Commencement

Celebrating the Class of 2021

Ryan StevensRyan Stevens
Valedictorian Award 

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.

Ryan is an Honors student graduating with a B.A. in history; minors in women, gender, and sexuality studies and philosophy; and a paralegal certificate. He is a member of the Phi Alpha Theta honor society. His research has explored topics such as race and hardcore punk rock, Hannah Arendt’s political philosophy and its relation to white supremacy, analyses of labor in feminist activism, and James Baldwin’s critical writings on the structure of white consciousness. Beyond academics, Ryan is a member of the Marist College Band and has served as the president for the Iota Alpha chapter of Tau Beta Sigma. He will be pursuing an M.A. in interdisciplinary studies at New York University in the fall.         

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Salutatorian Morgan Ashley HandelMorgan Ashley Handel
Salutatorian Award 

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.

Morgan is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and a paralegal certificate. She has held numerous internships, varying from a local search fund and law office, to the Criminal Justice Bureau of the Attorney General’s Office of New York State. Throughout college, she has been heavily involved in Beta Alpha Psi, Kappa Kappa Gamma, the Marist College Band, and various other on-campus clubs and organizations. After graduation, Morgan will begin working for EY in their Manhattan office. She aspires to pursue a career in law and ultimately wishes to hold an elected position in the United States Government.  Page break with Marist "M"

General Excellence Award Recipient Jillian E. ColucciJillian E. Colucci
General Excellence Award

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.

Jillian is graduating summa cum laude with a degree in mathematics and adolescence education, as well as a New York State coaching certification. She has been a member of Ladies Empowering Athletics Program (LEAP), the Peer Mentor program, and the Pi Mu Epsilon honor society. Jillian achieved this academic success while a starting midfielder on the Marist Women’s Soccer Team. She was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District Team each of the last two years and was a three-time MAAC All-Academic Team selection. She has been a committed volunteer within the local community and a participant in the Hudson Valley New Teacher Institute. Jillian will pursue a master’s degree in educational psychology at Marist in the fall.  Page break with Marist "M"

Merit Award recipient James Henry JenkinsJames Henry Jenkins
Merit Award

This award is given to the graduating student who has completed at least 60 credits at Marist and has attained the second-highest grade point index in the class.

James is graduating with a double major in computer science and cybersecurity. This past January, he and his Capping team had the opportunity to present research on cybersecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic at the 2021 IEEE Computing and Communication Workshop and Conference. He is also active in the Marist Music program, performing in the Concert Band and Marching Band. In the fall, James will be returning to Marist for a fifth year to earn a master’s degree in computer science.  Page break with Marist "M"

Award for Academic Distinction Recipient Jason CollishawJason Collishaw
Award for Academic Distinction

The Award for Academic Distinction is presented to the graduating student who has completed less than 60 credits at Marist and has achieved the highest grade point index within this group.

A lifelong resident of the Hudson Valley, Jason grew up in Saugerties, NY, and later settled down with his wife and two sons in Hyde Park, NY. He is achieving the important milestone of completing his bachelor’s degree in liberal studies from Marist. Jason’s professional career spans more than 20 years of telecom enterprise sales and leadership. Currently, he is employed with Google in New York City as a strategic partner development manager, where he helps support and manage the enterprise U.S. carrier partner relationships. He has received multiple accolades and awards over his career, including multiple Presidents Cabinet Awards for sales excellence, and Regional Presidential Awards for innovation and execution.  Page break with Marist "M"

Award for Excellence in Communication Makena Leigh Gera

Makena Leigh Gera 
Award for Excellence in Communication 

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.

Makena is graduating summa cum laude, majoring in communication with a concentration in journalism and a minor in graphic design. She is a member of the Honors program, has worked as the features and opinion editor of the Marist Circle newspaper and on the editorial team for Marist’s fashion magazine, FM/AM Volume 6. With a passion for storytelling, she is eager to enter the journalism field as a reporter and writer.  Page break with Marist "M"

Award for Excellence in Digital Media Sydney Elizabeth Martin KysarSydney Elizabeth Martin Kysar
Award for Excellence in Digital Media

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.

