What's Next for the Class of 2013

As the class of 2013 prepares to head out into the world, 13 seniors tell us about their plans for after graduation and reflect on what made their Manhattan College experience special.

Julie Bies

Julie Bies

Major: Physical Education

MC Involvement: L.O.V.E. Trips to Kenya and Ecuador; Pi Epsilon Kappa Honor Society; Resident Assistant for Overlook; Student Athlete Advisory Committee; and Varsity Women’s Volleyball

Post-Graduation Plans: After graduation, I will be continuing my education at The Ohio State University and pursuing a master’s degree in adapted physical education. I received a position as a GTA (Graduate Teaching Associate) in the department of human sciences, where I will be teaching undergraduate courses.

Read about why Julie will always remember her last volleyball game in Draddy [+]

Best Manhattan College Memory: It is so difficult to choose just one moment out of four memorable years. I will never forget my last collegiate volleyball game that was played in Draddy Gymnasium while I was surrounded by the people I love. All of the time and hard work that was put into that program really paid off, and I felt proud and accomplished at that moment. My senior teammates and I have truly established bonds that will never be broken and memories to last a lifetime. That bittersweet feeling I got when the game was over is one I’m sure I will feel the day of graduation. I am so happy with my four years spent here, and I will always remember them, however, I am ready to move on to new and exciting experiences.

Favorite Professor: Dr. Adams in the Physical Education department because she always puts a smile on my face. Although her classes are among the most difficult I have taken at Manhattan College, she is one of the most interesting and caring people I know. I can always count on her for a great story, motivating words and sincere advice.

Where Do You Hope To Be in 10 Years: In 10 years, I hope to be teaching physical education in an elementary school. I hope that I will have settled down and started a family. I wish to share my passion for traveling with my husband and children. I would like to visit all seven continents and all 50 states.


Jose Rodriguez

Jose Rodriguez

Major: Electrical Engineering

MC Involvement: Society for Hispanic Professional Engineers; Eta Kappa Nu Honor Society 

Post-Graduation Plans: I will be joining ExxonMobil Corp. to work for its downstream company at a refinery in New Orleans as an electrical and instrumentation engineer. Since the company offers funding for graduate school, I am thinking of pursuing an MBA at Tulane University.

Read about Jose’s favorite way to start his day on campus [+]

Best Manhattan College Memory: In all honesty, a part of my every day at Manhattan College that I will always remember and miss is my morning talk with Coralie Gale, the secretary in the Electrical Engineering department. It has become a habit (two years old now)! Coralie is the first person that I say good morning to every day. Then we talk about current issues, sports (she’s a hardcore Yankees fan), life or anything that has been on the news. In all honestly, Coralie is one of the wisest people that I have met at Manhattan College, and when my day starts with one of our talks, it does not get much better than that!

Favorite Professor: My favorite professor is without a doubt Natalia Imperatori-Lee from the Religious Studies department. Natalia, for me, is the definition of excellence in teaching. She is motivating, inspiring, caring and extremely knowledgeable. Natalia has also been a great adviser and friend all throughout my time at Manhattan College. There are advisers who are always available when you need them, and there are those who, aside from being available and approachable, also complain when you don’t go see them regularly! Natalia is like that, which speaks highly of her caring nature. I am very thankful for her consistent support and guidance.

Where Do You Hope To Be in 10 Years: Ten years from now, if I accomplish all the items on my to-do list, I will have completed an M.S. in statistics and an MBA from Tulane University. I will be either in a managerial position or on a managerial track at ExxonMobil. I will have mentored between five and 10 students and young professionals for every year of work, and I will have attained substantial technical knowledge in order to become an expert in my field. I also truly hope I could start a family founded on the Lasallian values that Manhattan College has helped me develop.


Amanda Cromwell

Amanda Cromwell

Majors: International Studies and Spanish

MC Involvement: Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Delta Pi, Sigma Iota Rho and Theta Alpha Kappa Honor Societies; Honors Enrichment Program; L.O.V.E. Trips to Ecuador and Arizona; Model United Nations; Resident Assistant in Horan; Student Government; and Study Abroad in Argentina and Cuba

Post-Graduation Plans: After graduation, I will be getting my master’s in bilingual special education while I teach in the New York City public school system through the NYC Teaching Fellows.

