OSWEGO — With more than 1,600 SUNY Oswego students eligible to take part in the college’s three commencement ceremonies on May 17, many have already found their directions before donning their caps and gowns.
Physics major Patrick Howard will head to medical school, pursuing a Ph.D. in biophysics at New York University.
“Biophysics is the use of techniques and principles in physics to do biological research,” he explained. “In the physics department I was able to find professors that I really enjoyed working with who were also genuinely invested in the outcome of my career. I also had the chance to live in Taiwan during the summer of 2013 to do biophysics research at the graduate level.”
Howard’s experiences also include research funded by the National Science Foundation and the campus, presenting at the American Physics Society conference in Denver, planning on-campus scientific conferences and serving as a physics tutor and teaching assistant.
“I was given as many opportunities to get involved as I asked for,” Howard said. “That’s the key thing: I put a lot into the physics program and I got everything I wanted out of it.”
Human resource management major Alycia White will head to Knoxville, Tenn., to work in the human resources operations department of Scripps Networks Interactive, which owns channels that include the Food Network, HGTV and the Travel Channel. She said the many opportunities Oswego’s School of Business offers plugged her into the future.
“Being able to connect with previous Oswego grads who now work in the field has not only taught me networking skills, but has also provided a clearer picture of what a day in the life is like for HR professionals,” White said. “The environment at Oswego has really supported students who take initiative, whether it be within student organizations or classrooms. My experience here has fostered a ‘go-getter’ attitude that will help take me anywhere I want to go.”
Before graduation, MBA/accounting major Kristin Metzger had a job lined up in the audit department of PricewaterhouseCoopers in Rochester.
“Beta Alpha Psi helped me get a job at PricewaterhouseCoopers,” Metzger said of the student accounting and finance honor society, for which she serves as vice president.
Through networking opportunities, she spent a day at a leadership event run by the Rochester PwC, which led to an internship and later her current position.
Serving as a site coordinator for the school’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program provided practical experience and helped hone her organizational and people skills.
“Getting involved is the best thing you can do,” she said.
Adding a master’s in history to his earlier bachelor’s degree at Oswego, Jon Zella will connect past, present and future for the Onondaga Historical Association in Syracuse as a development associate and web coordinator.
“SUNY Oswego lays out all of the tools you need to find what you want to do with your life; it is the students’ job to utilize them in a way that will help them grow,” said Zella, whose hands-on experience included internships and serving as the graduate assistant coordinating campus civic engagement. “The connections I have made at SUNY Oswego, with more than just the students, will continue to help me in my post-graduate years. I urge every student to reach out to your professors and other staff members, join organizations, clubs and departments and meet as many people as possible.”
Chris Lewand will join the vast network of Oswego broadcasting alumni working in the industry by joining the promotions department at WALK 97.5 FM in Long Island.
He credits responsibilities with campus radio station WNYO, TV station WTOP and as a resident assistant for preparing him well.
“These past four years at Oswego have been the best of my life and I would not trade them for anything,” Lewand said. “The opportunities I have been given and the people I have met are the reasons why I will miss this place. If I could give one item of advice to someone either currently at Oswego or thinking of making their way to the lakeshore it would be to get involved and take risks. If these risks fail, you learn from them, and if they succeed it could help put you ahead of the game.”
Kelsey Gillett and Alexis Ponte will take their degrees overseas through the Teaching Assistant Program in France. They will each spend seven months there, Gillett in Bordeaux and Ponte in Nantes, teaching English to schoolchildren.
“The support of my advisers and professors was a big part of what helped me decide to study abroad in Paris spring 2013. That experience prepared me more than anything for being responsible both financially and professionally,” said Ponte, a double major in psychology and French. “In my experience professors are mostly always looking to give recognition to students where it’s due, which helps them to become award holders and members of different honors societies.”
A double major in French and Spanish, Gillett found tutoring those languages in her first two years at Oswego “really helped me understand that there are many different ways to learn a language and that each student will be unique,” she said. “It felt great to be able to break down something that some of my peers found to be very daunting and make it approachable for them.”
The May 17 ceremonies will begin at 9 a.m. for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; 1 p.m. for the School of Business and School of Communication, Media and the Arts; and 4 p.m. for the School of Education, all in the Campus Center arena.
Commencement will stream live online from a link on the www.oswego.edu homepage and simulcast regionally on Time Warner Cable Channel 96.