2022: ILLUMINATE AUTHORS & CONTRIBUTORS
Alexis Bennett is a recent graduate of William Paterson University (WPU) where she received a BS in Management with a minor in Global Public Health. Alexis was a student in the Honors College at WPU and worked as a Senior Writing Consultant at the university’s writing center. Currently, she is a Literacy Coach at Boxwood Learning Center, a non-profit aimed to improve the lives of at-risk youth. She will be entering her Peace Corps service in January 2023 and will ultimately pursue a career that allows her to nurture neglected communities and make positive, sustainable changes in the world.
Gina Calo graduated from the University of Saint Joseph in CT in May 2022, earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing and obtaining her RN license. She is currently completing her master’s degree at Yale University and will graduate in 2024 as a nurse practitioner specializing in Women’s Health. Gina is currently working as a vaccine and summer camp nurse. In her free time, Gina enjoys fishing and all things outdoors.
Mark Crisci is a third-year student who transferred to New College of Florida in Fall 2022 from SUNY Orange studying Data Science. As a SUNY Orange Honors Program student, his thesis argues that Neoliberalist economic theories hijack capitalism to promote a system where opportunity is perpetually distributed unequally to a small portion of citizens. At the same time, the vast majority bequeath a boot-strap mentality to their children to navigate unlevel economic landscapes that rely on a large portion of the population to be socially, economically, and politically poor. In his spare time, he volunteers with The Alzheimer’s Association and is the Team Retention Chair on the board of the Orange/Sullivan chapter in Orange County, New York. Mark is determined to achieve his Master’s in Data Science to work with non-profit organizations.
Shannon DiCristina is a student at Fairleigh Dickinson University and a member of the University's Honors Program and Honors Academy. She is a senior passionately studying Literature and Education; she plans on becoming an English teacher post-graduation. At Fairleigh Dickinson University, Shannon is the president of the English Honors Society Sigma Tau Delta and an executive board member for the Greek Order of Omega Honors Society. She is also a collegiate cross-country athlete and publicity cochair for the Honors Department.
Misti Ellinger attends SUNY Buffalo State, where she is a student in the Muriel A. Howard Honors Program studying Biobehavioral Health Science. She is a recent graduate of SUNY Erie with an A.A. In Social Science, a member of Phi Theta Kappa, a Certified Lactation Counselor, and is employed in the medical field. Misti volunteers in her community as a Mentor for the Priscilla Project serving refugee and immigrant women, and also serves as a Youth Public Speaking Evaluator for the Erie County 4-H program. Her main goal is to be an outstanding role model for her two children. She plans to attend Graduate school in 2023 to become a Physician Assistant. Her future intentions are to focus on Women's Healthcare in underserved regions of Western New York, and the Northern Appalachian region she was raised in.
Jill Evans is a teen mother and honors student at Mount Wachusett Community College where she studies Human Services. In her first year, she has won multiple academic awards, including 1st place in her school’s Best of College Research contest. Upon her graduation, she plans to complete her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work, and later complete her Master’s degree in the same subject. She is presently employed as a Recovery Support Specialist where she works with individuals with substance use disorder on their journey through addiction recovery. In her free time, she enjoys walks with her daughter, improving her embroidery skills, and reading trashy romance novels.
Caitlyn Ferrecchia is a senior who is majoring in History and minoring in Criminal Justice at Worcester State University where she is a member of the Honors Program, Phi Eta Sigma, and Phi Alpha Theta. Caitlyn is engaged in the campus community, where she served as a research assistant over the summer conducting criminal justice research for a professor’s upcoming book chapter. She has completed independent honors projects across various disciplines and is in the process of completing her Commonwealth Honors Project. Caitlyn currently works as an ABA therapist for children with Autism, but hopes to pursue a career in Law after completing her undergraduate degree.
Livia Fontana is a student at Bergen Community College. She is a member of the JKW Honors school and Phi Theta Kappa Honors society. Livia also serves as president of the Math Club and actively participates in the community at Bergen. Livia plans to transfer to a four year university to major in mathematics and minor in chemistry. While working in the Supplemental Instruction program and tutoring, Livia discovered her passion for teaching and plans to become a teacher post-graduation.
Marilyn Green was born in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, native to the Hill District. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and an Associate’s Degree in Computer Information Systems. She is exploring graduate school. She currently works at a social agency with the senior population helping them with community resources. In her spare time, Marilyn likes to try new recipes, read and watch movies. She is a dedicated walker, walking no less than 2 miles per day. Marilyn also serves in The Sharing and Caring Ministry at her church providing home cooked meals to the underserved.
Leah Harrigan is a recent graduate of the Macaulay Honors College at the City College of New York, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biology. She is a medical assistant at an urgent care clinic in New York City and a research assistant in the department of Psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She aspires to become a physician and is currently applying to medical school.
