Class of 2020 Success Stories
Although this graduating class weathered unprecedented challenges, they are off to an amazing start with graduate school and job placements.
September 4, 2020—Across the nation, class of 2020 college graduates have been grappling with the reality of beginning their professional career amid one of the most difficult job markets in recent history. While Marist students are no stranger to this reality, they have been diligently working to secure opportunities whether academically or professional in the global marketplace. Through utilizing guidance from dedicated faculty, Career Services, and pure personal fortitude our graduates have not allowed the COVID-19 pandemic to define the Red Foxes ability to thrive in the turbulent job market. This series, “Class of 2020 Success Stories,” will highlight the amazing opportunities Marist’s newly minted graduates have secured during this time.
This first installment examines Amy Pitts’ road to her PhD at Columbia, Dan Mopsick’s journey through college that landed him at IBM, and Natasha Uszak’s early departure from Marist to sock giant Bombas.
Amy Pitts ‘20
Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health PhD program in Biostatistics.
Applied Mathematics and Data Science & Analytics with a minor in Computer Science
Applying to 10 different programs, Amy Pitts, an applied mathematics and data science & analytics major and computer science minor, shed many “happy tears” when she was accepted to Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health Biostatistics five year PhD program. “I still don’t totally know how I got myself accepted with a fellowship considering there were only 5 spots and a couple hundred applicants. I am so grateful for an opportunity like this!”
By holding several on-campus leadership positions and valuable internships Pitts gained ample experience in her field. On-campus Pitts was President of Pi Mu Epsilon, the math honor society, and as Founder and President of the Marist chapter of the Association for Women in Mathematics. Her research opportunities away from Marist gave her practical experience in her desired field that prepared her to begin her post-graduation journey. During her time as an undergraduate student she held multiple research opportunities, one being at Lafayette College for undergraduate research, and the other at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in the Quantitative Sciences Undergraduate Research Experience (QSURE) program.
Pitts credits her advisor and professors for encouraging her into the statistics field. “Dr. Matthew Glomski [Associate Professor of Computer Science & Mathematics] went above and beyond to encourage me to be my best self academically through helping me identify research programs I am interested in, graduate programs I am interested in, different conferences I should go to, and helping run the math lab,” Pitts said. “I took six classes with Dr. Duy Nguyen, Associate Professor of Computer Science & Mathematics, and his knowledge, kindness, and helpfulness is unmatched. He is definitely one reason I am going into a statistics field.”
With the help from her professors, equestrian team, and career services she is able to pursue a field she is truly passionate about and she looks forward to receiving her PhD and studying the current climate during COVID. “The pandemic, although horrible, is related to the field of biostatistics and it will be interesting to study what happened and how to prevent it from happening again. I have been taking a public health class online and we have been analyzing the pandemic which has been super interesting.”
Dan Mopsick ‘20
Software Developer at IBM
Computer Science and Minor in Information Science and Information Technology
Dan Mopsick, a computer science major and information science and information technology minor, worked since his first day of freshmen year to get where he is today. As a Software Developer at IBM, Mopsick admits to focusing more on his career than his social life freshman year, but credits it to how he ended up at IBM. “As a freshman I was extremely focused on my school work and planning for the future. I was not the most social but I did a lot of the groundwork to get to where I am now. That includes going to recruiting events, workshops, and career services. I think being proactive in my first year at Marist paid off dividends,” Mopsick said.
While his plans have been slightly derailed, with his return to office being pushed further and further, Mopsick considers himself incredibly lucky to have this opportunity during the current global pandemic. "I consider myself fortunate to be working right now," Mopsick said, while also noting the downsides to beginning a career during this time. "The pandemic has eliminated all my hopes and plans for a fun, independent year following graduation. I have been working from home instead of moving and being by friends. I enjoy being in the office and the social interaction that comes with it.”
Although Mopsick came in with a vision for how he wanted to succeed in his four years, he’s pleased with what he was able to accomplish and what he didn’t, and that’s okay. “My time at Marist went by fast but I am proud of how I spent it. I came in with some goals and was able to accomplish some, but not all and that is okay,” Mopsick said.
Mopsick tailored his experience at Marist to help him prepare for the career path he desired, and he couldn’t be happier with the experiences he had, especially his time at the Student Government Association. “I had an exceptionally positive experience working as a member of the IT team Marist Student Government,” Mopsick said.
Natasha Uszak ’20**
Sourcing Coordinator at Bombas
Fashion Merchandising and Minor in Product Development
Graduating a semester early, Natasha Uszak, a fashion merchandising major and product development minor used her comprehensive internship experience and fashion education to land a spot at Bombas, a sock and clothing company with a “buy one, give one” model. Uszak credits being able to focus on a specific area early on to her ability to find ample opportunity in internships and jobs. “During my sophomore year I took a supply chain course which led to my strong interest in production and product development. Once I learned what I had interest in within the large industry of fashion merchandising I was able to more easily find internships I wanted to focus on,” Uszak said.
After only two months in the office in Manhattan, Uszak was transitioned to remote work. She credits the Bombas culture with making that transition as seamless as possible. “I am thankful enough that my company was greatly prepared for work from home situations with equipment, check-ins, weekly company-wide meetings, and the value of keeping a sense of community while still online,” Uszak said.
Finding a career at Bombas has given Uszak the opportunity to truly be passionate about the work she is doing while helping the homeless at the same time. “Working at a company that truly values helping the homeless community is so rewarding,” Uszak said.
Through the education she received at Marist and the internships she held, Uszak was able to shape her career path and carve a way to Bombas. “Marist truly shaped my career path and I couldn't have asked for a better outcome. The Fashion Program at Marist was committed to helping me find my interests in the broad industry and gave me the space and time to experience real world internships,” Uszak said.
** While this student graduated in December of 2019, the College still considers her to be part of the Class of 2020.