UAlbany's seniors—accomplished, outstanding and ready to make their mark on the world

UAlbany is graduating many exceptional seniors who have used their four years to pursue and extract all the countless opportunities that are available at this great University. It is impossible to mention all of these outstanding young men and women, but here are a representative few:

Brian FesslerBrian Fessler
Kendall, NY
Major/Minor: Double major in political science and history
Activities/Honors: Presidential Scholar, president of the SUNY Student Assembly, Student Association Chief Justice, RACC Rowdies, intern with New York State Office of Homeland Security.

At UAlbany: Brian has always had a strong interest in government and public service, which is why he decided to major in political science. UAlbany's affordability, large campus size, and its proximity to the state capital made the college a perfect fit for him.

As one of the "RACC Rowdies" Brian enjoys cheering on UAlbany's athletics teams. He recalls his favorite memory as being the overnight campout in front of the RACC for tickets to the America East Conference Championship. When UAlbany successfully defeated Vermont and landed a spot in the NCAA Tournament, Brian rushed the basketball court to excitedly congratulate the winning team. He said: "It was by far the most school spirit I have ever seen at UAlbany."

Future: Although his undergraduate career is coming to an end, Brian will continue on at UAlbany as a graduate student pursuing a master's degree in public administration. As far as his plans for the future, he says he would like be "working for the federal government in Washington, D.C., in the Defense or Homeland Security field...knock on wood!"

Basketball games at the RACC,
Song: "Fly Away" by Lenny Kravitz
Professor: David McCaffrey
Downtime activity: watching television

Quote: It can't hurt to try.


Darwin JonesDarwin Jones
Rochester, NY
Major/Minor: Accounting/business administration
Activities/Honors: President of the class of 2006, president of Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society.

At UAlbany: In the summer of 2005 Darwin interned for Verizon where he worked for their Human Resources department in college relations and recruitment. His job was to contact college career centers throughout the nation, to build relationships with them, and to search for qualified recent graduates for Verizon. He stayed in constant contact with the company's hiring managers to find the best qualified candidates, and eventually extended formal job offers to those whom Verizon wanted to hire.

On campus Darwin worked as a housing manager for the University Apartments, served on the University Auxiliary Services Board of Directors and on the Parking Appeals Board. He was a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

Future: Darwin's academic achievements in UAlbany's nationally recognized accounting program won him the notice of Ernst & Young, LLP. After graduation, he will join that firm as a tax associate.

Professor: Michelle Forte
Song: Thank You by Various Artists
Place on campus: The fountain

Quote: Don't frown because you never know who may be falling in love with your smile.


Evelyn KohrEvelyn Kohr
Baldwinsville, NY
Major/Minor: Double major in criminal justice and French
Activities/Honors: UAlbany Chamber Singers and Chorale, member of Presidential Honor Society, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and French National Honor Society (Pi Delta Phi), Presidential Scholar, recipient of the Chancellor's Award for Academic Excellence, recipient of multiple Prix de l'Ambassade (awards from the French Embassy), interned with the U.S. Embassy in Paris.

At UAlbany: Evelyn chose UAlbany because of its reputable School of Criminal Justice. "I was interested in law and wanted to see if criminal law was something I wanted to pursue," she said. "Very few schools offer such undergraduate programs." Music also played a large role in Evelyn's life and she loved being involved in the UAlbany Chamber Singers and Chorale.

Future: Evelyn will be pursuing a master's degree in French at UAlbany, but her post-graduation plans include law school. In 10 years, Evelyn sees herself living in France while practicing law at an international firm.

Place on campus: Ritazza's
Song: Imagine by John Lennon
Professor: David Griggs-Janower
Downtime activity: singing

Quote: People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. - Unknown


Aliya MakkiAliya Makki
New Paltz, NY
Major/Minor: Public policy/education
Activities/Honors: President of Middle Earth Peer Assistance Program, Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society, Presidential Scholar.

At UAlbany: Like most freshmen, Aliya came to UAlbany with little idea of what she wanted to study. She took a class on public policy to fulfill a GenEd requirement and found her passion.

In her sophomore year she became involved with the Middle Earth Peer Assistance Program. Aliya is part of Outreach, the Middle Earth Players, and served as the historian in 2004-2005 academic year and president in the 2005-2006 academic year. Through Middle Earth she was elected to the position of Student Trustee for the BACCHUS Network, a national peer education organization. One of her favorite experiences with Middle Earth was working as a facilitator for alcohol intervention programs through a grant awarded by the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse to study the effectiveness of peer influence. Aliya truly believes it is important for students to be involved on their campus because it shrinks a school of 12,000 undergraduates to a community of friends.

Future: In the fall Aliya will continue her studies in the master's degree program in public administration at UAlbany's Nelson A. Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy.

Place on Campus: The Podium on a warm day
Professor: David McCaffrey
Song: You gotta be Des'ree
Author: Paulo Coelho

Quote: I try to laugh at whatever life brings because when I look down I miss all the good stuff and when I look up I just trip over things. - Ani Difranco


Matt McLarenMatt McLaren
Kingston, NY
Major/Minor: Criminal justice with a concentration in law and a double
minor in history and political science.
Activities/Honors: UAlbany Moot Court team (quarter finalists), Albany
Criminal Justice Association, Dean's Award for Excellence.

At UAlbany: Matt's interest in criminal justice led him to UAlbany's Moot Court team. His favorite academic memory was winning the quarter finals of the Moot Court Competition. Matt said, "It felt really good to have all the hard work pay off in the long run, and it has provided me much understanding in regard to prepping a legal argument."

