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SBU News > Awards and Honors > HOPE Program Creates Pathways to College and Future Healthcare Careers 

HOPE Program Creates Pathways to College and Future Healthcare Careers 

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Stony Brook Medicine celebrated 38 high school juniors and seniors from Brentwood, Longwood and Wyandanch schools at the annual Health Occupations Partnership for Excellence (HOPE) Program Moving-Up and Graduation Ceremony on May 9. Three of the 17 graduating seniors will attend Stony Brook University in the fall. 

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Juniors and seniors from Longwood High School pose for a photo with their teachers and administrators, and keynote speaker Kristina Gonzalez, a HOPE program and Longwood High School alumna and current Stony Brook School of Nursing student.

More than 140 people, including the students and their families, teachers, administrators and HOPE program facilitators, attended the event, which was held at the Student Activities Center. 

Carol Gomes, CEO and chief operating officer of Stony Brook University Hospital, and Judith Brown Clarke, Stony Brook’s vice president for equity and inclusion and chief diversity officer, delivered remarks. Dr. William Wertheim, vice dean for Academic Affairs and Graduate Medical Education and at the Renaissance School of Medicine, joined Gomes and Clarke to help present the students with their awards. 

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Brentwood High School senior Raquel Acosta discusses her vision board with Stony Brook Vice President for Equity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer Judith Brown Clarke.

In addition, Kristina Gonzalez, a HOPE program and Stony Brook University alumna, who is currently studying at the Stony Brook School of Nursing, provided the keynote address. Gonzalez discussed her journey to pursue a career in nursing and how the HOPE program helped prepare her. 

“Having the opportunities that HOPE provides gives you all of the skills and knowledge for your future academic career and professional life,” Gonzalez said. “The two years you spend with HOPE goes quickly, but the memories you make with one another as classmates will last forever.”

Since 2005, the HOPE program has offered insight and mentorship to high school students interested in pursuing careers in healthcare and medicine. To date, the program has launched the college careers of more than 215 young people from underrepresented and underserved communities on Long Island. 

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Grace Sutherland, a senior at Longwood High School, discusses her Vision Board with Dr. Cordia Beverley, assistant dean for Community Health Policy at the Renaissance School of Medicine.

This year’s event featured a Vision Board Showcase presented by the HOPE seniors. Each student created a vision board to highlight their passions and goals for the future. The seniors also shared a six-word memoir, an activity inspired by the Six-Word Memoir ® Project, which encourages participants to tell a story in six words. The 21 HOPE juniors, who will continue with the program next year, received blue lab coats and a certificate to signify the completion of their first year. 

The HOPE program is planned and managed by the University and Hospital Community Relations Office. Departments and groups from across Stony Brook University and Stony Brook Medicine led presentations and trainings during the 2022-23 school year. Presenters included faculty, staff and students from Admissions; Career Center; Biomedical Engineering; Department of Technology and Society; Internal Medicine; Pediatrics; Phi Delta Epsilon; Psychiatry and Psychology; Renaissance School of Medicine’s Black Men in White Coats; School of Dental Medicine; School of Health Professions; School of Nursing; School of Social Welfare; Sports Medicine; Stony Brook HOME Clinic; Stony Brook Volunteer Ambulance Corps; Trauma Center; and University Police Department.

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(Left to right) Valerie Fuentes, Julissa Perla and Katherine Pena, all seniors from Brentwood High School, pose for a photo at the HOPE Graduation Ceremony.

HOPE Seniors 2022-23

Brentwood High School
Dayanna Roldan – Suffolk County Community College
Diana Acevedo – New York University
Heather Umanzor-Lopez – Molloy University
Julissa Perla – Suffolk County Community College
Katherine Pena – Yale University
Kellia Wilson – Binghamton University
Kimberly Alvarez – Molloy University
Raquel Acosta – Stony Brook University
Valerie Fuentes – Stony Brook University

Longwood High School
Audrey Taylor – Union University
Cole Elliott – St. Joseph’s University
Courtney Bock – University of Delaware
Grace Sutherland – SUNY Geneseo

Wyandanch High School
Caiya Cummings – Pace University
Llivelis Beato – Stony Brook University
Najdelin Rodesno-Lopez – John Jay College of Criminal Justice
Sade Griffith – Wentworth Institute of Technology

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Brentwood Junior Jessica Ventura shakes hands with Stony Brook University Hospital CEO and COO Carol Gomes.

HOPE Juniors 2022-23

Brentwood High School
Adrianna Pauciullo
Alisha Ahsan
Aribah Farooq
Hooriya Tariq
Jessica Ventura
Katherine Santamaria
Kendell Reyes
Melissa Mejia Benitez
Michelle Vigil
Narely Ortega
Serenity McCracken
Stephanie Pizano

Longwood High School
Aleksandra Ogrodniczak
Evelyn Velasquez
Jenny Lin
Juleen Santana
Kayla Gray
Marc-Anthony Placido
Pamela Fernandez Adames
Rianna Madr

Wyandanch High School
Carlos Diaz Sanchez

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