Our graduating students are recognized by the College of Arts and Sciences for their incredible achievements.
Every year, each College of Arts and Sciences department selects a graduating senior who has demonstrated exceptional diligence and promise during their time at the University at Buffalo. These students’ efforts have distinguished them among their peers and set an inspiring example of academic and personal achievement. In recognition of their accomplishments, each student receives a certificate and an engraved award.
On April 25, Dean Robin Schulze recognized the 2023 College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Seniors at a reception in Slee Hall.
Matthew Houck of Syracuse, N.Y., graduates magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in African-American studies and environmental design and a minor in architecture. Houck was a part of Say Yes to Education, Leadership House and the Experiential Learning Network. He served as vice president of service for Alpha Phi Omega, planted tulips across campus for the Yellow Tulip Project and organized the creation and upkeep of community gardens across Buffalo's east side to help combat food insecurity. In the fall, Houck plans to work for the city of Syracuse to reconnect communities as part of the Interstate 81 project.
Juliana D'Orazio of Rochester, N.Y., graduates magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology and a minor in biological sciences. She is a founding member of the Undergraduate Anthropology Association and their treasurer. She also was a student ambassador for the College of Arts and Sciences and a troupe leader in UB Improv. She worked with Assistant Professor Stephanie Poindexter doing an independent study in biological anthropology, studying primates. Additionally, she was a teaching assistant for comparative primate anatomy and worked on an internship on UB's primate skeletal collection as well as in the Buffalo Human Evolutionary Morphology Lab. In the fall, D'Orazio will pursue a master's degree in evolution, ecology and behavior at UB.
Loren Wulf of Lockport, N.Y., graduates summa cum laude earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts with a concentration in graphic design. Wulf is a student ambassador for the College of Arts and Sciences. She worked with Lecturer Kelly Myers-Chunco as a part of an independent study in identity design. She appeared in the 2021 Department of Art newsletter as the featured undergraduate artist. Wulf also worked as the graphic designer for UB Sustainability in the summer of 2022 and is a recipient of the Alan E. Cober Award in Drawing. Post-graduation, Wulf will pursue a career in graphic design.
Anthony Cala of Tonawanda, N.Y., graduates with a bachelor’s degree in Asian studies. Cala is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society. In the past four years, he has been grateful to be able to pursue his passion for Japanese language and culture as part of his academic career, as well as branching out to explore new interests. He is currently working to complete his thesis on translations of "The Tale of Genji," which he hopes to have published in an undergraduate journal.
Kevin Greeley of Williamsville, N.Y., graduates summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in biological sciences. Greeley is a member of the University Honors College and the biological sciences honors program. He did research in Research Professor Stephen Free's laboratory on Neurospora crassa and received the Knobloch Endowment Fellowship. Greeley was a teaching assistant for BIO200 and BIO315 twice. He is on the junior board of directors of the Miracle League of Western New York. In the fall, Greeley will take a gap year and plans on applying to medical school during that time.
Meghan Sullivan of Rochester, N.Y., graduates summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in chemistry. Sullivan is a University Honors College scholar, Goldwater Scholarship recipient, 2023 SUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence recipient and National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. She has been a tutor, a peer notetaker, a teaching assistant, a College of Arts and Sciences student ambassador and the founder/president of the American Chemical Society Student Chapter at UB (UBChemClub). Sullivan has worked in the Cook Lab performing undergraduate research in the Department of Chemistry for over three years, contributing to multiple projects and publications. In the fall, Sullivan will pursue a PhD in inorganic chemistry at Harvard University.
Alexis Heng of Queens, N.Y., graduates summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in classics and English. Heng is a University Honors College scholar and a member of Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society. She worked with Associate Professor Dimitri Anastasopoulos for a creative honors thesis in English. In the future, she intends to pursue a master's degree in creative writing or pursue further graduate studies in classics.
Kylie Brosnan of Floral Park, N.Y., graduates summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in communication and minors in both studio art and education. Brosnan is a 2023 SUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence recipient, a member of the Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society and a student ambassador for the College of Arts and Sciences. She worked as a research assistant for Professor Thomas Feeley and served as an undergraduate teaching assistant for Clinical Assistant Professor Zachary Carr. Brosnan also served as the vice president of Advocates for Girls' Education and created a permanent art installation about milestones in women's history in UB's Center for The Arts. In the fall, Brosnan will pursue a master's degree in integrated marketing communications from West Virginia University.
Alexa Frank of Syosset, N.Y., graduates summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in speech and hearing science after three years. Frank is in the University Honors College and is a recipient of the Pride of New York Scholarship. She was vice president of the Student Association of Speech and Hearing and worked as an undergraduate researcher in Assistant Professor Nichol Castro's Adult Language Network Lab with a focus on aphasia. Frank completed an internship at CHC Learning Center working alongside a speech-language pathologist providing therapy to nonverbal children with multiple disabilities. She was also an active member of the Delta Phi Epsilon sorority. In the fall, Frank will pursue a master’s degree in speech-language pathology at UB.
