Syracuse UniversityScholar Spotlight

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    Scholar Spotlight 2015-16

    Academic excellence is central to Syracuse University's purpose, and is highlighted by the many students who regularly showcase the University's scholarly tradition. Each week, we profile one of these students to provide a glimpse into the stories and achievements that make our students special.

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    Elyse Davis ’16

    Elyse Davis ’16

    Elyse Davis, a double major in child and family studies and psychology, has expanded her SU experience well beyond the classroom, volunteering in Kenya with the Global Autism Project.

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    Elyse Davis ’16

    Elyse Davis, a senior in the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, has expanded her Syracuse University experience well beyond the classroom. In fact, she just spent part of this spring semester volunteering in Kenya with the Global Autism Project, a non-governmental organization (NGO) she’s worked with consistently throughout her undergraduate career. Davis is a double major in child and family studies and psychology. She’s pursuing a graduate degree this fall, with the ultimate intent of continuing her advocacy work.

    Tell us more about the Global Autism Project and the work you do there.

    The Global Autism Project is an NGO based out of Brooklyn that is dedicated to providing local and sustainable services to international partnerships. The overall goal is to establish centers of excellence around the world, using evidence-based practices to treat those with autism; where, unfortunately, there are currently no services. The Global Autism Project has strong partnerships with centers and schools in Indonesia, India, Kenya and the Dominican Republic, with many more in the works. I have traveled as a volunteer to partner sites in India, the Dominican Republic and the most recent being Kenya. GAP has consistent weekly supervision and communication with the partnerships, and different countries host small groups of professionals in the field a few times a year for two-week trips. During these trips, we do trainings and workshops in evidence-based practices for the staff, therapists, parents and community. Our overall goal is working with these passionate professionals in these countries to build resources in their own country so they eventually won’t need our help. I have also fundraised over $10,000 for the organization by talking to people about my experiences, the mission of the organization and holding events.

    What sparked your interest in this topic?

    I have always loved to learn, travel and help to make the world a better place however I can. I have such an interest in and passion for working with individuals with autism. It’s amazing that all of my passions have been able to come together.

    What was your experience like in Kenya? What was the purpose of the trip, and what was your specific role?

    I learned so much about the culture, and about what autism look like in Kenya, in terms of how people view it, the resources available and what their specific needs are. They have so much to offer in teaching us. The main goal isn’t to go in and be “saviors,” but to create a network of professionals around the world that can work together and learn from each other. I will definitely take what I have learned from the centers I have worked with around the world and bring it to my own practice here in America.

    How did you decide on SU? What have your experiences been like with your academic program?

    My cousin went here and loved it so much, so when I was accepted I immediately knew that I would come here. I have loved Falk so much. It’s a small, intimate community within a huge campus. My advisor, Dr. MacDonald, has helped me pursue my dreams since orientation freshman year, and all of my professors have been so knowledgeable and helpful.

    After you receive your graduate degree, what’s next?

    I am attending Teachers College at Columbia University in the fall to start a master’s of arts in teaching in applied behavior analysis. My ultimate goal is to become a board certified behavior analyst, writing and implementing behavior plans for children with autism and those with behavioral difficulties. I hope to have my own practice with my own clients, and be able to help them and their families in every aspect of their lives, whether it’s at home, at school or with their other interests. Eventually I plan on getting my Ph.D. to contribute to research expanding the knowledge we have in the field.

    Outside academics, what do you enjoy doing?

    I love to travel, hang out with my friends, spend time with my family and be outdoors. Really, any new adventure is great!

    Story by Austin Galovski, work-study student in the Office of News Services

    Bill Lentz ’16

    Bill Lentz ’16

    Bill Lentz travels about 20 minutes to SU from Phoenix, NY, and compensates for not living on campus by developing close bonds with students and faculty in the Department of Physics.

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    Bill Lentz ’16

    Students who don’t live on campus often find it difficult to build the close relationships that easily grow out of sharing residence hall life. But commuting made sense for Bill Lentz ’16, who travels to SU from Phoenix, a small town in Oswego County, about 20 minutes north of Syracuse.

    He compensated for not living on campus by developing close bonds with students and faculty in the Department of Physics in the College of Arts & Sciences. “I couldn’t ask for better than those friendships,” he says. He’s made the Undergraduate Physics Department lounge his campus home. “We do everything from relax and eat lunch to poring over difficult homework problems together,” he explains.

    Lentz, who is majoring in physics and applied mathematics, will begin a master’s degree program this fall in financial engineering at Cornell University’s School of Operations Research and Information Engineering. Here’s what Lentz shared about his experience at Syracuse University.Answers

    Tell us a little bit about life before Syracuse University.

    My high school was relatively small, and I knew just about everyone in my graduating class. I was active in the concert and jazz band; I played the tenor and alto saxophones. I even played saxophone and guitar in a cover band with a few of my friends for a little while. I also met my current girlfriend in Phoenix and we’ve been together ever since!

    Why did you choose Syracuse University?

    Syracuse University had the best physics program among the schools I was accepted to. The department has several groups doing groundbreaking research and a rigorous undergraduate curriculum. Also, my mother was a Department of Public Safety employee, so it made sense financially. I’ve saved a ton of money on housing by commuting from home.

    Are you involved in any research projects or volunteer work?

    I have been working with Professor Ray Mountain in the High Energy Physics Group since the summer after my freshman year. I have been involved with various aspects of a detector upgrade for the LHCb experiment at CERN. (That’s the European Organization for Nuclear Research, a European research organization that operates the largest particle physics laboratory in the world.) I have worked on the cooling methods for the future detector and ended up building a CO2 cooling system for the group to use for testing prototype detector parts. Currently, we are building a clean room in the physics building where the actual detector will be built before being shipped to CERN.

    I am also working with Associate Professor Jennifer Schwarz on a Capstone Project for the Renée Crown Honors Program. We are developing a simple model for the formation and contraction of the ring of proteins that pinches a cell in two during the last stage of cell division.

    I’ve also volunteered at the Museum of Science and Technology in Syracuse’s Armory Square, and I hope to do more work there.

    Is there a member of the faculty that has had a significant influence on your academic trajectory?

    Professor Mountain has been a mentor and gave me advice on which classes to take and how to tackle different subjects. He also recommended I keep Cornell on my list of potential graduate schools. I wouldn’t be going there next year without his support.  

    I took Linked Lenses with Professors Samuel Gorovitz and Cathryn Newton. Linked Lenses is an honors course that explores the relationship between philosophy and science. Both those professors have helped me. Professor Newton has written letters of recommendation, and Professor Gorovitz fought fiercely for me during a petition process.

    Sue Casson, director of Career Development and Services, has also been a tremendous help. She has read my resume and personal statements and has provided advice several times.

    What’s the best way to spend free time as a Syracuse University student?

    I like hanging out with the friends I’ve made in the Physics Department and seeing my girlfriend. I’ve also spent a lot of my free time in the kitchen lately since I’ve learned to love cooking.

    In what extracurricular activities do you participate?

    I am in the Society of Physics Students. It is an excellent way for physics students to get to know each other. We have an awesome sense of community. In addition to fostering friendships, we do outreach in various forms, and we take a trip to another university every year. I’m also a member of the Philosophy Club. We meet every week to discuss a reading or movie in a philosophically rigorous fashion.

    How is Syracuse University helping you to achieve your goals and aspirations?

    The education I got as a physics and applied math major has given me invaluable skills to take with me to graduate school and a career beyond that. I am confident that the curriculum in physics and in applied math will serve me well far into the future, especially in Cornell’s M.Eng. program.

    What are some of the activities you like around Central New York that aren’t Syracuse University affiliated?

    I like to go hiking; there are a lot of trails around here, and mountains a few hours away by car. Central New York is beautiful in the summer; there are plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities.

    Story by Renée K. Gadoua
    Robert Swanda ’16

    Robert Swanda ’16

    Robert Swanda ’16 , a double major in nutrition science and biology, was named a 2016 Syracuse University Scholar, the highest undergraduate academic honor the University bestows. 

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    Robert Swanda ’16

    Robert Swanda, a double major in nutrition science in Falk College and biology in the College of Arts and Sciences was named a 2016 Syracuse University Scholar, the highest undergraduate academic honor the University bestows. He is also a student in the Renee Crown Honors Program.

    Tell us about the three separate honors thesis projects you have completed.

    My three research projects throughout my time as an undergraduate have allowed me to explore scientific questions by using proteomic techniques to understand enzyme kinetics, auditing tools to understand obesity related to environmental influence, and gas chromatography mass spectrophotometry and blood sampling to examine environmental influence over rapid evolutionary changes in metabolism. During my time at Syracuse University, my independent research experiences have solidified my ambition to run a research lab of my own at an academic institution or in industry to bring scientific breakthroughs to my community.

    You’ve been involved with the Smart Mentoring Program through the Office of Engagement Programs since your freshman year. What has your approach been?

    As I worked with students ages 10-14, I began to notice a large gap in their understanding around critical issues such as race, religion and interpersonal conflict. To help them, Fareya Zubair (ESF ’16) and I took a scientific approach, and read psychology journals on the development of empathy. This work later evolved into Empathy Matters, an eight-week mentoring program Fareya and I cofounded for students ages 7-8 to develop their compassion, leadership and confidence skills, while tying all lessons back to empathy. I hope to expand the Empathy Matters program beyond Syracuse.

    What do you plan to do next year?

    I will move into a Ph.D. program at Cornell University in biomedical science and physiology.

    And what are your plans for a future career?

    I plan to use my background in ecology, physiology and nutrition to work on large-scale social and ecosystem-based health problems. My transdisciplinary training at SU have helped to put me in a good position in an emerging field that seeks to integrate public and ecosystem health.

    Asli Germirli ’16

    Asli Germirli ’16

    Asli Germirli ’16 came to SU from Istanbul, Turkey. She is very focused on finding the right combination of historic preservation and contemporary design in her homeland, and hopes to use her School of Architecture degree to achieve that balance.

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    Asli Germirli ’16

    Asli Germirli came to Syracuse University from Istanbul, Turkey. She is very concerned about finding the right combination of historic preservation and contemporary design in her homeland, and hopes to use her School of Architecture degree to achieve that balance.

    What has appealed to you about Syracuse University?

    While at Syracuse Architecture, I have found the learning environment to include a mix of inspiration, academic and creative challenge by faculty, as well as travel opportunity. I was able to explore cross-cultural dynamics through coursework at SU Abroad’s Istanbul center in summer 2013; and I studied design in the school’s London program in spring 2014. Two summer internships in Turkey brought additional opportunity.

    How has studying at Syracuse Architecture helped you to deal with your own heritage?

    As developing countries struggle with rapid urban population growth and the negative effects of globalization, many cities have unique historical heritages that are being compromised. We need to be willing to recognize preservation needs while responding intelligently to the pressures of urban growth. Change is inevitable, but doesn’t require the sacrifice of history. For the past year, I have focused my senior research efforts on the Hans District in the historic peninsula of Istanbul, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I argue that efforts to preserve the district insure the conservation of the Ottoman han typology, along with its unique architectural, socio-economic and commercial identity.

    What else has that research led to?

    I was selected to do a poster presentation on my research at the ACC Meeting of the Minds, an annual conference that focuses on undergraduate research and scholarship at the 15 ACC member schools. Only three students are selected by each school to do a poster presentation. As an international student, it was a great honor for me to be selected to represent my school and share my ideas with other inspiring peers.

    In late April, I will present my thesis, “The Ottoman Han: Recovery of a Lost Typology” at Syracuse Architecture.

    What would you like to do after graduation?

    Upon graduation, I plan to return to Istanbul, where I can utilize the skills I developed through my education at SU to create impact on the architecture field. In the long term, I would like to work on increasing the awareness around conservation of cultural heritage. I am really interested in exploring continuity in architecture; reviving and passing onto the future generations a mutually beneficial relationship between old and new.

