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Graduate Student Spotlights

Our 2022 advanced degree recipients and Camino program graduates achieved so much during their time at Manhattan. 

Meet a few of these accomplished Jaspers: 


  • Rachel Bowers ’22 (M.A.)
    female student with red hair and glasses outside campus on a sunny day

    Graduate Program: M.A. in School Counseling

    Future Plans: My goal is to find a position as a school counselor in the New York City or Philadelphia metropolitan areas. Although I will be certified to work with grades K-12, a majority of my experience in counseling directly has been in elementary, and I feel that the role of the elementary counselor best matches my strengths and overall energy. With that being said, I would not be opposed to working in a high school setting either, if the school’s mission aligned strongly with what I am looking for within education. 

    What drew your interest to school counseling? 

    After graduating from Penn State Abington in 2016 with a B.A. in Psychological and Social Sciences, I committed to three years of service to the Lasallian Volunteers. ​​This work allowed me to serve diverse student populations in both Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Tucson, Arizona. Those students in Arizona inspired me to continue my calling as an educator. Later, I identified that my strengths and goals within education aligned with those of a school counselor.   

    Is there one person, place or thing that inspired you during your time at Manhattan College? 

    Many professors in the School of Education and Health have inspired me to continue my persistent efforts as a graduate student, but this semester I owe it to Ian Levy, Ph.D., assistant professor in counseling and therapy. Dr. Levy and I have known each other well since I started the program in fall 2019, as he is my academic advisor. This semester, however, I am enrolled in two of his courses, one being EDUG 913: Hip-Hop & School Counseling Praxis, which launched this academic year. With the leadership and support of Dr. Levy, the course has challenged me to step outside of my comfort zone to better serve students through multicultural counseling methods, in this case bringing hip-hop music into the space. This experience has allowed me to understand firsthand the importance of being loyal, genuine and accepting when counseling youth, and the positive outcomes that coincide with that authenticity. 

    How has your graduate education helped you professionally? Did it help you advance in your career or enable you to change careers?

    My graduate education has been an enriching but challenging experience. For example, I took 54 graduate-level credits, worked as a graduate assistant, completed over 700 hours of field work in schools, served as a babysitter and tutor for local families, and held a position on senior staff with Residence Life, all while simultaneously balancing my physical, mental, academic and social well-being. Ultimately, my graduate education has taught me to pursue opportunities, but also to remember the importance of counselor self-care, as the work can be rewarding but exhausting in many ways.

  • Eric Ciccotelli ’22 (M.S.)
    male student with blond hair and blue shirt in front of brick buildings on campus

    Graduate Program: M.S. in Computer Science

    Future PlansThis summer, I will be moving to California to begin work as a software engineer at Google, where I will have the opportunity to use my skills to impact millions of lives around the globe. I could not be more excited to get started. I believe there's a great opportunity to improve the way the world works by using technology and software, which is something I would like to play a role in any of my future plans. 

    What drew your interest to the School of Science? 

    The small class sizes and the sense of community attracted me to Manhattan College. The opportunity to work with and learn from experienced faculty members was a main reason why I chose to enroll, and I couldn't be happier with my decision. Not only did I get the opportunity to work closely with faculty members, but I also became great friends with many of my classmates, thanks to the small and tight-knit community that Manhattan College fosters. 

    Is there one person, place or thing that inspired you during your time at Manhattan College? 

    One person who has continually pushed me to learn and grow is Igor Aizenberg, Ph.D., professor and chair of the computer science department. Dr. Aizenberg believes that every student is more than capable of achieving their goals, and his guidance is something that I will take with me for the rest of my life.

  • Alexander Nieves ’21 ’22 (MBA)
    male college student with dark hair and white shirt

    Graduate Program: 5-Year - Business B.S./MBA

    Future Plans: I've accepted an offer with EY as a technology consultant, which is the process of advising businesses on how to best use technology and software to benefit their business. 

    What made you want to pursue the MBA program?

    Initially, it was because both my parents have MBA degrees. But after some thought, it became important for me to get a deeper understanding of the material I was learning. I didn’t want to simply be good at what I do professionally; I wanted to be a master at it. The MBA program also teaches essential skills for leadership, such as workplace ethics in difficult decision-making, and how to handle complex problems where no solutions currently exist.

    Is there one person, place or thing that inspired you during your time at Manhattan College?

    In one of my classes, I found myself in a black hole of literature until I found a book called "The Goal," by Eliyahu M. Goldratt. Dr. Goldratt released this book, wherein he took apart the question of efficiency through simple questions that eventually led him to processes we use in the workforce every day. His book pushed me to do the same things in my own life — asking basic questions that help break down the problems I face, which in turn, help me focus and learn more than I ever could in the past year.

    How has your graduate education helped you professionally?