Sydney is a digital media major with a concentration in animation and minors in graphic design and music. While at Marist, she had the opportunity to study in Italy, Japan, and New York City, where she collaborated on projects in animation, design, and illustration. She became the lead designer for the Marist Circle newspaper and curated exhibitions for the Marist Archives and Steel Plant Art Gallery. She interned at a PR company in Manhattan and volunteered as an archives assistant at the American Museum of Natural History. These opportunities helped Sydney become a more confident artist and led her to work on the award-winning animated musical, “Rabbits Under the Shed.”  Page break with Marist "M"

Award for Excellence in Fashion Design Caitlin Elizabeth MagraneCaitlin Elizabeth Magrane
Award for Excellence in Fashion Design

This award recognizes outstanding academic performance in fashion design and distinguished participation in the activities of the department.

Caitlin is graduating magna cum laude with a B.S. in fashion design with minors in fashion merchandising and product development. She studied abroad in London, where she held an internship in design. Her experience in London inspired her senior collection, Brick Lane, which has a focus on textile design and manipulation, incorporating upcycled materials and an original custom-designed print. She also interned with a Brooklyn-based designer. She was a member of the Marist Dance Ensemble for several semesters. After graduation, Caitlin plans to continue with her design career in New York City.  Page break with Marist "M"

Award for Excellence in Fashion Merchandising Charlotte Elizabeth MartinCharlotte Elizabeth Martin
Award for Excellence in Fashion Merchandising

This award recognizes outstanding academic performance in fashion merchandising and distinguished participation in the activities of the department.

Charlotte is graduating summa cum laude with a B.S in fashion merchandising, concentration in fashion promotion, and a minor in graphic design. She studied abroad in Florence, Italy, and served as digital media coordinator for the 32nd Silver Needle Runway, graphic designer for The Brunch for Future Fashion Leaders, and a capstone director for the FM/AM fashion magazine at Marist. She was a fashion production intern at Kahn Lucas Lancaster, a venue assistant at IMG Worldwide for New York Fashion Week, and a photoshoot intern at Caravan Stylist Studio. Charlotte is also the founder of the National Retail Federation Student Association at Marist, a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma, Fashion Inc., and an ambassador.    Page break with Marist "M"

Emily Elizabeth YenAward for Excellence in Fine Arts Emily Elizabeth Yen
Award for Excellence in Fine Arts

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.

Initially Emily planned to focus on graphic design at Marist but fell in love with fine arts during her sophomore year. She is graduating with a double major in studio art and digital media with a concentration in graphic design. Over the course of her academic career, she has studied abroad in Venice, worked at the Steel Plant Art Gallery, and pursued numerous artistic opportunities. She will begin an M.F.A. program in studio art with a concentration in printmaking at Stony Brook University in the fall, where she will also be a teaching assistant.  Page break with Marist "M"

Award for Excellence in Media Studies and Production Elena Indahia ReyesElena Indahia Reyes
Award for Excellence in Media Studies and Production

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.

Elena majored in media studies and production with a concentration in film and television and minors in music and Spanish language studies. An Honors student, she is a member of the Marist College Television Club, where she served as co-director of the news segment for a semester. Elena volunteered at the New York Latino Film Festival and interned with Door 24 Entertainment. She has a passion for international entertainment, which is rooted in her upbringing in the Dominican Republic as well as her experiences as an FFE student and semester abroad in Spain. Upon graduation, Elena will pursue a career in film and television both on and behind the camera.  

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Award for Excellence in Music recipient James Henry JenkinsJames Henry Jenkins
Award for Excellence in Music

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.

James is graduating with a double major in computer science and cybersecurity. This past January, he and his Capping team had the opportunity to present research on cybersecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic at the 2021 IEEE Computing and Communication Workshop and Conference. He is also active in the Marist Music program, performing in the Concert Band and Marching Band. In the fall, James will be returning to Marist for a fifth year to earn a master’s degree in computer science.  Page break with Marist "M"

Award for Excellence in Computer Science recipient Murray Graeme CaoueslantMurray Graeme Coueslant
The Dr. William Cadden Achievement Award for Excellence in Computer Science 

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.

