Class of 2018 Baccalaureate Award Winners
May 25, 2018 — On May 18, the Baccalaureate Awards Ceremony was held in the Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Chapel for the class of 2018. Awards were presented by the Offices of Academic Affairs and Student Affairs, each school, and the Alumni Association. Below is a description of each award and information about this year’s recipients.
To download the photos, enter the password ‘2018’ at the Marist College photo gallery.
Valedictorian Award – Amanda Elizabeth Sayegh
The valedictorian award recognizes distinctive academic achievement, the completion of at least 90 credits of study at Marist, and at least six semesters as a full-time student. Amanda Sayegh is graduating summa cum laude with a degree in biomedical science, which she completed in three years. During this time, she worked as a unit aide at a local nursing home, a student worker for Marist Security, and a peer-tutor and teaching assistant in the Biology and Chemistry departments. She also completed three internships and was active in community service projects. She is a member of the Delta Epsilon Mu pre-health fraternity, the Sigma Zeta national science and mathematics honor society, and the Deans’ Circle. After graduation, Amanda will be attending the Pace University-Pleasantville Physician Assistant Program.
Salutatorian Award – Carolyn A. Turcotte
The salutatorian award recognizes the student who has completed at least 90 credits of study at Marist and has earned the highest or second-highest grade point index in the class. Carolyn Turcotte is an Honors student majoring in biomedical sciences and biochemistry. She completed four years and three consecutive summers of research at Marist and has published two articles in the journal Genetics. She received a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and was twice awarded the Genetics Society of America Undergraduate Travel Award to present her work at national conferences. Upon graduation, Carolyn will pursue a doctorate in genetics at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill with the goal of becoming a research scientist.
Salutatorian Award – Kai Wen-lin Wong
The salutatorian award recognizes the student who has completed at least 90 credits of study at Marist and has earned the highest or second-highest grade point index in the class. Kai Wong, from Honolulu, Hawaii, is a computer science major with minors in mathematics, music, information systems, and information technology. Kai plays the clarinet in the Marist Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble. He is also a concert pianist who has performed for President Yellen, the Board of Trustees, and at Marist music concerts and events. He received the Nelly Goletti music scholarship and enjoys teaching piano and anything computer-related. Kai interned as an IBM software engineer and will be working at FactSet this summer. He plans to work for a few years before attending graduate school.
General Excellence Award – Allegra Lynne Condon
This award is given to the graduating student who has completed at least 60 credits at Marist and has attained the highest grade point index in the class. Allegra Condon transferred into Marist in the fall of 2016 from SUNY Ulster and has maintained an outstanding academic record during her two years at Marist. She has completed her bachelor’s degree in communication with a concentration in public relations while working in the Public Relations department at SUNY Ulster. Allegra hopes to advance her PR career in the Hudson Valley area, where she has lived and worked for most of her life.
General Excellence Award – Evan Mena
This award is given to the graduating student who has completed at least 60 credits at Marist and has attained the highest grade point index in the class. When Evan Mena enrolled as a transfer student, he felt determined and prepared for the challenges he would face at Marist College. Now he is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in computer science. He completed a software engineering internship at Digital Ocean in New York City and instructed programming courses for pre-college students at Dutchess Community College. He has met professors and professionals who have helped shape his career trajectory, and he plans to use this momentum as he begins professional work in software development.
SCHOOL OF COMMUNICATION AND THE ARTS
Award for Excellence in Studio Art and Art History – Elizabeth Yang Bouyea
This award is given to the graduating senior who has excelled in his or her coursework and also has become involved in the discipline of art beyond the classroom. Elizabeth Bouyea has earned a Bachelor of Arts in fine arts with concentrations in studio art and art history in addition to minors in global studies and graphic design. She spent one semester studying in Italy and one semester studying in China. As part of her studies, she completed two thesis projects. The first, completed through the Art and Digital Media department, involved the creation of a magazine about diversity on campus. The second, completed as part of her Honors Program coursework, focused on the art and impact of Thomas Cole, the founder of the Hudson River School.