Daniel Heberle is a recent graduate from Monroe Community College with an Associate's degree in English. While in the Honors Institute, Daniel developed his academic research and writing skills by researching artwork from the medieval and early modern periods to street art of the present day. With essays published in the MCC literary magazine Cabbages and Kings and in the 2022 Beacon Conference, Daniel's passion lies in talking and writing about artwork that challenges conventions of visual representation. He is currently a junior at the University of Rochester working towards his Bachelor's degree in art history. After graduate school, Daniel intends to become a professor of art history earning his PhD with focuses in Southern Renaissance and Baroque painting.
Isabella Hoffer is a second-year student at the University of Pittsburgh. She spent her first year of college at Salisbury University, where she was a member of the Clarke Honors College and the women’s soccer team. She recently transferred to the University of Pittsburgh, where she is pursuing a degree in business administration, as well as participating in club soccer. After graduating, she aspires to be an innovative business leader.
Kaléi Kowalchik, BSN, RN is a third-year student BSN-PhD student at The Pennsylvania State University, Ross and Carol Nese College of Nursing. She currently works as a graduate assistant and as a registered nurse in the hospice setting. Kaléi aspires to complete her PhD and obtain a job in academia. Her research interests are bettering undergraduate nursing students knowledge and attitudes providing hospice and end of life care, she hopes to continue to conduct research in the future relevant to her interests
Emily Lamie is a rising sophomore at Fairleigh Dickinson University. She is a Biology / Pre-Medicine major with Lake Erie’s College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) 3 + 4 program. She is a member of the FDU Honors Program, Graphic Design club and Coptic club. Due to her love for art, she recently traveled abroad to England this summer to discover the art and beauty of other lifestyles and cultures. In her free time, she draws, plays piano, runs an Etsy account, and writes for fun. Following her three years of undergrad, Emily plans to attend LECOM and complete her medical degree as a Physician in Osteopathic Medicine.
AnnaMaria Leal is a graduate student, in her final year, at St. Francis College. She is completing a BA/MA in Applied Behavioral Psychology and is double minoring in Spanish and Women & Gender Studies. While at SFC she was a member of the Swimming & Diving team for four years and a thrower on the Track & Field team for five years. She has served her campus as a student leader through a variety of different clubs, honors societies, and campus organizations. She recently took on the position of Career Advising Graduate Assistant in the Center for Career Exploration, where she helps her fellow peers navigate their career journeys. One of her proudest accomplishments from her time at St. Francis College is that after five years as a Senator in the Student Government Association she was selected to serve the student body as their SGA President for the 2022-2023 school year. When she's not at school AnnaMaria can usually be found doing her two favorite things, going to concerts and taking photos.
Alexandra Lipinski is a sophomore at Salisbury University studying biology on the environmental biology track with a minor in chemistry. She is a member of the Clarke Honors College where she is an Honors Ambassador. She is involved on campus and is president of the BioEnvirons Club, vice-president of the Quidditch Club, and a member of the club field hockey team. After completing her undergraduate degree, Alexandra plans to pursue a PhD to study ornithology.
Erin Maida is a fourth-year honors student at Fitchburg State University. She will be graduating in May 2023 with her Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education with a concentration in Severe Disabilities K-12. Last semester, Erin completed her Honors Thesis on Assistive Technology which has greatly increased her passion for teaching students using augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). Erin is the Volunteer Coordinator of Kappa Delta Pi at her university, secretary of Falcon Friends which is similar to a Best Buddies program, and member of the Education Club. Outside of school, she works with individuals with disabilities as a Registered Behavior Technician and as a Community Support Professional. Post graduation, Erin will be pursuing a master's degree at Southern Connecticut State University before she applies to be a special educator in New England.
Matthew Matsulavage is a graduate of Buffalo State College with degrees in History and Business Administration. He was a member of the Muriel A. Howard Honors Program, President of Buffalo State’s chapter of the Phi Alpha Theta Honor Society, and a member of Buffalo State’s Club Hockey Club. In addition to history, he has also studied French and served as Buffalo State’s French tutor. After graduation he will be attending SUNY University at Buffalo to study Archaeology and pursue a Masters in History.
Addyson Miner is a student pursuing an associate degree at the Community College of Rhode Island and is part of the College Honors program. She is a sophomore studying Fine Arts and has a passion for photography. After graduating she plans on pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Photography and Film.
Gabriella Parrella is a third-year Honors Academy student at Fairleigh Dickson University studying Business Management with a concentration in Human Resources and a minor in Psychology. She is currently working as a Marketing Coordinator at Opera at Florham and as a Communications Associate at the League of Women Voters of the Morristown Area. She also is the President of the University’s Women in Business Club, which mentors business students and prepares them for their professional careers. In the future, she plans on getting her MBA and implementing sustainability within business.
Kristina Pickering is a recent graduate of Notre Dame of Maryland University with two Bachelor of Arts degrees in Biology and Philosophy on a Pre-Medical Pathway. She plans to pursue her interests in biology and philosophy by attaining a Master’s in bioethics in the coming year. At Notre Dame, she served, led, and participated in various programs and projects. A few of her most notable roles at Notre Dame have included: being a Bonner service student working in the city, at hospitals, and wherever she could serve her community and an intern to research the last forty years of her honors program and its impact on women’s education, a student researcher who investigated the genome of the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach, a student liaison and leader in the Public Safety Department, and member of the first team to be taken to nationals for the APPE Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl. Outside of Notre Dame, she serves as one of two two-year student representatives for the National Collegiate Honors Council Board, a role she takes great pride in. She loves every opportunity to meet and network with honors students, staff, and faculty as she continues to engage, participate, and mentor in the honors community. You can contact her via email at email@example.com.