    Story by Elaine Wackerow

    Ariel Ash-Shakoor

    Ariel Ash-Shakoor

    Ariel Ash-Shakoor, a bioengineering Ph.D. student, says she's always hated going to the doctor’s office, but she's interested in creating the tools that doctors use to help people.

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    Ariel Ash-Shakoor

    Ariel Ash-Shakoor, a bioengineering Ph.D. student, studies how cells behave on specialized polymers in the Syracuse Biomaterials Institute (SBI), and is a founder of K-12 STEM tutoring program in the Syracuse City School District that aims to inspire deeper interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

    She came to Syracuse University to be a part of the Soft Interfaces Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) where she conducts research alongside people in different scientific disciplines.

    Q. Why did you choose to pursue bioengineering?

    A.  I’ve always hated going to the doctor’s office, but I’m interested in the medical field. I wouldn’t want to have to deal with the painful interpersonal parts of being a doctor, like delivering bad news about someone’s loved one. I’d prefer to have an anonymous contribution in helping people, and I can do that through bioengineering. Everyday, bioengineers are creating the tools that doctors use to help people. As a bioengineer you can have a broader impact. You can make one tool or instrument that can be used all over the country to help people.

    Q. Why did you choose Syracuse University?

    A: Because of IGERT and the industry-style lab in SBI. SBI is a shared, collaborative space for researchers. At other schools, you’ll have professors with their own lab spaces with different equipment and you have to ask them to use it. SBI is an open space. You can interact with other grad students who are advised by other professors in other disciplines. It is definitely an advantage that Syracuse has over other universities.

    Q. What is your research about?

    A. Anyone who’s ever had a cut knows that it usually takes a week or two to heal. The technology that I’m using combines two types of polymer systems. One polymer can memorize its shape and change shape when it’s in the body at body temperature. The other is able to hold positive or negative charges that encourage certain cells to stick to the biomaterial.

    If we are able to change the shape of the charged biomaterial, then it forms wrinkles on the surface. Cells stick to it and align along the wrinkles. Research from our lab shows that when cells are aligned along the wrinkles they tend to move at a faster rate. We see potential for using it to close a wound quicker.

    Q. What inspired you to start a K-12 STEM program?

    A. I always wanted to start my own tutoring program. When I first arrived in Syracuse, I was helping with the Martin Luther King Jr. Maker Hall at Fowler and I met the program director for the Syracuse Northeast Community center, Jason Howard. He was interested in creating an after-school STEM program there. We kicked it off last spring.

    In addition to providing tutors for 20 to 25 students, we put on fun STEM demonstrations, like making ice cream to teach boiling points and phases of liquids or making “Oobleck” from the Dr. Seuss book to teach about shear thickening fluids.

    Q. What do you hope your program accomplishes?

    A. I want the students to succeed in their classes. If they are improving their scores or their behavior, then we are succeeding. Ideally, I want them all to go to college. It’s OK if they don’t choose STEM. I just hope they pursue college no matter which discipline they choose.

    At the same time, minorities and women are still sorely underrepresented in STEM. It’s important to me as an African-American woman in engineering to connect with young students to show them what they can accomplish by example.

    I think it inspires kids to think, “I could be that person. I should go to college.” Simply knowing college students that look like them opens up new possibilities they may not have realized existed.

    Q. What’s next for you?

    A. In the immediate future, I want to continue to build the STEM program. We are always looking for SU students to volunteer as tutors.

    After Syracuse, I’d want to become a professor. I think that I would still want to pursue community outreach with my grad students. I want to give high school students the opportunity to experience research at a university. I’m even thinking of creating something that could go national. It’s all about having a big impact in helping people.

    Kanique Swinson ’16

    Kanique Swinson ’16

    Before deciding to come to Syracuse, Kanique Swinson of Raleigh, N.C., knew that she wanted to attend school somewhere close to New York City. She was also looking for strong alumni connections, a study abroad program and a great sense of school pride—and Syracuse fit the bill.

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    Kanique Swinson ’16

    Before deciding to come to Syracuse, Kanique Swinson of Raleigh, N.C., knew that she wanted to attend school somewhere close to New York City. She was also looking for strong alumni connections, a study abroad program and a great sense of school pride—and Syracuse fit the bill. Now she is about to graduate with a degree in marketing management and entrepreneurship from the Whitman School.

    What made you apply to Syracuse?

    I applied to Syracuse with the encouragement of an alumnus without ever visiting the campus. After my acceptance, I came to tour campus and immediately fell in love.

    How did you decide to major in marketing?

    I was interested in pursuing a marketing degree because it would allow me to understand how and why consumers make buying decisions. My Whitman professors have helped me to turn this passion into a career.

    Dr. Minet Schindehutte’s class “Entrepreneurial Marketing” taught me how to think outside of the box, and her free-flowing teaching style allowed me the freedom to let my creativity really shine in her class. Learning how to think freely and stepping outside of the box is what landed me into my internships, and ultimately to me following my true passion.”

    Where have you interned?

    I have held an internship with SU’s Office of Multicultural Affairs for two years, working with social media to increase student engagement with the office. Last summer, I worked as a marketing and A&R intern for Roc Nation Entertainment Group and as a personal assistant to entertainment executive Valeisha Butterfield-Jones. Working beside some of music’s top hip-hop pioneers such as Jay-Z and Chaka Pilgrim was an extremely humbling experience and learning process.

    What have you been involved in around campus?

    I serve as the current president of Whitman, a Remembrance Scholar, a Global Ambassador for Syracuse University London, a member of the Student Philanthropy Council and a third-year Resident Advisor in BBB residence hall, among other things. I was recognized as a candidate for Syracuse Homecoming Queen last fall.

    What are your plans after graduation this May?

    I hope to continue working in the entertainment industry and pursue a career in the digital or marketing department of a top company. Eventually, I’d like to work on marketing campaigns for musical artists and television shows.

    Deyara Tabu Morris ’16

    Deyara Tabu Morris ’16

    Like many students, Deyara Tabu Morris hit a few bumps during the transition from her hometown to life at SU. As graduation approaches, though, she’s sad to be leaving the place she’s come to consider home.

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    Deyara Tabu Morris ’16

    Like many students, Deyara Tabu Morris ’16 hit a few bumps during the transition from her hometown of Baltimore, Md., to life at Syracuse University. As graduation approaches, though, she’s sad to be leaving the place she’s come to consider home. “I am so glad that I came to Syracuse,” says Morris, a College of Arts and Sciences student who is graduating magna cum laude with a double major in mathematics and art, along with a minor in African American Studies. After graduation, she’s returning to Baltimore to teach secondary mathematics (grades 7 to 12) through Teach for America. As part of the two-year program, she will also pursue a master’s degree in secondary education at Johns Hopkins University.

    Tell us a little bit about life before Syracuse University.

    I was very busy in high school. I was in as many clubs and organizations as they would allow me in, including the varsity cheerleading team. Every summer I volunteered at Towson University’s Summer Art Camp at the Community Art Center. That’s where I decided that I wanted to work with children. I was also a diligent student who worked very hard to get to college. I knew that getting an education was the most important thing for me to accomplish to help my mother and me improve our lives.

    Why did you choose Syracuse University?

    I really wanted a university where I could be a mathematics major while also being able to pursue my passion in art. Syracuse offered the freedom to do so. SU also offered me a good financial aid package that made it possible for me to attend.

    What’s your favorite thing about attending Syracuse University?

    The Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA). It’s really my home away from home. Every single person who works in that office has looked out for me as if I was family. They helped me transition into the university and stayed by my side during the rough times. I will miss OMA and its staff the most.

    Is there a member of the faculty that has had a significant influence on your academic trajectory?

    Marissa Willingham, of OMA, and Joan Bryant, associate professor and interim chair of the African American Studies Department, have both been there for me since the first day they met me. Professor Bryant is always looking out for opportunities I would be interested in and takes the time to hear me out and keep me on track academically. Since Marissa was assigned my staff mentor through the fullCIRCLE Mentoring Program my sophomore year, she has been my rock. She has pushed me to keep going when I wanted to give up, and she has always encouraged me to reach my full potential.

    What’s the best way to spend free time as a SU student?

    Truth be told, I don’t have much free time. Between work, classes, and various organizations, I do not have that much down time. However, on the rare occasions I do have some time I like to get some extra sleep or catch up on all the shows I missed out on during the week, or maybe attend an event thrown by OMA or one of the fraternities.

    In what extracurricular activities are you currently participating?

    I’m a peer mentor to incoming freshmen in the fullCIRCLE Mentoring Program and I serve on the College of Arts and Sciences’ Dean’s Team.

    Are you involved in any research projects or volunteer work?

    I am interning at Southwest Community Center as the group leader of Intelligent Young Minds, an after-school group for children ages 11 to 13. During the summer, I was camp coordinator for the center’s six-week program.

    How is Syracuse University helping you to achieve your goals and aspirations?

    One way SU helps me achieve my goals and aspirations is by having so many academic opportunities available. The College of Arts and Sciences allowed me to spread my wings and explore all of the parts of myself without trying to pigeonhole me.

    What are some of the activities you like around Central New York that aren’t Syracuse University affiliated?

    I like to attend shows put on by The Redhouse. I recently saw “Dreamgirls, and it was spectacular. I also like going to Destiny USA because it literally has anything you would ever want or need to do in one place.

    Where is your favorite place to study or do homework on campus?

    Other than my room, my favorite spot is Carnegie Library. As a mathematics major, I spend a lot of time in that library already, so it is a good place to get homework done between classes. It is also very quiet; people seem to overlook it and go to Bird Library instead.

    Story by Renée K. Gadoua

    Courtney Rosser ’16

    Courtney Rosser ’16

    Courtney Rosser believes in being open to change and taking advantage of opportunities as they present themselves. She first chose to major in bioengineering, then changed to biology, and then added neuroscience. Now, rather than becoming a doctor or a researcher, Rosser is preparing for a career in healthcare communications.

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    Courtney Rosser ’16

    When Courtney Rosser arrived on campus from Amsterdam, a small city in New York’s Montgomery County, she chose to major in bioengineering. She changed her major to biology, then added neuroscience. Rather than becoming a doctor or a researcher, Rosser drew on her experience in the Neuroscience ILM to prepare for a career in healthcare communications.

    The changes in academic focus and shift to a career that combines her interests reflects Rosser’s philosophy: Be open to change and take advantage of opportunities that present themselves. She keeps busy on campus with volunteer and Greek activities, and enjoys exploring Central New York. “It’s never too late to get involved on or off campus,” she says. “Syracuse has so much to offer, and it would be a waste to spend four years here without enjoying the opportunities handed to you.”

    Tell us a little bit about life before Syracuse University.

    I’ve always been motivated to be involved and help others. By the time I was a senior in high school, I was vice president of National Honor Society, vice president of Key Club, and president of Student Government. Since I came from a small high school, it was easy to get involved and set the groundwork for my interests.

    Why did you choose Syracuse University?

    Syracuse had it all. Not only were there excellent academic programs, but there was so much opportunity to grow. Since I came from an extremely small town, it was the first time that I was able to meet people from different cultures and religions. Besides having everything that I wanted, Syracuse University’s scholarships made it possible for me to afford a great education.

    What’s your favorite thing about attending Syracuse University?

    Even though it’s a big campus, it still feels like home. When I first got here, I only knew the students who lived on the third floor in Sadler Hall. After four years here, I can’t walk to class without seeing at least three people I know. All the organizations, clubs, and sports here made it easy to find things I was passionate about and get involved. 

    Is there a member of the faculty that has had a significant influence on your academic trajectory?

    Dr. Sandra Hewett has helped me so much. She gave me a chance as a sophomore to do stroke and epilepsy research in her lab. It’s definitely one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had at Syracuse. I’m currently writing my thesis on the stroke research I worked on.

    Dr. Hewett has gone above and beyond in order to help me succeed. She has been a mentor, academic advisor, and professor, and I couldn’t be more thankful to have her continuously pushing me to do my best.

    What’s the best way to spend free time as a SU student?

    Try something new with great friends. Upstate New York has a lot to offer: apple picking, hiking, an SU basketball game, eating at the All Night Eggplant or visiting the New York State Fair. You can always find something fun to do.

