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June 2020 Newsletter

Honor societies welcome new members

More than 50 undergraduate and graduate students were inducted into the Marist chapters of two business honor organizations during online ceremonies held in April.

Thirty-four undergraduates and three MBA students became members of Beta Gamma Sigma, the international honor society for business, during an online induction ceremony on April 26. Founded in 1913, the society is active only in schools that are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB); membership is by invitation only and is considered the most prestigious recognition for students of business.

Congratulations to these 2020 Beta Gamma Sigma inductees: 

Victor Allegretti ’21  Alexandra Augusztin ’21
Caroline Baratta ’20 Sumi Batas ’21
Andrea Bernardi ’21 Nathan Bernstein ’21
Nicole Chamberland ‘21 Brendan Cooke '20
Ryan Cuccia ‘21 Jamie Duthie ’21
Hunter Embury ’21 Jamison Embury ’21
Caroline Farrell ’21 John Foster ’21
Michael Guerriero ’21 Skylar Harrison ’21
Samantha Hickey ’21 Olivia Jennings ’21
Shakhodat Khanbabaeva ’21 Jillian Labruzzo ’20
Elise Maddaloni ’21 Julia Mangan ’21
Daniel Martin ’20 Emily Masi ’21
Joy Moriarty ’21 John Oxner ’21
Francesca Pagano ’20 Megan Polzer ’21
Joseph Rinaldi ’21 Veronica Rizzo ’20
Jacob Ruthazer ’21 August Unger ’21
Carley Wells ’21 Rebeccah Wood ’21
Michele Connor-Shephard MBA Brian Fitzgerald MBA
Cassandra Saad MBA Kenneth Vicenzi MBA


The Marist chapter of Beta Alpha Psi, the honor society for financial information students and professionals, held its annual induction ceremony online on April 30. The event officially welcomed 13 students as new members of the society; the chapter’s 2020-21 officers were also introduced.

Congratulations to the following new members:

Thomas (Mauloa) Akina ’22 Emily Daly ’21
Sofia Galvez ’21 Rachel Gonzales ’20
Olivia Jennings ’20 Matthew Kutz ’21
Brendan McCarthy ’20 Ada Mugisha ’20
Bryan Nienstadt ’20 Julia Pallotta ’20
Kiera Roth ’21 Austin Sisk ’22

Nina Vragolic ’21


Officers and executive board members:

Morgan Handel ’21 – President

Rachel Gonzales ’20 – Vice President

Olivia Jennings ’20 -- Treasurer

Ryan Blaustein ’20 – Secretary

Bryan Nienstadt ’20 – Reporter

Thomas (Mauloa) Akina ’22 – New Member Coordinator

Sofia Galvez ’21 and Austin Sisk ’22 – Community Service Co-chairs

IN THE PHOTO: Darlene Embury, mother of juniors (and twin brothers) Jamison and Hunter Embury, took this photo to commemorate her sons’ induction into Beta Gamma Sigma


Students lauded for independent research

Another casualty of the pandemic was the Marist Celebration of Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity (better known as CURSCA). In previous years, students from throughout the college presented the results of their research projects, often in poster form, to the community at large during a one-day event. While the event was canceled, those undergrads – and their mentors – were recognized in a printed program.

Listed below are the SoM students who took part in CURSCA this year, along with the titles of their research projects. Associate Professor of Management Caroline Rider was the faculty mentor for the first 10 students on this list; Assistant Professor of Marketing Vernon Murray acted as mentor for Julia Solin and Holly Shea.

Gabriella Azzariti ’20: “HoneyHoney and Ambrosia: Lèvres pour Toujours"

Jana Brzovski ’21: “JBZ Snacks and Lena’s Schokolade: Gluten-Free Pretzels in Germany”

Elizabeta Dushaj ’20: “Avon Pharma and Shkoder Fields: Erzna in the Albanian Market”

Nicole Farishian ’21: “DaVinci Worldwide + Judge Sports: Erg Boards in Morocco”

Naomi Hephzibah ’20: “Golden Beauty and Natural Essence: Natural Hair Care in Ghana”

Cade McNaughton ’20: “Prax + Netherlands Med: Updated Medical Devices”

Selena Mildon ’21: “Honeyworks and Manuka Med: Manuka Heal in New Zealand”

Pedro Nobrega ’20: “Noxx & Sons + Alpha in Brazil”

Alexandra Schmitt ’20: “ArmUS and Ukrbron: Battlefield Tech for Ukraine”

Ryan Wertlieb ’20: “Clean Cosmetics and Green Glam: Glan Glam in Ireland”

Julia Solin ’20 and Holly Shea ’20: “A Comparison of Russian and American Female Sex Trafficking Victim Modalities”

Congratulations to all 12 students and their faculty mentors.


