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New Graduates Gear Up for Great Things in 2017

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To discover some of the amazing places our class of 2017 is going, we surveyed some of the 4,292 undergraduates who earned bachelor’s degrees at Stony Brook’s 57th annual commencement on Friday, May 19. Here’s what 20 of our newest graduates shared.
From graduate school to global health research, immediate employment to confident entrepreneurship, our 2017 graduates are living out a Stony Brook mantra. If you’re a class of 2017 graduate and want to share your destination, please take our quick five-question survey.

Joselin Vargas
Joselin Vargas

Joselin Vargas will continue the ongoing global effort to cure cancer as a Research Fellow at the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“The training I will receive at the NIH will allow me to continue to grow as a future scientist,” Joselin said. “This opportunity will allow me to extend my knowledge in the field of oncology further than what I have acquired while working in the Division of Cancer Prevention at Stony Brook Medicine. I also look forward to collaborating with some of the world’s leading scientists.”

Brandon D’Anna will conduct market research with experts in 20 industries, ranging from retail and apparel to technology and video games, as an associate in the Market Analysis Charter Program at the NPD Group.

“I am most excited about being able to learn from some of the brightest in the market research industry,” Brandon said. “Being in a rotational program, I will be learning alongside many individuals spanning across several facets of the firm.”

Joshua Farr
Joshua Farr

Joshua Farr is one of four Stony Brook undergrads to earn a prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship in 2017, and will attend Stanford University to pursue a PhD in organic chemistry.

“I’m looking forward to learning more and being in a new environment,” Joshua said. “Although I’ve loved my time here at Stony Brook, I’m looking forward to the change of pace that moving to the West Coast will offer.”

Yasmeen Hamami will work as a quality assurance associate for Cresilon, a medical devices company that developed an adhesive hemostatic gel composed of plant-based polymers that could support the natural clotting process. Yasmeen will also pursue a Master of Science in Regulatory Affairs for Drugs, Biologics, and Medical Devices at Northeastern University.

“Handling regulatory affairs for medical devices is out of my comfort zone, but working at Cresilon will allow me to feel that I can conquer anything,” Yasmeen said. “My classes in Northeastern’s Regulatory Affairs program will equip me with the tools I need to also help other biotechnological, pharmaceutical, and devices companies excel in their medical progress.”

Page Keating
Page Keating

Page Keating will study to take on infectious diseases by attending John Hopkins University in pursuit of a Master of Science in Public Health for Global Disease Epidemiology and Control.

“I am so excited to expand the skills that I learned at Stony Brook to become an expert in infectious disease control,” Page said. “I am excited to meet new people and mentors at the best school of public health in the country as I move towards my career.”

Leila M. Esmailzada is traveling back to Madagascar to complete two months of data collection on daily life and challenges faced by Malagasy people while working with an organization called BeLocal.

“Although it’s unconventional, this experience is a culmination of all of my interests and skills. I’m ultimately looking forward to making my first steps in the professional world, for a good cause,” Leila said. “I’m able to put my years of college into something fulfilling, and hopefully make a difference in the lives of others.”

Sarah Eller
Sarah Eller

Sarah Eller will work to alleviate poverty in New York City during a year-long fellowship with the non-profit organization Work First Foundation, then will attend law school.

“I am excited to become an agent of change and have a real impact on citywide poverty,” said Sarah.

Francesca Campione is working toward becoming a legal reporter for network news by heading to the Maurer School of Law at Indiana University Bloomington.

“I am looking forward to spreading the Seawolf spirit to the Midwest and learning how I can connect my undergraduate education in journalism to a legal education,” Francesca said. “I hope to someday work in legal reporting for a network news outlet.”

John Feinberg will head to Facebook in Austin, Texas to work on the company’s legal communications team.

“I look forward to learning all about the legal processes and communications plans behind one of the largest-reaching companies in the world,” John said.

Krista Pullen
Krista Pullen

Krista Pullen will work as a lab technician at Tufts Medical Center in Boston while preparing to apply to graduate school.

“I’m looking forward to the process of moving to a new place with a lot of exciting opportunities, as well as exploring a very different field of biology than that of which I performed my undergraduate research in,” Krista said.

Lauren Sprung is taking a position as management associate for Con Edison, a major utility provider in New York City.

“I’m looking forward to using the management skills I have learned in college and translating that to a real workplace,” Lauren said.

Rachel Siford landed a job as a reporter for the Times Review Media Group, where she’ll work full time while going to graduate school at night.

“I cannot wait to work in the field that I have been working toward my whole life,” Rachel said. “I will be writing stories and producing videos as a full time journalist, and I am so thrilled!”

Naveen Mallangada

Naveen Mallangada, creator of several campus artworks including the reinvented Staller Steps, and the “HeartBeats of Stony Brook” mural, will pursue his passion for healing by attending Stony Brook School of Medicine.

“I look forward to getting to actually use what I’ve learned, and will learn, in helping others and saving lives,” Naveen said.

David Golden will join the workforce immediately as a marketing director for corporate dining in New York City with a company where he interned.

“I am really looking forward to starting out my career with real knowledge and experience in my field that I learned while working at the University,” David said. “It exposed me to all areas related to my major and my upcoming job, so the transition from an intern position to a managerial position would be as smooth as possible. I hope to stay in the marketing field and gradually work my way up through real results that I hope to produce, and eventually become a corporate marketing officer.”

Alec G. Simione

Alec G. Simione, owner of Critic Clothing, which has seen tremendous growth with exposure from professional athletes and major media outlets, plans to also launch a marketing company.

“I’m looking most forward to being able to dedicate 100 percent of my time to my dreams,” Alec said. “I’ve always loved being an entrepreneur and the constant hustle and work that goes into making your own money. It’s a rush.”

Allison Leonard plans to help students explore the many facets of wellness through a graduate assistantship at South Dakota State University (SDSU) in their Wellness Center with Intramural Sports, Sport Clubs and Summer Camps. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in Sport and Recreation Studies.

“I am looking forward to the amazing opportunity to work at the SDSU Wellness Center creating a space for students to meet new people, relax, destress, play recreational and competitive sports, develop personally and professionally, and learn about the different aspects of health and wellness,” Allison said.

Ioana Soaita
Ioana Soaita

Ioana Soaita will tackle today’s toughest diseases by pursuing a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology at University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.

“I’ll be working toward understanding some of the most pressing health problems of our generation, like diabetes and heart disease, so as to help clinicians improve clinical outcomes,” Ioana said.

Maximillian Shaps is going to work with real world clients on immigration cases by attending the University Texas School of Law in Austin starting this Fall.

“My student leadership opportunities at Stony Brook taught me the value of service. It instilled me with a desire to improve my community and live to help others,” Maximillian said. “I’m hoping to apply the values I gained at Stony Brook and learn the skills I will need after law school in order to bring justice and equity to my community as a lawyer.”

Meredith Walter plans to enjoy the perks of her new job as a full time marketing professional at Canon USA.

“I get the opportunity to travel a little bit with the position,” Meredith said. “I’ve already been given a heads up about my first business trip and I haven’t started yet. I love traveling, so this is a huge perk!”

Skye Wiegman
Skye Wiegman

Skye Wiegman accepted a job as an academic consultant for native students within Syracuse University’s Office of Multicultural Affairs, while also pursuing a master’s degree in higher education.

“As a Native student myself, this opportunity not only hits close to home, but is also a dream come true,” Skye said. “I have worked in Academic Advising at Stony Brook for the past four years and it is what made me fall in love with higher education. To be able to work in that capacity with a population I relate to is just something that cannot be beat!”

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