    In what extracurricular activities do you currently participate?

    I am an active member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, a social organization on campus that has allowed me to meet so many great people and get involved in even greater things. We support Reading Is Fundamental, which is a charity that promotes childhood literacy. I also had the honor of being selected to participate in the Dulye Leadership Experience 2015. This is a full scholarship that acts as a professional and personal development conference. I also am an active member of both the TriBeta Biological Honor Society and the Order of Omega.

    What are some of the activities you like around CNY that aren’t affiliated with Syracuse University?

    Since Syracuse is a city where many people need help, I think some of the best activities are those that are fun, but also allow you to help someone else. On multiple occasions I’ve helped make sandwiches and blankets for the homeless. I also love going off campus to try new restaurants with my friends. There are some hidden gems if you really explore the area.

    Where is your favorite place on campus to study?

    My favorite place to study on campus is Carnegie Library. Last finals week, I practically lived there just because the tables have a lot of space and it’s completely silent. I’m definitely the most productive when I go there.

    How is Syracuse University helping you achieve your goals?

    Syracuse alums really mean it when they say that they bleed orange and will go the extra mile to make sure that they can help you. It didn’t make sense to me until I was a junior, but the alumni network is one of the best resources at Syracuse. Alumni have continuously answered my questions and connected me to people that will help me meet my goals.

    Story by Renée K. Gadoua

    Markova Casseus ’16

    Markova Casseus ’16

    College of Visual and Performing Arts senior Markova Casseus has used her Communications and Rhetorical Studies major as a springboard to launch herself into the world of professional opportunity.

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    Markova Casseus ’16

    College of Visual and Performing Arts senior Markova Casseus has used her Communications and Rhetorical Studies major as a springboard to launch herself into the world of professional opportunity. Casseus is involved in a variety of on-campus organizations, all supporting her overall goal of becoming an executive producer for her own television network. Whether it’s getting active through performances with the Black Reign Step Team, or hosting alumni panels at Newhouse with the Black Communications Society, Casseus maintains a balanced, motivated lifestyle that puts her on the path to achieving her long-term career ambitions.

    Walk us through a day in the life. You’re involved in a lot of things, so how does that shape up when you’re figuring out your schedule?

    I start every day with a workout. It gets me active and in the right mindset for the day. I’m in a cardio fitboxing class, which I think is a very cool way of doing it. It makes me feel like I’m in a music video, and gets me motivated immediately. From there, I go to a public speaking class. I know I’m a fast talker, so that’s helping me slow it down. I obviously want to be involved in television production, so it’s good that I found a way to work on that skillset. It’s a great way to challenge myself, to make me get better. VPA also offers a music industry class that I’m taking right now, which gives all of us the opportunity to get hands-on campaign experience. For example, right now we’re building a business plan for a business that we created ourselves. Before that, we were hired by a startup to do market research identifying up-and-coming trends in the music industry. One of my mentors works in the music publishing and licensing business, so she was able to help with that one. I actually met her through the fullCIRCLE Mentoring Program here at Syracuse.

    Tell me more about fullCIRCLE. How did you get involved in it, and what are some of its functions?

    The fullCIRCLE Mentoring Program is run through the Office of Multicultural Affairs. When I first joined, I got a mentor, and through the years I’ve gone on to take mentees of my own. You also get more than one mentor or mentee. That way, for underclassmen, they have someone on campus to help them get acclimated. But for juniors and seniors, the focus shifts to career development and networking, so they’re paired with someone already in their intended field. Right now, I hold a position where I essentially serve as the liaison between the staff, and the mentors and mentees.

    What other extracurriculars are you involved in?

    First and foremost, I’m involved in the Black Communications Society, which is an organization within the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. I joined last semester, and I currently hold the position of project coordinator. Most recently, I hosted an alumni panel event. It was an amazing experience to take that type of event from start to finish. I contacted the alumni, worked with agents, coordinated with the Office of Program Development, and it all finally culminated in this fantastic event where women from the communications industry spoke with students about their different career paths and the opportunities that Syracuse University provides.

    I’m also a member of Lambda Pi Eta, which is an honor society run through the Communications and Rhetorical Studies Department. You need to be at least a junior to join, and I became an initiated member last spring. The whole idea is to facilitate increased involvement in the program for younger students, and show them the opportunities at their disposal.

    Finally, I’m on the Black Reign Step Team. It was founded in 2005 and is the only non-Greek step team performing on campus. I love doing it; I can explain it simply as I have a great time doing fun stuff with my feet. Within that organization, I’m on the public relations committee. My whole mindset with that was to help other campus dance groups promote their shows, in the hope that it would create a stronger performing arts community on campus. I’m also on the budget committee, working on the logistics of our annual show.

    You’re a senior now. What are your ambitions post graduation?

    I’m a McNair Scholar, and the mission behind that program is getting minority students to pursue higher education. And by higher education, they mean graduate degrees as well as undergraduate. So right now I’m in the process of applying to grad school, and I’m actually looking at some one-year programs, so hopefully this time next year I’ll be getting ready to receive another degree.

    But looking at the bigger picture, I want to go into production. I want to be an executive producer, to start my own channel. I want to have my own thing. If I could create any type of television show, it would be a reality show that focuses on the lives of the college generation. We get a bad rep as millennials, but we’re doing so much. If we could have an outlet to voice what we are, and show what we care about, that would be incredible. Just looking at myself, I can say that I’ve taken every opportunity Syracuse has given me. I feel fortunate to be in the spaces I am, to work on the projects I’ve worked on. I’ve really made a difference, and I know that I can do anything that helps other people. In the end, that’s what makes it worthwhile to me, and I love that Syracuse has given me that opportunity.

    Terry Jones ’16

    Terry Jones ’16

    Terry Jones is a film student who has pursued his passion around the world. After growing up on a reservation, the Native American has been an ambassador of his culture, both through his filmography and as an officer of the Indigenous Students at Syracuse.

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    Terry Jones ’16

    Terry J. Jones ’16, a film student in the College of Visual and Performing Arts, has pursued his passion around the world. From collaborative documentaries to creative films, Jones is the purest form of storyteller. After growing up on a reservation, the Native American student has been an ambassador of his culture, both through his filmography and as an officer of the Indigenous Students at Syracuse (ISAS). Jones offers his insight on pursuing your passion and remaining true to yourself, all while overcoming the various hurdles of both the film industry and the inherent bias that all native students are faced with.

    How did you incorporate study abroad and off campus into your filmmaking major?

    During the prior two semesters, I was studying away from the Syracuse University main campus. During the 2015 spring semester, I studied abroad in the Czech Republic at the Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague (FAMU), studying 35mm filmmaking. This is a film program offered to juniors majoring in film at VPA. In the 2015 fall semester, I participated in SU’s Los Angeles Semester program. This semester-long program included full-time coursework on the SU Los Angeles campus, along with a part-time internship within the entertainment industry. 

    Returning this semester as a senior has allowed me to adjust to being back on main campus. I am striving to find a balance between completing my final film and honors courses, as well completing my senior thesis documentary film. My thesis film project is titled “Indian,” and it shows what happens when two Indian filmmakers, one from southern India and the other from an Indian reservation in western New York State, visit each other’s homeland.

    How did you become so interested in film, and how has SU helped shape and support those interests?

    Photography and filmmaking had always interested me since I was a young adult, and I never thought I was good enough to pursue either one of those professions. Growing up on an American Indian reservation did not offer an aspiring “image taker” many role models to emulate. In high school, I felt like I was cursed for not finding a nurturing environment for an unconventional thinker who saw the world differently. That all changed when I transferred into the film program at Syracuse University in 2012.

    You’ve created a variety of films. How does your creative approach differ based on the type/style of film, and which do you enjoy the most?

    I have come to see myself as an educator and historian of Haudenosaunee culture through film and digital media. The overall objective of my film works is to not only entertain my audiences but to educate them as well. Many of the characters in my film projects tend to be Native American. I’d like to think that my film works help defy stereotypes by making sure the narrative and characters are thought out and relatable to everyone. In essence, I’m striving to humanize the “other.”

    You have served as writer, director, videographer, producer—basically everything. What are the advantages and disadvantages of that approach?

    For me, the film program within VPA is extremely comprehensive and challenging. Our coursework includes studying the theoretical and practical approaches to art and filmmaking. We learn by doing. While working on class projects, we find elements of filmmaking that interest us and the process allows us develop our talents. In the real world, no one is capable of performing all facets of filmmaking by themselves (i.e., scriptwriting, producing, directing, editing, cinematography), so the program encourages collaboration. Fortunately for me, I was lucky enough to find a fellow filmmaker and collaborator (Govind Deecee) whose interests and approach to filmmaking match my own. We find narrative themes that interest us and we develop characters and situations that will help us convey our film’s message. 

    You’re also very involved in ISAS. How did you become interested in that organization, and what is your role there now? 

    As a non-traditional Haudenosaunee Promise Scholar at Syracuse University, I am part of the indigenous population on campus. Initially, every student needs to adjust and adapt to his or her new life away from home. Indigenous students tend to experience challenges separate from the general student population. Many of these students travel from their home reservations or territories, and Syracuse may be their first personal experience with the outside world.

    At Syracuse University, the Native Student Program and the Indigenous Students at Syracuse student organization (ISAS) are vital support systems available for the indigenous student population. During my first semester at Syracuse, I attended an ISAS meeting. Being in the company of younger and equally determined Native students, they inspired me to get involved within both programs. At the beginning of my sophomore year, I was elected to serve as president of ISAS. One of our greatest challenges was educating the student body that there were actually native students on campus; Native students at Syracuse University are 0.6 percent of the general student population. Highlights of our accomplishments during my tenure as president included planning an event for Columbus Day. Rather than accentuate the growing sentiment to protest this day, the ISAS students chose to celebrate indigenous survival by congregating on the Quad and distributing flyers with information about native demographics, health and education. We ended the event by inviting everyone to join in a native social dance on the quad. The planning and execution of this event allowed the ISAS students to bond and appreciate the results of teamwork.

    Where do you see yourself after graduation?

    After I complete my bachelor’s degree, I intend on pursuing a master’s degree in film studies in the fall of 2017. Eventually, I want to be an accomplished filmmaker and a professor of indigenous media studies. Like many other native communities, my home territory is confronted with many issues that negatively impact our quality of life (loss of language, drug abuse, diabetes, environmental dangers, public safety and injustice). It is my hope that my future film projects will bring awareness to our struggles, which will promote and facilitate dialogue that can influence changes in public policy on my home territories and the federal level.

    Anything else you’d like to add?

    As a non-traditional student with life experiences beyond those of my fellow classmates, I realized that I took a huge risk when I decided to attend Syracuse University. Upon my acceptance, I assumed that with such a large student population, there would be other non-traditional film students within my program. On my first day of classes, I was the only freshman who hadn’t just graduated high school. What have I learned since my first semester at Syracuse? Although I won’t answer the most-asked question of “How old are you?”, I’m slowly being defined as “Terry,” rather than by the number of times I have revolved around the sun. At times, I am the only native student in my classes, which makes me a sort of ambassador not only for myself but also for my culture. For me, I learned that college the second time around has been just challenging and fun. I realized that throughout my life all I wanted and needed was an opportunity, and my time at Syracuse has been a gift. I have learned that I am competitive when it comes to academics. My time is now. I may be late to the academic party, but I also come bearing gifts to share.

    Story by Austin Galovski ’16, work-study student in the Office of News Services

    Jason Foggie ’16

    Jason Foggie ’16

    Coming from the High School for Math, Science and Engineering in New York City, Jason Foggie was unsure whether he should pursue engineering as his guidance counselorsors and mentors strongly suggested, or pursue what he wanted in his heart, a career in architecture. After much consideration, he decided to take a leap of faith.

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    Jason Foggie ’16

    Coming from the High School for Math, Science and Engineering in New York City, Jason Foggie was unsure whether he should pursue engineering as his guidance counselors and other mentors strongly suggested, or pursue what he wanted in his heart, a career in architecture. After much consideration, he decided to take a leap of faith and pursue architecture.