Savannah Chadwick of Rochester, N.Y., graduates summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and economics. Chadwick is a former member of the Student Assembly, where she focused on advocating for mental health resources and reforming the university's environmental policy. She was vice president of the University at Buffalo College Democrats and president of the College Democrats of New York. During her time in these roles, she fought and lobbied for issues such as student debt relief and affordable housing. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society and Pi Sigma Alpha, the national political science honor society. This past spring, Chadwick was a legislative intern in Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's D.C. Office. After graduation, Chadwick plans to continue her work on Capitol Hill, advocating for legislation that will promote the economic development of the State of New York.
Moses Griffith of Brooklyn, N.Y., graduates summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English. Griffith is a writing consultant at the Center for Excellence in Writing at UB and a proud member of the Caribbean Student Association. He spends much of his free time, writing, journaling, or reading and plans to apply to law school in the near future. In the fall, Griffith will be working on his first fantasy novel.
Amy Bentley of Smithville Flats, N.Y., graduates summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in environmental studies. Bentley is a member of the University Honors College and a student ambassador in the College of Arts and Sciences. She served as the sustainable policy and strategy student assistant for UB Sustainability, on the Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility and as president and founder of the University at Buffalo chapter of Citizens' Climate Lobby. She worked with Sustainability Engagement Coordinator Derek Nichols and Associate Professor Patrick McDevitt as part of an independent study to create a sustainable food system policy proposal. In the fall, Bentley will pursue a career in international affairs and sustainable food systems.
Michelle Yan of Brooklyn, N.Y., graduates magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in geographic information science, a Bachelor of Arts in environmental design and a minor in architecture. She worked with Joy Kuebler at JKLA, a landscape architecture firm, and recently completed an internship in the Manhattan Borough Office of the New York City Department of City Planning, working with privately owned public spaces. In the future, she plans to pursue a career in geographic information systems or in the planning field.
Kit Cross of Fayetteville, N.Y., graduates magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in geological sciences and a minor in English. Cross is a recipient of the Pride of New York Scholarship, an officer of the Undergraduate Geology Club and a student ambassador for the College of Arts and Sciences. They did undergraduate research with Clinical Assistant Professor James Boyle on a placoderm fossil, potentially describing a new species. In the fall, Cross is going into a geological research job with plans of pursuing a computational earth science master’s degree in the future.
Hannah Krull, raised in Cuba, N.Y. and now living in Buffalo, N.Y., graduates summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in sociology and global gender and sexuality studies, with a micro-credential in understanding diversity through sociology. Krull is a University Honors College scholar and the recipient of the Walker Family Experiential Learning Fund; the LGBTQ FSA Pride Scholarship; the Welch-Ludwig Fund for International Study; and the College Ambassador Academic Enrichment Award. She has served as the Department of Sociology’s student ambassador and the department’s Undergraduate Academic Grievance Pool representative, an Honors College peer mentor and an undergraduate teaching assistant for SOC 211. In the spring semester of 2023, Krull taught GGS 498 in the Department of Global Gender and Sexuality Studies (GGSS) under the supervision of Associate Professor Marla Segol. She also researched and wrote an undergraduate honors thesis in GGSS under the supervision of Professor Kari Winter titled “Queered Appalachia: Rural Working Women and the Embodied Landscape.” Krull presented her findings at the 2023 Northeast Modern Language Association (NeMLA) conference as a NeMLA Fellow, and is pursuing publication of this research. Krull has also been awarded the 2023 SUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence. In the fall, Krull will be attending UB's Graduate School of Education to pursue a master’s degree in information and library science.
Russel Bassarath of Buffalo, N.Y., graduates summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in history as part of the UB Teach program. Bassarath is a member and part of the student leadership team for Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society and a student ambassador for the College of Arts and Sciences. He is the recipient of the 2021 Joyce J. and John D. Milligan and Family Scholarship. Bassarath has also completed UB's History Honors Program, writing a thesis titled “Our leaders is just we ourself": The Women's Political Council and the Civil Rights Movement in Montgomery, Alabama." His thesis was awarded as the 2022 Best Undergraduate Thesis by the Department of History. The university also awarded Bassarath's thesis with the 2022 UB Excellence in Research, Scholarship and Creativity Award. He presented original research at three conferences/presentations in his academic career, two times at the annual Phi Alpha Theta Research Conference and one time at the 2022 Celebration of Student Academic Excellence. Bassarath has been a member of UB College Democrats since his sophomore year and also served as a student representative on the Undergraduate Academic Grievance Pool for the Graduate School of Education and the Department of History. In the fall, Bassarath will be completing the final year of his master's program.
Jordan Cizdziel of Wethersfield, N.Y., graduates cum laude with a bachelor's degree in law and a minor in Jewish Studies. Cizdziel works full time at the Elder Law Firm of Pfalzgraf Beinhauer Grear Harris Schuller LLP. In the fall, she plans on attending law school to pursue a Juris Doctor degree. Her goal is to become an attorney specializing in immigration and criminal defense.
