After St. Lawrence’s Class of 2022 flip their tassels, they’ll enter the world prepared to leave it better than they found it. After four years of taking inspiring classes, encountering new perspectives around the globe, volunteering in their communities, conducting purposeful research, following creative pursuits, and working with passionate Laurentian mentors, they have the tools they need to make an impact wherever they go next.
In honor of their commencement, members of the class reflected on their proudest achievements, favorite memories, and hopes and plans for the future.
(Note: some responses have been edited for length and clarity.)
Major: International Economics and Multi-Language combined
Hometown: Hayward, Calif.
What was a class that you took that positively impacted you? My favorite class by far was Econometrics with Associate Professor of Economics Michael O’Hara because I learned how economics is applied in the real world. Professor O’Hara’s style of teaching was very unorthodox and he challenged us to think holistically about why we were using RStudio to analyze statistical issues. During class, I felt motivated to participate and make mistakes because we all learned from one another.
What accomplishment are you most proud of? I am most proud of networking with alumni and faculty. I spent my four years cultivating relationships through opportunities like SLU Connect D.C., multiple career fairs, and LINC Career Mentoring events. I learned so much about navigating life after college through my relationships with my mentors like Alan Mersereau ’66, former economics professor Guanyi Yang, and many others.
Who is your most influential Laurentian mentor? Alan Mersereau ’66. He taught me how to navigate college in a way that has given me a jump start on my future career. We would have long conversations about St. Lawrence, career highs and lows, and how I can benefit from practicing personal growth. I value the countless motivational books he has gifted me.
What was the greatest adventure you embarked on during your time at St. Lawrence? The Campus Kitchens community service trip to Washington, D.C. because I learned about the evolution of gentrification in America and how people experiencing homelessness have been left behind. I had the opportunity to help this community by serving food at local shelters and educating myself on the national issue.
What do you hope or plan to pursue in the future? I plan to attend graduate school in global policy. As a Pickering Fellow, I also plan to be a future diplomat for the United States of America. My career goals would not have been realized without the grace of God through Jesus Christ and my mentors along the way.
If you were any spot, location, or building on campus what would that be and why? My favorite spot would be the Gunnison Memorial Chapel. I would go to Rev. Dr. Shaun Whitehead’s sermons and feel rejuvenated. I also love how the sunset glistens in the stained glass windows within the chapel.
Majors: Economics; Mathematics; Environmental Studies
Hometown: Dana Point, Calif.
What was a class that you took that positively impacted you? Recreation (ESP) with Associate Professor of Environmental Studies Peter Pettengill. We learned about the impact of recreation in the national parks and the problems that they are facing. This class encouraged me to evaluate my impacts and what I can do to minimize them.
What accomplishment are you most proud of? As a member of the men’s soccer team, I am most proud of winning the Liberty League Championship twice and being awarded most valuable player of the tournament my senior year. As a team, we put in a lot of time and effort both on and off the field and there is no better feeling than to see it pay off.
Who is your most influential Laurentian mentor? My most influential mentors are Franco Bari, the associate athletic director for operations and external relations, and Randy Labrake (Breaker), the senior associate athletic director. They have allowed me to discover myself in an area that was never on my radar. They love working with student-athletes and are not often recognized for how much work they do behind the scenes.
What is your favorite St. Lawrence tradition and why? It would have to be Titus Weekend. I love that it is a two-day event that provides the whole campus an opportunity to get together and get outside even when it’s winter and freezing. It definitely gets people excited, and you get to watch people do cool tricks and jumps.
If you were any spot, location, or building on campus what would that be and why? The Canoe Shack. It is often overlooked but is a lot of fun. I love canoeing and the peacefulness that comes from being out on the water. I wish I had discovered this place earlier in my time at St. Lawrence.
Minor: Educational Studies
Hometown: Keene, N.H.
What was a class that you took that positively impacted you? When I started Advanced Fiction Writing with Associate Professor of English Paul Graham this fall, I thought I hated writing fiction. I am primarily a creative nonfiction writer, and I didn’t enjoy telling stories I hadn’t lived. This class, however, was the most amazing group of students I’ve ever worked with. Workshops and class conversations were always lively, and getting to share my work in such a supportive and innovative space filled me with so much creative excitement every time we met. It was incredible to witness drafts of stories emerge into finished pieces that reflected students’ initial inspiration but thrived off of the collaborative ideas and excitement from their peers. I left class each day in awe of the creativity of my peers and more confident in my decision to pursue writing simply because of the joy it gave me.