    How did you come to choose Syracuse University?

    I found that Syracuse provided me with a large, diversified and well-rounded campus atmosphere while feeling like a small intimate school. Based on my portfolio, I was honored to be awarded a Full Tuition Architecture Scholarship. That showed me that they had faith in my dream and were willing to support and nurture the skills they saw in me.

    What is special to you about Syracuse and the School of Architecture?

    Diversity on this campus is amazing! Just this semester, I randomly met a group of five Japanese students from Yokohama, who are here studying English. We were able to connect over food and share languages, an opportunity that would usually only be afforded by travel to their country. One of my passions is to travel and meet people from all over the world and exchange cultures. At Syracuse University, by bringing in people from every corner of the world they have made that possible right here on this campus.

    In the School of Architecture, there are numerous things I find special and am thankful for. One in particular is their desire to broaden the horizons of their students through exposure. Syracuse University’s School of Architecture is phenomenal in educating their students in classical architecture and the overall history of architecture, which I am grateful to Professor Richard Rosa for drilling into me. However, I was really honored to be a part of a Visiting Critic Studio where students get the opportunity to design something visionary under the tutelage of a practicing professional or guest professor for one semester. Through this Visiting Critic Studio, I was able to build upon what Prof. Rosa taught me, and stretch my design capabilities with exposure to new design programs, 3-D printing and other contemporary fabrication methods. I was also able to share these designs with students in another country with a fully-funded visit to Taipei through of the efforts of Dean Michael Speaks and graduate Todd Rubin. I am still in contact with the students I designed with in Taipei and I intend to maintain connections them throughout my career for possible future collaborations.  

    How did you choose architecture as your major?

    I remember my art teacher from the sixth grade, Mrs. Zukowski. At one point in her curriculum, she taught my class how to construct single-point perspective drawings. I was amazed at the effect it created, and how creative it allowed me to be! A whole new world was opened to me, and she took notice of that. After telling me this was a common drawing style for architects, she suggested I do some research on architecture and see if it is something that interests me. At that age, my research skills weren’t the greatest, but what I found out from books at home, the library and basic Google searches led me on a new adventure in life. Also throughout my childhood, my family was very active in exposing me to art, history and science by taking me to museums while on family vacations. I did not know it at the time, but these visits played pivotal roles in sparking my interest in architecture. Over time I became fascinated with buildings, their shape, their material and color, and the way in which they were put together. That fascination stayed with me throughout high school and continued to increase exponentially, growing my passion for architecture.

    What do you take part in at Syracuse in addition to classes?

    I take part in the SU Outing Club, Intramural Sports teams, Mello Velo’s Thursday Night Community Bike Rides and frequent trips to nearby mountains to snowboard with friends. Also, through Syracuse Recreation Services, I have had the opportunity to travel abroad to Costa Rica to participate in eco-tourism and Canada as well to dogsled and snowshoe in Algonquin Park. These have all been key parts of my experience here at Syracuse, but currently, my main involvement on campus outside of classes is with my Christian ministry on campus called “Cru”. I play the drums for their worship team and I co-lead their Outreach Team. It has helped me to grow in my spiritual beliefs and connect with many people who share in that same joy of life.

    What are your plans after you graduate?

    I am really excited to start a new chapter of my life, so I want to jump right into working and participating in all the wonderful things adult-life has to offer. I am pursuing architecture jobs on the West Coast, where I would like to establish myself as an architect and begin learning all that I can to become the best architect possible. I would like to use architecture as a platform to allow people to share and exchange culture, and if I can help advance the discipline along the way, that would be a great added benefit.

    Eddie Gulino ’16

    Eddie Gulino ’16

    Eddie Gulino already has a job lined up in Ernst and Young’s Business Advisor Program and hopes to parlay his small-town roots and urban college experience into a lifetime of business and public service.

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    Eddie Gulino ’16

    Eddie Gulino ’16 grew up in Windham, a small, rural ski town in the Catskill region of New York. How small is Windham? About 1,700 people live there. Gulino attended the same school, from kindergarten to 12th grade, and had 39 people in his graduating class. That’s approximately a quarter of one percent of Syracuse University’s full-time undergraduate enrollment. Small-town living has taught Eddie the importance of personal interaction, mutual respect and strong civic involvement.

    Although he loved his bucolic upbringing, Eddie knew he wanted to go away to college, preferably to a mid-sized university. At Syracuse, he is a double major in economics and international relations, taking classes in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Although he graduates in May, Gulino already has a job lined up in Ernst and Young’s Business Advisor Program. He hopes to parlay his small-town roots and urban college experience into a lifetime of business and public service.

    Why did you choose Syracuse University?
    Syracuse affords me a nationally recognized name with a mid-sized campus feel. It’s the dream campus. It’s allowed me to specialize, while giving me room to explore new academic paths.

    What do you like most about it?  
    The people. The students I’ve met come from familiar backgrounds and worldly settings. They're supportive, outgoing and extremely proud to be Orange. You instantly feel a connection with anyone from the University.

    Is there someone here who has influenced you? 
    From my coffee-side chats with professors to everyone in Advising & Career Services [in A&S] who have helped me identify my post-graduate goals, I can truly say that I've benefited from the mentoring of many different people.

    Syracuse helped me land a 10-week internship with JPMorgan Chase & Company. During my semester abroad in Madrid, I was able to use the Spanish I had learned [on campus] to study the structure of the European Union’s political and economic partnership.

    Sue Casson, director of Career Development and Services in A&S, encouraged me, and helped me realize that I had a lot of potential. I just needed to tweak a few things to hone my skills to the fullest.

    Also, I wouldn’t have come to Syracuse, if it weren’t for the annual Maxwell School of Citizenship Scholarship Competition. I placed first in it, and, as a result, was awarded a four-year academic scholarship.

    How do you spend your free time?
    There's nothing like hanging out on Marshall Street on game day. I grew up in a family that embraces the game-day culture, and there's no lack of it at Syracuse. Getting a slice of pizza before a big game and then walking to the Carrier Dome with a group of friends is a great way to spend an afternoon.

    Extracurricular activities?
    I belong to a community-outreach group that aims to economically unite the City of Syracuse with student consumers on campus. I’ve also belonged to Phi Kappa Psi since my sophomore year.

    What else do you do?
    I am completing my international relations capstone research project. This 25-page thesis analyzes a topic within my focus of global trade and international markets.

    I also like to go to cultural festivals and “eats” around town. Going downtown to the Irish or Italian festival, or having dinner at a local establishment is a lot of fun.

    Where do you study?
    The Panasci Lounge in the Schine Student Center. It has a real "lounge" feel to it, with a lot of electrical outlets and a ton of comfy couches. Did I mention there’s a gas fireplace and a Dunkin’ Donuts right below it?

    How is the University helping you achieve your goals?
    It's exposing me to a diverse community, giving me opportunities, academically and socially, to interact with individuals who challenge my views. It also is shaping my perspective of things, through my involvement with the “Stocks & Finances” immersion trip to New York City and my semester in Madrid. Syracuse has changed my outlook on both the job market and the global community.

    Sean Wang ’13

    Sean Wang ’13

    Sean Wang received an M.A. in geography in 2013, and is now enrolled as a Ph.D. student in the same department. He holds an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, and his studies have taken him abroad to Hong Kong, where he examines the phenomenon of birth tourism.

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    Sean Wang ’13

    Sean Wang has certainly made the most of his time here. Wang received an M.A. in geography in 2013, and is now enrolled as a Ph.D. student in the Department of Geography, and as a College of Arts and Sciences student in the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies. Wang holds an NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, and his studies have taken him abroad to Hong Kong, where he examines the phenomenon of birth tourism.

    In general, what is birth tourism? How/why has it become increasingly relevant in the United States, and other countries?

    Usually considered a form of medical tourism, “birth tourism,” or “maternity tourism,” describes the practice where pregnant women cross international borders to receive maternity care and give birth. Although motivations behind birth tourism vary, many opponents point to the lure of citizenship or legal status for either expectant mothers or their children as a significant pull factor. Alleged instances of citizenship tourism have figured prominently in recent citizenship debates in both Canada and the U.S., despite being small in number compared to immigrant populations at large. Based on my research, I would argue actually that the amount of attention it has received is disproportionately high, especially in this presidential election cycle, when many Republican candidates have co-opted this issue as part of their larger platforms.

    What sparked your interest in this topic?

    As someone who was born in the U.S. but raised abroad as a child, I was naturally drawn to issues regarding citizenship and feelings of national belonging. But my first encounter with birth tourism was quite serendipitous. I happened to be in southern California for a conference and was staying with extended family in 2013, and I was on the bus when I saw TV reports of a protest against birth tourism organized by anti-immigration groups in the area. I was curious to follow up on that, and over time it proved to be an excellent empirical case that helped make sense of many of the theoretical arguments I had been studying regarding citizenship, immigration, and family and child welfare. 

    How did you decide on Syracuse for graduate school?

    I came in 2011 as a master’s student because Syracuse University has one of the most well-regarded geography departments in the country. The winters were tough but the community of scholars more than made up for that. I had opportunities to go elsewhere for my Ph.D. but I decided to stay to work with my current advisor Jamie Winders and the excellent faculty members in both geography and women’s and gender studies.

    How has your research experience been? Why did you choose Hong Kong, and how long will you be abroad?

    An NSF Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant supports my research fieldwork, and thanks to that, I was able to travel first to southern California, which is a key destination of birth tourists, and then to various origin countries of birth tourism. I have been conducting research abroad since September 2015, and I am currently in Hong Kong to research histories of Chinese birth tourism from Mainland China to Hong Kong. 

    After you receive your graduate degree, what’s next? What do you hope to do?

    I hope to continue teaching and research at a university, hopefully in the Pacific Northwest because I've been away from home for quite a while now. 

    Outside of academics, what are your hobbies? What do you enjoy doing, and are you involved in any groups on campus?

    I watch sports—soccer and volleyball, mostly—and generally keep up with my beloved Washington Huskies (my alma mater). I also sing in choirs, though at the moment I’m too busy for regular rehearsals; I was in the University Singers.

    On campus, I am a member of various student groups, including the feminist pedagogy reading group and the Graduate Student Union, which advocates for teaching assistant unionizing. I also support student advocacy efforts.

    Story by Austin Galovski, work-study student in the Office of News Services
    Cora Cool-Mihalyi ’16

    Cora Cool-Mihalyi ’16

    Cora Cool-Mihalyi, a graduating senior in the School of Education, firmly believes in and exemplifies the principle that all children deserve the right to equal education, regardless of their background or disabilities.

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    Cora Cool-Mihalyi ’16

    Cora Cool-Mihalyi, a graduating senior in the School of Education and a Say Yes Scholar, firmly believes in and exemplifies the principle that all children deserve the right to equal education, regardless of their background or disabilities. Cool-Mihalyi is completing her coursework in the inclusive elementary and special education program, and shares her experiences working in the Syracuse school system during her time at the university.

    First, tell me more about your program. What do you do on a day-to-day basis? What is the coursework like?

    It’s a dual degree major, and it’s really rigorous; more so than other programs. There are three primary professional blocks of classes, each focusing on a different area of study. Also, each block is paired with a five- to six-week placement in a local school. I loved the opportunity to work in those environments, because I myself went to Syracuse City Schools; I’m from here, and I graduated from there.

    So, how do you learn to be a teacher? How do they teach you how to teach?

    During the professional blocks, they front-load our semesters. We look at the content we’re going to be teaching students, and examine the best ways to teach it. So we do all that learning in the first half, and then teach in the second half. I get graded on my lessons that I teach to my students based on the accuracy of the content, the methods that I choose to use to teach it and my ability to teach to all learners.

    Also, because of my major, most of my placements have been in inclusive classrooms, meaning that there are always special needs children in my classes. I believe that everybody deserves to be taught together, not separated, and although I change the delivery of my content based on the specific audience, I never change the actual content itself. One of the things I do is differentiate instruction, meaning that when I give my instructions, I give them as both words and pictures, so that everyone ends up doing the same thing, even if they need to initially process the information in slightly different ways.