Emma Correia of Newark, N.Y. graduates summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and linguistics with a minor in education. Correia is a College of Arts and Sciences ambassador for both of her departments and a member of the Sigma Delta Pi Spanish Honor Society. She completed an independent study on Catalan under Associate Professor Colleen Culleton and an independent research project on heritage language maintenance under Assistant Professor Alison Hendricks. She is the president of the UB Rotaract Club and facilitates the Spanish Conversation Table. Other experiences include work with the International Institute of Buffalo and involvement in the University Honors College. Correia has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship to Andorra for the 2023-2024 cycle, after which she will return to the United States to pursue an advanced degree.
Nicholas Hager of Lindenhurst, N.Y., graduates summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in mathematics. Hager is a University Honors College scholar and recipient of the Harry Merrill Gehman Scholarship. He has served as a teaching assistant for the mathematics department and an instructional assistant for the gifted math program. He has also worked as a tutor for the Summer Bridge Program and at the Math Place. In the fall, Hager will pursue a master's degree in mathematics education at UB.
Thomas Vellek from Carmel, N.Y., graduates summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in media study and a double minor in management and in strategic media messaging. Vellek is a member of Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society. He was a two-year intern in market research at Rescription, Inc. and plans to pursue a career in the field of advertising and marketing.
Aria McKee from Canandaigua, N.Y., graduates summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Music in piano performance. McKee is a member of Tau Sigma National Honor Society and a recipient of the Thomas Clifton Memorial Scholarship. She served as a student ambassador for the College of Arts and Sciences, representing the Department of Music. In the fall, McKee plans to continue her studies at the University at Buffalo in pursuit of a master's degree in music theory.
Joseph Parise of Staten Island, N.Y., graduates summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and a minor in politics, philosophy and economics. Parise is a member of the University Honor College and served in the Air Force Reserves while an undergraduate. In the fall, Parise will commission into the New York Army National Guard before pursuing a Juris Doctor degree at Columbia University.
Paul Dewan Jr. of Liverpool, N.Y., graduates summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in physics, a Bachelor of Science in biological sciences and a minor in chemistry. Dewan is a Goldwater Scholarship recipient, a member of the Sigma Pi Sigma physics honor society and a student ambassador for the College of Arts and Sciences. He worked with Assistant Professor Priya Banerjee as an undergraduate researcher studying phase separation in biology. In the fall, Dewan will pursue a PhD in biophysics at Harvard University.
Joshua Louis Pandossi of Baldwinsville, N.Y., graduates summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and history. Pandossi was runner up for the 2022 Marleigh Grayer Ryan Prize for his paper, "Minzhu and the Dynamic Definition of Democracy in China" which he also presented at the New York Conference on Asian Studies. He worked with Assistant Professor Gene Zubovich in a research project studying culture wars. He is also an honors history student and wrote a history honors thesis while advised by Clinical Assistant Professor Cari Casteel. In the fall, Pandossi plans to pursue employment while possibly pursuing a master's degree in political science.
Alexis Harrell of Albany, N.Y., graduates summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and sociology. Harrell, a Presidential Scholar and McNair Scholar at UB, is a recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence and the SUNY ACT for Excellence and Student Initiative Scholarship. In 2022 she was named UB’s first Humanity in Action Fellow and researched human rights violations in Warsaw, Poland. As a portrait photographer, she recently founded a narrative photography workshop at GiGi’s Playhouse Buffalo, a Down syndrome achievement center. Additionally, Harrell completed a psychology honors thesis under Professor Mark Seery and summer research programs at Harvard and Tufts University. Most notably, she won a 2023 Marshall Scholarship to pursue two fully-funded master’s degrees at the University of Edinburgh and Goldsmiths, University of London, where she will work at the intersection between visual art, racial justice and data science.
Adam Dounane of Bethlehem, N.Y., graduates summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in communication and French. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society, Pi Delta Phi French Honor Society and a student ambassador for the College of Arts and Sciences. Dounane researched and honorary co-authored under Assistant Professor Yini Zhang (studying US immigration), was president of the French Club, volunteered on two remote projects in Africa and played saxophone in UB Concert Band. In the fall, he plans to explore volunteer opportunities abroad.
Dayna Holding of Brooklyn, N.Y., graduates summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in social science interdisciplinary (health and human services concentration) and minors in counseling and American Sign Language. She is a Student Support Services and Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) student. Holding has held many roles on campus: a resident advisor in Greiner Hall, academic coach in the Tutoring and Academic Support Services Center, an EOP student aide and an ambassador for the College of Arts and Sciences. In the fall, Holding will pursue a master's degree in higher education.
Derrian Brown of Atlanta, Ga., graduates magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in musical theatre. During his time at UB, Brown served on the Department of Theatre and Dance’s Season Selection Committee and the department’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. He was also a student representative for the department and a founding member and president of Dreams Affirmed, the first organization for performers of color on campus. He was a UB representative at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival and placed runner-up. Brown, while also a full-time student, works consistently in the Buffalo area as a professional actor, choreographer and director. Most recently, he played Sebastian in the Palace Theatre's production of Little Mermaid and soon will choreograph their production of Music Man. In the fall, after wrapping up his last few professional contracts, he will move to New York City to further pursue his acting career.
Congratulations to this year’s Outstanding Seniors on their achievements. We are proud of our graduating class of 2023 and we are honored to welcome these individuals into the UB alumni family.