SUNY Oswego December graduates prepared for next stage

OSWEGO — The more than 500 students eligible for December graduation ceremonies on Dec. 13 took many roads to SUNY Oswego and acquired experiences to follow many paths after.

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After graduating in December, SUNY Oswego communication and social interaction major Lauren Micale will return to Los Angeles to follow up on two summer experiences there in show business — the college’s Hollywood POV program and a National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences internship at USA Network.

Michael Sweeney will take his combined MBA and accounting degree to New York City to work with PricewaterhouseCoopers in the firm’s assurance practice.

Two internships in public accounting and a co-op experience in internal auditing helped lead to this position, Sweeney said.

“These work experiences the school provided me gave me the opportunity to get valuable hands-on experience in my field and allow me to work in a professional environment,” he said.

The athletic coaching minor said two years on the Lakers lacrosse team taught him much about time management, among other skills.

Roles including graduate assistant, tutor and lab instructor “enabled me to grasp concepts fuller and hopefully prepare me more for the challenges ahead, as well as help me give back to the program that helped me grow,” he said.

Sweeney, who also plans to pursue his Certified Public Accountants and Certified Managerial Accountants licenses, said being active in campus activities — especially through accounting and finance honor society Beta Alpha Psi — was key to finding his future.

“It wasn’t until I got more involved within the accounting department that I realized what I wanted to do, and the more involved I got the more rewarding my involvement became,” he said.

Making connections

Communication and social interaction major Lauren Micale’s script includes entering the entertainment field by returning to Los Angeles, which she visited the past two summers — first with the college’s Hollywood POV program for an inside view of show business, then interning at USA Network through the prestigious National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

“I’m keeping in contact with all the connections I made in LA so I can jump in with both feet this summer,” Micale said. “I’m very excited to start working in the industry that I love so much. I hope to work in TV development and one day create and run my own comedy show. Tina Fey is my idol, so if I could be even a little bit like her I’d be thrilled!”

Micale credits the hands-on nature of her classes, caring professors and involvement opportunities for nurturing her passion while giving her inspiration and confidence in her future. She also interned at WCNY in Syracuse, worked at campus TV station WTOP and served as a teaching assistant for a scriptwriting class.

“I am truly grateful for my time here at Oswego. I think it’s important when you’re choosing a school to select a place that is full of people who can serve as mentors that inspire you to be the best you can be,” Micale said.

Continuing in education

Leiska Garcia, a childhood education major with a Spanish concentration, also will head west, to work as an elementary school teacher in Phoenix, Arizona, with plans to add a master’s degree.

She credits learning theories and evidence-based strategies in the classroom as an Oswego student and practicums and student teaching in the field for preparing her for the next step.

“I’ve had a great experience at Oswego,” Garcia said. “I’ve learned a lot about myself, such as my strengths and weakness. I’ve gained a lot of professional skills through organizations, and in the classroom. I have also made lifelong friends and have had the opportunity to work with wonderful professors who are dedicated to their careers.”

With dual degrees in creative writing and English, Mary Kate Cornfield is applying to five graduate schools — including Pace University, where she has received a full scholarship — for a master’s in publishing.

“Most of the graduate programs that I applied to do not begin until the fall, so my decision to graduate one semester early is going to allow me to figure out where I want to go, my living situation, and also my finances to be able to afford this next step,” she said.

The youngest president of the campus chapter of Alpha Epsilon Phi sorority, Cornfield said that involvement opened the door to national conventions, including representing the college at the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders. Cornfield has interned at Oswego’s Safe Haven Museum and Education Center, the only U.S. site that hosted Jewish refugees during World War II, and Project CREED, which publishes health education books for children.

“My English major strengthened my writing and grammar, and when I began to take creative writing courses, I realized that not only did I like to write, but I also liked to work with other people’s writing,” Cornfield said. “It is my dream to work at a big publishing house, and I know with hard work and determination, I will one day be working my dream job.”

As of late November, some 430 undergraduates and 101 graduate students were eligible for the Dec. 13 ceremonies in the Marano Campus Center arena, which also will be streamed live with a link from oswego.edu homepage.