Future: Matt will be attending Loyola (New Orleans) Law School. In 10 years he hopes to be working as a prosecutor. His main interests in law reside in understanding why criminals commit their crimes.

Downtown Campus
Song: Rosalita (come out tonight) - Bruce Springsteen
Professor: James Acker
Downtime activity: reading

Quote: Fun ain't easy if it ain't free.


Melissa NappiMelissa Nappi
Merrick, NY
Major/Minor: Biology (premed)
Activities: Research in the psychology department, Phi Delta Epsilon, prehealth fraternity, Presidential Honors Society, Project SHAPE (Sexual Health and Peer Education), Presidential Scholar, Presidential Scholar Leadership Council, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Omicron Delta Kappa, National Leadership Honor Society, Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, UAlbany Advocates, intramural dodge ball, Midnight Madness Basketball League, University at Albany tour guide.

At UAlbany:
Melissa's interest in biology began her junior year in high school while taking an AP class. "I found that I really enjoyed the material in the class and had a real passion for the sciences."

Melissa was also extremely involved in extracurricular activities on campus, especially with Project SHAPE. She joined the Midnight Madness Basketball League after tryouts in December 2004. She has been playing basketball since the fourth grade in a town league, the North Bellmore North Merrick Basketball League. "My dad was my coach then and he taught me to play," she said. "Midnight Basketball League was a great place to go and hang out. The games are competitive and fun to watch. It's a great way to spend a Friday and Saturday night. Also, it's free, which everyone knows is great for college students!"

Future: Med school and 10 years from now, she would like to be a pediatric reconstructive plastic surgeon.

Favorites: Exercising, spending time with friends, hanging out around the fountain when it's warm out.


Joseph PatalanoJoseph Patalano
Valley Cottage, NY
Major/Minor: Business administration - double concentration in finance and marketing
Activities/Honors: Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence, Omicron Delta Kappa Region II Leader of the Year, Vice President of the UAlbany Chapter of Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society, President's Award for Undergraduate Leadership (Great Dane and School Spirit awards), University at Albany Outstanding Senior Award, student member of University Auxiliary Services Board of Directors, housing manager for Empire Commons, University at Albany School of Business Award, University at Albany Spirit Committee member.

At UAlbany: From the beginning, Joe knew that he wanted to follow the business administration track. Because of UAlbany's excellent reputation and that of the School of Business, he knew that UAlbany was where he wanted to attend college. He recalled, "The environment was welcoming, the people were friendly and the energy was definitely there. The University at Albany also has an excellent track record for placing graduates in major companies and corporations throughout the United States."

He advises incoming UAlbany students to "make sure to balance your schedule between work and play," since there are so many activities to join on the UAlbany campus. "Getting involved and becoming part of the next generation of student leaders on campus is very important for the overall success of the University."

Some of his best moments at UAlbany were connected with the 2006 men's basketball team winning the America East Championships and then going to the NCAA Tournament. "I have never seen so much school spirit and pride in the RACC before. My friends and I traveled with the team to Philadelphia, where they played an incredible game against UCONN. Those are memories that I will have for the rest of my life."

Future: Joe will be working full-time as an analyst at JP Morgan Chase beginning in August 2006. He hopes to eventually go back to school for an M.B.A. Ten years from now, Joe pictures himself as a wealthy partner or vice president of a Park Avenue firm in New York City.

Place on campus: Hanging out by the fountain
Song: Living on a Prayer - Bon Jovi
Professor: Paul Morgan Jr.
Downtime activity: Going for a run around Perimeter Road

Quote: Get a good idea and stay with it. Dog it, and work at it until it's done right.
- Walt Disney


Edgardo SosaEdgardo Sosa
Bronx, NY
Double Major: Biochemistry and molecular biology/anthropology
Activities/Honors: Volunteered at Albany Medical Center, Charles Drew Minority Association of Pre-Health Students (MAPS), the Collegiate Science and Technology Program (CSTEP), a 2005-2006 Goldwater Scholar, and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Undergraduate Scholarship.

At UAlbany: Before coming to UAlbany, Edgardo served in the United States Marine Corps, where he reached the rank of sergeant. Since his arrival at UAlbany he has found it to be "very refreshing to be in an environment where students are proud to express themselves, where they welcome each other and share in one another's experiences."

He was highly involved in research at UAlbany, especially in Caro-Beth Stewart's laboratory in the biology department. He studied the molecular evolution of AIDS-related genes in primates. "I've also been fortunate enough to win scholarships and internships that have helped finance my educational expenses," he said.

Future: After graduation, Edgardo will have a summer internship in biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health. In the fall, he'll start in a combined M.D./Ph.D. program at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx. Ten years from now, Edgardo figures he'll be in the middle of a medical residency program. "I have a long road ahead of me," he said. His ultimate goal is to practice medicine and conduct research, either in the Bronx or Washington, D.C., and to "give back" to the community through his work in science and medicine.

Favorites: Running and bike-riding, hanging out with friends, family and his girlfriend, listening to music, and playing chess.

Quote: Sometimes we pay the most for the things we get for free.


Tell Us Your Story


Recent Features:
Celebrated Improv Group, Chicago City Limits Performs

Exciting, Edifying, Unforgettable -- Summer Study Abroad

Master of Fine Arts Thesis Exhibition Opens at University Art Museum

Celebrated Improv Group, Chicago City Limits Performs >>

Exciting, Edifying, Unforgettable -- Summer Study Abroad >>


Master of Fine Arts Thesis Exhibition Opens at University Art Museum >>



Please send questions or comments to: marketing@uamail.albany.edu

Top of Page