Award for Excellence in Communication – Michelle Rose Eggink
This award is given to the graduating communication major who has demonstrated outstanding academic achievement and a significant level of service to the College and the community. Michelle Eggink is a communication major with a concentration in public relations and a minor in environmental policy. She has been on the Dean’s List every semester while maintaining two jobs on the Marist campus. She is a Hudson Valley Scholar and a member of the Public Relations Student Society of America, the Emerging Leaders Program, the National Society of Leadership & Success, and the Deans’ Circle. She has served as an elected executive official and liaison to Students Encouraging Environmental Dedication as well as a board member for the Campus Sustainability Advisory Committee. In addition, she completed two internships and studied abroad in Australia.
Award for Excellence in Digital Media – Mia Elisa Blas
This award is given to the graduating digital media major who has excelled in his or her coursework, demonstrated exceptional artistic creativity, contributed to the department, and exhibits leadership qualities. Mia Blas is a double major in digital media and studio art with minors in photography and graphic design. She has been on the Dean’s List since spring of 2015 and is graduating magna cum laude. She has participated in two study abroad programs, including Venice Biennale in summer 2017 and Japan in 2015. She served as the photographer for Diversity Works magazine and was part of the North Road Communication creative team. Mia has shown her work in both student and solo exhibitions.
Award for Excellence in Fashion Design – Melissa Kaye Armistead
This award recognizes outstanding academic performance in fashion design and distinguished participation in the activities of the department. Melissa Armistead is graduating as a double major in fashion design and fashion merchandising. Her designs have been featured in the Silver Needle Runway and the Marist fashion magazine, FM/AM. In her freshman year, she was inducted into the National Society of Leadership & Success while pursuing studies through the Honors Program. Both of Melissa’s design and merchandising theses revolve around the sustainable design technique of zero waste pattern making. She aspires to pursue her career path in the New York City area.
Award for Excellence in Fashion Merchandising – Julia Anne DiMarzo
This award recognizes outstanding academic performance in fashion merchandising and distinguished participation in the activities of the department. Julia DiMarzo is graduating summa cum laude, having earned a degree in fashion merchandising with a concentration in promotion and a minor in music. An active member of Marist Singers and MCCTA, Julia has appeared in productions of “A Chorus Line,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Cabaret,” and “Anything Goes.” She was co-director of the design team for Marist’s award-winning fashion magazine, FM/AM. In addition, she worked as a student assistant in the Admissions office. After graduation, Julia plans to begin a career in graphic design at a fashion magazine or advertising firm.
Award for Excellence in Media Studies and Production – Sydney Marie Lucas
This award recognizes outstanding academic performance in media studies and production as well as distinguished achievement in internships, community service, or student organizations related to the department.
Sydney Lucas is a media studies and production major with a concentration in film and television and minors in business and advertising. She is a member of the Honors Program and works as a student assistant for the Admissions office. She completed three internships in video production, including one in London, and earned professional certifications in Avid and Photoshop. After graduation, Sydney will be following her passion for video editing, working as a video production specialist in Connecticut.
Award for Excellence in Music – Julia Anne DiMarzo
The recipient of this award must complete a music minor, participate in various music programs with the College, exhibit leadership qualities, and demonstrate artistic creativity. Julia DiMarzo is graduating with a degree in fashion merchandising and a minor in music. Studying music and performing with Singers and the Chamber Choir have enriched her college experiences and education. Her favorite memories include participating in the World Choral Fest and Night on Broadway concerts, and performing at Disney World. Singing will always be a part of her life—both personally and hopefully professionally—and she looks forward to singing with Marist Singers alumni at future concerts.
