OSWEGO — With more than 1,700 SUNY Oswego students eligible to take part in May 12 Commencement ceremonies, many are already finding paths in their chosen fields.
Earl Bellinger, a computer science and applied mathematics major from the Albany area, is shooting for the stars — literally. This summer, he will work for NASA at CalTech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
“I’m going to be developing software for the Cassini spacecraft, which is orbiting Saturn and its moons,” Bellinger said. “In particular I will be writing software to manage the memory of the spacecraft and creating a telemetry emergency alarm system for mobile phones.”
Also this summer, he will work with the European Space Agency, Geneva Observatory and Gaia Data Processing and Analysis Consortium developing software for the Global Astrometric Interferometer for Astrophysics mission. The Gaia spacecraft, set to launch next year, aims to make a precise 3-D map of the Milky Way. Bellinger is working with Oswego professor Shashi Kanbur and fellow Oswego student Chad Brooks, who will be at the Switzerland observatory this summer, to have Bellinger’s software, PlotPourri, classify the stars that the Gaia satellite sees.
In August, Bellinger will start work on his doctorate in computer science at Indiana University under a full scholarship.
“I will specifically concentrate on scientific computing, artificial intelligence, data mining and machine learning” while teaching as an associate instructor and supported by a National Physical Sciences Consortium fellowship from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, where he may do an internship the following summer, Bellinger said.
His time at Oswego has included publishing five research articles in peer-reviewed journals, two Global Laboratory summer internships in Brazil related to astrophysics and computer science and developing Chimera remote control software for astronomical observatories as well as PlotPourri. He said the support from “excellent professors” and range of opportunities made it all possible.
“I think SUNY Oswego has been the best institution in the world for me,” Bellinger said. “I don’t think any place else provides opportunities for undergraduates like the SUNY Oswego Global Laboratory. I have received excellent mentorship and feel that I am really well-prepared for the next step in my journey.”
Accounting major Bich Van of Camillus plans to start work at KPMG in New York City in August and is studying for the certified public accountant exam. She interned with KPMG last summer and realized the Big Four firm was where she wanted to work and gain career-building opportunities.
A native of Vietnam, Van said she found campus involvement opportunities very beneficial. As vice president of fundraising for accounting and finance honor society Beta Alpha Psi, she helped organize a fundraising dinner that provided more than $1,200 for continuing Haiti relief efforts.
“Taking a role as a board member of Beta Alpha Psi enabled me to develop my leadership skills,” she said. Interning at the Compass, the college’s student success center, she said, “allowed me to critique resumes and help other students with internship/job searches. The School of Business offered many professional events where I had an opportunity to effectively network with alumni and recruiters.”
Business administration major Erica Lemke of Holland (N.Y.) aims for a colorful future when she starts Sherwin Williams’ six-week management training program. She networked her way in after a summer job with CollegePro Painters then an internship at Sherwin Williams.
“My classes were all relevant and helpful and many of them were interrelated so there was a continuity throughout the years,” Lemke said. “The Compass brings so many great employers to campus for interviews and information sessions.”
The Monday after Commencement, journalism major Kenneth Sturtz of Mexico (N.Y.) will begin work as a staff writer at Oswego’s Palladium-Times. The paper was the site of one of three internships he had. “All offered me the chance to get hands-on experience in a real-world environment, and that was crucial,” Sturtz said.
Sturtz’s broad college experience included working with three campus media outlets — the Oswegonian newspaper as an investigative journalist, WTOP-TV and WNYO radio — as a tour guide for the Admissions Office and as a resident mentor for first-year students in Johnson Hall.
He credited the guidance of faculty and the college’s 150-year tradition of education that began with founder Edward Austin Sheldon. “It is because of all of Oswego’s history and Sheldon’s legacy weighing on their shoulders that students have gone out into the world with the notion that they are expected and must be prepared to do great things and be extraordinary,” Sturtz said.
On May 12, graduates of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and of the School of Communication, Media and the Arts will take part in 9 a.m. Commencement activities in the Campus Center arena. The 1:30 p.m. ceremony will honor graduates of the School of Business and School of Education.
Joseph Coughlin, a 1982 SUNY Oswego graduate, acclaimed researcher and founder of the AgeLab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will receive an honorary doctor of science degree from the State University of New York. He will speak at both ceremonies.
For those unable to make it to Commencement, a live webcast will link from oswego.edu and the ceremonies will air live on Time Warner Cable Channel 96 in some regions of Central and Northern New York.