Murray will graduate summa cum laude with a B.S. in computer science and minors in information technology and information systems. During his time at Marist, he has been a member of the College’s Honors program, varsity Swimming and Diving Team, Student Athlete Advisory Committee, and Standing Committee on Athletics. He has been named to the Dean’s List every semester and is a member of the Alpha Chi national college honor society. He spent time working at the Marist/IBM Joint Study and as a tutor in the Computer Science Department. Upon graduation, Murray will pursue a Ph.D. in computer science at Stony Brook University.  

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Excellence in Info Tech and Systems recipient Joseph Vincent BavaroJoseph Vincent Bavaro
Award for Excellence in Information Technology and Systems 

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.

Joseph pursued a double major in information technology & systems and cybersecurity and a minor in computer science. Collaborating with the Greene County Historical Society (GCHS), he set up an application called Quill that enabled the owner and visiting archivists to record visits in one easy-to-use application. Quill further allowed GCHS to track visitors’ interests and the periods they studied, and to document any requests for future visits. His cybersecurity capstone project analyzed how the pandemic affected the landscape of cybersecurity, especially ISP usage. This paper was published by the IEEE and presented at the IEEE Computing and Communication Workshop and Conference. In the fall, Joseph will pursue a master’s degree in cybersecurity at Sacred Heart University.  Page break with Marist "M"

Award for Excellence in Mathematics recipient Camille Abby RenaudCamille Abbey Renaud
Award for Excellence in Mathematics

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.

Camille will graduate with a degree in applied mathematics and minors in data science & analytics and environmental science. As lead Math Lab tutor, she enjoyed tutoring students in various mathematics courses ranging from Calculus I to Differential Equations. She is president of the Math Club, vice president of Association for Women in Mathematics, and has been inducted into the Pi Mu Epsilon honor society. She participated in an undergraduate research experience at UT Austin and completed her thesis to graduate with honors in applied mathematics. She has accepted a fellowship at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where she will pursue a Ph.D. in applied mathematics.  Page break with Marist "M"

Lauren Marie GabrieleAward for Academic Excellence in Accounting Lauren Marie Gabriele
Award for Academic Excellence in Accounting 

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.

Lauren is graduating with a B.S. in accounting and a minor in music. She spent much of her time at Marist in the Music Department. She is a co-director of The Enharmonics, the only coed a cappella group on campus. She also spent much of her time in Marist’s Business office, where she has been a student worker since her freshman year. She is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma and Alpha Chi national honor societies. After graduation, Lauren will attend Siena College to obtain a master’s degree in accounting with an advanced professional certificate in fraud and digital forensics. After earning her master’s, she hopes to work as a forensic accountant.  Page break with Marist "M"

Award for Academic Excellence in Business Administration – Joseph Anthony Rinaldi Joseph Anthony Rinaldi II
Award for Academic Excellence in Business Administration 

This award acknowledges the senior business administration major who possesses the highest cumulative grade point average.

Joseph is graduating from Marist with a B.S. in business administration with a concentration in human resources and a minor in general communication. He was inducted into the Beta Gamma Sigma business honor society.  He also served as a tutor and participated in extracurricular activities such as the Business Club. He is very appreciative of all his friends and professors at Marist and has cherished the past four years here.  

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Award for Academic Excellence in Economics recipient Julia Mae BlakeJulia Mae Blake
Award for Academic Excellence in Economics 

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. 

Julia is graduating summa cum laude with majors in economics and applied mathematics and a minor in data science and analytics. She was part of the Math Club and Association for Women in Mathematics, and served as a campus tour guide, senior Math Lab tutor, and student employee for Athletics. She studied abroad in Florence, Italy, and enjoyed traveling to more than 10 countries. After her sophomore year, she was an actuarial intern for Prudential Financial, and last summer she interned at S&P Global as a credit analyst, where she will be returning post-graduation. In addition to working full-time, Julia will attend Columbia University part-time for a master’s degree in mathematics of finance.  Page break with Marist "M"

The Glenn Marinelli Award for Excellence in Athletic Training – Elizabeth Claire Abare Elizabeth Claire Abare
The Glenn Marinelli Award for Excellence in Athletic Training

