UNM graduate Elizabeth Coons with her parents Jim and Elizabeth Coons and younger brother Jonathan. Courtesy photo
While the world may reflect on the last 10 weeks as life changing events, Isabelle Coons, known by many as Izzy, will recall much of it fondly, and with stunning moments of joy.
Izzy and boyfriend Nathan Lang left for Australia in early March, to have the trip of a lifetime. The duo enjoyed many beaches, good food and spending time with family. Then before the return trip, a surprise engagement, a hike to a secluded beach and some beautiful engagement photos, compliments of cousin, Ellythea Wahlstrom, the owner of Green and Wandering Photography.
We should start the story a little further back, with the younger years of one, Isabelle Mary Coons. Coons, a well-traveled young woman, with a journey that started in Los Alamos as a Mountain Lion, then a stint abroad at Ironside State School, in St. Lucia, Brisbane, Australia. She returned to the city on the hill and rounded out her younger grades, at Los Alamos Middle and High School. She crossed the Topper stage in May 2013.
The next noteworthy achievement was when Coons walked the virtual stage. Dr. Coons, graduated from the UNM College of Pharmacy, on May 8 with her family and fiancée in attendance. The event was a respectable tribute, to honor students. This achievement marked their future endeavors, acknowledged current success, and forever captured a moment in time. The virtual graduation included 41 students in a class of 71.
“I have learned so much and met some of my best friends over the past four years,” Coons said. “I would tell other students interested in pharmacy to go for it, know that it wasn’t always easy but it’s a rewarding experience and you get to help so many people.”
Coons was accepted to the College of Pharmacy at UNM, starting at the beginning of her 4th year of college. She was in the honors program, for a Doctor of Pharmacy degree. The graduate was Rho Chi, the top 20 percent of her class academically. She will receive her diploma by mail in several weeks.
Phi Lambda Sigma, of which Coons joined in her third year, is the Pharmacy Leadership Society, which encourages, recognizes and promotes leadership in pharmacy. Coons was one of the younger students, which may have been the last year the College of Pharmacy allows undergrads, to transfer in their fourth year. Normally, students must complete their fourth year before being allowed to apply to the program.
How do students feel, for many years of hard work to culminate in an online graduation? Honestly, there was some initial hesitation, but the positive side of graduating in this format, allowed for some unforeseen benefits. You get the opportunity to see all of your friends surrounded by those that love them, and encouraged them through the educational process. It also allowed many who would have watched from the distance to help the moment take shape.
“It kept the atmosphere light and provided many laughs, because we had a virtual ceremony, we were able to choose who hooded us, which was such a unique opportunity,” Coons said. “My parents both hooded me and they did a great job. I will never forget that!”
Coons met fiancée Nathan in high school and the team has supported each other through their degree success. The future Mr. and Mrs. Lang can’t wait to properly celebrate with their friends and family.
“I really enjoyed having my family and fiancée at the hooding,” Coons said. “It was such a unique experience and I had so much fun with them all here, it feels great to finally be graduated!”
The graduate scheduled her Board exams Tuesday with the next goal to take place Sept. 9. She confesses she will feel fully accomplished after she takes her board exams.
Coons is the daughter of Jim and Elizabeth Coons and the older sister of Jonathan Coons.
Elizabeth Coons and Nathan Lang are engaged to be married. Courtesy/Ellythea Wahlstrom, Green and Wandering Photography