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December Graduates Looking to Future Paths

About 530 students are eligible to participate in December Commencement at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, then take steps to futures that include jobs and graduate school—with some expecting a new bonus.

Around 40 undergraduates are eligible for the new Graduation Return on Investment—a $300 financial incentive for those enrolling in a fall semester and graduating no later than the end of their fourth consecutive academic year. 

Michael Pittavino ’12, M ’13 will keep working part-time in public history locally while actively continuing his search for a full-time job, but his Oswego experiences should open eyes of potential employers. The master’s in history candidate completed a Festa Fellowship last summer at the U.S. Department of State’s U.S. Diplomacy Center in Washington, D.C.

“I spent 10 weeks working with their staff on exhibit development and educational programming for their nascent National Museum of American Diplomacy,” which will be near the National Mall, Pittavino said. “I was able to work with civil servants, education specialists and exhibit and collections specialists, but, most importantly, actual diplomats.”

Pittavino spent much of the summer’s free time researching classified and unclassified Cold War documents in national archives—thanks to campus funding from the Office of Research and Individualized Student Experiences and the Scholarly and Creative Activities Committee—and later shared what he learned on the collection, analysis and evaluation in those archives in seminars and courses at Oswego.

He said professors helped him grow as a young historian, especially Gwen Kay in history, who “has encouraged my presenting of research at a conference in February 2013, was instrumental in finding funds for all my endeavors—both professionally and educationally—and has served as an integral part of my graduate-level education.”

Peers, presentations positive

Filmmaker Jeffrey Newell ’12, M ’13 speaks to a classJeffrey Newell ’12, M ’13 completes his master’s in graphic design as an award-winning and in-demand student filmmaker. With bachelor’s degrees in broadcasting and cinema and screen studies from Oswego already, he plans to teach film and photography at a college level while continuing to freelance as a cinematographer, photographer and designer.

“My professors and advisers have pushed me to get the best out of me and have taught me how to harness the power of my mind,” Newell said. “My peers are constantly inspiring me with their work and providing me with constant support of my own work. They are the reasons why my film screenings and photo exhibitions have been a success. They are also the reasons why I want to continue to be a part of academia after graduation (and possibly for the rest of my life).”

Megan Haufe ’13 will move to Philadelphia to start a full-time job with Frito-Lay, where she interned last summer. “Oswego provided me with the tools to grow and become comfortable with expressing my skills, and this has greatly helped me in preparing for after graduation,” the marketing major said. “I am thrilled to begin my career under the PepsiCo organization, and I cannot wait to see what’s in store for me.”

Classes in Oswego’s School of Business helped prepare her for the transition. “I remember back in high school I was terrified of speaking in front of the class,” Haufe said. “However, almost every business course involves a project and presentation. Therefore, the courses gave me the tools and experience I needed to master this skill. The ability to clearly explain yourself and display confidence is important in anything from school presentations to job interviews.”

Education preparation

Human development major Alyssa O’Bryan ’13 takes what she’s learned into a job with Liberty Resources as a youth specialist serving kids with intellectual disabilities. She also plans to attend Syracuse University in fall 2014 to pursue her master’s in social work.

O’Bryan said service learning courses and Oswego’s many internship opportunities helped her find the right path, and credits professors especially in her human development and health science classes “who take their jobs seriously and genuinely care about providing students with the necessary skills to succeed after graduation.”

Spencer Hill ’13 and Sherade McKitty ’13 take forward lessons from the Teacher Opportunity Corps/Teacher Recruitment for Urban Schools Today initiative, which supports “students of color that desire to work in the inner-city schools to help those schools that are in need of having good teachers … that look like the students that attend that school,” Hill said. “Students that live in those inner cities can see business professionals that look like them and can strive to achieve more than what they see in their own neighborhoods.”

With a childhood education degree with a social studies concentration, Hill plans to pursue a master’s in special education or literacy. An Oswego methods class taught by Doreen Goddard Mazzye ’00 that showed “how to create fun and engaging lesson plans” and “how to be professional in the field of education” was especially influential, said Hill, who is also a junior varsity cheerleading coach at a Syracuse school. “I look at teachers as actors that have to perform a 6-plus hour play. A school day is the show, and you have to have the knowledge, courage and stamina to perform in this show.”

McKitty, a double major in adolescence education with an English concentration as well as in English, said she next will seek a master’s in literacy education, with Oswego her top potential choice given her positive undergraduate years.

“I think the most important experiences I have had at Oswego are practicums and student teaching,” McKitty said. “These two have not only helped me to become a great teacher but also a better friend and confidant to my students. Being a part of the School of Education, I’ve learned how to grow and accept people for who they are. This is very important in the teaching profession because students come from all walks of life, so it’s good to have that skill mastered.”

A webcast of the Dec. 14 ceremony in the Campus Center arena will stream live, with a link available from the oswego.edu home page.

-The Office of Public Affairs

PHOTO CAPTION: Master’s of graphic design candidate and award-winning filmmaker Jeffrey Newell ’12, M ’13, shown speaking to a class, is among around 530 students who will take forward hands-on lessons and degrees after December Commencement on Dec. 14. Photo by Jim Russell ’83.