    Now that you’re a senior, what’s the next step?

    I have to get my master’s degree within five years of graduation. It’s just a requirement to continue teaching. But next fall I’ve been accepted to student teach in New York City, which is an amazing opportunity. I’ll be somewhere in Brooklyn, although I don’t know exactly where yet. I’m very excited to start, and to get even more experience teaching in a different area. After I complete my student teaching, I plan on teaching for a year or so before beginning my master’s. Before diving too far into my master’s, I want to be absolutely certain that this is the path I want to take.

    Outside of your major, you’ve also been very active in the community. What are some of the things you’ve worked on?

    I’m very much about urban education. Like I said, I’m from Syracuse, and these schools are often portrayed as rough, but I had a wonderful experience and I’m proud to be a Syracuse City School District) graduate. So, I’ve done a lot of activist work for this district, and for the Say Yes Scholar program, which is a program that pays for students to go to college, provided they’ve already been accepted into that college on their own and gone to a city high school for three years. Where you come from shouldn’t affect your placement or your opportunity; no student matters more than another, and that’s an ideal that I’ve stood by throughout all my time here.

    Story by Austin Galovski, work-study student in the Office of News Services

    Sarah Mikal Dalusma ’16

    Sarah Mikal Dalusma ’16

    When Sarah Mikal Dalusma made the decision to attend SU, it meant leaving behind everything that she knew in her hometown of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Now, the Whitman School senior couldn’t be happier with her choice.

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    Sarah Mikal Dalusma ’16

    When Sarah Mikal Dalusma made the decision to attend Syracuse University, it meant leaving behind everything that she knew in her hometown of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Now, as a senior marketing and finance major in the Whitman School, she couldn’t be happier with her choice.

    What do you find special about Syracuse University?

    I wanted to find a school that encouraged diversity and inclusion, but that also gave international students a voice. I think Syracuse does a great job at both.

    In addition to your major, what are you involved in on campus?

    I am a member of the Dulye Leadership Experience, which is a scholarship program for juniors and seniors that provides opportunities for career development at a three-day retreat. I am also honored this year to be a Remembrance Scholar. Finally, as a project leader for Enactus’s Best Foot Forward project, I visit the Jamesville Correctional Facility each week to teach female inmates skills that can help them land jobs and adjust to life upon their release.

    What internships have you done to support your majors?

    This past summer, I was a strategy intern at top marketing firm Ogilvy & Mather, where I worked with the engagement planning department to analyze trends for companies like Starbucks and American Express. I also had an internship at Google this summer, where I participated in a four-week Advertising Boot Camp. At Google, I was tasked with researching consumer behavior on Google products and performing competitive audits for the tech industry as a whole.

    What are your plans after Commencement in May?

    I plan to work for a brand company focused on marketing analytics and become an expert on consumer packaged goods. But eventually, my plan is to take over the corporate world!

    How has being at the Whitman School helped you to reach your goals?

    My professors were all extremely supportive, and they are so candid with the students. The Career Center advisors always do their best to coach you through the recruiting process and interviews, and most importantly they always follow up to see how everything is going.

    How are you paying it forward?

    As a member of the Whitman community I am always willing to help others during the recruiting process. I encourage any juniors or seniors interested in finding internships to reach out to me at for support and advice.

    Story by Meghan Rimol

    Gabriel Smolnycki ’17

    Gabriel Smolnycki ’17

    Gabriel Smolnycki’s diploma will list his major as mechanical engineering, but designing cars, rockets, robots, research work and singing are all part of his education for the future.


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    Gabriel Smolnycki ’17

    When Gabriel Smolnycki graduates, his diploma will list his major as mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering and Computer Science, but that won’t capture the full breadth of his Syracuse education. In addition to mechanical, he’s taking electrical engineering courses and earning minors in math and music performance. He’s also working on a biomedical research project and heading up the electrical work for SU’s chapter of Formula Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) as well as the Rocket Club.

    In addition, Smolnycki performs in the Hendricks Chapel Choir and University Singers. By his own admission, he is someone who doesn’t relax and spends most of his “free time” writing lab reports or playing in a band with friends. In speaking with him, one gets the impression that he wouldn’t have it any other way.

    With so many disparate interests, how do you define yourself?

    As someone who wants to know how things work. My degree will only be a single line on my resume, but I’m making sure that the rest will convey the extent of my education—designing cars, rockets, robots, research work and singing. It’s not enough for me to say that I’ve earned a degree. I want to be able to show how I apply my knowledge in tangible ways. I’m very focused on the real-world applications of engineering. I’d rather build an actual system than simulate one.

    Some might see music and engineering as two subjects on opposite ends of the spectrum. What is it about music that appeals to you as an engineer?

    I see parallels with music theory and engineering concepts. Music is very structured, just like engineering. If you can understand a mathematical proof, then you can follow and analyze music. Like math and engineering, it has certain rules.

    Plus, I believe engineering and music are both subsets of something else. When you think about it, something physical like a suspension bridge ultimately works because a whole bunch of equations on a page say it will. In a way, it’s made out of math. It works the same way with music. If you write a musical composition that follows the mathematical rules of music theory, it’s going to sound good. In both engineering and music, the numbers represent something real that you can see, hear or feel.

    What inspired you to pursue engineering?

    About 10 years ago I got a little Radio Shack circuit board kit that was probably made in the ‘70s—the old version, where you could hurt yourself if you messed up. It came with an instruction manual for circuits you could build and I went through that and learned to do it but quickly started to think, “What else can I do?” and started to build whatever. I made a couple calculators and a metronome. Sometimes it would work, sometimes it wouldn’t, but I was having fun doing it.

    You’re involved in undergraduate research with Professor Michelle Blum. What are you working on?

    We’re mainly focused on tribology of joint replacements for human knees. We study the friction and wear properties of the materials that are used in these joints. My job is on the electrical/programming side. We’ve built a machine that simulates the full six-axis motion of the knee during a standard human gait cycle. We’re going to take materials that we know are used in current knee joints, real knees and new materials, and test them all to learn how to extend their life.

    How does mechanical engineering differ when it is applied to the human body?

    One of the big things when dealing with the human body (or even parts that we make) is that nothing is as precise as we want it. You can only cut up bones so accurately. The data that we want to collect needs to be very accurate to be meaningful, but the actual physical thing just can’t be without some luck. That’s very different from say, my work with the Formula SAE team, where we can machine metal pieces to the exact size and shape that we need.

    Why did you choose Syracuse University?

    Here I’m given the flexibility to study many different subjects at once—inside and outside of engineering. There are so many great opportunities to get involved. There’s so much happening on campus, you could never even find it all. That suits me.

    What’s next for you?

    I want to earn a master’s in computer engineering to complement my skill set and will start taking classes toward that, then I want to be out there working.

    I want to end up in the nexus between mechanical, electrical and computer engineering. I want to be able to control something mechanical with an electrical device that is run by computer, which is itself collecting mechanical data. Most of the time people think of robotics, but these concepts can be applied to other things, like a car. For example, in the FSAE car we’ll have electric shifters, so I’m designing an electric clutch. Plain and simple, we can design electronic controls to be more precise, much faster and less error-prone than people. I want to work with systems like this.

    I want to be an electronics expert, but I also want to be the person that people can go to for trusted info and if I don’t know, then I’m connected and involved enough to know who does.

    Ryan Hackett ’16

    Ryan Hackett ’16

    A double major in political science and international relations, Ryan Hackett was selected to represent SU at the 67th annual Student Conference on US Affairs held at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

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    Ryan Hackett ’16

    Ryan Hackett, a student in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, is a double major in political science and international relations. He was recently selected to represent Syracuse University at the 67th annual Student Conference on US Affairs (SCUSA) held at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

    Held each fall, SCUSA is a four-day conference designed to stimulate thoughtful discussions between civilian students and West Point cadets about the challenges the United States faces in an increasingly interconnected global society.

    How did you come to be chosen to participate this year’s Student Conference on US Affairs? 

    I was made aware of the opportunity to apply for SCUSA 67 by my advisor, Francine D’Amico, associate professor and undergraduate studies director in the International Relations Program at Maxwell. I had to submit my resume and a small form where I explained how my past experiences make me an ideal candidate to attend SCUSA 67. This past May, I studied abroad in Israel at the Lauder School of Government where the focus of the Maymester was on Middle East policy and terrorism. When I returned from Israel, I spent the remainder of my summer in Washington, D.C., working as a policy assistant for Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy’s office. Combined with my academic success at Syracuse so far, the work I did in Israel and all that I was a part of in Washington definitely played a major role in my selection for SCUSA 67.

    What were the most memorable moments for you at the conference?

    At the conference, there were about 230 students from 120 plus schools from all over the world. Compared to many of the other 14 roundtables at the conference, my Cyberwarfare group was definitely the most diverse, both culturally and academically. Though a majority were from the United States, my table was lucky enough to have participants from Italy, China, Japan and Colombia. Such a diverse group of individuals made the discussions very intense and informative, yet fun at the same time. Coupled with that, the cadets who ran our roundtable were all on the West Point Cyber Team, so their contributions came in the form of much more specialized technical expertise on cyber issues..

    Perhaps the best part of the roundtables was that often times the co-chairs let the students take control of the debate. However, they would often interrupt and give their opinion to challenge our thoughts and opinions. On multiple occasions, I found myself in a very tense yet diplomatic discussion with the co-chairs. These men work daily with military officials, heads of state and other elites all around the world. It was a great feeling to know I had developed the ability to sustain and contribute to such conversations. 

    To top off the great conference, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright was the keynote speaker on Thursday night.

    How has participating in the conference changed your outlook regarding your future career? 

    Participating in the conference further reassured my decision to pursue a career associated with domestic and foreign affairs. Being on the cyber roundtable made me realize that though I lack a technical expertise in cyber-related issues, I still possess the ability to apply all that I have learned at Syracuse to present and future matters that our country and world will have to deal with. Currently, I am in the process of applying to Officer Candidate School for the U.S. Navy where, if accepted, I can begin a career where foreign affairs will greatly impact all that I will be a part of and wish to accomplish. No matter what I end up doing, I want to be able to use my knowledge and skills for the greater good and serve and protect those who need it the most.

    What advice would you impart to future students interested in these topics?

    I strongly recommend attending SCUSA if the opportunity ever presents itself to a student in the future. Not only will it make anyone a stronger and more knowledgeable student and person, but more importantly, having the opportunity to live with and be immersed within the life of the military cadets truly will cause you to appreciate the sacrifices that people our age decide to make for our country every day. 

    Story by Amy Manley

    Samantha Skaller ’17

    Samantha Skaller ’17

    A double major in string peformance (viola) and music history, Samantha Skaller is passionate about the campaign against campus sexual assault as one of 17 students on the national “It’s On Us” student Advisory Committee.

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    Samantha Skaller ’17

    Because of her position as one of 17 students on the national “It’s On Us” student advisory committee, Samantha Skaller of Brewster, New York, introduced U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden Jr. at the organization’s recent event held in Goldstein Auditorium. She is active in the campaign against campus sexual assault, and is a double major in string performance (viola) in the College of Visual and Performing Arts and music history in the College of Arts and Sciences.

    How did you end up coming to the University? What do you like about Syracuse?

    I met the director of the SU Marching band at a summer music camp, and he was able to show me a lot about SU's music program. When I came to audition for SU I fell in love with the campus. I like the music school community here at SU. It is a tight-knit community that is very welcoming. I have enjoyed the many opportunities to attend various concerts in Crouse. But the best part about my college experience so far has been the people I have met on this campus. Hearing so many different perspectives, learning about different cultures and expanding upon our ideas about changing our community has been such a big part of my college career so far.

    How did you get involved in the “It’s On Us” campaign and the issue of campus sexual assault in general?