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 is graduating magna cum laude with a B.S. in athletic training. She has completed multiple internships at SUNY New Paltz, Marist College, Ivy Rehab, and Marlboro and Poughkeepsie high schools. In addition to her internships, she has been a member of the Marist College Honors program, volunteered at the Marine Corps Marathon, served as president of Habitat for Humanity, and was secretary of Marist’s Athletic Training Club. Recently, she represented Marist at the Eastern Athletic Trainers’ Association regional quiz bowl. Upon graduation, Elizabeth will be attending the Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions to pursue a Doctorate in Physical Therapy.  Page break with Marist "M"

The Barnes & Noble College Bookstores Award for Excellence in Biology – Allie BestAllie Best
The Barnes & Noble College Bookstores Award for Excellence in Biology 

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.

Allie is graduating summa cum laude with a degree in biology and a minor in mathematics. Her collaborative research with Marist faculty included studying biofilm formation in equine wounds, which resulted in presentations at CURSCA and the Hudson Valley Research Symposium, and a publication in the journal Diversity regarding a new cave locality for Astyanax cave fish. She served as a teaching assistant for the genetics laboratory and was inducted into the Alpha Chi national honor society. Allie is also a Division I basketball player whose team won a conference title and went to the NCAA championship.   

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The Dr. Andrew A. Molloy ’51 Award for Excellence in Chemistry – Katelin Rose HarrisKatelin Rose Harris
The Dr. Andrew A. Molloy ’51 Award for Excellence in Chemistry

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.

Katelin, an Honors student and Division I athlete, is graduating with a B.S. in chemistry and minors in philosophy and mathematics. She interned at Northrop Grumman, where she worked in the Contamination Control Engineering and Chemistry departments. A highlight of this experience was working on the James Webb space telescope. She has earned multiple honors from the American Chemical Society, including 2020-21 ACS scholar, ACS Division of Organic Chemistry outstanding chemistry senior, and the 2020 Mid-Hudson ACS College Recognition Award. The captain of the MAAC championship Water Polo Team, Kaitlin has also been named to the MAAC All-Academic team and an ACWPC scholar athlete - outstanding.   Page break with Marist "M"

The CH Energy Group, Inc. Award for Excellence in Environmental Science & Policy – Kathryn Grace SamarroKathryn Grace Samarro
The CH Energy Group, Inc. Award for Excellence in Environmental Science & Policy 

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.

Kathryn is a student-athlete earning a degree in environmental science and policy with a concentration in environmental science. She has participated in two internships with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; studied abroad with the School for Field Studies in Bocas del Toro, Panama; completed a summer mentorship program with local high school students and scientists at the Cary Institute; and completed an independent research project along a local creek, which she hopes to publish in a scientific journal. Katie is extremely grateful to the Marist staff who have assisted her throughout her tenure at Marist.  Page break with Marist "M"

The Johnson & Johnson Clinical Diagnostic Award for Excellence in Medical Technology – Kristen Marie Mahon Kristen Marie Mahon
The Johnson & Johnson Clinical Diagnostic Award for Excellence in Medical Technology 

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.

Earning a degree in medical technology, Kristen is a member of the Medical Laboratory Sciences Advisory Board and has been on the Dean’s List every semester of her academic career. She has completed clinical laboratory internships at BronxCare, Vassar Brothers, MidHudson Regional, and Putnam hospitals. Upon graduation, Kristin’s goal is to work as a medical technologist in a prestigious hospital lab in Northern New Jersey.  Page break with Marist "M"

The Mary Lou Gantert Award for Excellence in Science – Esabelle Dorothea GervasioEsabelle Dorothea Gervasio
The Mary Lou Gantert Award for Excellence in Science

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. 

Esabelle is an Honors student with a double major in chemistry and mathematics and a minor in biology. She is honored to have conducted faculty-sponsored research in two labs, resulting in her contributions to two publications and several conference presentations. While completing her studies, she was a diver and captain of the Marist Swimming and Diving Team, worked as an assistant resident director, assisted Marist’s COVID 19 surveillance testing initiative, and volunteered at local foodbanks. After graduation, Esa will work as a medical assistant and intends to begin medical school in 2022.Page break with Marist "M"

The Boehringer Ingelheim Award for Excellence in Scientific Research – Jonathan Culbert VoseJonathan Culbert Vose
The Boehringer Ingelheim Award for Excellence in Scientific Research

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.