SoM students awarded for academic excellence

Congratulations are extended to the following seven students who were honored with academic awards.

The Mid-Hudson Valley chapter of the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants held its annual Outstanding Students Award Ceremony on April 23. Along with Marist, six other local colleges – Mount Saint Mary College; SUNY New Paltz; and Dutchess, Orange, Ulster and Sullivan community colleges – submitted nominees for the honors.

Marist’s Bryan Sosa Alvarenga ’19 won the chapter’s Graduate Award. Born and raised in El Salvador, Alvarenga did not speak English when he arrived in the U.S. in 2009. Consequently, he focused on mathematics, and eventually chose to study accounting. He earned his bachelor’s degree in 2019 and accepted a position at Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh. During his senior year, Alvarenga enrolled in the Master of Science in Professional Accountancy program, which he will complete in August; his goal is to pursue a CPA.

The chapter’s Undergraduate Award was presented to Marist’s Stephanie Secor ’20. A resident of Slingerlands, New York, Secor majored in both accounting and business administration and is currently enrolled in the Master of Science in Professional Accountancy program. A member of Beta Alpha Psi and the Investment Club, she served as a Marist Ambassador, an SoM Peer and Honors Program mentor, and was active with Campus Ministry. She interned at KPMG and will join that firm’s Stamford, Connecticut office in December.

IN THE PHOTO: A screenshot of the virtual Outstanding Students Awards Ceremony hosted by the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants

Commencement accounting awards were presented to Amanda Young (Graduate Accounting Award) and Emily Ecklund (Baccalaureate Award).

The two women share several similarities. They are members of both Beta Gamma Sigma and Beta Alpha Psi, and last year held leadership positions in the latter organization (Young was president, Ecklund vice president). Both were active on campus: Young as a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority, an accounting tutor and with the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. Ecklund served as an officer on her Residence Hall Council in each of her four years; she was also a member of the Marist Dance Ensemble and Marist Singers. Lastly, Young and Ecklund both are enrolled in the Dual Degree in Accounting program. Once they complete the program in August, Young will begin working at PwC in New York, while Ecklund will join EY in Philadelphia.

The Baccalaureate Award for Academic Excellence in Business Administration was presented to Reanna Marie Notarantonio. A member of Beta Gamma Sigma and the Alpha Chi national college honor society, Reanna’s area of emphasis was finance, and she served as co-president of the Investment Club. She has accepted a position with Bloomberg in New York.

Spencer Hogan is the recipient of two baccalaureate awards: for Academic Excellence in economics, and the Alumni Leadership Award. Along with completing an internship at the White House (see below), he served as executive vice president of the Student Government Association and as president of the Business Club. In August, he will begin his career as a management consultant with Accenture Federal Services.

The recipient of the 2020 School of Management Internship Award is Daniel Confredo.

Each year, the Center for Career Services honors seven graduating seniors – one from each of the college’s schools – for internship recognition. Confredo graduated with a double major in accounting and business administration (finance concentration). In his nomination letter, Prof. Joseph Porter notes that Confredo “has a nearly perfect GPA” and completed a “job-relevant internship experience” at Morgan Stanley. He has accepted an offer to work at the Big Four accounting firm PwC.


Ladies First

The School of Management’s newest student organization, Marist Women in Business (MWIB), got up and running during the pandemic-shortened spring semester.

The organization was spearheaded by CEO Jana Brzovski ’21. “Our goal is to develop a community with space to network and expand our personal and professional horizons,” she said. “We hope to discuss the nitty-gritty issues that women face in the workforce and encourage female empowerment.”

