Class of 2017 shares success stories

From advanced degree programs to competitive positions with Fortune 500 companies, members of the Class of 2017 are finding success in their chosen fields. Graduating students and their faculty members were recently invited to submit success stories to SALVEtoday, which are listed below.

Editor’s note: Members of the Class of 2017 are invited to share additional stories in the comments section of this page.

Samantha Antone
B.S. in elementary and special education
Antone will enroll in Providence College’s Providence Alliance for Catholic Teachers program, which will allow her to earn a master’s degree while teaching first grade at Saint Michael School in Fall River, Massachusetts. “It was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down and I am very excited about the journey it is going to be,” she said. Antone cited her student teaching experiences in Newport and North Kingstown as the highlight of her coursework. “They taught me a significant amount about the kind of teacher I want to be, and I loved being able to join their school communities,” she said. She also noted the support of her peers, saying “the close community we built together taught me how to cooperate well with others and collaborate with a team.”

Sasha Arias
B.A. in administration of justice, concentration in juvenile justice
“I know youth commit crimes because they have bad examples or they do not have a support system,” Arias said of her decision to pursue the juvenile justice concentration. “I want to be that support system for these youth and show them that they are not alone.” She completed an internship at Newport’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, where she initiated a program to bring youth to the Miley cafeteria to inspire them to attend college. After graduation, Arias will be employed by Tides Family Services, which works with high-risk youth in communities throughout Rhode Island.

Marrissa Ballard
B.A. in English communications
Ballard is co-valedictorian of the Class of 2017 and has been highly involved on campus through clubs and work-study. She served as co-editor-in-chief of the Mosaic, managing editor of the Willow and writing tutor in the Writing Center. After graduation, Ballard will write an art column in Providence Monthly and explore the possibility of tutoring students in the Providence community. “I want to go back to school for a Ph.D. and end up as a professor, teaching classes just like the ones that I was lucky enough to take here at Salve,” she said.

Taylor Becchetti
B.A. in psychology, minor in dance
Becchetti has secured a graduate assistantship at the University of New Haven, where she will expand her knowledge of industrial and organizational psychology. While earning her master’s degree, she will also focus on event planning, social media presence and graduate activity coordination for the University. In addition to pursuing her degree, Becchetti will gain real world experience interning with Cigna. “I am excited to embark on the next steps in my education and professional life, even though it means leaving Salve behind,” she said.

Robert Cuccia
B.S. in business administration
Cuccia has already started a full-time job with Citizens Bank as an IT infrastructure and security auditor and is pursuing a master’s degree in administration of justice and homeland security with a concentration in digital forensics. While at Salve Regina, he interned at XL Catlin and BankNewport and participated in the Investment Club. “The relationships with both my fellow students as well as the faculty will be most memorable moving forward,” Cuccia said. “I was able to learn a great deal in my time here at Salve that has already proven useful in a professional environment.”

Marissa Greene
B.A. in music and psychology
Greene will pursue a graduate diploma in music therapy at Concordia University in Montreal. “I always knew that I wanted to go into music therapy,” she said. “It’s such an inspiring profession and a growing field.” Once Greene has completed the intensive, three-semester program, she will be certified to practice music therapy and will have the opportunity to continue and earn her master’s degree. “I’ll be moving to Montreal in August after a final summer in Newport, which is bittersweet, but I’m excited for this amazing opportunity,” she said.

Kateryna Kovalenko
M.S. in innovation and strategic management
Kovalenko is on track to receive her M.S. in administration of justice and homeland security this fall. “The flexibility of online and in-class courses, help and accommodation from academic advisers, and incredible staff of professors have allowed me to set the goal of finishing both degrees within one year,” she said. Kovalenko plans to transition from the military and work as an intelligence analyst in Washington, D.C. “The entire experience at Salve has been a great adventure,” she said. “I have acquired great friends, expanded my professional network and gained so much knowledge that I can only sum it up as the most personable and worthy graduate experience.”

Glenn Lanoue
M.A. in rehabilitation counseling
Lanoue, who is a rehabilitation teacher for the R.I. Office of Rehabilitation Services, said his degree will allow him to seek employment as a rehabilitation counselor or in a related field. “The parts of the coursework that I most enjoyed were the research on theorists and techniques,” he said. “The practicums and internship provided me with opportunities to gain experience in different settings.” Lanoue said his education allowed him to make contacts in the field and exposed him to different counseling techniques. “The techniques are a tremendous tool in my current position and for my future in the field,” he added.

Natalia Nardi
B.S. in early childhood education
Nardi hopes to pursue a master’s degree in literacy in addition to teaching. “I most enjoyed my field placements at various schools with different grades,” she said. “I also really loved my student teaching experience and the seminar that went along with it.” Nardi said the most memorable aspect of her education was the support she received from her professors. “The one-on-one meetings and conversations will impact my future as a teacher because I will always remember each child is a unique individual and deserves to be supported and treated as such,” Nardi said.

Joshua Ng
B.S. in chemistry, minor in biology
Ng will pursue employment in the field of chemistry, either in New England or North Carolina. While at Salve Regina, he was chosen to be a summer researcher under the supervision of Dr. Susan Meschwitz and spearheaded three independent research studies. “Each of these projects presented me with challenges, which has taught me important lessons dealing with perseverance and troubleshooting,” Ng said. His advice to future science majors is to connect with the faculty. “Salve Regina provides amazing opportunities to those who are willing to seek them,” he said.

Rachel Nutt
B.S. in early childhood education, minor in special education
While Nutt was student teaching in a second-grade classroom at Pell Elementary School this year, her cooperating teacher needed to take a leave of absence. As a result, she was asked to step in as the full-time teacher. “I have loved every minute of it,” Nutt said. “I have been so incredibly blessed and can’t say enough about how well Salve’s faculty have prepared me to tackle teaching these young, impressionable minds even before graduating.” Salve Regina was an easy choice for Nutt – she is the sixth family member to graduate from the University, and her degree will be the 10th her family has earned.

Mollie Surprenant
B.A. in history
Surprenant will pursue a master’s degree in library and information science at Simmons College, focusing her studies on archives. “I love the library community and can see myself working in many sectors of the field throughout my life,” she said. While at Salve, Surprenant completed internships with Saint Philomena School, the Portsmouth Public Library and the Redwood Library, and will complete a fourth internship at the Newport Historical Society this summer. “I truly feel like the education and knowledge, as well as the experiential learning opportunities I received from Salve, has given me the confidence I need to succeed in graduate school,” she said.

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