Read why Coney Island has a special place in Amanda’s heart [+]

Best Manhattan College Memory: My best memory is from my first or second week of college during freshman year when I went to Coney Island with some new friends to see the Brooklyn Cyclones. We walked around and explored the famous landmarks. There was a dance party on the boardwalk, and we all decided to just jump in and start dancing. We sat in the Wonder Wheel and watched fireworks at night. I am still really good friends with the same people. That was my first Student Activities outing, and it is surreal to think that Coney Island has been damaged by Hurricane Sandy. I have a million memories from Manhattan College, but my favorite memories are the ones where I got to see new things and/or learn valuable lessons.

Favorite Manhattan College Professor: Professor Scaramella of the Spanish department has been a great role model for me. She has shown me that it is possible to master another language and culture that is different from the one in which I was raised. She has given me a number of opportunities to grow and has supported me since freshman year. Likewise, Professor Skotnicki opened my mind and my heart to issues of social justice through his Criminal Justice Ethics course at Rikers Island. He is such a compassionate man and his ability to reach other people and live in solidarity with his community is inspiring. I would also have to give a shout out to Professor Blad and Professor Pascoe of the Sociology and the Philosophy departments, respectively. They both have a unique style of teaching that is engaging and thought-provoking. Had I taken them earlier on in college, they could have swayed me to pursue more classes in sociology and philosophy.

Where Do You Hope To Be in 10 Years: It is hard for me to envision my future because I am a spontaneous person who takes opportunities as they come. Studying at Manhattan College and teaching in the public school system after graduation were not in my plans four years ago, but I have been blessed with a great path, and I expect that path to continue to develop and flourish. In that 10-year period however, I would like to travel. The main reason I chose international studies as my major was for the simple fact that I love to travel. Whether living in another country, getting a job where I travel often or vacationing, I see myself being mobile. Professionally, I could see myself staying in New York and teaching in jails because I have a sore spot in my heart for those who have been written off by society. I could also see myself opening my own business. I am a people person, and I have always wanted to find a way to market and manufacture my ideas. I have also thought about government, and it is a possibility that I will try to work for the United Nations or become a politician myself. I am a hard-working, indecisive dreamer, and in 10 years, I expect to be the same way. As far as my personal life, I hope to be with someone who can keep up with me!


Shannon Maiolica

Shannon Maiolica

Majors: Accounting and Finance

MC Involvement: Accounting Society; Beta Alpha Psi Honor Society; and Jasper Dance Team

Post-Graduation Plans: After graduation, I will be working full-time at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which is one of the big four accounting firms. I will be in the assurance department beginning in September. Since I will have the summer off, I plan to take my CPA exam and hopefully pass!

Read about the 9 a.m. class that Shannon was sure to never miss [+]

Favorite Professor: My favorite Manhattan College professor was Dr. Sheridan, who taught me Business Law II. This class is extremely useful, especially for the CPA exam. We also learned about topics that I can relate to, and her lectures were very informative. Even though it was a 9 a.m. class, I made sure not to miss it!

Best Manhattan College Memory: My best Manhattan College memory was the Senior Bowling Night. It was a senior event put together by Student Activities where most of our class got together to bowl, relax and just have fun with each other. This is when it really hit me that I was graduating in a few months and the close friendships that I have built over the past four years at Manhattan College would reshape once we all leave. It was a night that I will never forget.

Where Do You Hope To Be in 10 Years: In 10 years, I hope that I will have obtained my CPA license, be successful in the firm where I am working, and be doing some form of forensic accounting.