After receiving positive feedback from an introductory meeting earlier in the year, MWIB hosted a student internship panel on Feb. 18. Six students – including Brzovski and Natalie Slawuta ’20 (profiled below) – spoke about their internship experiences at firms like Tiffany & Co. and Morgan Stanley. About 20 people attended, which was “better than we had hoped,” Brzovski said. “Internship is a major buzzword, so we thought this would be a great kickoff event.” On May 5, the organization collaborated with the SoM Career Center to host “Building Your Personal Brand,” a virtual presentation given by Jaclyn Lewandowski, a branch manager at Robert Half, a human resource consulting firm.

While still on campus, Brzovski -- along with fellow “C Suite” members Megan Konfino ’21 (COO), Caitlyn Little ’21 (CIO), Julia Mangan ’21 (CFO) and Francesca Pagano ’20 (CMO) – held weekly brainstorming meetings in order to plan three events per month. “We want to know what members want to see,” Brzovski said; upcoming topics include social media behavior, a LinkedIn workshop, and a “Tea Talk” activity hour. Professor of Management and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs Joanne Gavin is the faculty adviser.

Interested students can get information via Instagram (@WIBmarist) or email (WIBmarist@gmail.com). Men are welcome to attend; in fact, says Brzovski, “it’s important that they come.”

IN THE PHOTO (from left): Jana Brzovski ‘21, Natalie Slawuta ‘20, Francesca Pagano ‘20, Alexis Smith ‘21, Lindsey Huffield ‘20, and Megan McLoone ’20 spoke about internships at the Women in Business meeting in February


Grads get career advice from Board of Advisors members

Senior Week, the commencement ceremony, graduation parties with family and friends: Because of COVID-19, all of these once-in-a-lifetime events were canceled (or postponed) for the class of 2020. In an effort to support these soon-to-be alumni, the SoM’s Board of Advisors Engagement Committee developed a unique program to address the ins and outs of finding a job.

Eighteen board members made virtual contact with 70 graduating seniors. During these one-on-one meetings, board members offered career advice – including job search tips, resume writing help, and interview guidance. Greg Garville ’74, senior executive advisor at Brookside Equity Partners and a board member, was the impetus behind this effort, which was organized by SoM Development Officer Stephen Gnojewski and SoM Career Center Director Linda Haas-Manley. “This was a wonderful mentoring opportunity for seniors that allowed them to make personal connections with successful industry professionals,” said Haas-Manley.

Both board members and graduates found value in taking part in the program. “It was incredibly useful to gain insight on both the future of the job market and also on how to differentiate myself from other candidates,” said Griffin Simonds ’20.

“I have spoken one-on-one to six or seven students and also hosted a Zoom call that was attended by about 20 students,” said Michael Babic ’04. “I feel the biggest thing that people can do right now is maintain connectivity. Those students and alumni who focus on over-communicating will put themselves in the best position to be successful.” 

Our most sincere thanks to these Board of Advisors members for extending a helping hand to our newest graduates.

Mark Avagliano ’98 Michael Babic ’04
Chris Capone ’84 John Carberry ’76
Paul Curran ’84, P’16 Greg Garville ’74
Kevin Hogan ’02 Tim Keneally ’69
Michael Marchesano ’78 Michael Medley ’90
Frank Minerva ’76 Alyssa Moeder ’89
Thomas Murray ’02 David Newton P’17
Stephen Popper ’92 Michael Pratt ’92 MPA ’00
Paul Stento ’90 Kim Viggiano ’02

Faculty Focus

IN THE PHOTO: Associate Professor of Marketing Elizabeth Purinton-Johnson delivers 25 face masks to a representative from Liberty Station, a housing facility for veterans located in Poughkeepsie. The professor made the masks for the residents, many of whom were homeless prior to moving into the facility.

Although the Student Government Association’s annual Faculty Awards Luncheon – which salutes outstanding faculty members from each school – was canceled, the honorees did not go unrecognized. This video was produced by the SGA to honor both faculty and student award winners. Assistant Professor of Management Hans Cheng was named Faculty Member of the Year for the School of Management. And the SoM’s Professor of Strategy, Helen Rothberg, was honored as the overall Marist Faculty Member of the Year. In the video, Student Body Executive Vice President Spencer Hogan ’20 (a business and economics major) comments on Rothberg’s “mentally demanding” capstone class, during which she “juxtaposes corporate war games with poetry and tough love. While students emerge in need of some extra sleep, they also take with them one of the greatest feelings of accomplishment they will experience in their academic careers.” Congratulations to Dr. Cheng and Dr. Rothberg.