SCHOOL OF COMPUTER SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS
The Dr. William Cadden Achievement Award for Excellence in Computer Science – John Michael Grzechowiak
This award was established by the Marist College Software Engineering Research Fund in honor of its founder, Dr. William Cadden, a distinguished IBM computer scientist. John Grzechowiak will graduate summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science and minors in cybersecurity and mathematics. He has worked on campus in Administrative Computing for all fours years and as a tutor for two years. Each summer he held an internship position at various technology companies in Rhode Island. He has accepted a full-time position with Rite Solutions and strives to stay up-to-date with the newest technologies.
Award for Excellence in Information Technology and Systems – Rachel Ulicni
This award is given to the graduating senior whose achievements in or out of the classroom demonstrated an unusual depth of knowledge and creativity in information systems. Rachel Ulicni will graduate magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in information systems and a minor in computer science. She is a member of the Deans’ Circle, Honors Program, and Alpha Chi national honor society. She was a lab assistant in Hancock Networking Lab, worked in the IBM Joint Study program, and interned at USAA in Texas. As of January, she has begun working full-time at NBC Universal in New York City and wants to thank all of the friends, family, and Marist faculty who have helped her along the way.
Award for Excellence in Mathematics – Jonathan Harrison Blake
This award is given to the graduating senior whose achievements in or out of the classroom demonstrated an unusual depth of mathematical knowledge and creativity. Jonathan Blake will graduate summa cum laude with a double major in business administration with a concentration in finance and applied mathematics with honors. He has been involved in numerous activities at Marist, including tutoring in the MathLab since his sophomore year. As a junior, Jonathan did independent research, and he has presented his results at multiple regional conferences. This past summer, he interned at Goldman Sachs in the Credit Risk Management department. He has accepted a full-time position with Goldman Sachs in New York after graduation.
SCHOOL OF LIBERAL ARTS
Award for Excellence in English – Emily Fenhua Hollenbach
This award honors a graduating senior who has achieved distinction in analytical and expressive skills, and whose high scholarship index and positive participation in campus life have demonstrated commitment to the values of Marist College. Emily Hollenbach is an English writing major with multiple minors. She is a member of the English honor society, Literary Arts Society, and the Asian Alliance. She worked for Marist International Programs and also as a writing and ESL tutor. She interned with Also-Known-As, Inc. in New York City, and she presented a paper at the Sigma Tau Delta Conference. Emily studied abroad in Europe through a spring attachment course, and she is pursuing international teaching opportunities in Korea.
The Brother Joseph L. R. Bélanger, FMS, Award for Excellence in French – Casey Devenish
This award is given to the graduating senior who has maintained an honors grade point index in all major field courses and has also submitted a thesis deserving of honors. Casey Devenish is graduating with a major in French and adolescence education and minors in Spanish and global studies. She studied abroad in Paris, France. Casey tutored at both the elementary and middle school levels at two Hudson Valley schools and interned for the Liberty Partnership program, teaching social/emotional health workshops to at-risk students. She has accepted a position as a French teacher at Massapequa High School on Long Island and will begin working immediately after graduation.
Award for Excellence in History – James C. Lavelle
This award is given to the individual who has done exceptional work in history courses and has compiled an overall record of high academic achievement. James Lavelle, from Brooklyn, New York, is a history and adolescence education major. He studied in London as a Hansard Scholar, interning in the British Parliament. The chapter president of the Phi Alpha Theta history honor society, he presented research at regional Phi Alpha Theta conferences and at their national biennial conference. James will begin a history Ph.D. program at SUNY Binghamton this fall and will continue his research on the French revolution and Napoleonic era.
Award for Excellence in Philosophy – Marc Robert Andrews
This award is given to the individual who has done exceptional work in philosophy courses and has compiled an overall record of high academic achievement. Marc Andrews, from LaGrange, New York, is a philosophy major with a cognitive science minor. His main area of philosophical interest is metaphysics and existentialism, especially in relation to philosophy of disability. Marc served as editor-in-chief of the Marist Undergraduate Philosophy Journal, has presented his work at conferences, and continues to work with Dr. Andrei Buckareff on research that they plan to publish. Marc plans to attend graduate school for a master’s degree in philosophy or bioethics.