Chris Rypl

Chris Rypl

Majors: Biology and Psychology

MC Involvement: Beta Beta Beta and Sigma Xi Honor Societies; Jazz Band; Intramural Flag Football, Softball and Volleyball; Phi Delta Epsilon; and Faculty-Sponsored Research Projects 

Post-Graduation Plans: After graduation, I am going to dental school at the University at Buffalo. I will be working toward my Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) for four years. I will also be living up in Buffalo.

Read about a biology trip to the Virgin Islands that Chris will never forget [+]

Favorite Manhattan College Memory: My best Manhattan College memory would have to be my Marine Biology class taught by Dr. Michael Judge. This class not only allowed me to learn about marine biology, but it also allowed me to experience it in the field during a one-week trip the Virgin Islands. Learning from someone who has such a passion for his field really allows me to learn and respect what Dr. Judge does. This is my favorite memory because the relationships I made with my peers and with my professor will last forever.

Favorite Professor: My favorite Manhattan College professor would have to be Dr. Valerie Grosso. Though she left the school before my senior year, she taught me lot about the field of biology in three of my biology classes she instructed. The way she presented her notes in class (all handwritten on the board) and the way she made tests helped me to fully grasp concepts. She was the first biology teacher I had that helped me to feel motivated in my field. These feelings allowed me to keep pursuing my dream of dentistry, especially when things got tough.

Where Do You Hope To Be in 10 Years: In 10 years, I would love to work under a dentist in a private practice and start to expand my horizons in that field. I would also hope to start a family and raise my children while giving them the same, if not more, of the blessed opportunities that I was given by my parents.


Clare O’Connell

Clare O’Connell

Major: Elementary Education (Spanish concentration)

MC Involvement: L.O.V.E. Trips to New Orleans and Montana; Quadrangle Copy Editor; Writing Center Tutor; James Patterson ’69 Scholarship Recipient 

Post-Graduation Plans: Through the Lasallian Volunteers program, I will be working at De La Salle High School in Minneapolis, Minn.

Read about why Clare can’t single out her favorite professor [+]

Favorite Professor: Throughout the past four years, I have taken the majority of my classes in the School of Education and Health and the School of Arts. These two schools have, in my opinion, the most amazing faculty at the College, so choosing a favorite professor out of all of them seems nearly impossible. I can say, however, that what so many of these professionals have in common is that they are deeply passionate about what they teach and truly care about their students’ learning.

Best Manhattan College Memory: All of my best Manhattan College memories are of quadding with my best friends, but my favorite time has to be when I got a sunburn from 70+ degree weather in the middle of March, which is unbelievable considering how cold this spring has been!

Where Do You Hope to Be in 10 Years: No matter where life takes me in 10 years, I hope that I am passionate about what I do and happy with the people who surround me.


Nathan Hunter

Nathan Hunter

Major: Marketing

MC Involvement: Green Club Leader and Founder; Marketing Club E-Board; Resident Assistant; and Sustainability Committee Co-Chair

Post-Graduation Plans: I will be managing a family-owned plant nursery and stoneyard that retails annuals and perrenials. I will help with the operations of the nursery, maintaining inventory, tracking sales and facilitating promotional details. I will be at this job temporarily before heading off to volunteer abroad, working on farms internationally through World Wide Organic Opportunity Farming (WWOOF), an organization that matches you with family farmers. In exchange for the work on the farm, you receive free room and board, an opportunity that will allow me to travel around the world.

Read about Nathan’s favorite place on campus [+]

Best Manhattan College Memory: I enjoy all the opportunities I have had at the College, my favorite being my opportunity to build the rooftop garden on the Broadway Parking Garage. Being able to stay through the summer and to see the College from a different point of view was one of my favorite experiences here.

Favorite Professor: I don’t know how I could choose one professor. I have grown close with so many. Some of my favorite classes include Urban Sustainability, Ecoliteracy, and International Marketing.

Where Do You Hope To Be in 10 Years: In 10 years, I hope to be working in urban planning — specifically urban sustainability. I hope to be living in New York City working on ways to improve urban life!