Jonathan is graduating summa cum laude with an ACS certified degree in chemistry with a concentration in biochemistry. A member of the Honors program, he is actively involved in Marist College ambassadors and the ACS Club at Marist. He received the 2020 ACS Analytical Division and 2021 ACS Organic Division undergraduate awards. He conducted research for three semesters and one summer at Marist in chemistry and biology, receiving his first publication in the Journal of the American Society of Brewing Chemists. Jonathan will be attending Johns Hopkins University after graduation to pursue a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology.  Page break with Marist "M"

The Andrew Lutakome Kayiira Award for Excellence in Criminal Justice – Evan Victor Fernández

Evan Victor Fernández
The Andrew Lutakome Kayiira Award for Excellence in Criminal Justice 

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.

Evan has earned a B.S. in criminal justice with a certificate in paralegal studies and has already begun his Master of Public Administration with a concentration in ethical leadership at Marist. He completed an internship with the United States Marshals Service at their Eastern District of New York office. He served as president of the Criminal Justice Club and of Alpha Phi Sigma, the criminal justice honor society, and was vice president of safety and security for the Student Government Association. Evan is commissioning as an officer into the New York Army National Guard Military Police Corps and has plans to pursue a career as a federal agent.    

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The St. Marcellin Champagnat Award for Excellence in Education – Bianca Lee Gibbons-MoralesBianca Lee Gibbons-Morales
The St. Marcellin Champagnat Award for Excellence in Education 

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.

A psychology/special education major, Bianca completed the Childhood Grades 1-6/Students with Disabilities program and earned her initial certifications in elementary and special education. She completed her student teaching at Brinckerhoff Elementary School and is a member of Kappa Delta Pi, the education honor society. Bianca was involved in Best Buddies, Teachers of Tomorrow, weekly community service, and the Peer Mentor program. She also worked as a campus tour guide and a Zumba instructor. She is currently working as a substitute special education teacher. After graduation, she will seek a full-time position as an elementary school teacher.  Page break with Marist "M"

Award for Excellence in Psychology – Hallie Rose LothropHallie Rose Lothrop
Award for Excellence in Psychology

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.

Hallie is from Bow, NH, and is completing her bachelor’s degree in psychology with minors in social work and cognitive science. A member of the Honors program, she studied her entire freshman year at Marist’s branch campus in Florence, Italy. She completed internships at Liberty Partnership and the Early Learning Center in Poughkeepsie, and was a part of a select group that interned one summer at Sprout Creek farm. Hallie was a resident assistant on campus and is a member of the Psi Chi national honor society. Upon graduation, she will attend the University of Massachusetts at Amherst to pursue a doctoral degree in school psychology.  Page break with Marist "M"

The Eileen Taylor-Appleby Award for Excellence in Social Work – Amanda DeTiberiisAmanda DeTiberiis
The Eileen Taylor-Appleby Award for Excellence in Social Work 

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.

From Wading River, NY, Amanda is a social work major with a minor in sociology. She has served as both the vice president and president of the Marist Social Work Association, as well as the mental health liaison on the Marist Board for Safety and Security. Amanda had a key role in re-establishing the Peer Mentor Buddy program and has participated in community events, such as the Out of the Darkness walk for suicide awareness and prevention. After graduation, Amanda will pursue an M.S.W. at New York University Silver School of Social Work.  Page break with Marist "M"

Award for Excellence in English – Olivia Mary ManganOlivia Mary Mangan
Award for Excellence in English

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.

Olivia is graduating summa cum laude with majors in English and adolescence education and a minor in creative writing. She is a member of the Sigma Tau Delta and Alpha Chi honor societies and is the president of Marist’s chapter of Kappa Delta Pi. At Marist, she was a peer tutor at the Writing Center. She also student taught at Van Wyck Junior High School in Wappingers Falls and Franklin D. Roosevelt High School in Hyde Park. Olivia received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant grant to Taiwan and will begin teaching there in the fall.  