Award for Excellence in Political Science – Andrew Sean Montalti
This award is given to the graduate who, having earned at least 24 credits in political science and significantly exceeded a 3.0 GPA both in the major and overall, offers significant involvement in campus activities and shows potential for leadership. Andrew Montalti is a political science and economics double major. He organized the 2nd Student World Affairs Conference, helped found the SPIE Club, and is a member of Pi Sigma Alpha. Andrew participated in the Hansard Scholars program where he interned in the British Parliament. After graduation, he will be working for Wellington Management, an investment firm in Boston.
The Dr. Raymond Weiss Award for Excellence in Spanish – Alexander D. Silva
This award is given to the graduating senior who has achieved excellence in the mastery of the Spanish language, and who manifests a deep appreciation and understanding of the literature and culture of Hispanic civilization. Alexander Silva, from Acton, Massachusetts, is graduating with majors in psychology and Spanish and minors in history and Latin American and Caribbean studies. He studied abroad in Spain; was a teaching assistant in a special education classroom in Westford, Massachusetts; and interned at the Children’s Home of Poughkeepsie. He served as treasurer for the Marist Psychology Club and is a Sigma Delta Pi member. Alexander will pursue a doctorate degree in school psychology at SUNY Albany.
The Thomas Casey Award for Public Praxis – Kathryn Amina Zielinski
This award is given to a graduating senior who has initiated a significant civic project. In response to some aspect of human suffering, the recipient has integrated community experience, scholarly inquiry, and critical reflection. Katy Zielinski, from Bethany, Connecticut, is a communications and political science double major. She has combined her passion for service to others with numerous leadership opportunities. She participated in two service trips to Tennessee, and she was a 2017 Marie and Rupert Tarver summer intern, during which time she interned at Hudson River Housing. She also studied abroad in London. After graduation, Katy will pursue a career in nonprofit communications.
The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion Excellence Award – Brooke Marie DiPalma
This award is given to the graduating senior who has compiled an excellent undergraduate record, including course work in survey research; participated extensively in statewide and national public opinion surveys; provided leadership in the planning and implementation of MIPO activities; and successfully completed an internship at MIPO or related activity. Brooke DiPalma is a communications major with public relations and journalism concentrations and a political science minor. She worked at the Marist Poll for four years and served as head coach for three years. During this time she experienced the presidential primary first hand, and helped organize Marist Poll events on campus, in Washington DC, and in New York City. Brooke held internships at News 12 Long Island, Yahoo! Finance, and Late Night with Seth Myers. She will pursue a reporting career after graduation.
SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT
Award for Academic Excellence in Accounting – Kathryn Ann Eldridge
This award acknowledges the senior accounting major who possesses the highest cumulative grade point averages in accounting and overall, and who has provided service to the Beta Alpha Psi honor society. Kathryn Eldridge has been a member of the Marist Band and other music ensembles for all four years. She has also served as secretary and president of Tau Beta Sigma, the honorary band service sorority. Additionally, she has volunteered for VITA, a tax preparation assistance program, for two years. Other activities include the Red Ink art club, the Emerging Leaders Program, and Beta Alpha Psi honor society for accounting. Kathryn intends to begin her career in accounting at Ernst & Young in July.
Award for Academic Excellence in Business Administration – Jonathan Harrison Blake
This award acknowledges the senior business administration major who possesses the highest cumulative grade point average. Jonathan Blake will graduate summa cum laude with a double major in business administration with a concentration in finance and applied mathematics with honors. He has been involved in numerous activities at Marist, including the Investment Club and Beta Gamma Sigma, the international business honor society. This past summer, Jonathan interned at Goldman Sachs in the Credit Risk Management department. He has accepted a full-time position with Goldman Sachs in New York after graduation.