What accomplishment are you most proud of? When we had to return home due to COVID-19 in March of 2020, I started making wooden earrings in my dad’s workshop. My friends at school all loved the designs, and I started gifting the earrings to friends. Over winter break this year, I set a goal to sell my creations at Folk Fest—my favorite St. Lawrence event. Over the course of four months, I made and sold over 175 pairs, mostly to students and alumni all over the country. It has been such a rewarding experience to see my art all around campus, and to know that not only do people like the earrings but that I have built a supportive community over the years.
Who is your most influential Laurentian mentor? I took my final creative writing courses with Associate Professors of English Paul Graham and Natalia Singer. The classroom environments that they created not only inspired me to write more vulnerably, but they provided reassurance in my decision to be a writer when I needed it the most. Their expertise and love of creative writing have made me excited for the future, rather than scared of leaving the world of academia.
What do you hope or plan to pursue in the future? I will be attending New York University’s Summer Publishing Institute, and I am hoping to learn more about the publishing industry and opportunities to combine my passions for my personal writing, collaborative writing, editorial work, and literature. I would like to either pursue a career in publishing after the program or work in an independent bookstore for a year or two in the Pacific Northwest. I feel grateful for the connections I have gained through St. Lawrence’s networking opportunities, but also for the friendships that I know will provide friendly faces that I can reach out to no matter where I end up.
Majors: Economics; Mathematics
Hometown: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
What accomplishment are you most proud of? As an international student away from family for the very first time, I was very surprised at how quickly I was able to adapt to the environment and I exceeded my own academic expectations. I am very proud to have been on the Dean’s List for six out of seven of my semesters and I expect to make it seven out of eight upon graduation. I am also very proud to be starting my career at Credit Suisse this summer as an investment banking analyst covering the renewable energy sector.
Who is your most influential Laurentian mentor? It’s hard to pick just one mentor as countless Laurentians have had a tremendous impact on me. My economics advisor, R. Sheldon ’68 and Virginia H. Johnson Professor and Co-Chair of Economics Alison Del Rossi, has been a great person to learn from. I have a wonderful relationship with her both in the classroom and in my personal life. I have had the privilege of working with Associate Professor of Economics Michael Jenkins on a summer project at the end of my sophomore year and he was a wonderful mentor during my Senior Year Experience. In addition, my LINC mentor, Edgar Soule P’22, has supported me in various ways, particularly in how to start my career in finance.
What do you hope or plan to pursue in the future? I hope to start off my career at Credit Suisse strong and learn as much as possible. My long-term goal is to go back to Ethiopia and start a consulting/advisory practice centered on the infrastructure and energy industries.
If you were any spot, location, or building on campus what would that be and why? Leithead Fieldhouse, without a doubt. Soccer (or “football,” as I call it) has been part of my life since I was a child. At St. Lawrence, I have been part of club soccer since my first day here. Not having the fieldhouse available during the pandemic was very tough but I am happy to have played there again during my last semester. I met some of my closest friends at St. Lawrence because of soccer.
Minor: Public Health
Hometown: Grand Junction, Colo.
What accomplishment are you most proud of? I was actively involved in our campus chapter of the Public Leadership Education Network, a national nonprofit aimed to introduce college women to leadership roles in public service. In January of 2020, I attended a week-long seminar for women in STEM in Washington, D.C. where I networked with female professionals bridging the gap between science and policy. This experience helped me develop my career aspirations and I am proud of myself for taking the opportunity.
What was a class that you took that positively impacted you? Plagues and Peoples with Associate Professor of Anthropology Mindy Pitre. We walked through the plagues of infectious diseases throughout time and focused on stigma, history, and science. Beyond the content, Dr. Pitre is a fantastic teacher and wonderful person who became one of my first mentors at St. Lawrence. I strongly recommend this course to incoming and current students.
Who is your most influential Laurentian mentor? Jaclyn teRiele, the manager of the biology prep lab. In the three years I worked in the prep lab, Jackie taught me lessons beyond just lab science skills. She has been a close mentor throughout my application to graduate school and I rest assured that she will continue to support me after St. Lawrence.
What was the greatest adventure you embarked on? I’ve had many adventures, both in Canton and in Kenya, where I studied abroad this past fall. The four months I spent in Kenya allowed me to learn about development through a critical lens while examining political structure, corruption, social hierarchies, and environmental degradation. I am grateful for the opportunity to connect and learn from people with backgrounds different from my own.
What do you hope or plan to pursue in the future? In August, I am pursuing a two-year Master in Public Health in Infectious Diseases and Vaccinology at University of California, Berkeley. This program is a culmination of my experiences and connections at St. Lawrence and I am excited to concentrate my learning in this field!
Majors: Government; Francophone Studies
Minor: Asian Studies
Hometown: Homer, N.Y.
