OSWEGO — More than 500 students are eligible to walk across the stage at SUNY Oswego’s December commencement on Dec. 16, with many already taking steps toward the future.
Jayme McCreary takes two Oswego degrees — the human-computer interaction graduate degree she is about to earn and her bachelor’s in computer science — into a full-time job as a tech associate on the AXA U.S. user-centered design team.
She started as a design intern at the insurance corporation this summer and stayed on as a front-end development consultant until she starts full-time in January doing front-end development, user-experience design and related tasks.
“Everything I learned at school I’m doing at work, so I’m definitely prepared,” McCreary said. “What helped me get the internship is that I had technical background skills in computer science and in design, being well-rounded and having diverse skills.”
Being a two-sport Laker student-athlete in hockey and lacrosse caught the attention of employers because “everything we do in this field is team-based,” McCreary said. “Learning time-management, sleep management and communication skills, and being able to do so many things at once really helped me.”
The classes and experiences have already led broadcasting major Nick Costanzo into a position as a content manager for Joint Master Control in Syracuse, a WCNY-owned unit that manages program distribution for New York and New Jersey public broadcasting companies, where he can continue adapting “to a cutting-edge media environment and learn new technologies on the job,” he said.
“The experience I got through working crew for professor (Michael) Riecke’s BRC 429 class has helped me tremendously by showing me what is like to work in a high-stress environment like a newsroom,” said Costanzo.
“I’ve been very well served by the experience I’ve gained from WTOP as their chief engineer working on implementing our HD upgrade and generally MacGuyvering solutions to some of the issues we’ve had,” he said of his work at the college’s well-regarded student TV station. “I also really enjoyed Jeff Bradbury’s ‘Sound for TV’ and film classes, which let me grow creatively and fostered out of the box thinking.”
When 2018 begins, business administration major Justin Doty will become a full-time financial service representative at Northwestern Mutual, following up on an internship there and help from the Oswego alumni family who are directors in the company.
He especially thanked Oswego graduates Jonah Coburn, whom he met at a college-sponsored career fair, and Tim Barnhart, who brought him into the organization and provided advice on transitioning from college to the workplace.
“For example, these two have given me a lot of guidance on how to become a successful professional in this field such as being positive and staying where my feet are but they have also shown me the way of maintaining a healthy social life,” Doty said.
As he establishes his career, Doty wants to pay it forward.
“I hope I will be able to help future graduates,” he said. “I am looking into becoming a leader such as Jonah and Tim so if I develop into one of those positions I will most definitely help future Oswego grads. I love to give back and I love to lend a hand and create a positive impact on someone.”
‘Set yourself apart’
December graduates Madison St. Gelais and Samantha Boyle won the first-ever Launch It student entrepreneurial competition with an app called Bunk tailored toward students looking for reliable off-campus housing and roommates.
St. Gelais said they would continue trying to find funding and partners for their “side hustle” even as she works her network for full-time employment.
St. Gelais, a graphic design major, earned two impressive paid internships during her time at Oswego and also helped launch a club tennis team that now has about 45 members.
“Get involved around campus, join clubs and get out of your comfort zone,” the admissions tour guide gives as advice she always gives and follows. “Put yourself out there, make connections, get jobs on and off campus and find ways to set yourself apart.”
She credits the college’s art department and faculty like Cara Thompson and Rebecca Mushtare for taking extra time to help her develop the app.
“The professors have been very helpful, very accessible, very supportive,” St. Gelais said.
“You can teach an old dog new tricks,” said Thomas Bauschke, a veteran, grandfather and dual major in creative writing and economics.
After graduation, he plans to look into a job involving writing and business, and to write a book on his experiences, but his path to this point has been remarkable.
He went back to school after two deployments in Afghanistan as a medic.
“I felt it was my duty, and with the number of seamen and airmen that were dying, I had to do something,” Bauschke recalled. “The best thing I could do was to go over there and fight.”
Bauschke also has supported the Wounded Warrior project in ways that have included climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and fundraising hikes.
His professors and classes have really opened his mind, whether about economic development in Africa, modern China or the craft of writing.
“Definitely, one of the bigger things I’ve gained is a wider view of the world,” he said.
Michael Kaefer, a double major in history and German, has applied to join a long line of successful Fulbright Award winners from the Oswego family, hoping to teach in Germany or Austria.
Even if he doesn’t earn the prestigious award, he sees teaching in Germany as likely in his future.
“To me, studying and learning what I love made me realize that it’s not about the money, it’s about living and doing what you love doing because it makes you happy,” he said.
His top takeaways from the Oswego experience include “the various connections I’ve made with people: professors, teachers, people from different countries: I’ve met foreigners here in Oswego and I’ve played the foreigner while spending a year in Germany,” said Kaefer, who studied in Bonn for a year. “I even took part in the Conversation Partner Program here at Oswego and have met students from South Korea, Germany and Turkey,” which has helped him gain a broader perspective of the world and working globally.
“I also can’t stress enough about how influential my professors were,” Kaefer added. “I value these specific relationships I have with my professors and I really look up to them and appreciate everything they’ve done. I have gained a lot of wisdom from the professors I have met over the past 3.5 years.”
SUNY Oswego’s Commencement in the Marano Campus Center arena will stream live, available from a link on the college homepage, oswego.edu. Time Warner Cable customers in Central New York with regular digital boxes can tune to Channel 96 for the live broadcast, while those without set-top boxes can view it on Channel 97.3.