Student Achievement

Class of 2021 Graduates Pt. 2

Kenneth Guillaume ’20

Friday, May 28—The Class of 2021 has proven resilient despite the challenges they have faced over the last year, and now they are being celebrated for their achievements. Students from across the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, School of Liberal Arts, and the School of Management are highlighted below because of their immense academic and personal achievements. This selection of students are baccalaureate recipients who have excelled while at Marist and have been active members of the Marist community.

Read about Evan Fernandez, a Puerto Rico native who has earned the rank of Second Lieutenant in the US Army; Olivia Mangan, who is about to start her Fulbright placement in Taiwan teaching English; and Joseph Rinaldi, who grew up close to Marist and looks back proudly at what he achieved.

Evan Fernandez
Criminal Justice major and Certificate in Paralegal Studies
The Andrew Lutakome Kayiira Award for Excellence in Criminal Justice

Image of Marist graduate Evan Fernandez Evan Fernandez ’21 became an active member of the Marist community when he decided to attend Marist. Joining the Marist Army ROTC, Criminal Justice Club, Alpha Phi Sigma the Criminal Justice Honors Society, Alpha Phi Delta, Student Government, among more has shaped Fernandez into the student he is today.

Fernandez was drawn to Marist from Puerto Rico because of the Criminal Justice program, a path he knew was in his future seeing his father work for Homeland Security all his life. “I decided to come to Marist because of the tremendous quality of the Criminal Justice undergraduate program. With the hands-on experience, internships afforded, friends made, and the opportunities it has given me to network, the major has certainly delivered,” Fernandez said.

Fernandez credits Dr. Frank Merenda, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice; Dr. Addrain Conyers, Chair of Criminal Justice; Dr. Julie Raines, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice; and Dr. Molly Buchanan, Assistant Director of Criminal Justice, for helping him thrive in the Criminal Justice program and professionally.

“Their flexibility and support over the last four years enabled me to be the best version of myself. They served as my academic and extracurricular advisors for the Criminal Justice Club and Criminal Justice Honor Society. They also afforded me the connections that resulted in my internship with the United States Marshals Service, a federal agency that I hope to join in the near future,” Fernandez said.

One of his fondest memories of Marist lies within the relationships he formed in his fraternity, Alpha Phi Delta. “Being away from everyone I love in Puerto Rico was not so hard once I joined my fraternity. I never had a biological brother, but now thanks to my decision to come to Marist, I have hundreds,” Fernandez said.

Upon graduation, Fernandez will be serving in the United States Army at the rank of Second Lieutenant in the New York National Guard Military Police Corps, hoping to follow in his father's footsteps and work for a federal agency. “ I hope to one day further pursue public service by being a federal agent, like my father before me,” Fernandez said.

Additionally, Fernandez has already begun his studies to earn his Masters in Public Administration concentrated in Ethical Leadership at Marist.

Olivia Mangan
Adolescence Education and English major with a Creative Writing minor
Award for Excellence in English and Fulbright Scholar

Image of Marist graduate Olivia Mangan In just a few months, Olivia Mangan ’21 will be traveling to Taipei, Taiwan, to teach English as part of her Fulbright U.S. Student Grant. Mangan will be the 30th student from Marist to have been awarded a Fulbright placement.

The last four years at Marist and the people and professors she met helped shape her future and the professional she has become. The most important influence has been her twin sister, also a graduating Red Fox, Julia. “I am so grateful to have gone to school with my best friend, and I would not be where I am today if I did not have her by my side every step of the way,” Mangan said.

Mangan was drawn to Marist because of the education program; however, being a Red Fox was already a part of her family. “Marist College has a stellar education program, and I knew this would be of great benefit to me. One of my cousins graduated from Marist ahead of me and loved it, so it certainly came with a strong recommendation!” Mangan said.

Coming from an Irish-American family, Mangan pursued the opportunity to travel to Ireland as part of a spring attachment with Dr. Lea Graham, Associate Professor of English. During this attachment, she connected with her lineage and gained a new perspective on a familiar culture. “I especially enjoyed this travel experience because I learned a lot about Irish literature and music, and I met such a great group of students. This was my first time visiting the Emerald Isle, which made it particularly special,” Mangan said.

The aspiring teacher has spent her time helping other Marist students through the College's Writing Center, a placement she believes has sharpened her skills as an educator. “The Writing Center has been a great asset in helping me to improve my tutoring skills and become more effective in my abilities to guide others through the writing process,” Mangan said.

Following her placement as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Taiwan, Mangan plans to receive her master’s degree and pursue a career in middle school teaching. She hopes to bring all the skills she learns in Taiwan to the American education system. “I plan to integrate new teaching strategies that I learn while in Taiwan and incorporate those techniques into my lesson plans to promote alternative ways of learning by which my students can succeed,” Mangan said.

Joseph Rinaldi
Business Administration major with a concentration in Human Resources and a Communication minor
Award for Academic Excellence in Business Administration

Image of Marist graduate Joseph Rinaldi Growing up in the Hudson Valley, Marist was always in the back of Joseph Rinaldi’s mind when he started his college search. Following his first visit to the campus, Marist quickly became his number one school for many reasons, the most prominent being the School of Management and the class sizes.

“Since I knew I wanted to study business, the strength of the Business program at Marist was a big selling point. I also thought the college provided a better learning experience than the lecture halls at bigger universities,” Rinaldi said.

Rinaldi set a goal for his time in college, that being his induction into the Beta Gamma Sigma Honors Society, an honor he could share with his family and friends. He notes that all his achievements wouldn’t have been able to come to fruition if not for the professors and educators along the way.

“I want to say that every professor I’ve had at Marist has been essential to my education,” Rinaldi said. “I could talk all day about all the amazing professors I’ve had at Marist. That’s how great each and every one of them were.”

Rinaldi notes explicitly the efforts to inspire him in both Human Resources and Communications by Dr. Melinda Weisberg, former Assistant Professor in the School of Management, and Vincent Begley, Instructor in Communications. “Every lecture, I learned something new and noticed their enthusiasm for teaching,” Rinaldi said.

Rinaldi concludes with a sincere thank you to his professors and friends he made at Marist. “I’d like to thank all of my professors and friends. Without my professors, I would not have the knowledge and tools to succeed, and without all my friends, college would not have been nearly as great as it was,” Rinaldi said.

After receiving his degree, Rinaldi plans to pursue a career in Human Resources, translating what he learned at Marist into real-world experience.

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