Hundreds of students graduate, prepare for next steps

group in BeninMany of the hundreds of students who participated in SUNY Oswego’s December Commencement, on Dec. 20, have pursued unlimited horizons during their time at Oswego.

Allegra Anka, earning a bachelor’s degree in linguistics, found her world opened by travel, classes and research. The Monroe resident was in the first study-abroad class that went to the African nation of Benin (pictured; click image for full photo) which she described as “life-altering.”

Anka also worked with linguistics faculty members Jean Ann and Bruce Long Peng researching the eastern Kenyan language of Luo. “These experiences have undoubtedly changed the way that I see the world, and myself in it,” Anka said. “Not only by engaging my interests and pushing me to perform at my best, but also by providing me with the kind of academic accomplishments I can move forward with when considering graduate programs and my career path.”

She plans to find a position teaching English as a second language abroad before starting graduate work. “Because of the international experience I had through Oswego, and through personal experiences overseas I want to experience more of the world in a direct way,” Anka said. “I think the most valuable part of my time here is that I feel sensitive to the world around me, and more motivated than ever to continue down a path of learning, and acting on the things I learn. Most importantly, I feel ready for the future.”

Kevin Morgan, an adolescence education major from Saratoga Springs, earned six All-American and two Academic All-American honors in diving, but said his biggest improvements may have taken place in the classroom.

Morgan has been student teaching at Oswego Middle School and coached the high school’s girls’ diving squad. He recently began coaching the boys’ divers as well. “Knowing that you’re helping kids improve in the sport, you don’t really miss competing,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun and it’s amazing to watch kids grow even in the span of 10 weeks. I’m thrilled to also help them grow outside of athletics and learn life lessons.”

Morgan plans to pursue a master’s in literacy education at Oswego in the summer or fall, and would love to stay in the area to continue coaching. Being a student-athlete taught him a lot about time management, organization and mental strength.

“It’s a good thing, putting yourself behind the 8-ball, giving yourself a challenge,” Morgan said. “Some people don’t try to challenge themselves. It’s OK to take on one extra task and set that goal. If you fall short, at least you tried. But I’ve learned that if you put out those goals, most of the time you’ll make it. It gives you confidence, which is one of the most important things in life.”

Finance major Ruby Sun came to Oswego from China and blended her interests in business and the arts through intensive internships. She interned at Wufeng Art, a Beijing entertainment company, on financial and accounting work, but also had an opportunity to work as a jazz/funk dance instructor.

This semester, she is interning as an assistant to the president of Shenqi USA in New York City. Her tasks have included scheduling, preparing financial materials, coordinating correspondence and collecting information for reports.

“I plan to work for two years then get a MBA degree because I want to set up my own companies,” Sun said. “First I would like to have a fashion design company. Then I also want to have a professional dance choreography studio because I love dance. It is an important part of my life.”

Raphael Pinsker, a broadcasting major from Brooklyn, said working at campus radio station WNYO on-air, as production director and on the executive board provided experience and helped him realize he wanted to enter the music industry. “By networking myself with people in the music industry through WNYO I was given opportunities to put myself out there and make my first steps towards ‘the door,’” he said.

After graduation, he plans to intern at RoadRunner Records plus do some work for Earache Records while looking for a full-time job. “The hands-on work I did, I will always have those experiences so I can carry those with me into the real world and apply them,” Pinsker said.

Wellness management major Christopher Church plans to keep learning on two fronts — working toward his master’s in criminal justice administration and training to become a helicopter pilot. An EMT and active member of SAVAC, he one day hopes to join the aviation unit of the New York State Troopers.

“I learned a great deal academically, but more importantly, I also learned about how to succeed in the real world,” Church said. “I was fortunate enough to have had many superb professors that really influenced me, too. As a result I am happy to know that I will be leaving Oswego with a lot of new life-long friends.”

That many students plan to pursue advanced degrees in a tight job market doesn’t surprise Bob Casper, director of career services at SUNY Oswego.

Some sectors are still hiring, most notably accounting which maintains strong demand, Casper said. Oswego grads were also finding demand in computer science and information science, and out-of-state schools were recruiting Oswego graduates to teach, especially in math, science, languages and technology education.

Commencement will rebroadcast on Time Warner Cable Channel 96 at 7 p.m. Dec. 20 as well as 4 p.m. Dec. 21 and 4 p.m. Dec. 23. For more information, visit

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(Posted: Dec 08, 2008)

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