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The Brother Joseph L. R. Bélanger, FMS, Award for Excellence in French – Erin Elizabeth EldridgeErin Elizabeth Eldridge
The Brother Joseph L. R. Bélanger, FMS, Award for Excellence in French 

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.

Erin is an Honors student, with majors in political science and French and a minor in Latin American and Caribbean studies. She interned for the Franco-American Center, Scenic Hudson, and the Rt Hon. Diane Abbott MP in London, where she studied abroad as a Hansard scholar. She was also a Tarver scholar, and she served as director of the Elections Commission in the Student Government Association. Now, Erin hopes to become a Fulbright scholar to continue research in Francophone countries.  Page break with Marist "M"

Award for Excellence in History – Ryan StevensRyan Stevens
Award for Excellence in History

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. 

Ryan, a covert punk rocker who hails from Midland Park, NJ, is an Honors student graduating with a B.A. in history, minors in WGSS and philosophy, and a paralegal certificate. He is a member of the music community at Marist as a trumpet player and as the president of Tau Beta Sigma, the national honorary band sorority. He will pursue an interdisciplinary master’s degree in experimental humanities at New York University this fall.     \Page break with Marist "M"

Award for Excellence in Philosophy – Robert SchmidtRobert Schmidt
Award for Excellence in Philosophy

Robert, from Staten Island, NY, is a philosophy and political science double major with minors in music and mathematics. He is a member of the Honors program and the Marist Band, and was an opinion writer for the Marist Circle. He interned with New York State Senator Andrew Lanza in Constituent Services. He enjoys playing the flute, saxophone, and guitar. Upon graduation, Robert is heading to Emory Law School, where he will likely focus on intellectual property law. He is interested in becoming involved in government and making music after law school.

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Award for Excellence in Political Science – Amelia Anne MorelAmelia Anne Morel
Award for Excellence in Political Science

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.

Amelia is a double major in political science and communication with a journalism concentration. She studied abroad in London with the Hansard Scholars program while interning with Shout Out UK. She has worked at the Marist Poll since Fall 2017 as an interviewer, coach, media assistant, and now production assistant for the Poll’s “Poll Hub” podcast. She also participated in the Washington, DC, semester program, where she interned with Hill.TV. Upon graduation, Amelia hopes to work at a radio or TV station in New York City in a production role.

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The Dr. Raymond Weiss Award for Excellence in Spanish – Malia Anne WalshMalia Anne Walsh
The Dr. Raymond Weiss Award for Excellence in Spanish 

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. Malia is a double major in economics and Spanish.

Growing up in Hawaii, Malia fostered a love for diverse languages and cultures. She declared Spanish as a second major and studied abroad in Madrid, where she forged meaningful relationships with her host mother and peers while volunteering and completing an internship. Her study abroad experiences helped her to achieve a bilingual proficiency in Spanish. She completed independent research on the motif of travel in Hispanic literature and completed an Honors thesis under the guidance of her Spanish professor. Malia is a second-year resident assistant and an active participant in the Emerging Leaders program. Following graduation, she plans to use her Spanish as a business development intern at 1-800-Flowers.com.

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The Thomas Casey Award for Public Praxis – Elena Indahia ReyesElena Indahia Reyes
The Thomas Casey Award for Public Praxis

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.

Elena is a media studies and production major with a Spanish language studies minor. She has worked at the Center for Civic Engagement and Leadership as the community-based learning course coordinator for three years, assisting numerous faculty members with their community-based learning courses. Through the CCEL she volunteered as a book buddy and worked to create a course that centered on census outreach for the Hispanic community in Poughkeepsie. She also serves the College as a student representative on the ad hoc Committee for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Curriculum. Post-graduation, she will pursue a career in entertainment.

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The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion Excellence Award – Victoria Palmer HowardVictoria Palmer Howard
The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion Excellence Award

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.

