Employees receiving degrees during Commencement ceremonies
Eight Salve Regina employees will receive degrees during this week’s Commencement exercises, bringing a whole new meaning to the term “work-study.” They will be awarded bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fields ranging from administration of justice and homeland security to innovation and strategic management.
Darwin Almonte, senior admissions counselor and coordinator of multicultural recruitment
Almonte will receive an MBA along with a certificate in cybersecurity and intelligence. “It all started with a conversation I had with Darwin Salazar ’18, who introduced me to the field,” he said. “Once I took my first class in cybersecurity, I was immediately hooked.”
He enjoyed diving into a new field of study and said that taking classes alongside students made him feel more connected to the student body. “Most importantly, the privilege of learning from great professors was the icing on the cake,” Almonte said. “The level of support I experienced with professors only confirmed to me everything I preach when I’m out on the road recruiting for Salve Regina.”
He thanked the administration of justice and business faculty and colleagues Pam Heroux and Brian Shanley for their support. “And of course my family whom I work hard every day for,” he added.
John Crooks, media services/systems specialist
Crooks will receive a master’s degree in administration of justice and homeland security along with certificates in cybersecurity and digital forensics. After earning a B.A. in administration of justice in 2017, he was encouraged to continue his education by faculty members Vincent Petrarca and David Smith.
“I hope to be able to help provide support in a domain that is complicated and intimidating to the average person, make an impact the industry and potentially create a relationship with my new employer to help my fellow Salve students find work in the field,” Crooks said.
He thanked Brian McDonnell and Dan Titus for providing an opportunity to work at Salve Regina and the Department of Administration of Justice for offering attentive and individualized advice and care. “And of course my family, particularly my old man and Momma Crooks for all the love and support to get me to where I am today,” he added.
Brooke Newsome, community relations assistant
Newsome will receive a master’s degree in innovation and strategic management. “It’s a dream of mine to become Dr. Newsome, so this was a necessary step to get to that goal,” she said. “I wanted to prove to my kids that you can do anything you set your mind to. It was a lot of work, I might have quit if it weren’t for my oldest who told me that she wanted to take cap and gown pictures together in 2019 (she graduates high school in June). That was my motivation.”
She hopes to work for the U.S. Navy someday and feels that the master’s degree will be more beneficial than her undergraduate degree in elementary education.
She thanked Dr. Myra Edelstein for helping to design a course load that accommodated her busy schedule, which included two rounds of international travel while she pursued the degree. “She was flexible with due dates and time zones,” Newsome said. “I didn’t have to put my life on pause for two years in order to take classes.”
Tenley Sodeur, admissions counselor
Sodeur, who will receive an MBA, said that she is always trying to enhance her education and is a firm believer that education is never wasted.
“The MBA was a program that would advance my career while working around my schedule, which is usually full of traveling around the region to recruit students for the undergraduate population,” she said. “It was a perfect fit and I am so proud of all that I was able to accomplish while working full time the past two years.”
Sodeur enjoyed the flexibility of her coursework, adding that her professors were understanding of her position and were helpful in making sure she was able to stay on top of her work.
“I would like to thank my family and friends as well my office for supporting me on my best and worst days,” she said. “I appreciate all the support and couldn’t have done it without you.”
The following employees will also receive degrees during this week’s Commencement ceremonies:
- Cynthia Bassett, tutor coordinator in the Academic Center for Excellence, will receive a graduate certificate
- Brendan Clancey, technical support specialist, will receive a bachelor’s degree in administration of justice
- Lori Merritt, office coordinator for graduate studies and continuing education, will receive a master’s degree in holistic leadership
- Christopher Phillips, network administrator, will receive a master’s degree in administration of justice and homeland security