Meaghan Drugan

Meaghan Drugan

Major: Communication

MC Involvement: Student Government Communications Committee; Internships at Harper’s Bazaar Magazine and Jenelle Hamilton Publicity;

Post-Graduation Plans: I accepted a full-time position as a merchandising assistant at J.Crew Group, Inc., located in SoHo, where I will be working as part of the corporate production and merchandising team responsible for coordinating the upcoming lines each season. 

Read about how Meaghan’s favorite professor influenced her [+]

Favorite Professor: My favorite Manhattan College professor was journalism professor Dr. Joe Cutbirth. I took four classes with him during my senior year and really felt like I learned an incredible amount from him. He is so experienced in the journalism field and his main concern is his students and helping them improve.

Best Manhattan College Memory: I wouldn’t say I have one “best memory,” but I will say that the best thing I will take away from Manhattan College is the amazing people that I have met through my four years here.

Where Do You Hope To Be in 10 Years: In 10 years, I hope to be happy. I hope to have worked and created a great career for myself. By the time I’m 32, I hope that I will have gotten married and started a family.


Elena Rotunda

Elena Rotunda

Major: Psychology

Post-Graduation Plans: In the fall of 2013, I’ll start working toward a Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. I will be working with rats to study the neural systems and molecular substrates supporting learning and memory.

Read how zebrafish inspired Elena’s future studies [+]

Best Manhattan College Memory: My favorite memory of Manhattan College is the day I spent with my friend in the biology lab, where she was creating genetically modified zebrafish. As a psychology major, it was the day that truly inspired me to further explore the relationship between biology and behavior.

Favorite Professor: During my time at Manhattan College, my research mentors Dr. Kelly Marin and Dr. Jay Friedenberg have become like a family away from home. They have provided me with so much encouragement and guidance, helped me develop my interests and grow as a researcher, and supported me through all my academic endeavors.

Where Do You Hope To Be in 10 Years: In 10 years, I hope to obtain a position in academia where I can pursue my research in neuroscience. I believe the field of neuroscience will dramatically advance within the next decade, and I am excited to both contribute to that growth and take advantage of the new opportunities that spring from it.

I am also a firm believer in mentorship and hope to start my own research group, where I can help undergraduate students find their interests, develop their skills and expand their experiences.


 Michael Estrada

Michael Estrada

Major: Mechanical Engineering

MC Involvement: American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics; American Society of Mechanical Engineers; Resident Assistant for Jasper Hall; Student Court; Student Government; and WRCM Radio

Post-Graduation Plans: After graduation, I will be taking a full-time job with Bala | CSI Consulting Engineers as a mechanical engineer. I have been interning with them since August 2012.

Read about Michael’s dreams for the future [+]

Where Do You Hope To Be in 10 Years: A lot of people ask where I hope to be in 10 years, and so I have put deep thought into it. In 10 years, I will be 32 years old, and I want to be happily married to the woman that I love, living in Brooklyn with a French bulldog and possibly a baby on the way. I hope that we will have traveled around the world together, experiencing an array of cultures. 

In my career, I'd like to have taken and passed the Professional Engineering Licensing Exam. Wherever I am employed, I want to be a project leader with a team of engineers working with me and on the way to being a partner in the company.

Overall, I want to be happy with my life. I hope that in 10 years, I am proud as to where I have ended up and what I have accomplished in my life so far.

Best Manhattan College Memory: My best memory of Manhattan College is of the time I got to spend this past summer studying abroad in Lyon, France. I traveled with a group of 14 other students and our professor, Dr. Litkouhi, to École Catholique des Arts et Métiersa, a French engineering school also known as ECAM. There I took a beginner language class in French, and an engineering class called Thermal Fluid System Design, which happened to be my favorite. 

During my free time away from class, I had opportunities to explore the city of Lyon by foot and bike. I was amazed by how much there was to see, and I loved the history of everything. I became friends with an ECAM student and would go rock climbing on a weekly basis, which proved to be a great time for me to practice my French away from class. On different weekend trips I traveled to Provence, Beaujolais, Avignon, La Clusaz and Nice. Before heading back to the United States, the group also traveled to Paris. In all, there was so much that I experienced and loved, and I know I will remember it forever.