What was a class that you took that positively impacted you? My First-Year Program, focusing on Middle Eastern and African relations, was most impactful. Not only did the topic broaden my horizons to a part of the world I knew little about, I learned how to be a student in a University setting.
What accomplishment are you most proud of? I’m most proud of how thoroughly I’ve used St. Lawrence’s resources—if a student is interested in pursuing something, it is very easy to find people on campus to help them accomplish that. I’m also very proud of my Senior Year Experience thesis and the hard work and dedication it demanded.
What was the greatest adventure you embarked on during your time at St. Lawrence? My first time on a commercial flight was traveling to China to study abroad. I understood little of the language and customs so it was a huge “sink-or-swim” moment for me, but I grew so much as I immersed myself in the surrounding culture. I loved living in Shanghai and traveled all over the country with the friends I met there.
What do you hope or plan to pursue in the future? I am very excited to announce my placement at the U.S. Embassy in Libya this summer, as part of my second year of the U.S. Foreign Service Internship program! I will be working for 10 weeks in the political and economic sector of the Libyan External Office in Tunis, Tunisia.
Majors: Music; Government
Minors: European Studies; Francophone Studies
Hometown: La Paz, Bolivia
What was a class that you took that positively impacted you? Music Production with Associate Professor of Music Christopher Watts. It inspired me to pursue a serious career in music and helped me realize that it is such an undervalued industry even though we rely on it every day.
What accomplishment are you most proud of? From the bottom of my heart, I thank St. Lawrence for all the opportunities it has given me over the years with very good classes, grants, and opportunities to study abroad. Thanks to all these tools I have been able to build an emerging musical career, in which two collaborative songs I made exceeded one million streams on YouTube organically.
Who is your most influential Laurentian mentor? I have had many mentors and teachers at St. Lawrence who have impacted me and changed the way I look at life. However, Director of Music Ensembles Barry Torres, Associate Professor of Music In-Sil Yoo, and Assistant Professor of Music Fritz Schenker have helped me grow as a student, artist, and person. I want to thank Barry for always believing in me and teaching me perseverance, discipline, and a new way of seeing music.
What was the greatest adventure you embarked on during your time at St. Lawrence? Studying abroad in France. It was a very enriching experience in which I was exposed to a new language, a new culture, and a very different and beautiful way of seeing my place in the world.
What do you hope or plan to pursue in the future? I would love to be able to grow my artistic career with all the tools that St. Lawrence has provided. On the other hand, I would also love to study for a master’s degree, but I want to take some time in my hometown to think about what more specific path I want to take.
If you were any spot, location, or building on campus what would that be and why? La Casa, a theme cottage on campus that celebrates our Latinx community—thanks for being a place with such beautiful memories.
Major: Art and Art History
Hometown: Bronx, N.Y.
What accomplishments are you most proud of? Finishing my Senior Year Experience exhibition piece for my art and art history major, my research for McNair and CSTEP, immersing myself in my study abroad experience, and getting into graduate school. Meeting my friends and the faculty here who, in some way, helped shape me into who I am today.
What was the greatest adventure you embarked on during your time at St. Lawrence? Studying abroad was the greatest adventure for sure! I got to learn and immerse myself in Italian culture. I took art classes which influenced me a lot as an artist and creative. This experience exposed me to classical architecture, about which I’m very passionate.
What do you hope or plan to pursue in the future? Later this summer, I will be starting a three-year graduate program in architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design. My goal is to get my license and eventually become an architect.
Hometown: Pleasanton, Calif.
What accomplishment are you most proud of? My proudest moment was getting involved in research I was passionate about and getting to present it at the Festival of Science! My first year, I had so much fun at the Festival of Science and couldn’t wait to be up there presenting my own research. Because the festival didn’t happen as usual during the pandemic, it was so satisfying to finally present my own work senior year.
Who is your most influential Laurentian mentor? Professor and Chair of Chemistry Samantha Glazier. Dr. Glazier was the first faculty member to take me into her research group. She has been so supportive of me in my journey as a chemistry major on the pre-med track as well as of my new passion in psychology.
What is your favorite St. Lawrence tradition? My favorite tradition is our wonderful theme cottages! I had the opportunity to live in the Green House where we cook weekly vegetarian meals for our community and host campus-wide events like Folkfest. Because of this house, I helped shape student life on campus and made friends I will have for life.
What do you hope or plan to pursue in the future? When I came to St. Lawrence, I planned to apply to medical school. After an influential internship the summer before my senior year, I fell in love with behavior analysis. Thanks to incredibly supportive faculty mentors, I was able to complete a Senior Year Experience project outside of my major to pursue this interest. I am excited to say that I am pursuing my Ph.D. in behavior analysis at West Virginia University starting this August.