    I am very passionate about changing my community. I am a three-time sexual assault and rape survivor, and I decided to take those negative experiences and try to help others who have gone through something similar. After seeing the flaws in the way campuses treat sexual assault, I decided it was time to take action. I applied to be a member of the national “It's On Us” Student Advisory Committee through Generation Progress. The Student Advisory Committee consists of 17 extremely passionate students who are all looking to change the way campuses think and act about sexual assault. It has been such an honor being a part of the “It's On Us” campaign.

    What other things are you involved in on campus?

    I’m the pit manager for First Year Players and a peer educator for the Office of Health Promotions. For my sorority, Sigma Alpha Iota, I’m the social and promotions chair. In the area of sexual assault prevention, I’m a committee member for Take Back the Night. I’m also the assistant principal viola player in the University’s Symphony Orchestra.

    What are your plans after you graduate?

    I plan to attend graduate school for musicology with an emphasis on women's studies. I hope to be a music history professor at the collegiate level, teaching courses about women in all eras of music. I also plan to continue my activism about prevention of sexual assault on college campuses wherever I go in the future.

    Adeyemi Adediran ’16

    Adeyemi Adediran ’16

    Adeyemi Adediran transferred to SU from a university in his home country of Nigeria in 2014. A philosophy major, he won that department’s Peterfreund Prize, and ultimately plans to become a lawyer.

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    Adeyemi Adediran ’16

    Adeyemi Adediran transferred to Syracuse University from a university in his home country of Nigeria in 2014. A philosophy major, he won that department’s Peterfreund Prize for undergraduates this past summer. He spent the summer volunteering at a community center in Baltimore, where he now lives. He also interned at two law firms while he was a law student in Nigeria.

    How did you end up coming to Syracuse University?

    I often tell people that I ended up coming to Syracuse because I watched a movie, “Elmira Express,” which tells the story of the famous Ernie Davis, but I am not quite sure how true this is. Funny enough, I cannot quite put my finger on the exact time I decided Syracuse University was the right fit for me. I applied to about six other schools last year, and I was accepted to most of them. I probably made the decision to attend Syracuse University because of its proximity to New York City, a place where I hope to eventually practice law.

    What do you like about the University?

    I have met a lot of wonderful people here, students and professors alike. Two of my professors have been particularly great to me: Professor John Robertson and Professor Kenneth Baynes. Syracuse holds a special place in my heart because I have managed to maximize my potential here. My time in the university in Nigeria was fraught with crisis because of my activities as a student activist. I spent more time organizing within the student movement than I did in class and I have always felt like I did not reach my full potential academically. However, here in Syracuse, I feel like I am finally attaining the heights I have always felt I could reach, and I feel that the nature of the academic system here has made that possible. I have been truly amazed by the desires of many professors to go out of their way to help and make their students better. That is what education should be all about.

    What is the Peterfreund Prize, and how did you win it?

    The Peterfreund prize is given to any junior deemed to have shown the greatest potential for philosophical achievement during the senior year. I was home over the summer when I was informed that I had won this year’s prize. I was nominated by one of my professors whose class I took in the spring this year. The general criteria for the prize include the ability to write philosophical arguments skillfully and a mastery of philosophical concepts. My professor nominated me and presented a couple of the essays that I wrote for his class as supplements.

    What other activities do you participate in at Syracuse?

    I am the curriculum director for Making Expression and Scholarship Heard, an organization that teaches creative writing to Middle School students in the Syracuse City area. I also work as a grader in an “Ethics in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering” class.

    What does the future after graduation hold for you?

    I intend to go to law school. I have always wanted to be a lawyer. Circumstances forced me to abandon my law degree in Nigeria. I had less than a year left to graduate and eventually write the bar exam in Nigeria before I left. So, in the next year I should be in law school. I recently decided that I wanted to attend business school alongside law school, but I might have to change my mind about that; I am beginning to realize that I have not gotten over my phobia for mathematics, so the business school plan might just be shelved.

    Megan Brasch

    Megan Brasch

    Inspired by the loss of her father and grandfather to leukemia, Megan Brasch is positioning herself for a career in biomedical research to contribute to curing and treating disease.

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    Megan Brasch

    Inspired by the loss of her father and grandfather to leukemia, Megan Brasch, a fifth-year bioengineering doctoral student, is positioning herself for a career in biomedical research to contribute to curing and treating disease.

    Her Syracuse University experience is being shaped by time spent immersed in research in the Syracuse Biomaterials Institute and applying her leadership strengths in the Women in Science and Engineering Future Professionals program, the Syracuse University Chapter of the Golden Key International Honor Society, and the Engineering and Computer Science Graduate Student Organization.

    What inspired you to choose your major?

    My father passed away when I was seven and I lost my grandfather at twelve. While I was initially drawn to the idea of attending medical school, my experiences with undergraduate research drove my desire to explore cutting-edge cancer treatment development. I quickly learned that academia offered a unique mechanism to not only foster my own research interests, but also inspire the next generation of young scientists and engineers.

    Why did you choose Syracuse University?

    For the unique research environment that was available within the department of biomedical and chemical engineering. SBI in particular offered multiple research opportunities that met my personal and career aspirations. SBI also served as an amazing prospect to collaborate across disciplines.

    What do you hope to do after graduation?

    I would like to remain in the biomedical research sector, focusing on cancer research development or on policies regulating biomedical applications. My ability to break down technical content into an understandable and relatable context and my strengths in organizing and executing large-scale projects has fueled my desire to pursue managerial work in my future career, either in an industrial setting or as a liaison for public policy development in government.

    What’s your favorite thing about attending Syracuse University?

    The people. I have met and collaborated with a diverse group of individuals throughout my time as a graduate student. I have had the opportunity to work with a broad range of undergraduate, graduate, and professional researchers all interested in developing new applications for their respective fields.

    Who has had influence on your academic trajectory?

    My primary advisor, Professor James Henderson, has been a driving force behind my graduate research success. He has consistently provided me with guidance to foster my technical abilities and has granted me the opportunity to expand my mentoring skills and professional network through various department, university, and national opportunities.

    What is your research about?

    My research looks at improving control and understanding of the cellular microenvironment with a focus on hindering or enabling cell migration behaviors. Within the body, cells are constantly responding to various physical and chemical cues which dictate the behaviors they display. More specifically, reorganization of the extracellular matrix (ECM), the natural scaffolding that cells sit on, interact with, and secrete, has been shown to critically alter migration, adhesion, and morphological behaviors.

    On the broad scale, disruption of ECM influences disease states, wound healing, and proper development. My thesis work focuses on the use of smart material designs to alter the cellular microenvironment and on developing new computational tools and analyses to quantify changes seen in cell migration behaviors.

    How is Syracuse University helping you to achieve your goals?

    The bioengineering program at Syracuse University has granted me multiple opportunities to collaborate with young and experienced researchers across multiple disciplines. This ability to work in an interdisciplinary environment will be crucial for my future career, as cross-collaboration becomes more prominent in industry, government, and academia every day.

    Written by Matt Wheeler
    Jordan Robinson ’17

    Jordan Robinson ’17

    Jordan Robinson is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served from 2008-2014 at American embassies in Mozambique, Austria and Cuba. She currently serves as president of the Student Veterans Organization and is pursuing a master's degree in public diplomacy at the Maxwell School.

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    Jordan Robinson ’17

    Jordan Robinson is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served from 2008-2014 at American embassies in Mozambique, Austria and Cuba. She currently serves as president of the Student Veterans Organization at the University. Robinson is pursuing a master's degree in public diplomacy at the Maxwell School. She will serve as the master of ceremonies at the University’s Veterans Day ceremony on November 11.

    What motivated you to join the Marine Corps? What did you take away from that experience that you will use throughout your life?

    The main reason I joined the Marine Corps was to obtain funding for college. Academia has always been my passion. Through the G.I. Bill, I knew I would be able to get a degree debt free. I always wanted to attend a top-tier university; therefore I made the decision to serve my country in order to receive the education benefits. Today, I am happy with that choice because I am now enrolled in the public diplomacy graduate program and I am well on my way to obtaining a master’s degree. 

    My experiences in the Marine Corps have taught me many values that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. Such values include integrity, leadership, and courage. Throughout my life I have faced tough challenges and made difficult choices, but they are choices that I do not regret. I feel that my Marine training enabled me to be a person of upstanding values and moral attributes, and for that I am truly grateful.

    Why did you decide to enroll at Syracuse? What is it that you like about the University?

    I decided to enroll here because of how veteran-friendly they projected themselves to be. As someone who has always valued a sense of camaraderie and teamwork, I knew that SU was the right school for me. Additionally, I was really impressed by the television, radio, film program that the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications offered.  

    I understand that you serve as the Student Veterans Organization president. How does that organization serve students here at Syracuse?

    The Student Veterans Organization has become the first point of contact for many veterans entering the university. From helping students to navigate their benefits to guiding them to various resources on campus, we provide a framework that empowers and enlightens veterans in their quest for higher education.

    What other things are you involved in here?

    I work as an intern at the Office of Veteran and Military Affairs. From writing press releases and feature stories to social media management, I am highly involved in the veteran community from many angles. 

    I am also currently a member of the Veterans Writing Group and I have a poem that is being published in the writing group anthology, anticipated to be released next year. As an SVWG member, I have worked closely with Professor Eileen Schell as a panel member for her class on “War Narratives,” answering questions about my experiences and service in the military.

    What would you like to do after you get your degree?

    My dream job is to become a foreign service officer in the U.S. State Department, where I would serve as a public diplomacy officer at American embassies across the globe. 

    Tanvi Sanghvi ’15

    Tanvi Sanghvi ’15

    Tanvi Sanghvi was just five-years-old when her aunt and uncle introduced to the world of architecture. Over the years, her artistic inclination and curiousity about buildings led her to SU to design a plan for her future.

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    Tanvi Sanghvi ’15

    Tanvi Sanghvi, of Butler, New Jersey, will receive her bachelor of architecture degree in December from the School of Architecture. Sanghvi studied in the Florence Program and received a Piranesi Award. She is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Recently, she was selected by the School of Architecture to receive a $1,000 scholarship in the name of School of Architecture alumnus David Rockwell ’79 from the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter.

    Why did you decide to come to Syracuse University? What do you like about the school?

    Though the School of Architecture's prestigious reputation was important to me, I was drawn to Syracuse University because of its overall campus atmosphere. There are always opportunities and events to get more involved on campus and in the larger community. The study abroad program was a significant factor for me too. With campuses in Florence and London, I knew from the beginning that studying abroad would be integrated into the architecture curriculum and would allow me to achieve a hands-on experience. The challenging architecture program incorporates both hand drafting and computer skills, a unique aspect. Syracuse University has enabled me to have a well-rounded college experience. 

    Why did you decide on architecture as a profession?

    My first encounter with architecture was at the impressionable age of 5, when I curiously followed my aunt and uncle around their firm. My uncle and aunt, who are both architects, became my mentors as I progressively grew more interested in the profession of architecture. Having had the opportunity to travel from a young age, I was also influenced by the tremendous range of architectural styles based on location and culture. My artistic inclination combined with a curiosity about buildings made architecture a natural choice for me. 

    You’re a member of the Renee Crown Honors Program. Tell us about your capstone project.

    My capstone project aligns very closely with my final year thesis. Even though I started my capstone research in the city of Jaipur in India with a focus on contemporizing the tourism industry, my capstone has evolved into a project that critically re-evaluates contemporary architecture in a historic context. I use Hawa Mahal, or the Palace of the Winds, as a historical precedent for having conceptual, political and social thickness. Currently titled “Sponge Logics,” my capstone uses the precedent and proposes a cultural center that reflects the contemporary political and cultural values of the city of Jaipur. 

    What other activities are you involved in on campus?

    Besides being a student ambassador for the School of Architecture and a hearing panel member for the Student Standards Committee, I am involved in tutoring local high school students. I have been tutoring math for the last six years. I work with Say Yes to Education for SAT prep and help teachers in the Syracuse City School District. Additionally, I am also helping out for an upcoming exhibition for the School of Architecture. 

    What do you plan to do once you graduate in December?