Favorite Professor: My favorite Manhattan College professor is Dr. John Leylegian. I have had the pleasure of having him as a teacher for numerous classes, as well as working with him in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Club, AIAA. In class, he is a teacher who could be considered "hard" because he pushes his students to do the best they can in all of their work and never accepts anything that is half rate. This led me to always do the best I could. As the club adviser for AIAA, I got to know him on a more personal level while learning about a shared love of aircraft and rockets.


Maggie Blair

Maggie Blair

Majors: Management and Finance

MC Involvement:  Captain of the Women’s Varsity Basketball Team; Executive Member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee; and Pen & Sword

Post-Graduation Plans: After graduation, I will be working as an analyst at BlackRock, a financial firm where I was an intern last summer. I will be working in client support. 

Read about Maggie’s favorite professor [+]

Favorite Professor: Charles Geisst was my favorite professor. I enjoyed his endless knowledge, and the incredible stories he told of his experiences in the financial world. He was a challenging teacher, yet I found him to be witty and entertaining.  

Best Manhattan College Memory: My favorite memory would be this past basketball season. In the first game of the playoffs, we won by one point and a buzzer beater with 0.9 seconds left in the game!

Where Do You Hope To Be in 10 Years: In 10 years, I hope to still be at BlackRock, hopefully working as either a relationship manager or with our implementations department, traveling and expanding our BlackRock business.


Chelsea Krajcik

Chelsea Krajcik

Major: Secondary Education (French concentration)

MC Involvement: French Club; French Table; Green Club; Manhattan Magazine; Writing Center and Learning Center Tutor

Post-Graduation Plans: I will be attending the University of London at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) for a master’s degree in linguistics.

Read about what Chelsea will remember from MC [+]

Best Manhattan College Memory: My best memories are of late nights at An Beal and seeing all of my friends there, having great conversations after class with them, and watching friends perform at the open mic night.

Favorite Professor: Dr. Samira Hassa. She inspired me to achieve more than I had ever expected of myself and has acted as my mentor throughout my college experience. She cares for her students in a very genuine way that I find rare among many professors.

Where Do You Hope To Be in 10 Years: I haven’t thought that far ahead. I just hope that I’m happy wherever I may be.  


Perry Rizopoulos

Perry Rizopoulos

Major: Philosophy

MC Involvement: Campus Tour Guide; Italian Lab Teacher; Lasallian Collegians; L.O.V.E. Trip to San Francisco; Kingsbridge Heights Community Center Volunteer, Orientation Leader; Pen & Sword; and Phi Sigma Tau, Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Delta Pi Honor Societies

Post-Graduation Plans: After graduation, my plan is to impact all the communities that have influenced me. I aim to continue my education and eventually obtain a Ph.D. in Italian studies. I have been accepted to the Comparative International Education Master’s Degree program at Columbia University. Also, I plan on continuing my work with Save Your City, a company I founded that aims to get clothing and educational supplies to the people who need them most. We have already given dozens of clothing items and books to our local community and have also sent books to Italy to help children there learn English.

Read about Perry’s plans to take his company across the nation [+]

Where Do You Hope To Be in 10 Years: Ten years from now, I would like to have Save Your City books, instruments and clothing being worn and used across the United States and in other countries as well. Also by this point, I would like to have returned to Manhattan College as a professor.

Best Manhattan College Memory: It is very difficult to pick one memory, but going to Florence, Italy, with the study abroad program was incredible. The trip changed my life and was one of the major ways in which I found my passion for teaching.

Favorite Professor: My favorite Manhattan College professor is Dr. David Bollert. The feeling of community he creates in the classroom is unreal. He conveys ideas passionately and clearly and makes philosophy enjoyable and enlightening. Also, he is more than a professor as he is willing to meet with students and talk to them about their work and genuinely cares about them as people. This attribute allows everyone in the class to think and express their ideas openly and confidently and this creates great discussion. Taking a class with Dr. Bollert should be mandatory for all Manhattan College students.