Anna Pinder is an international student from the fishing capital of The Bahamas, the small settlement of Spanish Wells. She was an honors student at Monroe College as she completed her Bachelor’s in Hospitality Management, with a minor in Tourism and Destination Management. At the completion of her degree, she was awarded the Honors Excellence Award for the New Rochelle campus, as well as receiving the 2022 Dean’s Award on behalf of the School of Hospitality Management and the Culinary Institute of New York. In response for her love for learning, she is now pursuing a Master’s in Business Administration with a minor in Human Resources. Anna is actively involved on the New Rochelle campus as serving as both a Resident Assistant and a Welcome Center Counselor within the Admissions department.
Ever since she wrote her first short story in fourth grade, Alyssa fell in love with writing. Alyssa Politi is a sophomore honors student at Mercy College majoring in journalism and minoring in business aspiring to attend journalism school in New York City for her master's degree after she graduates. When not in school, she can be found writing for her blog entitled The Beauty Times and working with beauty products. Her main goal as a writer seeks to find the truth and share it to be understandable to people everywhere.
Lizbeth Quiroga Lluizupa will be a junior at Dominican University New York this upcoming semester. She will have completed the requirements for her bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice while also pursuing a minor in psychology within 2 1/2 years. She is also a part of the honors program and is an active member of the Honors Student Association. She is also a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, the International Honor Society in Social Sciences- Pi Gamma Mu, and the Criminal Justice Honor Society-Alpha Phi Sigma. After graduation, Lizbeth plans to attend graduate school to earn a master's degree. In the future, Lizbeth hopes to pursue a career closely connected to victimization services.
Mariel Ravel is a student in the Honors Program at Dominican University in New York studying Criminal Justice with a minor in Psychology. She has received the Rockland Country Club Scholarship and during her time at Dominican, Mariel has been inducted into the Alpha Phi Sigma Criminal Justice Honors Society and the Pi Gamma Mu International Honors Society in Social Sciences. She will complete her BA a full year early in the Spring of 2023 and has secured an internship at a local Sheriff's Department. Mariel plans on continuing her studies to pursue a legal profession.
Aodhán Ridenour is a Sophomore at Community College of Allegheny County studying Art and Creative Writing. In the Honors Program, Aodhán works as a Leadership Assistant and has helped to found the Creative Writing Club, Workout Wednesdays, and will serve as Editor of The Phoenix Creative Arts Journal. In his free time he loves to ride his bicycle, go wilderness backpacking, and eat bananas.
Brittany Siegel recently graduated with honors from SUNY Orange Community College with an Associates degree in Public Health and Liberal Arts. She completed the college's Honors Program and belongs to the college's Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society chapter. Brittany served as the secretary for the Student Senate and as a mentor for the honors program. Brittany represented both the student senate and the honors program on the Academic Policy Committee as well as the Middle States Committee. Additionally, Brittany was the recipient of the Christopher J. Basta Memorial Scholarship and the Faculty/Staff Graduating Scholarship. Currently, she is serving as an alumni representative for the SUNY Orange Middle States committee. Brittany has a strong interest in medical research analysis. She will be attending the College of St. Rose in 2023 to earn a BS in public health then go on to earn a Master of Public Health (MPH) with a concentration in Applied Epidemiology through The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Elizabeth A. Wash is a rising junior with a major in Biomedical Biology and a double minor in Chemistry and Deaf Studies, on the Pre-Medical track at Salisbury University’s Clarke Honor’s College. An active member of the campus community, she serves as President for Delta Alpha Pi, a Presidential Citizens Scholar, an Honors Student Ambassador, Director of Campus Enhancement for SGA, and the managing editor for Laridae. She is also a member of Honors Student Association, Medical Careers Society, American Sign Language Club, Mental Health Committee, and she is an editor of The Saunterer. Elizabeth advocates for students with disabilities, like herself, through providing education about disabilities and raising awareness. After completing her undergraduate degree, Elizabeth plans to pursue her MD in Pediatrics.
Annie (Xuehan) Xie recently graduated Summa Cum Laude from Bentley University, earning a double major in Language, Culture and Business (French) and Business Studies, and a minor in International Affairs. Coming from a multicultural and multilingual background, Annie has always been passionate about foreign language acquisition and education. She has been working in the field of language education since 2018, and she is currently working as a trilingual instructor both in the United States and internationally before pursuing a Master's degree in Second Language Acquisition. Fascinated by the unique behaviors students exhibit in language classrooms and her own language learning experience, Annie has combined her two interests in her featured article: "The Impact of Learning Modalities on Foreign Language Classroom Anxiety: A Comparative Study."