Finance professors John Finnigan and Brian Haughey have been busy this spring. Along with their counterparts in marketing, human resources, entrepreneurship and international business, they discussed the business emphasis in finance during several live Q&A sessions with accepted students held in mid-April. The pair offered solid advice during “Budgeting and Finance Tips During COVID-19,” a webinar for current students hosted by Alumni Relations Assistant Director Amanda Benton ’11 on April 29. On a related note: Stefanie Cusano MPA ’16, the assistant director of Student Financial Services, will teach two sections of the one-credit Financial Literacy (BUS 120) course this fall. “The final exam will be to attend the Making Cent$ life fair,” said Cusano. “The purpose of this event is to give our students hands-on experience of what it will be like to receive a paycheck and make financial decisions based on the necessities of their lifestyle. It is not only fun but educational, and it will teach students the true meaning of wants versus needs.”

Assistant Professor of Business Law Thomas M. Madden has had two research papers published recently. “Mandatory Pre-Dispute Arbitration: An Alternative Approach” was published this spring by the Michigan State Law Review. Madden’s “Law and Strategy and Ethics?” appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics.

Held during the academic year, the Research Seminar Series (RSS) is a monthly program in which faculty members gather for lunch and a research presentation given either by an SoM colleague or an academic from another college. The May 6 presentation, “Redistribution Through Markets,” was given as a webinar by Associate Professor Scott Kominers of Harvard Business School. Professor Thomas Madden, the series organizer, reports that approximately 30 faculty logged into the program.


Our woman in Washington

“I like to do things that take me out of my comfort zone, that relate to the real world,” says Natalie Slawuta ’20, a first-generation American citizen and the second member of her Marist graduating class to complete an internship at the White House.

A resident of Wanaque, New Jersey, Slawuta majors in business with a dual concentration in finance and entrepreneurship. The daughter of Polish immigrants, she was accepted into the White House Internship Program for the fall 2019 semester after completing an arduous application process.

Interestingly, the application itself taught Slawuta a lesson she feels will help in her career. “I didn’t tell too many people when I applied to the White House, but some said, ‘Oh, don’t get your hopes up.’ I constantly doubted myself. So when I got that acceptance, I just cried hysterically. They accept less than two percent of applicants, but it would have been a zero percent chance had I not applied. You have to keep that mentality.”

What prompted her to apply in the first place? “I relate it to my family,” she says. “I wanted to give back because of my parents, who immigrated here and are literally living the American dream. I thought about joining the army, but I don’t have the muscles for that, so I figured I’d use my brain.”

Slawuta served in the office of Kellyanne Conway, the senior counselor to the president. Her duties – which included conducting policy research, summarizing polling results and drafting speeches – centered around the opioid crisis. “We saw a decrease in opioid deaths, about 5.1 percent, for the first time since 1990,” she says. Women’s issues, including the military spouse employment program, were another area of focus.

Interns are invited to attend weekly talks by senior administration officials; Slawuta found former Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and HUD Secretary Ben Carson especially interesting and instructive. “I learned so much, I actually took notes during each presentation,” she says. When Conway was scheduled to speak, Slawuta introduced her to the group. “I grew up with Polish being my first language,” she says. “Introducing Kellyanne, making presentations on the opioid crisis to my peers, and just meeting all these people really boosted my confidence – something that will definitely help me in the business realm.”

And how does Slawuta envision her career? “Prior to interning at the White House, I was set on working at a bank on Wall Street,” she says. “But being involved with bipartisan issues related to our nation really opened my eyes. Now I’m definitely leaning toward becoming involved in public service after graduation.”

One of her internship’s most memorable – and emotional – moments took place when she brought her mother and best friend to the White House. “As we walked through the gates,” she recalls, “my friend asked Mom if she ever imagined that her daughter would be interning for the president of the United States. My mother said no, and just bawled. That was really awesome.”

IN THE PHOTO: Dorota Slawuta with her daughter, Natalie, in front of the White House

Slawuta’s classmate, Spencer Hogan ’20, also completed an internship at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue; read about his experience here.