    Once I graduate in December, I will be taking three weeks to travel. After that, I hope to begin working as a junior designer. For the next two years, I will be focusing on obtaining my architectural license, which will allow me to assume more responsibilities and grow as a professional.  

    Nina Rodgers ’16

    Nina Rodgers ’16

    Nina Rodgers applied to college with the idea of becoming a sports physician. But when she was rejected from some of her top schools for pre-med, she indulged her passion for journalism and applied to Syracuse to attend Newhouse. She’s never looked back.

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    Nina Rodgers ’16

    Nina Rodgers, one of the 2015-16 Remembrance Scholars, applied to college with the idea of becoming a sports physician. But when she was rejected from some of her top schools for pre-med, she indulged her passion for journalism and applied to Syracuse in order to attend Newhouse. She has never looked back. “The day I moved into Lawrinson Hall was the first day I saw the campus, and from that moment on, I knew I was led to the place I needed to be,” she says.

    What is special to you about Syracuse University?

    What is so special to me about Syracuse University is the number of people here who are always willing to lend a helping hand in some way. In my almost four years here, I've never had a moment where I truly felt alone. Orange spirit to me is a spirit that is always willing to give back. Whether it's alumni looking out for talented students in their respective fields, or student groups working to support incoming students or other needs/interests of their peers, someone always has your back.

    What is most meaningful to you about being named a Remembrance Scholar?

    It’s knowing that I am part of preserving a piece of history that is not only important to SU, but to the entire world. It is the most humbling award I have ever received in my life, and something I will carry with me forever. Each of the 35 scholars is paired with a student victim aboard the flight, and I was chosen to represent Kesha Weedon. Kesha was in the School of Social Work at SU, and was also part of the same choir as me on campus, the Black Celestial Choral Ensemble. To hold so much in common with Kesha and to ensure that her legacy lives on for the rest of my life is something I don't take lightly. I get emotional learning more about her and everyone aboard Pan Am 103, but I am encouraged knowing that their memory will never fade because I have a supportive group of fellow scholars who help their memory to live on.

    What other activities are you involved in on campus?

    I am president of the Kappa Lambda Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and vice president of the National Pan Hellenic Council. My chapter means the world to me because it has helped me grow into the woman I am today. I'm more confident, more wise, more sharp and a much more balanced individual because of the experiences Delta has given me. The bonds I have within my chapter and members of the Greek community at large are some I will cherish for the rest of my life.

    I am also an Orientation Leader, which is one of the most fun and exciting experiences I have ever had. Coming back for Welcome Week each and every year is what has made me so SU-spirited. 

    I'm also a member of the Black Celestial Choral Ensemble, where I have served as business manager. I recently joined the Black Voice, a news publication that was recently brought back to campus after being dormant for a few years, as managing editor. I'm excited to start working there and put my journalistic skills to use as an editor. I've been part of other things on campus such as Black Reign Step Team, the Student African American Society, the Daily Orange and U100. 

    As a dual major in broadcast and digital journalism and sociology, what do you hope to do after receiving your degree next May?

    My ultimate goal would be to have my own show where I can report on social justice issues and more human interest stories through the eyes of both everyday and famous people. I believe working as a student reporter in Syracuse, in addition to having the opportunity to sit down and interview celebrities such as Wade Davis, Mara Brock Akil and Taraji P. Henson has helped me to see the interconnectedness all human beings have regardless of their status. Moreover, I hope to become a powerful and trusted voice in the media.

    In terms of my immediate plans after graduation, I am preparing to get my master's in education from a university either in Chicago, Washington, D.C., or New York City. I chose education—specifically with a focus in educational policy/leadership—because I want to hone my leadership skills even more. In addition to being in school, more than anything I want to fulfill my dream of working on a show at a cable news network or notable show on a network news station. 

    Justin Mattingly ’17

    Justin Mattingly ’17

    Justin Mattingly is busy with dual majors in newspaper and online journalism and political science. He also puts in a full-time job’s worth of hours each week as new editor of The Daily Orange. 

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    Justin Mattingly ’17

    Justin Mattingly is busy with dual majors in newspaper and online journalism (Newhouse) and political science (Maxwell) and minors in sport management (Falk College), history (Maxwell) and, soon, sport analytics (Falk). But that’s only part of the story. He also puts in a full time job’s worth of hours each week as news editor of The Daily Orange. He also works as assistant to the president for the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League.

    What was your path to becoming news editor of the Daily Orange?

    I'm from Philadelphia, New York and I can remember coming to Syracuse basketball games and being in awe of Newhouse and I was fascinated by the work of The Daily Orange. So when I came to SU, I knew it was something I wanted to really pursue. I became a staff writer the spring semester of my freshman year and was an assistant news editor for all of last year. Last year was fascinating given the issues surrounding campus, including THE General Body and the NCAA violations, which I was privileged enough to report on.

    Now that I am news editor, I oversee the entire news section, which consists of an in-house staff of five (three assistants and two copy editors) and an out-of-house staff (staff writers, contributing writers) of about 30. I am in charge of all news content, am a member of the editorial board and collaborate with other head editors, among other duties. I also write a decent amount of stories, but not as much as last year. As far as time, I tell my staff that news never stops so really it's a 24/7 hour job. But in terms of production for the paper, I'm there from 3:30 p.m. to about 1 a.m. Sunday-Wednesday, which totals 38 hours. We have head editor meetings on Fridays and have other meetings as necessary. In total, I would say it's about a 50-hours-per-week gig.

    What other activities are you involved in on campus?

    I'm the multimedia director of the Baseball Statistics and Sabermetrics Club, where I took part in a case competition and had research presented this past March at the Society of American Baseball Research Analytics Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. 

    I'm also a peer adviser for the Newhouse school, the work study student in the Department of Sport Management and do research with Rodney Paul in the sport management department. In a collaboration between myself, Dr. Paul and one other student, our research on the effect of pace of play on attendance demand was selected to be presented at the aforementioned analytics conference.

    Is sports something you want to be involved in professionally?

    When I first came to SU, I thought I wanted to be the next great baseball writer, but came to realize that I have a passion for news and newswriting. My dream job is to cover the Department of Defense because I've always had a stark interest in the defense department, given that I grew up 10 minutes away from Fort Drum.

    That doesn't mean I'm ruling baseball/sports out of the equation. I still love to write about sports, but more so from a statistical analysis point of view. Websites like FiveThirtyEight and FanGraphs have a terrific balance of statistical research and journalism, so writing for a publication like that would be a dream come true.

    What are your predictions for this year’s World Series?

    I think the Cubs are going to be very tough to beat if they continue to hit like they did against the Cardinals. From the National League, I think the Cubs will make it to the World Series and in the American League I think the Royals beat the Blue Jays. In the World Series, I'll be rooting for the Royals, but I would predict the Cubs to win, meaning "Back to the Future" is correct.

    Joseph Howard ’16

    Joseph Howard ’16

    Instead of watching television this summer, Joseph Howard got the chance to try life on the other side of the screen as an intern for ABC Family.

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    Joseph Howard ’16

    Instead of watching television this summer, Whitman School marketing management major Joseph Howard got the chance to try life on the other side of the screen. As an intern for ABC Family in New York City, he was able to see every aspect of television production, from the creation of a show to its debut on air.

    What kinds of things did you get to do as part of your internship?

    I was a part of a rotational internship program, meaning I had the opportunity to work with a different department every day of the week. Working with teams in various roles, such as sales or integrated marketing, allowed me to see all sides of the business, which helped me to develop my core skills.

    At the conclusion of my internship, I completed a final project that required me to work with a team to brainstorm an idea for a new television show. We also were tasked with developing marketing strategies, exploring potential advertising sales and completing market research for our concept. I then pitched the idea to about 50 executives from ABC and ABC Family. I really enjoyed my past internships as they taught me a lot, but this was hands down my favorite experience and made for one of the best summers of my life.

    What other internships have you had?

    I held marketing internships at Madison Financial Planning Group and Blue i Marketing Group, where I gained valuable experience in branding, social media and web development.

    What activities are you involved in on campus?

    I’m involved in the Whitman community, serving as the co-president of the American Marketing Association, as a member of Delta Sigma Pi, Whitman ambassador and IMPRESS mentor. I’m also the co-founder of Syracuse’s chapter of WeThrive, which is an entrepreneurship mentoring program that works with the Syracuse Housing Authority that will be starting this semester.

    What makes Whitman special for you?

    It’s the connections that I’ve developed over the last three years both in and out of the classroom that make Whitman so special to me. I have met several Whitman alumni that would go out of their way to make sure that they are helping fellow Whitman students with internships, advice and careers. Whitman really teaches us how to network early on and how to maintain those connections.

    What do you plan to do following graduation in May 2016?

    I plan to attend law school—and might even stay at Syracuse to do so. Eventually, I hope to work in corporate or entertainment law.

    Story by Newhouse School graduate student Meghan Rimol

    Samantha Usman ’16

    Samantha Usman ’16

    Samantha Usman studies physics, mathematics and French, performs research on gravitational waves, and throws punches in the ring as a member of SU's boxing team.

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    Samantha Usman ’16

    Samantha Usman, a double major in physics and mathematics, received a giant boost to her research efforts this summer when she was named a recipient of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation’s award. The Pittsburgh, Pa. native will use the $10,000 prize to continue her research on gravitational waves with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) group at Syracuse. Her interest in physics keeps her busy on campus, but she’s also found time to pursue boxing as a member of the University’s boxing team.

    How did you get interested in physics and math? How does your minor, French, fit into all this?

    I’ve always been interested in math, but when I got to college I learned more about the research going on in the field, like efforts to learn about dark matter, dark energy and, of course, gravitational waves.

    As a junior in high school, I did a year abroad to Auvergne, France. I have a minor in French so I can practice my French and language writing skills.

    Explain a little about your research area in physics, gravitational waves and the way that LIGO searches for colliding neutron stars and black holes.

    The way most people think about gravity is as this invisible force that attracts all things together, like Newton described it 300 years ago. Now, because of Einstein and his theory of relativity, physicists think of gravity as the curvature of space. Imagine a sheet stretched taut and placing a basketball in the center. The sheet will bend around the basketball. Similarly, if you put a planet or a sun (or anything with mass) in space, it will bend space around it.

    Now if you push the basketball that’s sitting in the sheet, it will make little ripples in the cloth as it moves. In the same way, if a sun or planet accelerates, it makes ripples in space. These are gravitational waves.

    Since gravitational waves are so weak, we can’t make detectable ones in a laboratory. Instead, we look for gravitational waves from really massive objects accelerating very quickly out in space, like colliding neutron stars and black holes. But by the time these gravitational waves reach earth, they’re very, very weak. To measure them, we build giant detectors that have 4 kilometers long arms and use a high-powered infrared laser to measure changes in length smaller than the width of an atom. If we could measure the distance from Earth to the closest star system, Alpha Centauri, at a distance of 4.3 lightyears away, we’d know its distance to within a centimeter. That’s what I call accurate!

    Then we look for predicted signals in the data. We know what the gravitational waves should look like, so we search the data for similar signals.

    You are also a boxer, a member of the University’s boxing team (along with being captain and treasurer) and ranked second in your division nationally. How did that interest come about?

    During my junior year of college, I decided to join a club. I’ve always thought of the importance of being healthy and active and recognized that I work out more if I’m involved in a club. I also wanted to learn something for self-defense, since I’m under 5’3” and a woman. So, I joined the boxing team. I came to nearly every practice during the fall and spring semesters. I eventually trained for championships and fought at collegiate national championships in Ann Arbor, Mich.

    What other activities are you involved in here at SU?

    I’m a campus tour guide for University 100 and a member of the Society of Physics students. I’m also in the Renée Crown Honors Program and Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society.

    What are your plans after you graduate in May?

    In October, I will be going to Cardiff University in Wales to continue my research for LIGO and pursue a master’s. After that, I will return to the United States to pursue a Ph.D.

