FGI
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Meet our Community

Brandi Ferrera

Brandi Ferrera

Degrees: BS in Marketing, MAT, Business Education

Favorite Class an Undergraduate: Advertising Concepts

HWS First Generation College Students Are: Special and so very fortunate!

Favorite Experience as a College Student: Working as an Orientation Leader. Getting involved on campus opened so many more opportunities for me. The friendships I made during that program have lasted through the years, even as the distance between us continues to grow.

I’m Proud of Being a First Generation Student Because: I have been able to grow in my career in a way that would not have been possible without a college education. Additionally, the sense of pride my family had when I walked across that stage is something words will never truly capture. I am still moved to tears when I think about the cheering – even the President commented on it as he shook my hand and handed me my diploma. 

Most Influential Personal in Your Life: I was fortunate to have a great mentor as an undergrad; at the time she was my supervisor in the Orientation Program. Celeste took me under her wing during training, which lasted an entire semester. She was also the director of the career center on my campus and helped me apply to graduate school, where she then hired me as a graduate assistant in her office. That is when I fell in love with Higher Ed and decided I wanted to pursue a career in Career Services. I finished my teaching degree but knew long before it was over that I had found my passion.

Brandon Barile

Brandon Barile

Degrees: B.A. in English (Keuka College), M.A. in Social Sciences, Student Affairs and Diversity (Binghamton), Ed.D.in Organizational Leadership Studies (Northeastern)

Favorite Class as an Undergraduate: Western History

I’m Proud of Being a First Generation College Student Because: I navigated the search, decision, and payment on my own. Although I had encouragement, I had to do the planning on my own.

Favorite Experience as a College Student: Serving as a Resident Assistant

HWS First Generation College Students Are: Empowered

Most Influential Person in Your Life: My daughter. She helps me stay true to my personality, honest, and connected to my inner child!

Brianne Ellis

Brianne Ellis '13

Degrees: B.A. in Sociology and Latin American Studies and M.S. Ed (Education and Social Change)

Favorite Class as an Undergraduate: Rethinking Families or Sexual Minorities

I’m Proud of Being a First Generation College Student Because: I was able to thrive in college for myself and my family and gain the discourse and foundation for my future. I am excited that now I have the opportunity to help other students navigate the college search and application process.

Favorite Experience as a College Student: Studying Abroad in Argentina, I did community service in Honduras and Israel and interned in South Africa.

HWS First Generation Students Are: Leaders

Most Influential Person in Your Life: My mom. My biological mother passed away when I was five years old. Her best friend changed her entire life to become my mom and raise me as her own daughter.

Jamie Bodenlos

Jamie Bodenlos

Degrees: B.S. Psychology University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, M.A. Clinical Psychology Western Carolina University, Ph.D. Clinical Psychology Louisiana State University

Favorite Class an Undergraduate: Learning, this course was all about the behavioral theories of learning and I found it fascinating. Through one of the projects in the class, I discovered the field of Psychoneuroimmunology which piqued my interest in the ways in which physical and emotional health were linked.

HWS First Generation College Students Are: Both of my parents worked very hard to give me the opportunity to go to college and graduate school. My father is a brick layer and my mom did office work. They didn’t have the opportunity to go to college so I made sure to take full advantage of going. They instilled in me the “blue-collar” work mentality which is one of the reasons I have been so successful in my career.

Favorite Experience as a College Student: Going to my first psychology conference was by far my favorite experience. I traveled in a van with my college professor and 4 other students to Boston, MA for the annual Eastern Psychology Association conference. Although I didn’t present anything at this conference, the opportunity to see new research presented and get a feel for how conferences worked had a huge impact on my career trajectory.

Most Influential Personal in Your Life: This is a tough question to answer. Both of my parents have been strong influences on me. They instilled in me at an early age the importance of hard work, independence, and being responsible. Through their encouragement, I started working at the age of 14 and haven’t stopped since. As both of my parents worked full-time and shared household duties, I had good role models for the importance of equality at home and at work.

Jerry Buckley

Jerry Buckley P’15

Degrees: B.A in Political Science & Communications. M.S in Journalism

Favorite Class as an Undergraduate: Political Reporting & Writing.

I’m Proud of Being a First Generation College Student Because: I honored my parents’ commitment to higher education for their children.