Victoria is graduating magna cum laude with a major in political science and a minor in public relations. She served as director of the Elections Commission in Student Government and recruitment director for Marist’s Up ’Til Dawn campaign. She spent a summer in Washington, DC, working for a nonprofit with a mission to increase young women in politics. She has worked at MIPO for three years, beginning as an interviewer and working in various leadership roles. She now serves as field assistant and aims to continue this role post-graduation. Later, she hopes to pursue an M.B.A. and Master of Public Policy, focusing on corporate social responsibility.

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Award for Academic Excellence in the School of Professional Programs – Katherine R. SantoiemmoKatherine R. Santoiemmo
Award for Excellence in the School of Professional Programs

This award is made annually to a graduate in the professional studies or management studies major who has demonstrated overall academic excellence.

Katherine serves as the executive assistant to President Dennis J. Murray at Marist College, where she has worked since 2008.  Before joining the Marist family, she spent 24 years as a legal assistant/paralegal for the law firm of Gerard J. Pisanelli, Esq., in Poughkeepsie. She is graduating summa cum laude with a B.S. in liberal studies and as a member of the Alpha Sigma Lambda honor society. She is also a Phi Theta Kappa graduate of Dutchess Community College, where she earned her paralegal certificate. Kathy is proud to volunteer her time in the local community with the Pleasant Valley Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary, an organization she has served for more than 35 years.

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The Spirit of Adult Education Award – Rebecca R. SantangeloRebecca R. Santangelo
The Spirit of Adult Education

This award honors the unique academic commitment required by the adult student, who is often juggling their academic studies, family responsibilities, career, and community involvement. It is given to a graduating adult who has excelled in their course work; engaged in the academic process, including building relationships with faculty and peers; and demonstrated leadership both in and out of the classroom.  

Rebecca is graduating with a B.A. in professional studies. In addition to professional studies, her areas of focus were organizational communication and legal studies. She is graduating as a member of the Alpha Sigma Lambda honor society. For the past 20 years, Becky’s career has been focused in the legal industry, and she is eager to apply what she has learned during her time at Marist to her employment managing a New Jersey law firm.  She would like to thank her professors and advisor at Marist for their guidance and support. She also owes a large amount of gratitude to her family, without their encouragement and assistance none of this would be possible.   

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The Hermitage Community Service Award – Grace Mitchell GillespieGrace Mitchell Gillespie
The Hermitage Community Service Award

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.

Grace is a fashion merchandising major with a concentration in fashion promotion and a minor in business. She has always dedicated her time to volunteer and give back to the community. She was the student coordinator for Campus Ministry, where she served on the Advisory Board for three years, and was a Community Service Board member for the Business Club. She participated in community service at St. Peter School and Community Service Day at Needle and Thread Haystack for four semesters. She volunteered at Dress for Success, led a freshmen retreat, and organized three freshmen women’s spirit groups. Grace also helped to coordinate a Hunger Walk t-shirt with MPorium that raised more than $700 for Hunger Month.  Page break with Marist "M"

Alumni Leadership Award - Natalie Doretta FordNatalie Doretta Ford
Alumni Leadership Award

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.

Natalie was lured to Marist by the Fashion program, where she embraced the opportunity to expand her creative talents. She also made leadership a part of her daily life. She served as the Class of 2021 president during an extremely challenging year and played an integral role in the plans for Marist’s on-ground commencement ceremonies. She also participated in Campus Ministry and the Marist Community Garden, served as a Santa Maria del Fiore Tour Guide, and volunteered at New York Fashion Week. After graduation, Natalie will begin an internship with Coach Product Development through their parent company, Tapestry.       

Zachary JacobsAlumni Leadership Award - Zachary Jacobs
Alumni Leadership Award

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.


Zachary has served as an Admission ambassador all four years at Marist. He has been an active member of Campus Ministry and Residence Hall Council, and has represented Marist at the National Athletic Trainers Association. He had a case study poster presentation included in the Eastern Athletic Trainers Association conference and was named the N.A.T.A. student-writing contest winner this year. He has also served as a medical volunteer at the New York City Marathon and the Marine Corps Marathon. After graduation, Zachary will begin an athletic training internship with the Seattle Seahawks NFL team before applying to a Doctorate in Physical Therapy program.