Award for Academic Excellence in Economics – Andrew Sean Montalti
This award acknowledges the senior economics major who has demonstrated exceptional understanding of contemporary economic issues and has shown outstanding promise through internships, economic research, or special projects. Andrew Montalti is a double major in economics and political science. On campus, he is an RA for the Honors floor. For his Honors senior thesis, he produced and hosted The One-Thirty-One, a conversational, interview-based podcast. He previously interned in the House of Commons in the United Kingdom as a parliamentary researcher. After graduation Andrew is moving to Boston to work as a business associate at Wellington Management. He loves dogs, hiking, and writing jokes.
SCHOOL OF SCIENCE
The Glenn Marinelli Award for Excellence in Athletic Training – Elizabeth Charlotte Cieszko
This award is given to a student who has completed a minimum of 24 credits of study in athletic training at Marist and has achieved recognized excellence in academic performance. Elizabeth Cieszko is graduating cum laude with a degree in athletic training. In addition to her clinical internships, she has volunteered medical services at events such as the New York City and Boston marathons. She was a New York State representative at the National Athletic Trainers’ Association iLEAD Conference and a student delegate to the Eastern Athletic Trainers’ Association. Elizabeth will continue her education in the graduate Athletic Training Program at the University of Florida.
The Barnes & Noble College Bookstores Award for Excellence in Biology – Amanda Elizabeth Sayegh
This award is given to the student who has completed a minimum of 24 credits of study in biology at Marist and achieved recognized excellence in academic performance. Amanda Sayegh, valedictorian of the class of 2018, is graduating with a degree in biomedical science. While earning her degree in three years, she completed three internships: at Mid-Hudson Regional Hospital, BioSkills Surgical Training Laboratory in New York City, and Eastern Orange Ambulatory Surgery Center in Cornwall, New York. She is passionate about serving the community and has participated in several projects, including a Poughkeepsie street cleanup, Chemistry Family Night, and the annual Community Service Day at Marist.
The Dr. Andrew A. Molloy ’51 Award for Excellence in Chemistry – Stephanie Pauline Lefebvre
This award is given to a student who majored in chemistry or biochemistry and completed a minimum of 24 credits of study in chemistry at Marist, achieving recognized excellence in academic performance. Stephanie Lefebvre is graduating magna cum laude with a B.S. in chemistry and a minor in mathematics. She completed the Honors Program and is a member of the Deans’ Circle and the Sigma Zeta national science and mathematics honor society. She was involved in multiple student clubs and spent a semester in Florence. She received the 2016 American Chemical Society Undergraduate Award in analytical chemistry. After graduation, Stephanie plans to work in Boston as a research scientist at a biotechnology company.
The CH Energy Group, Inc. Award for Excellence in Environmental Science & Policy – Ian Nicholas Krout
This award is given to the student who has completed a minimum of 24 credits of study in environmental science at Marist and achieved recognized excellence in academic performance. Ian Krout is graduating with a degree in environmental science/assessment concentration and a minor in biology. He researched the chemistry and transport of micro-plastics in the Hudson River watershed and received a grant from the Nature Conservancy to locate the presence of PCBs in the Hudson River. He is a two-time recipient of Eastern Colleges Science Conference Manuscript Excellence and Poster Presentation awards. He is also a recipient of the Tarver Fellowship to develop environmental educational programs for 1st to 9th graders. Ian will enter a graduate program in toxicology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.
The Johnson & Johnson Clinical Diagnostic Award for Excellence in Medical Technology – Ivana Marie Martos
This award is given to a student who has completed a minimum of 37 credits of study in medical technology at Marist and achieved recognized excellence in academic performance as well as demonstrated potential for growth in the profession of medical technology. Ivana Martos majored in both biomedical sciences and medical technology. She is a member of the Sigma Zeta national science and mathematics honor society, and is a recipient of the Marist Academic Excellence scholarship. She has worked with several organizations advocating for abused and neglected children. With a full scholarship from the United States Army, Ivana will attend Touro Medical College after graduation.
