Some students making ambitious post-graduation plans

Brooke Wacha at WRVOAfter nearly 1,400 students participate in the first graduation ceremonies in the new Campus Center on Saturday, May 19, they will head off for their own new beginnings.

Commencement for the College of Arts and Sciences will take place at 9 a.m. Those graduating from the School of Business and School of Education will take part in the 1:30 p.m. ceremony.

Amanda Polun will return to the U.S. Department of State’s passport services in the Bureau of Consular Affairs. During her internship there last summer, Polun found herself helping in the middle of an international crisis when Israel closed its borders with Lebanon in response to terrorist activity, and the State Department needed workers to staff a special 24-hour crisis response center.

“Part of my job was talking to U.S. citizens with family and friends there, taking information, putting it in a database for the staff in Lebanon, getting people flight information,” she recalled. “You create such a connection with people when you know you’re helping and making a difference.”

A business major from Homer, Polun was surprised to earn the paid position in “one of the best internship programs” available. She will return there for a three-month paid internship, expecting it to result in a permanent position.

Her time in Oswego, the internship and professors like Steven Abraham in management have her interested in a future in international affairs, with the potential for overseas assignments if she stays with the State Department.

Brooke Wacha, a broadcasting major from South Salem, will participate in the competitive International Radio and Television Society’s Summer Fellowship Program in New York City. Only 15 to 20 students earn the all-expense-paid fellowships from a pool of around 800 applicants.

After a week of orientation workshops and field trips, she will have an eight-week placement doing “a little bit of everything” at MJI Interactive, which provides news and Web content for hundreds of radio stations.

“I’m looking forward to the research end of it, helping radio stations make better connections with listeners,” said Wacha. “I’m very interested in how listeners think and how radio stations can appeal to them.”

Wacha said time with campus-based National Public Radio affiliate WRVO was a big plus. She said the staff was accessible and allowed her hands-on work as an intern, volunteer and student producer. She also praised Oswego’s “really amazing” professors who tend to bring work experience into the classroom.

“I’m hoping that through the fellowship I can make connections and find a job, preferably in New York City,” Wacha said. “It’s the biggest metro market and someplace I’d like to be.”

Rick Shea’s next step combines working full-time with autistic students in an early-intervention preschool program and attending graduate school in adolescence special education at the College of St. Rose in Albany.

A native of Fonda, Shea said Oswego’s education program “did a great job preparing me for the real world of teaching. While going through the classes, I didn’t always see the big picture but now that I’m almost done with my student teaching, I do see the big picture.”

Shea also credited the campus residential experience as a crucial part of personal development. “The three years I lived on campus were some of the best experiences in my life,” he said

Abigail Moore will attend Purdue’s doctoral program in English on a prestigious Ross Fellowship. She will pursue literary studies, focusing on American literature and feminist theory.

Working in the Office of Learning Services’ Writing Center and assistant teaching a composition class convinced her that she wants to become a professor, she said.

Moore, who is completing her master’s in English at Oswego, said many of her professors encouraged her, and she particularly credited her mentor, Patricia Clark of the English and creative writing department.

For more information on graduation ceremonies, visit the college’s Commencement page.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Ready to connect—After Commencement on May 19, SUNY Oswego broadcasting major Brooke Wacha will tune into the prestigious International Radio and Television Society’s Summer Fellowship Program in New York City. Wacha is shown at campus-based WRVO, where she interned, volunteered and served as a paid student producer. She is one of nearly 1,400 Oswego students eligible to participate in the first Commencement ceremonies in the new Campus Center.

(Posted: May 01, 2007)