St. Joseph’s College President Donald R. Boomgaarden, Ph.D., will confer degrees on more than 1,000 students from SJC Long Island’s Class of 2018 during the campus’ May 30 commencement ceremony at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
Dr. Boomgaarden will deliver the commencement address to a graduating class of 745 undergraduates and 315 graduates. The undergraduate speaker is Conor Johnson, who has earned a degree in political science and history. Nikki Yvette Caputi, who is receiving her master’s in literacy and cognition, is the graduate speaker.
Visit here for directions to the event and other commencement details.
Among the SJC Long Island graduates are some truly impressive stories.
Above and Beyond
Since he began his studies at SJC Long Island, political science and history major Conor Johnson has made the most of every opportunity. A member of eight campus clubs and organizations, Johnson also served for three years as president of SJC Long Island’s Political Science Club, which he helped found during his sophomore year.
Johnson was picked by his professors to attend the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Upon returning from the convention, he secured an internship with U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer’s Long Island office in Melville. In Sen. Schumer’s office, Johnson’s duties included staying up-to-date on news articles and trending topics, working with constituents via phone and email, joining Schumer at local events, providing casework assistance and directing constituents’ concerns to the right people.
During his internship, Johnson witnessed firsthand the three-day government shutdown in January. He also went to Albany with two other SJC seniors, Juanita Arias (SJC Brooklyn) and Nicholas Bates (SJC Long Island), for Lobby Day to advocate against financial aid cuts.
Johnson will pursue a master’s in political science at Columbia University this fall. He plans to later go to law school. His dream job is serving as a Supreme Court justice. For others with big goals, Johnson offers this advice: “Don’t be afraid to try new things. From an early age, I have been taught not to shy away from new experiences. It is better to try something and realize that you don’t like it than to never try it and have regret.”
His Road to SJC
Transfer student Nicholas Bates will receive a bachelor’s in political science.
“After my first semester at SUNY Fredonia, I decided to come home to Long Island and work while going to school,” said the vice president of SJC Long Island’s Political Science Club. “My brother had gone to SJC, so I knew how great it was from all of his stories. I can honestly say that making the switch was one of the better decisions that I have made in my life.”
After transferring to St. Joseph’s, Bates made the most of his college experience, making the most of the many opportunities for hands-on experience available at St. Joseph’s. He participated in two political science internships: one with Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone in the Office of Constituent Affairs, and one with the Democratic Party on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce in Washington, D.C.
Shooting for the Stars
Back in November, senior and four-year Golden Eagle Andrea Iavarone became the eighth player in SJC Long Island women’s basketball program history to eclipse the 1,000 career-point mark. She hit the milestone during the Eagles’ season-opening 103-55 victory at Medgar Evers College.
With 1,510 career points, Iavarone SJC’s all-time leading scorer. She finished second all-time in rebounds, with 1,112.
The Miller Place resident was named Skyline Conference Player of the Year for the 2017-18 season. Also selected to the Skyline All-Conference First-Team for the third-straight season, Iavarone led the conference in total points (521), points-per-game (20.8), total rebounds (420), rebounds-per-game (16.8), total blocks (60), blocks-per-game (2.4), field goal percentage (53.9%) and free throw percentage (80.4).
A sparkling season from top to bottom, the forward collected multiple weekly honors throughout 2017-18, including USBWA Division III National Player of the Week on Jan. 30. Iavarone was the first player in program and Skyline Conference history to earn the award.
She was also selected to the Metropolitan Basketball Writers Association (MBWA) All-Met Second-Team. In March, Iavarone appeared on the D3hoops All-Atlantic Region First-Team and was named Eastern Collegiate Athletic Association (ECAC) Player of the Year.
Graduating with a bachelor’s in business, Iavarone is looking to play basketball professionally overseas after graduation.
Moore Scoring More Than Ever
Senior Isaiah Moore scored his 1,000th point during the Eagles’ 61-53 win over Purchase last season. The four-year starter averaged a career-high 12.9 points per game this past season. He made 25 starts in 26 appearances, finishing third on the team in both scoring and rebounding (4.2 RPG) and first on the team in blocks-per-game (0.8). He shared team lead with 40 three-pointers.
The 6-foot-4 guard was twice on the Skyline Conference Weekly Honor Roll during his time as a Golden Eagle (Jan. 16, 2017; Dec. 11, 2017). He also made it to the Skyline All-Sportsmanship Team during the 2015-16 season.
Passionate about Peru
Katelyn Bryant had been planning to study abroad in Peru since her freshman year. She took speech pathology classes in Spanish in order to increase her proficiency.
She made her way to Peru during the spring 2016 semester, where she volunteered and assisted with speech language pathology for a student who had cancer. She stayed in Peru for five months.
I came back different from how I left; I came back better.”
“I actually got a job offer at the school where I volunteered teaching English — no one could understand why I had to return to the states!” Bryant said. “I made some great friends that I talk to every week, and that keep asking me when I’ll be coming back to Peru.”
Even though her decision to go to Peru for an entire semester was life-changing — separating her from the comfort of friends and family — she wasn’t quite sure why she decided on Peru in the first place.
“I’d like to think that Peru was just the place God wanted me to be, and that’s why it was on my heart to go,” Bryant said. “My faith was definitely strengthened in Peru. There were a lot of challenges I faced there, and God was faithful through it all. I came back to the U.S. stronger and fearless and more passionate about my career.”
Bryant also presented at the Study Abroad Conference at SJC in October 2017, with Dr. Boomgaarden in attendance.
She’ll attend Columbia University in the fall to study bilingual speech pathology program.
“I’d love to take what I learn back with me to South America,” Bryant said.