Oswego May graduates moving forward

Christopher HillNearly 1,500 SUNY Oswego students were eligible to take part in Commencement on May 16 and, despite the tough economy, many are already making strides into their chosen careers.

Christopher Hill will take his combined master’s in business administration/bachelor’s in accounting to work as an associate at PriceWaterhouseCoopers in Albany. He got his foot in the door interning last summer, which he said was made possible by professors who helped him network at events like the annual Meet the Accountant Night.

Hill spent two years as director of finance for the Student Association, where he oversaw a $1.5 million budget and developed management skills training and working with treasurers for some 150 student organizations. He chaired the Campus Recreation Board this year and also founded two organizations, the Oswego Guitar Club and Street Hockey Club.

Helping manage the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program meant “working with the IRS and individual taxpayers, and doing accounting as opposed to just studying it,” providing vital experience, the Saratoga Springs resident said.

“The opportunities here are endless,” Hill said. “If you want to excel, you will if you just put forth the effort.”

Tasia Sawyer will move to the front of a classroom, teaching biology at the middle or high school level in Norfolk, Va. She amassed plenty of leadership and communication skills the past three years working with the Student Association Programming Board, most recently as director.

While earning a master’s in literacy and bachelor’s degrees in biology and education from Oswego, the Brooklyn native also spent three years as a resident assistant and one as a graduate resident mentor. As a McNair Scholar, she had research and presentation opportunities.

“Working with all these people has helped me prepare to work with all kinds of people and different situations,” Sawyer said. “I have grown as a person. My eyes were opened and I had learned a lot of valuable lessons.”

Katie Rabent will become an executive team leader for Target, starting with an intensive six-week training session this summer. The human resource management major from Lancaster feels that on-campus leadership opportunities helped prepare her for the experience.

Rabent has been co-president and secretary of Oswego’s Society for Human Resource Management student chapter. “That really gave me the ability to exercise my leadership abilities and time-management skills,” she said. Rabent also worked for the Office of Career Services, which tipped her off to the opportunity with Target, and gained additional networking opportunities as a member of the School of Business’ Student Advisory Council.

Her human resource classes helped her “learn the lingo,” she said, so “I was more confident going into interviews with the knowledge.”

Melanie Shaffer-Cutillo accepted a five-year full fellowship to enter Binghamton’s Ph.D. program, one of eight doctoral-track programs where she was accepted. Through Oswego, the McNair Scholar did a major research project on the origins of human trafficking at the turn of the 20th century and presented her work at Marist College, Buffalo and her home campus.

She also received a campus-funded grant to travel to Ecuador to study women’s rights issues. “It was just phenomenal, as a historian, to go to Ecuador to meet and talk to women about what they’re doing,” Shaffer-Cutillo said, in addition to presenting the research at an International Studies Association conference in New York City attended by some of the world’s top scholars.

The history major from Mexico in Oswego County said she benefited from professors who encouraged her with a “why not?” when she brought up an idea. “I’ve been very fortunate that the professors that I’ve had have all been very supportive,” Shaffer-Cutillo said.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Adding up—Christopher Hill, who has spent the past three years in executive positions in SUNY Oswego’s Student Association, is among the SUNY Oswego graduates moving on to jobs in their field. Hill accepted a position as an associate at PriceWaterhouseCoopers in Albany.

(Posted: Apr 29, 2009)

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