    Megan Thomas L’17

    Megan Thomas L’17

    Megan Thomas L’17 came to the College of Law knowing she wants to work toward ensuring equal opportunities for all students. To that end, she recently completed an internship in education law, and will further hone her skills by working toward a master of public affairs degree from the Maxwell School.

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    Megan Thomas L’17

    Megan Thomas came to the College of Law knowing she wants to work toward ensuring equal opportunities for all students. To that end, she was able to complete an internship in education law this summer. Her skills will be further honed by earning as master of public affairs degree from the Maxwell School.

    Why did you choose the Syracuse University College of Law?

    I chose Syracuse because I got into both the M.P.A. program and the J.D. program. It was really important to me that I could do both in three years. When I visited Syracuse, the alumni network also instantly impressed me. The alumni stay really connected and are supportive of current students. Another big factor was that my husband got into the Maxwell School.

    How has law school been so far?

    I absolutely love law school. I feel challenged in my classes, motivated by my professors and supported by the staff. After just one year, I feel like I have learned so much about the law. I also really like the other students. I have met many inspirational and interesting people at law school.

    What kind of internship did you get this summer?

    I am working at Legal Assistance of Western New York in Geneva, where I help advocate for education services for low-income families. I feel so lucky because I get to focus on education law, which is what I want to go into. I’m getting a great balance of hands-on work and research experience. I went to several IEP meetings with my boss where we advocated for services, researched multiple educational issues and got the chance to examine a witness at a fair hearing.

    How will this experience will help you going forward?

    This experience is going to help me immensely because I am learning education law that will help me in my career. I am learning where to search when I have a legal question relating to education. I am also learning about how to use law to help students who may not be getting the services they need. Finally, I am getting to know a lot of the local players in education law.

    What do you hope to do after graduation?

    After graduation, I hope to work in education law locally.

    What advice would you give to prospective law students?

    Law school is a great time to work on your professional goals. Once you get into the work force, it can be more difficult to improve things like public speaking, leadership skills and collaboration. Take time during law school to work on your professional goals.

    Kenneth Buckner ’19

    Kenneth Buckner ’19

    In a year of firsts, Kenneth Buckner ’19 is in his first year at SU, was recently named Atlanta's first Youth Poet Laureate, and will have his first book of poetry published soon.

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    Kenneth Buckner ’19

    Atlanta Word Works, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing writing and spoken word poetry to young people in Atlanta, recently named Kenneth Buckner, an outstanding 2015 graduate of the city’s Holy Innocents high school, as its first Youth Poet Laureate. Buckner is now a first-year student at Syracuse University, where he is also a Posse Foundation Scholar.

    With an interest in writing poetry and a dual major in the Whitman School and the School of Information Studies, you seem to have some pretty wide-ranging interests. How did you develop interests that are so far apart?

    When I was in high school and middle school, I enjoyed trying new things.  As a Whitman-iSchool dual major, one could see that I'm a very analytical type of person. I've always wanted to expand my horizons and creative writing and poetry is a way of doing that for me.

    How does it feel to be the very first Atlanta Youth Poet Laureate? Are there responsibilities that come along with the title? How about perks?

    I'm very honored to be the first Atlanta Youth Poet Laureate. I could have never seen this happening, especially since I haven't been writing and performing for that long of a time. As the laureate, I do receive a book deal, which I find amazing. Also, I might have a few performances during the summer when I come home from college.

    Atlanta is very different from Syracuse. How are you settling into Syracuse so far? What are your favorite and least favorite things?

    The weather as of now hasn't been too different from Atlanta yet. Once the fall begins coming, dealing with the weather might be difficult at first, but I'm sure I'll be fine. The campus is beautiful, there is so much opportunity to do things on campus. Most of my classes are very enjoyable. When it comes to least favorite things, I can't really think of any at this point in time.

    In high school, you did quite a bit of community service. Any idea what you might be interested in getting involved in at SU?

    I have shown interest in Project G.R.I.N.D. [Greatness Resides In Non-Stop Dedication, a mentorship program that features developmental workshops on time management, leadership, teamwork and other topics for the Westside Academy in Syracuse] when it comes to doing some community service on campus. The mentoring program has a similar aspect to the program Horizons Atlanta, which I have volunteered with for the past three summers. 

    How did you get involved with the Posse program?

    I heard of Posse because I knew a few students from my high school who also received the scholarship. I applied for Syracuse University and received the scholarship. Since then, I've grown close with not only the nine other people from my posse, but also some of the other posses that are here on campus. I couldn't imagine coming so far from home without knowing anyone ahead of time. Posse has given me a family away from my family.

    Anna Delapaz ’17

    Anna Delapaz ’17

    Ever since delving into her first Falk College course on how nutrition affects the body, Anna Delapaz has found herself interested in the social, economic and political aspects of food, as well.

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    Anna Delapaz ’17

    Once she took her first food studies course at SU, Anna Delapaz discovered how much there is to know about food. So when Falk College announced its newest undergraduate major in food studies, it was no surprise that Anna signed on as the first official major in the program. A double major in nutrition, her career plans are focused on becoming a registered dietitian. She hopes to delve further into her interests in community gardens and improving food access. "I think having a background in both nutrition and food studies is a great way to fully grasp the complexity of food," says Delapaz, who hails from Dallas.

    How did you get interested in nutrition and food studies?

    In high school I read Michael Pollan's “Omnivore's Dilemma.” This was my first time really thinking about our food system. My senior year, I decided to pursue a degree in nutrition. After delving into classes at SU dealing with how nutrition affects the body, I found myself interested in the social, economic and political aspects of food as well. I enrolled in a food studies course and thought it would be perfect to do a double major and learn more about both aspects of food. 

    What is your advice to other students thinking about a major in food studies?

    Try it out! FST 102, “Contemporary Food Issues,” is a great introductory class. Talk to the professors. Everyone in the department is so eager to share their passion. There is such a range in classes, from understanding sustainable agriculture to learning about workers’ rights. I've never taken a food studies course that I didn't thoroughly enjoy. Each class has something new and unique to offer

    How have you carried on your interest in food outside the classroom?

    This semester, I am the first intern for My Lucky Tummy, a community organization that works to promote awareness of the refugee population in Syracuse through sharing different ethnic dishes at pop-up food courts. Through the organization, I have worked side-by-side with people from all over the world. It was really amazing to see food's ability to bring people together and share a passion and love for food through My Lucky Tummy. This has been a great way for me to connect to the Syracuse community and appreciate the diversity it has to offer.

    Also, this summer I spent 65 days traveling across the U.S. on a National Parks Tour. I drove with my boyfriend from Syracuse to Seattle. It was such a unique and eye-opening experience in a lot of ways. In many states we saw a strong lack of fresh produce. Only once we got into more major cities were we able to buy things like apples and avocados.

    What else are you involved in at the University?

    I am heavily involved in the Syracuse University Outing Club. The club does pretty much any outdoor activity you can imagine, including backpacking, whitewater rafting, climbing, caving, etc. I joined the club my sophomore year and never left! SUOC has provided me a great opportunity to enjoy the beauty of New York outside of the Syracuse campus. 

    What would you like to do with your nutrition and food studies major after your graduate?

    As with most college students, I am not sure what I want to do with my major yet. There are a lot of options that interest me, such as becoming a registered dietician or pursing a masters in Food Studies. I have a strong interest in sustainable agriculture and improving food availability.

    Jaime H. Castillo III G’16

    Jaime H. Castillo III G’16

    Jaime H. Castillo III, a doctoral student in the School of Education, has been selected as the recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Graduate Student Leadership Award by the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision.

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    Jaime H. Castillo III G’16

    Jaime H. Castillo III, a doctoral student in the Department of Counseling and Human Services in the School of Education has been selected by the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision (ACES) Awards Committee as the recipient of the 2015 Outstanding Graduate Student Leadership Award. Castillo’s accomplishments and contributions will be recognized and celebrated at the awards ceremony held at the national ACES conference this fall in Philadelphia.

    How did your childhood lead you to where you are today?

    I grew up in Towanda, Pennsylvania. My parents worked really hard to make sure my two sisters and I had opportunities for a balanced life. They really instilled in us a tremendous work ethic, but most importantly a passion for following our interests no matter what they were. 

    The award you have won is for leadership. How have you demonstrated that leadership here at Syracuse?

    I am active in the North Atlantic Regional Association for Counselor Education and Supervision, as well as an inaugural research fellow for the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational programs. I was the Sigma Upsilon Chapter President of the Chi Sigma Iota counseling honor society, spearheading an initiative to develop and deliver a Brownbag Series at the School of Education. Topics have included spirituality, bullying in schools, inclusion, globalization and gambling. I also served on the dean's search committee for the School of Education.

    What is your educational and work background?

    I earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Penn State University and a master’s degree in school counseling from the University of Scranton. However, after graduating I found myself working in the clinical mental health side of the field. When I returned to school here at Syracuse, I completed a doctoral internship at Auburn High School.

    How did you end up going for a doctorate in counseling education?

    When I returned to school here at Syracuse, I completed a doctoral internship at a local high school. I absolutely love working with students in that setting and wanted to be sure to integrate that experience in my doctoral work. During my master’s program, I became interested in the work my faculty mentors were doing as counselor educators. I loved that as counselor educators, their responsibilities included engaging in scholarship, clinical practice and teaching. I felt a connection to that role because I loved engaging in research, peer mentorship, and always felt comfortable in front of a group of people. At that point, I knew that I wanted to pursue doctoral work in counselor education.

    What do you plan to do with your training?

    I am currently working on my dissertation, which focuses on school counselors’ engagement with students with disabilities, and I hope to be done this May. I plan to obtain a faculty position in counselor education so I can teach, mentor and supervise the next generation of counselors-in-training.

    Jason Emerich ’16

    Jason Emerich ’16

    Football player Jason Emerich is committed to not only his team and his studies, but to helping raise research funds and awareness for the rare brain cancer that sidelined former Orange team member Rob Long.

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    Jason Emerich ’16

    Football player Jason Emerich is committed not only to his team and his own success in the classroom—where the sport management major has earned an almost permanent spot on the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll—but also to the continued health and success of former team member Rob Long ’12, G’14. The former captain was sidelined by a rare type of brain cancer in 2010, and Emerich has dedicated himself to helping eradicate anaplastic astrocytoma, the disease for which Long underwent brain surgery.

    Q: How do you help the fight against anaplastic astrocytoma?

    A: I serve as president of the University’s chapter of Uplifting Athletes, a national nonprofit organization that aligns college football with rare diseases. Each chapter “adopts” a disease that has personal significance to its members. In addition to promoting awareness of anaplastic astrocytoma, my teammates and I are raising more than $15,000 to help find a cure. Recent events have included a “Lift for Life” competition and a private videogame challenge. A fall pledge-a-thon is also in the works.

    Q: How did you get started in football?

    A: I grew up in New Ringgold, Pennsylvania, and started playing “tackle football” when I was five. By the time I graduated from Blue Mountain High School, I had been named senior captain, Chesapeake Bowl All-Star Participant, and Pennsylvania Class AAA All-State Offensive Lineman. I was recruited [to Syracuse] by coaches Marrone and Adkins, who were good people. I’ve always felt like I’m part of something.

    Q: What has been your best moment so far in Syracuse football?

    A: Last fall’s game against Wake Forest—the one in which I was able to help the Orange rack up 370 offensive yards. That game is still one of my favorites, and my first career start. I thought I played pretty well. Best of all, we won.

    Q: What are you looking forward to in this upcoming season?

    A: The one thing I look forward to most is the home-opener against Rhode Island. You can’t get to the next game until you finish the first one. I just want to contribute to our success the best way I can. That’s my role.

    Q: What do you do at Syracuse in addition to football and Uplifting Athletes?

    A: This summer, I interned for the Chiefsthe Washington Nationals’ Triple A affiliate in Syracuse. After college, I really want to coach football, and interning with the Chiefs has given me hands-on training in sports management and operations and has shown me another side of the industry. It has been invaluable, extending my classroom studies and strengthening my resume.

    Written by Rob Enslin, communications manager, College of Arts and Sciences