophy major, always has a warm smile, a good word, and an open heart for everyone she meets. It is therefore no surprise that she plans to pursue a career in community service or education. Her many positive qualities will certainly be gifts to those she serves and teaches.
RaKesha has been a constant source of joy and calm in her many activities on and off-campus. At CBU RaKesha has contributed her time and talents to, among others, the Divine Voices gospel choir, Young Ladies United, the NAACP, Campus Ministry, Residence Life, President’s Ambassadors, and the CBU Honors Program, where she has held the offices of President and Vice-President. In her “off-time” she has for several years been a tireless community servant for Creative Life, a community youth development organization whose purpose is to provide creative learning opportunities to underserved youth in South Memphis. RaKesha volunteers for their summer feeding program (which has prepared over 12,000 meals for families in poverty), conducts ACT Prep sessions, and sets up and attends college tours with high school students. She promotes, coordinates and plans weekly spiritual empowerment services and participates in Creative Life’s performing arts program by acting in plays and choreographing dances for the younger girls.
Because of her many positive attributes and activities, and although her humility belies it, RaKesha Gray is no stranger to recognition. She has received the CBU Spirit Award, the St. Thomas More Service award, and was named Ms. CBU at the 2016 CBU Homecoming. Further, because of her dedication to Creative Life, Inc. RaKesha was the recipient of that organization’s 2015 Champion Award.
RaKesha Gray is an incredible young woman who truly embodies the spirit and love of CBU and it is therefore befitting that she be named 2016-17 CBU Lasallian Fellow.
Taylor Flake can be most easily described as a “Drum Major for Justice.” These are the words that come to mind when describing CBU senior Taylor Flake. These words express Taylor’s unending mission to seek economic and social justice for all. Taylor, a 2013-14 Trustee Scholar, is a history major with minors in Spanish, political science and global studies. Her academic pursuits complement her desire to serve a wide range of constituents in her future career of attorney and judge.
While Taylor has held leadership roles in many student organizations at CBU, undoubtedly her most significant roles are founder and president of the CBU Chapter of the NAACP (National Association for the Advance of Colored People), which received the College Chapter of the Year Award and is the first NAACP chapter at a Lasallian university. The chapter’s advisor, Dr. Jeffrey Gross, reminds us why having an NAACP chapter at CBU is so important: “An NAACP chapter on this campus ensures that students will have the opportunity to discuss and learn about the ways prejudice affects people. Education creates a foundation for advocacy and empowerment. Education is the foundation of justice.”
Despite the onerous work of founding a new organization and nurturing it to maturity, Taylor has found the time to contribute to, among others, the Tennessee Intercollegiate Supreme Court, Student Activities Council, Lasallian Collegians, Young Ladies United, the CBU Honors Program Board of Directors, the CBU Student Government Association, and Phi Alpha Delta Pre Law Fraternity, among others. For her excellent leadership and service, she received the CBU Spirit Award and was named 2015 CBU Senator of the Year.
Not only is Taylor active at CBU, she has collaborated with other organizations to address critical issues facing the Memphis community, including work with the Juvenile Justice Summit, NAACP Reads, and the Black Lives Matter campaign. Taylor Flake is definitely a change maker with a heart and conscience for serving and a quest for ensuring justice and equality for individuals from all walks of life. She has already been recognized with the Vanderhaar Student Peace Award, given to a college student within the city of Memphis involved in non-violent work for peace and justice, and absolutely deserves to be named 2016-17 CBU Lasallian Fellow.
Raymond (Trey) McGinnis is a quiet leader who exemplifies our Lasallian spirit through change making initiatives that contribute to our campus and community. One of his most obvious contributions is through September of Service: 30 Days of Good Deeds. Trey has been an integral leader and innovator for September of Service for the past five years. In addition to leading hundreds of other members of the CBU community in service projects, Trey has created or managed all aspects of the online calendars and registration systems for this very complex initiative. Further, he has created most of the videos used to publicize and celebrate this important annual month of service.
Trey was also a leader in creating and hosting the 2014 Tennessee Collegiate Honors Council Conference at CBU, which received rave reviews from conference-goers. He has created three short (five minute) award winning films for the "Memphis Rocks" category of the On Location: Memphis International Film and Music Festival 2013-2015 and followed that with a national honors presentation about the filmmaking process and its benefits. These films show Trey's creativity, initiative, technical competence, and ability to work with other students through a complex multi-faceted successful project from start to finish.
Trey has also been a leader in several campus organizations. He served as president of the CBU chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), chair of the 2015 Student-Professional Awareness Conference (S-PAC), member of the Board of Directors of the CBU Honors Program, and as a math tutor for the Memphis Dyslexia Foundation and the CBU math center. Trey possesses a servanthood spirit and provides a helping hand to those needing tutoring and computer assistance, and has assisted faculty in integrating new technology into the classroom.
All of these involvements speak to Trey's leadership, creativity, and commitment to service, but what is equally impressive is just how easygoing and likable he is. Trey is a definitely a favorite of students and faculty alike, and his coworkers and supervisors rave about him. In fact, the IT staff regularly comment that Trey is one of the most outstanding interns they have ever had. It should come as no surprise that Trey was crowned Mr. CBU at our 2015 homecoming.
Trey is definitely a strong, driving force in the numerous school and community activities and events in which he is involved, and he goes about his work in a reserved, unassuming, and consistently pleasant manner. Through his many activities and achievements Trey McGinnis has consistently demonstrated our Lasallian values and he is definitely deserving of the title of CBU Lasallian Fellow.
John Buttross has a long history with the De La Salle Christian Brothers — having first attended Christian Brothers High School prior to joining the community at the corner of East Parkway and Central. Dedicated; dependable; focused; attentive; caring; giving — these are just some of the words used to describe this Lasallian Fellow. From earliest recollections, he has distinguished himself both academically and within the student body. A man of balance, John consistently excels as he juggles the academic demands of his degree; the responsibilities of internships and jobs; and the leadership positions which he assumes.
Upon meeting John, one realizes his Catholic faith is a cornerstone of his character — inviting others to attend weekly mass, discussing matters of faith with a friend, and serving as a consistent voice in the formation of the Catholic Student Association on campus. In addition to his countless obligations during the school year, John spent the summer of 2015 with other Lasallian Collegians for the third annual Regional Lasallian Leadership Conference. Held at CBU, this event welcomed students from our sister institutions to Memphis to explore the challenges and opportunities facing him and his peers.
With his faith firmly established, John has been gifted with a heart for service and helping others. Throughout his time at CBU, he has promoted and strengthened the philanthropic efforts of Kappa Sigma fraternity and Tri Beta honor society. In addition to these areas of service, he has also volunteered regularly with the Church Health Center and Cresthaven Internal Medical Clinic. Finally, John has worked alongside the Missionaries of Charity and the Feed My Flock organization to give back to those who will certainly benefit from his “servant’s heart.”
As a member of the CBU community, John is a natural leader. Respected by faculty, staff, and students, John’s unassuming nature leaves a lasting impression. In a world of “talk-first-listen-later,” John always takes the time to hear all perspectives and consider all alternatives prior to sharing his opinion. He is never the loudest person in the room; but when he does speak, the words are certainly heard. Often seen with a backpack full of books, John is also a role model to his peers — demonstrating to others the importance of academic and personal growth while in college.
Fully embracing the Lasallian charism of faith, community, and service, John embodies the words of the Founder as he “follows the inspirations that come from God.”