    For one, having the "Expected MBA 2022" listed on my resume certainly helped me find a job post-graduation. Aside from that, the program has helped me learn the importance of feeling hungry for knowledge in the field that you are interested in. As well, being able to handle wicked problems necessitates the need for help from many places. In this regard, the MBA has pushed me to feel more comfortable knowing whether I can either work on my own, or need to ask for help in a given situation. 

    What do you think is special about the MBA program at Manhattan? Professors, curriculum etc?

    The MBA program at Manhattan is special for the same reason as the undergraduate programs at the College are special — the community. Here, you are not restricted by the books, nor by the program. This school is special in that it gives you as much passion and help as you give it. We are bound only by our own ambition, and having professors and students that reciprocate my enthusiasm is a breath of fresh air. I don't just learn education; I live education.

  • Shou Oikawa ’21, ’22 (M.S.)
    male student with dark hair and gray sweatshirt sitting in red chair in academic building

    Graduate Program: M.S. in Electrical Engineering

    Future Plans: I am fortunate enough to have secured an engineering position at Carrier. I am very excited to start the next chapter of my life by applying my experience in the Marine Corps and the knowledge I gained at Manhattan College.

    What drew you to engineering?

    When I was done with my service, I had to reevaluate myself to find my next calling. I loved technology and figuring out how things work. This curiosity naturally drew me to engineering. After obtaining my undergraduate degree in computer engineering, I am about to complete my master’s in electrical engineering.

    Is there one person, place or thing that inspired you during your time at Manhattan College?

    During my Marine Corps career, my fellow brothers- and sisters-in-arms allowed me to excel and also get through various hardships. The Veterans Success Programs at Manhattan College allowed me to be with other veterans, which helped me through my academic difficulties. Studying together, tutoring, offering one another moral support, or even simply having a drink together to vent was helpful. It was also a great place to have accountability with each other. Just catching up or even asking about classes was enough to know that all of us are not alone going through the struggle that is academia. Without the veterans community, my academic outcome would most definitely have been different.

    How has your graduate education helped you professionally?

    My bachelor’s degree was in computer engineering and my graduate studies were in electrical engineering, which provided a healthy mix of knowledge that allowed me to excel throughout my internships and my upcoming job. Computer engineering has allowed me to learn programming at various levels and be able to apply it to various use cases, such as automation of processes. My electrical engineering knowledge has broadened the scope of my knowledge of not just programming, but also imaging and the transmission power technologies. I believe that having diverse knowledge and skills has allowed me to become a strong candidate for careers in engineering.

  • Quiana Volney ’22 (M.S.)
    male student with dark hair and gray sweatshirt sitting in red chair in academic building

    Graduate Program: M.S. in Organizational Leadership 

    Future Plans: I currently work at Con Edison as a specialist in its corporate shared services implementation department, but my future goal is to have my own management consulting firm focused on organizational development, talent management and human resources.

    What drew your interest to the College’s Organizational Leadership program? One of my professional mentors, who has the same degree, encouraged me to pursue my master’s.

    What did you like most about the program? The relationships I built with a few professors and classmates are what I liked best about the program. 

    What was your favorite course that you took during your time at Manhattan College? Why?  

    MSOL 641: Talent and Performance Management, which is taught by Professor Angela Spears. Professor Spears has a valuable wealth of knowledge with over 20 years of leadership experience. I learned a lot about the talent management life cycle and the importance of developing leaders within the workplace. Since the pandemic has shifted the way we work, it is imperative more than ever that we adjust accordingly to the needs of our employees and lead more effectively.

Camino Program

  • Christal Urbina Sosa ’22
    female student

    Program: Camino Program

    Future Plans: Since I am graduating with an associate degree in general studies, I now intend to finish my bachelor's degree and eventually go to medical school to become an OB-GYN. This I want to accomplish because I think it is fascinating how the process of life works. I also love babies and the idea of helping people. New life brings me so much joy to imagine.

    What drew you to the Camino program?

    I decided to join the Camino program because it was a good first step for me, having moved from the Dominican Republic to the U.S. one year before graduating high school. The faculty in the Camino program helped me on every step of the way.

    We know you are trilingual and have taken Japanese Levels I and II at Manhattan. What has been a favorite course(s) at the College and why?

    I moved here from the Dominican Republic, so my first language is Spanish. As I was leaving the country I was taught some English, but I never really used it until I moved to the U.S. I am now taking Japanese 102 and took Japanese 101 last semester. I still cannot call myself proficient but I would love to be. The language has been fun to learn.

    Is there one person, place or thing that inspired you during your time at Manhattan College?

    I will never have enough words to thank Pamela Jimenez and Janelle Torres from the Camino program for all the help and encouragement I received from them. Also, all the professors that have help me get new perspectives and take me closer to my goal.