Graduating seniors share success stories

Pictured above: Noe Mercado, who will pursue a master’s degree in biology at Villanova University this fall.

From advanced degree programs to highly competitive positions with international companies, members of the Class of 2014 are finding success in their chosen fields. Graduating seniors and their faculty members were recently invited to submit success stories to SALVEtoday, which are listed below.

Members of the Class of 2014 are invited to share additional stories in the comments section of this page.

Kirston Barrett
Major: Biology

Barrett has been accepted to the College of Dental Medicine at the University of New England.

Matthew DeMatteo
Major: Religious and theological studies
Minor: Biology and chemistry

“My dream has always been to become a physician, and leaving Salve I am one step closer to achieving that goal,” DeMatteo said. He has been accepted to medical school and will attend Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine in the fall.

“With this degree, I will have the opportunity to explore all the areas of medicine, decide which specialty is the best fit for me and practice medicine to help members of the local, national and global community,” DeMatteo said.

Jennifer Edine
Major: History and secondary education

Edine was inducted into the Phi Alpha Theta history honor society during the fall 2013 semester and will receive the Pell Medal for excellence in U.S. history during Commencement weekend. In addition to her academic achievements, Edine was a four-year member of the softball team, serving as co-captain during her senior year, and was recently named to the all-Commonwealth Coast Conference second team.

“Jenna is an outstanding example of what a student-athlete should be,” said Dr. William Leeman, assistant professor of history.

Edine has been accepted to Providence College’s PACT program, which gives students the opportunity to teach in a Catholic high school in southern New England while earning their master’s degree. She will teach social studies at Bishop Feehan High School in Attleboro, Mass., while pursuing her master’s degree in American history.

Shennel Gelin
Major: Biology

Gelin has made significant accomplishments in Salve Regina’s biology lab and has presented her work at several regional, national and international meetings. Gelin studied abroad in New Zealand and, while there, completed an internship arranged by Dr. JD Swanson, assistant professor of biology.

Sarah Kalny
Major: Psychology

Kalny will attend the Lynch School of Education at Boston College, pursuing a master’s degree in mental health counseling.

Noe Mercado
Major: Biology
Minor: Chemistry

Mercado participated in the National Science Foundation’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship last summer, and has presented at several regional and national conferences. “Research has been a major part of my life,” he said. “I learned several molecular techniques and also began working on a project that was funded by a research grant. I loved applying the concepts I learned in class.”

A Presidential Scholarship recipient and dean’s list student during his Salve Regina tenure, Mercado served as an AIMS mentor and a member of the Environmental Club, Spanish Club and Multicultural Student Organization. He also volunteered with the Newport County YMCA and Heatherwood Nursing Home.

At Villanova University next fall, Mercado will pursue a master’s degree in biology with a concentration in molecular and cellular biology. Ultimately, his goal is to earn a Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology.

Read more about Noe Mercado.

Brianna Ottati
Major: Business administration

Ottati has been hired by the Southampton Fresh Air Home, a camp for physically challenged children. “What caught their eye was that I was QuickBooks and Microsoft Office certified,” she said. “I would have never taken those courses if Salve hadn’t required them, and I couldn’t be more grateful. I am truly working my dream job.”

One of Ottati’s first tasks will be to assist with the Decorators-Designers-Dealers Benefit Party, one of the camp’s largest fundraising events. “Southampton is truly a magical place and I am lucky enough to call it my job,” she said.

Jessica Proulx
Major: Marketing

Proulx’s first internship with EMD Millipore, a biomanufacturing and life science research company headquartered in Billerica, Mass., was in the summer of 2010. For the last three summers, she interned with the marketing group, where learned and developed skills related to her degree.

“I was recently offered a full time position, which I have gladly accepted,” Proulx said. “I look forward to my new role as an associate product manager and know for a fact that I will be able to take the experiences and lessons learned at Salve with me to EMD Millipore and beyond.”

Proulx offered special thanks to all of her professors, especially Dr. Nadia Abgrab, Jennifer Bonnoff, Tom Flanagan and Dr. Arlene Nicholas. “They taught me the importance of integrity, teamwork and passion, and I can truly say that their lessons have prepared me for my future career,” she said.

Andrew Ready
Major: Biology
Minor: Chemistry

After spending some years out of school as an actor, surf instructor and EMT, Ready decided to return to college to finish his undergraduate degree. He has been accepted to medical school at the University of New England.

Lindsay Rolfe
Major: Administration of justice

Rolfe transferred to Salve Regina for her junior and senior year. “Since being a student at Salve, I have appreciated every day spent here, both in and out of the classroom,” Rolfe said. “The relationships that I have made with professors, faculty and fellow students have truly impacted my life in such a positive way.”

Due to a family member’s serious illness, “there was a time when heading back to Salve Regina for my senior year of college was not feasible,” she said. “Now that I am here and I was able to return, I have never appreciated it more.” Rolfe is looking forward to summer employment as a cyber intelligence analyst and will be returning to Salve Regina for graduate study in the fall.

Kelsey Stafstrom
Major: Biology

Stafstrom has made significant accomplishments in Salve Regina’s biology lab and has presented her work at several national and international meetings. She was an organizer of the annual SRyou Student Exposition and will receive the Leo Bottari Jr. Research Award during Commencement weekend. Stafstrom will enter Georgetown University’s graduate program in biomedical science policy and advocacy this fall.

Madison Van Orden
Major: Biology

Madison Van Orden has built Salve Regina’s hydroponics lab from the ground up, starting with just four bare walls in the summer of 2011. Along the way, she has used the lab to teach young children the importance of growing their own food and to conduct experiments proving that hydroponic herbs are healthier than store brands. Now, Van Orden’s experience has landed her a highly competitive position at Disney World, working with the hydroponics system at Epcot’s The Land.

“Something that I started as a freshman just looking to do for fun turned into something that I’m so passionate about and so well versed in, and now I get to live my dream doing what I love in the most magical place on earth,” she says.

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