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Wednesday, Sep 22, 2021

Get to know new Bears

Every year, a new class makes their mark on Mercer's campus. Here are some of the fresh faces you'll be seeing this fall!


Lala Cumberbath

Jayla Moody
Lala Cumberbatch sitting outside of Legacy Hall.

Lala Cumberbatch is a freshman working to become a psychiatrist. One of the many impressive things about Cumberbatch is that she is a polyglot — she knows three other languages other than English: Korean, Latin and Greek

Cumberbatch said she hopes to gain much by being at Mercer, both for her major and her personal relationships.

“(I want) to make a community of friends,” Cumberbatch said.

She is also a musician and knows how to play the flute. In addition to her musical talents, Cumberbatch is a member of the Tea and Coffee Club as well as Mercer Asia.


Maggie Kowalchuk

Jayla Moody
Maggie Kowalchuk sitting outside of Legacy Hall.

Maggie Kowalchuk is a freshman who originally wanted to attend Mercer because of the environmental studies program, but stayed because of how welcoming the people on campus were.

“I visited a couple of schools and Mercer just really stood out to me,” Kowalchuk said. “They really wanted me here.”

She said she enjoys being at Mercer and is involved with many organizations on campus, including MU Miracle,  which is a part of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals that raises awareness and funds for 170 pediatric hospitals, according to the group’s Facebook page.


Robert Lankie

Jayla Moody
Robert Lankie standing in front of art in Plunkett Hall.

Robert Lankie is a freshman who enrolled in Mercer because he said he enjoyed the prospect of learning at a smaller school.

“It felt like a tight-knit community,” Lankie said. “I felt like I could get better one-on-one focus in my classes.”

He is currently involved in Greek life and intramural sports. Lankie hopes to major in business marketing and his goal at Mercer is to become a better all-around student.


Michelle Wangala

Jayla Moody
Michelle Wangala standing outside of the University Center.

Michelle Wangala is studying to become a biomedical engineer. Her dream is to create prosthetics and work with people with physical disabilities.

Wangala said she was interested in Mercer because of the financial aid package, but she also felt the school took personal interest in the students.

“They look at students as more than just a number, but as a person and really help with making the students feel like family,” Wangala said.

She is involved in MU Miracle and Young Life, a non-denominational Christian ministry organization that reaches out to adolescence. She has also played the viola for six years. Her goals at Mercer are to make new friends and gain more experience in life.


Jordan Boomgaarden

Jayla Moody
Jordan Boomgaarden sitting inside of Einstein’s Bagels.

Jordan Boomgaarden is a trombone player in the marching band and has been playing the instrument for six years.

“I wasn’t planning on doing marching band at first,” Boomgaarden said. “I showed up at the orientation and I just decided to join.”

Boomgaarden said he plans on studying nursing while at Mercer.

“It’s a pretty solid school,” Boomgaarden said. “I like it.”



*Editor's Note: This story initially included a photo that incorrectly named Michelle Wangala as the subject. We have replaced that image with a photo of Wangala and apologize for any confusion.



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