Beldonna Chakoutahi, who graduated with a bachelor of arts degree, was chosen outstanding graduate student in the university's College of Individualized Studies. She was one of 1,368 students receiving bachelor's and master's degrees at Metropolitan State's 101st commencement exercises on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017 in Minneapolis.

Chakoutahi and her wife, Shadi, live in Saint Louis Park with their four "fur babies," a Boston terrier (Audrey), Italian greyhound (Enzo), short-hair kitty (Oscar) and long-hair kitty (Mona). Regarding her future plans, Chakoutahi said, "I would love to get my master's in Urban Education. Eventually I would like to teach or become a counselor in my old high school South High in Minneapolis."

Chakoutahi completed her associate's degree in occupational studies (alcohol and drug counseling) with honor roll recognition from International Career Development Center in 2013 before joining Metropolitan State. She is currently a driver for Lyft.

At Metropolitan State, Chakoutahi was a member of Lavender Bridge and vice president of Voices of Indian Council for Educational Success (VOICES). She is an active member of the Minnesota chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

Academic advisor and community faculty member, Stanley Hatcher, said, "When she [Chakoutahi] first came to Metropolitan State she was an undecided student. She started out taking Metro 101. And based her previous experience in the workforce and all the classes offered at Metro, I was able to convince her to take Individualized Studies. Her focus was in Addiction and Community Counseling. Watching her grow as a student, she has done a remarkable job academically and in the community helping people with addiction."