SUNY Oswego December Graduates Pursuing Many Paths

Kayle Light, a senior public relations major, checks out graduation attire at the College Store to prepare for Commencement later this month.
Kayle Light, a senior public relations major, checks out graduation attire at the College Store to prepare for Commencement later this month.

OSWEGO — Around 550 students are eligible to take part in SUNY Oswego’s Sesquicentennial December Commencement, at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, in the Campus Center arena. The graduates are pursuing many different roads to, and from, the stage.

Broadcasting major Lewis Karpel found a job in his field before graduation thanks to his Oswego experience. He recently secured a full-time gig at WSTM/WTVH in Syracuse as a news videographer/editor, after starting work part-time in its master control room earlier this year.

“Between my production classes and WTOP, I spent a lot of time at the station,” said Karpel, who gained experience from management positions at the student TV station. “Having that on my resume helped me a lot.”

He also had the opportunity to run broadcast labs during the Summer School for the Media Arts on campus and to serve as a teaching assistant two semesters, which helped develop close ties with professors.

Because of his background, training and adaptation for a professional position did not take long, he said. “They felt confident that I knew what I was doing,” Karpel said. “I can count on two hands how many people I was close to during my time here have jobs in the industry.”

Experience adds up

Danielle Johnson said volunteering and internship experience helped land her a job as an audit associate in financial services at KPMG in New York City. The position will start in fall 2012 as Johnson — graduating a semester early with a master’s in business administration/bachelor’s in accounting — will spend some time in between studying for the certified public accountant examinations.

Being an active member of Beta Alpha Psi, the accounting and finance honor society, paid dividends in many ways.

“We have the opportunity to volunteer to do income taxes, hands-on experience in preparing a tax return” through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, she said. “We also teach other students in the School of Business on principals of accounting.” These activities taught her skills and a lot about dealing with people.

An internship through W.R. Grace in Columbia, Md., thanks to the support of the company’s CEO and SUNY Oswego graduate Fred Festa, provided an intensive 12-week professional level experience. “I think that internship helped me stand out when I interviewed at KPMG,” Johnson said.

Great detours

Graphic design major Katie Loperfido’s final semester and her participation in the Washington Internship Program have changed her direction in life.

“I never thought I’d actually end up truly invested in the political world and intent on relocating to Washington permanently,” Loperfido said. “I’ve had the good fortune of attending numerous caucus events and hearing a variety of great, prominent speakers.”

She will seek a full-time position in “media/communication or website/informational design for political campaigns for various members on the Hill,” Loperfido said.

Michael Rodriguez, who will graduate with a bachelor’s in cognitive science, is ready for a long journey that he hopes will positively impact his own — and the Earth’s — future.

He and his girlfriend, Jillian Hyland, a SUNY Oswego May 2011 graduate, will head south and travel from organic farm to organic farm to research how they can develop a self-sustaining way of life. “It’s the best thing I can see doing for myself to progress as a person and for the Earth in general,” Rodriguez said.

The idea sprang out of discussions with his roommates and Hyland, and his psychology and philosophy classes made him think about many issues relevant to the world.

Rodriguez plans to incorporate modern technology into the voyage of discovery, such as using social networking site Couchsurfing to help find places to stay along the way and keeping a blog to explain his progress and how sustainable farms work.

Those interested in seeing the next step in the journeys of hundreds of graduates can watch Commencement live on the college’s website,, or on Time Warner’s Channel 96 in much of Central New York.