Major: Economics and Mathematics combined
Hometown: Massena, N.Y.
What was a class that you took that positively impacted you? There are two—public speaking and Does Money Make the World Go Round?, a Sophomore Seminar course. Public speaking allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and learn the fundamentals of being an engaging speaker and presenter. The Sophomore Seminar taught me about the Federal Reserve System, the economics major at St. Lawrence, how to connect with alumni, and the types of jobs available to economics majors at St. Lawrence.
Who is your most influential Laurentian mentor? Charles A. Dana Professor of Economics Cynthia Bansak. I took a total of five classes with Professor Bansak, including an independent study on financial modeling and the Federal Reserve Challenge course. She has also been my advisor since my first year. She was the main reason I chose to become an economics major and had a huge impact on decisions I made regarding classes, internships, and career options.
What do you hope or plan to pursue in the future? I am excited to move to New Hampshire and work as an Analyst at Advantage Capital after graduation. I participated in an on-campus interview in October 2021 with Laurentian who works at the company. This led to other interviews and eventually a full-time offer. I accepted the job because I admire the company’s culture and vision, and the presence of alumni made my decision even easier.
Majors: Statistics; Computer Science
Hometown: Beijing, China
What was a class that you took that positively impacted you? Before coming to St. Lawrence, I was terrified of presentations. By taking the Canadian studies First-Year Program with Associate Professor and Chair of Canadian Studies Neil Forkey, I was able to step out of my comfort zone. Now, I love public speaking, and I have participated in conferences and delivered several talks in my department.
Who is your most influential Laurentian mentor? Associate Professor of Computer Science Ivan Ramler is an amazing mentor who has advised my fellowship project and Senior Year Experience work. He provides insightful guidance and is always available to help. Working with him has made me a better researcher and I am extremely grateful to have been his student.
What was the greatest adventure you embarked on during your time at St. Lawrence? Stepping out of my comfort zone and growing to love public speaking.
What do you hope or plan to pursue in the future? I will be pursuing a master’s in data science at Harvard University. I feel adequately prepared thanks to our strong department at St. Lawrence and the various research opportunities it offered.
If you were any spot, location, or building on campus what would that be and why? Valentine Hall. It’s where my department is located, and it has a group of exceptional professors and scholars.
Majors: Computer Science; Music
Hometown: Plainfield, N.H.
What was a class that you took that positively impacted you? Musics of the World with Associate Professor of Music, Film, and Asian Studies and Music Department Chair David Henderson was one of my favorite classes because it is unique among my courses. I knew it would only be as challenging as I wanted it to be, and because of this, I got so much out of the course. I consider myself pretty well-versed in music in general; when I came to college, a music major was the only plan I was certain I wanted to pursue. This class taught me that I know very little about music outside of Western influence, and it was eye-opening. I still get a little nostalgic when other students talk about gamelan music.
What accomplishment are you most proud of? In computer science, a lot of women experience imposter syndrome. The department here at St. Lawrence does an amazing job directly addressing and confronting this issue. When I think of the projects I’ve done with and for the department, sometimes I catch myself thinking they aren’t up to the level they should be. Then, I hear Charles A. Dana Professor of Computer Science Ed Harcourt and Visiting Assistant Professor of Computer Science Kevin Angstadt reminding me to have a little self-confidence, so I can confidently say I’m proud of my work trying to update accessibility standards for the tool StatKey. It was an important job and I know the way I left StatKey is that much better than the way I found it.
What was the greatest adventure you embarked on during your time at St. Lawrence? The First-Year Program in London. I come from a town of 2,000 people and decided to spend the first day of my adult life flying to a city of two million. The friends I made in London, and the indescribable time I had exploring the city and trying new foods, activities, and museums taught me that there is a lot more in common between my small town and the rest of the world than I thought. Seeing so many West End plays about social issues, flying to Dublin just for a weekend, exploring a city far older than any I’d seen before, and practicing a new level of independence were invaluable experiences and I’m so lucky I had them.
If you were any spot, location, or building on campus what would that be and why? Definitely the Newell Center for Arts and Technology (NCAT) in Noble. I worked there on the midnight closing shift for half the week, and I found it extremely peaceful. It embodies a lot of what I do between technology, music, and photography, but it also highlights a concept that I’ve found rings true at St. Lawrence; other students are some of our greatest resources. I’ve worked in the NCAT for more than half my time at SLU and I’ve never tired of helping other students finish creating something they care about. I hope that sentiment of mutual creation and assistance carries over into my life outside of work as well.