Alumni Profile – Michael Babic ’04

A native of Queens, New York, Michael Babic ’04 is a first-generation American: His parents emigrated from Croatia “and executed the American dream,” he says, “through hard work, consistency, and focusing their efforts and funds on ensuring that both my brother and I got a quality education.” A new member of the SoM Board of Advisors, Babic earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Marist in 2004; currently, he is the head of FICC Execution Services, Americas at Goldman Sachs in New York. He and his wife Christin (nee Psak), also a 2004 Red Fox alumnus, reside in New Jersey with their three children: nine-year-old Sonja, seven-year-old John, and three-year-old Catherine. The importance of family is a strong motivator for Babic. “I owe it to my parents to continue making my education pay off,” he says. “Not only by seeking career success, but by passing a strong work ethic on to my children, while keeping solid roots in our faith and community.”

Q: Would you give us a brief overview of your career so far?

A: My first finance experience – and first summer job -- was in the mailroom at Lehman Brothers. That job gave me the resume-builder to intern for two summers in operations at Deutsche Bank. And that experience helped me to land my first grad job, which was in the rotational program at Deutsche Bank.

I always wanted to be in sales. I tried for years, but with no success. In 2007 I moved to a start-up, FX Market Space, to get sales experience. My first sales role was short-lived: The financial crisis happened in 2008, and our company shut down.

I was grateful that my network helped me a lot. My first boss from Deutsche Bank called me in 2008 to see if I would work for him at Citibank, where he was running their FX prime brokerage and global electronic sales businesses. I spent the next five years at Citibank, ending as a director of FX sales.

My move to Goldman Sachs in 2014 was an opportunity to run a business: They reached out for help in building their electronic FX franchise. Recently, I was given responsibility for electronic distribution of the Americas fixed-income business.

Q: Would you describe what your current role involves?

A: I manage our execution services business. Simply put, we deliver clients an efficient way to access and trade with Goldman Sachs electronically across our FICC (Fixed Income, Currencies, Commodities) franchise.

First, we are a client-centric business, providing tier one sales coverage to Goldman Sachs clients, access to markets and liquidity, and innovative problem-solving. Second, we anticipate client needs and build strategies that meet those needs and generate revenue. While our focus is electronic, the personal relationships are paramount. They always are, and that will never change.

Q: How has your industry changed since you began your career?

A: The industry has always focused on candidates with the “right” undergraduate education. The quality of candidates that we’ve seen over the past three to five years has significantly increased. Recruitment has moved from direct hiring processes at target schools to online interviews, where firms see candidates from schools they historically did not focus on. In my opinion, this has forced the industry to cast a wider net to ensure they are hiring the best and brightest students. In the past, students from schools like Marist weren’t on the radar. But the college has changed its curriculum – which is significantly different than when I was here – and hired professors that have relevant industry experience. This gives the students a completely different skill set, and now you see them getting jobs at places like Goldman Sachs. That did not happen with the same cadence when I was here. And that’s a big deal.

Q: On February 7, you spent the day at the SoM as an executive-in-residence. What do you feel are the duties of that role?

A: A big part is bringing applicable feedback to the students. Students tend to not see what’s right in front of them; sometimes having someone like me come back can be significantly more impactful. What I hope the executive-in-residence title shows is that I have a story and path that I think it’s good for students to know. If I can help just one student get started on a career, that’s value added.

Q: What’s the biggest change you see on the campus since you were a student here?

A: Besides looking different, the availability the students have to resources is night and day from when I was here – and in a good way. The college, and the School of Management in particular, is focused on providing the best value to parents and students. The people coming out of school now are more prepared and more confident in the value they bring to the table. I think the school is doing a good job in preparing students to not just compete for, but to get, better jobs.


Play golf, socialize... and support SoM students

The second annual School of Management Board of Advisors Golf Outing will take place on September 3 at the Trump National Golf Club Hudson Valley in Stormville, New York. Proceeds from this event support both the SoM Scholarship Fund, which provides financial assistance to qualified SoM seniors, and the newly established SoM Advisory Board Endowed Scholarship.

The outing will honor Tim Brier ’69, cofounder of Priceline.com and a Marist College trustee, for his business success, entrepreneurial leadership, and ongoing support of the college.

To register, click here. For further information, contact SoM Development Officer Stephen Gnojewski (845-575-3447 or Stephen.Gnojewski@marist.edu).

**Please note: Due to the public health emergency, format and date are subject to change. **