Favorite Experience as a College Student: Being a resident advisor and working for Newsweek Magazine.

HWS Students Are: Inspiring

Most Influential Person in Your Life: My five siblings, I am the youngest of six.

Joshua Newby

Joshua Newby

Degrees: BS (Chemistry), BS (Secondary Education), Ph.D. (Physical Chemistry)

Favorite Class as an undergraduate: Molecular Spectroscopy

I’m Proud of Being a First Generation College Student Because: I was able to navigate a very complicated path and find my own way. I feel like it has made me a more independent and confident person overall.

Favorite Experience as a college student: Attending my first scientific conference; the International Symposium of Molecular Spectroscopy. Seeing the larger world of chemistry and what I could potentially do was pretty awesome.

HWS First Generation Students Are: Ready for the challenge!

Most Influential Person in Your Life: There are many. Pamela and Larry Newby (my parents), Todd Keating (HS chemistry teacher), Tina Winings (HS speech & theatre coach), Sean Peebles (undergraduate research advisor), Timothy Zwier (Ph.D. advisor). These people helped me see my potential! I wouldn’t be here without them!

Kathy Slentz

Kathy Slentz

Degrees: B.S., Chemistry (Hobart and William Smith College)

Favorite Class an Undergraduate: My favorite class was Analytical Chemistry

HWS First Generation College Students Are: Determined

Favorite Experience as a College Student: My favorite experience was my graduation.

I’m Proud of Being a First Generation Student Because: I was the first in my Family and it was a life goal of mine.

Most Influential Personal in Your Life: Prof. Rubycz

Mary-Ann Rolfe

Mary-Ann Rolfe

Degrees: Business Administration (Kent State University)

Favorite Class as an Undergraduate: Marketing class

I’m Proud of Being a First Generation College Student Because: The push my immigrant parents made to make sure I was able to succeed in the country they called home.

Favorite Experience as a College student: Coordinated the NAACURH Conference for a Residence Hall organization my senior year. Definitely defined my future career choice!

HWS College Students Are: Resilient, tough, a first!

Most Influential Person in Your Life: Cannot pick just one person. My father was an immigrant, the youngest of 8, a chef and an educator … he was my everything as a kid. Now? My husband and kids…. We all push each other to be better and to appreciate all that we have!

Nan Crystal Arens

Nan Crystal Arens

Degrees: B.S. at Penn State, M.S. at Penn State, PhD at Harvard

Favorite Class an Undergraduate: Structural Geology – I learned that math actually applied to the “real world”

HWS First Generation College Students Are: Hungry to Learn, Trailblazers, Courageous

Favorite Experience as a College Student: As a geology student, every time I took a new course, I would see something new in the world that I hadn’t noticed before. I loved driving past this big road cut on I80 on my way home each semester and seeing the same old outcrop in some new way.

I’m Proud of Being a First Generation College Student Because: My graduating from college made my Dad proud.

Most Influential Personal in Your Life: Professor Alfred Traverse – he convinced me that I could be a scientist.

Sara Branch

Sara Branch

Degrees: B.A. Psychology; University of Portland M.A., PhD: Social Psychology; Purdue University

Favorite Class at Undergraduate: General Psychology; The Philosophy of Self and Identity; God and the Theological Imagination.

HWS First Generation College Students Are: Totally awesome. The first generation students I’ve met at HWS work hard and really value their education. They also have unique and interesting perspectives and I love hearing about their experiences.

Favorite Experience as a College Student: I studied abroad for a semester in Fremantle, Australia, which was amazing. I loved learning about the history of Australia and traveling in the outback.

I’m Proud of Being a First Generation College Student Because: It is a testament to my parents. I have two siblings and we all earned college degrees, my sister went for her law degree, and my brother will eventually pursue a graduate degree after he completes his service in the Navy. My parents worked very hard to support us and encourage us throughout school and they made a lot of sacrifices in order for us to go to college. I’m proud of all of us for being first generation students because our success is a testament to my parents’ hard work, and in many ways it’s as much their success as it is ours.

Most Influential Person in Your Life: My parents.

CONTACT

Christine de Denus
Associate Professor of Chemistry FGI Director
deDenus@hws.edu

 

Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.