The Mary Lou Gantert Award for Excellence in Science – Carolyn A. Turcotte
This award is given to a senior who has achieved a grade point average of 3.25 or greater; participated in research, internships, scientific presentations and/or related work experience beyond the expectations of the major; and compiled a record of service to the School of Science, the College, or the local community. The recipient should also show promise for continuation of their education at the professional- or graduate-school level. Carolyn Turcotte is an Honors student majoring in biomedical science and biochemistry. She is dedicated to science outreach and has served as a tutor and teaching assistant, and is an active member of the Marist American Chemical Society. She was named a Goldwater Scholar, has co-authored two scientific articles in the journal Genetics, and has presented her work at multiple national meetings. Following graduation, Carolyn will pursue a doctorate in genetics at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill with the ultimate goal of running a research laboratory.
The Boehringer Ingelheim Award for Excellence in Scientific Research – Jenna Elizabeth Robinson
This award is given to a student selected by the School of Science faculty in recognition of overall academic performance with a primary focus on achievement in research. Jenna Robinson is graduating magna cum laude with a double major in biology and environmental science and policy. She is captain of the cross-country and indoor/outdoor track teams and holds two school records. She conducted research with Marist faculty, including field research in Ecuador, Galapagos, Mexico, and Peru. She completed an NSF-sponsored REU at the University of Minnesota and is the co-author of five peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts. Jenna plans to pursue a doctorate in aquatic ecology.
SCHOOL OF SOCIAL AND BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES
The Andrew Lutakome Kayiira Award for Excellence in Criminal Justice – Amelia Celeste Kaufteil
Dr. Kayiira was a criminal justice faculty member (1984-1987). Upon returning to his native Uganda to serve as Minister of Energy, he was incarcerated and then assassinated. In his memory, the Kayiira Award was created to recognize the criminal justice graduate who best combines academic excellence with strength of character, integrity, and service to the major. Amelia Kaufteil completed a minor in cybersecurity in addition to her criminal justice major. She served as president of the Criminal Justice Club and was inducted into Alpha Phi Sigma, the criminal justice honor society. While at Marist, she completed internships at the United States Marshals Service, New York State Police, Washington DC Metropolitan Police Department, and Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office. She is a trained emergency medical technician and actively volunteers on an ambulance in Orange County, New York. Amelia will be attending the Police Academy this summer.
The St. Marcellin Champagnat Award for Excellence in Education – Nancy Elizabeth Montemerlo
This award is presented annually to a teacher-education graduate whose commitment to personal academic excellence, professional excellence as a teacher, and service to children and youth, reflects the high ideals of St. Marcellin Champagnat, founder of the teaching order of Marist Brothers, who established Marist College. Nancy Montemerlo is a candidate in our teacher preparation program for childhood education/students with disabilities and is completing a minor in social work. As a full-time student, she worked at the Anderson Center for Autism and as a substitute teacher. She also completed an independent research project related to creating educational aids for English language learners. Nancy served as president of Kappa Delta Pi, the international honor society in education, and participated in Best Buddies and Teachers of Tomorrow. After graduation, she plans to teach in Connecticut.
Award for Excellence in Psychology – Martin James Heck
The recipient of this award has achieved an exceptional academic record in addition to having acknowledged service to the community. His or her contribution to the College and the community exemplifies the goals and ethics of the psychology major at Marist. Martin Heck is a psychology major with a minor in social work. He has a passion for research and has spent three years working on projects at Marist, two of which were presented at the Eastern Psychological Association Conference. A member of the Psi Chi national honor society, Marty has worked as a teaching assistant for Marist faculty during the school year and for the Marist Pre-College summer program. This fall, he will be attending the University at Albany, SUNY, to pursue a master’s degree in industrial-organizational psychology.
The Eileen Taylor-Appleby Award for Excellence in Social Work – Grace Hayes Cunningham
The social work faculty annually recognizes a student who intends to practice social work and who clearly identifies with the purposes, goals, and ethics of the profession. In addition, the selected student has achieved a GPA over 3.0 and has served the Social Work Program through the Social Work Association or by supporting fellow students and representing the program to the College and larger community. Grace Cunningham is an avid participant in and president of the Social Work Association club at Marist. She helped organize events such as an overnight “sleep out” to raise awareness for homeless youth and a NARCAN training for Marist students. She embodies the values of the social work profession, and has demonstrated her commitment through tutoring children, assisting Meals on Wheels, working at an eating disorders hotline, and interning on Long Island at the Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. This fall, Grace will be attending Fordham University to pursue a master’s degree in social work where she hopes to focus her attention on the opioid epidemic.
SCHOOL OF PROFESSIONAL PROGRAMS
Award for Excellence in Liberal Studies – Karen Christine Burke
This award is made annually to the student who demonstrates high academic achievement in his or her academic endeavors in the liberal studies program. Karen Burke completed her B.S. in liberal studies with focuses in organizational administration and professional studies and is graduating summa cum laude. Education has been a shared pursuit for Karen and her family. She credits her husband and children for inspiring her to return to college after a 16-year gap after earning her associate’s degree. She has worked full-time in the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs at Marist while studying part-time as an online student. Her determination and love for learning has earned her induction into the Alpha Sigma Lambda national honor society. Karen intends to further her studies by pursing a master’s degree.
The Spirit of Adult Education Award – Darryl Robert Lafferty, Jr.
Adult students are often required to juggle their academic studies, family responsibilities, careers, and community involvement. This award is made annually to the adult undergraduate student who serves as a strong role model for adult students by demonstrating high academic achievement and being actively engaged in the community. Darryl Lafferty’s career in hospitality has spanned over 20 years. He is currently director of sales at Hyatt Place New York, in Yonkers. In this role, he leads the sales effort and consistently exceeds revenue targets. Darryl achieved an associate’s degree in marketing from Nassau Community College in 1993. After a 20-year break from formal education, he returned to Marist College and earned his bachelor’s degree in liberal studies.
The Hermitage Community Service Award – Mary Elizabeth Guida
This award is presented to the graduating student who has compiled an impressive record of volunteer activity on and/or off campus, demonstrating the College’s traditional values of concern for the disadvantaged and service to the community. Mary Elizabeth Guida has spent all four years of her college career actively involved in Habitat for Humanity. She has served as board secretary and has participated in two collegiate challenges. During builds, she has been actively involved in getting the work done and has shown genuine interest in the families and the crew. She has worked to expand the club through awareness activities, fundraisers, and increased member involvement. In addition to Habitat for Humanity, Mary Elizabeth was a member of Campus Ministry and Autism Speaks, and was a peer mentor for the FOCUS program. Graduating with a degree in applied mathematics with a minor in business, Mary Elizabeth has been accepted at Ivy League schools to pursue her graduate degree in education.
Alumni Leadership Award – Brooke Marie DiPalma and Alec James Lee
Awards are given to the graduating woman and man who exemplify the true spirit of Marist College. Recipients will have made a significant contribution to the Marist community and show promise as a loyal and supportive member of the Alumni Association. Nominations are made by Marist alumni currently working at the College.
Brooke DiPalma started giving back to her community while still a teenager in high school. As the founder of the “P.S. I Love You” campaign, she made it her goal to spread awareness about mental health and suicide prevention. The campaign is now a weeklong series of events at Marist and has spread to more than 140 schools in the tri-state area. Brooke also completed four internships and was named a head coach for the Marist Poll. She studied abroad in Florence, Italy, and served as the vice president of the Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority. Upon graduating with a degree in public relations, Brooke hopes to become an on-air television reporter or producer.
Alec Lee has made it his mission over the past four years to promote community and environmental awareness. After serving as an ally trainer, he became the student chair of the Diversity Council’s LBGTQ subcommittee. In 2016, he presented research at the 70th Annual Eastern Colleges Science Conference and in 2017 was named a Goldwater Scholar. As a result of his Honors thesis, he played an integral role in the creation of the Marist community garden on campus. Upon graduation, he hopes to obtain a master’s degree and Ph.D. in environmental design and engineering.