The Student Connection

...a student-run newsletter

Student/Alumni Profiles

Firefighter, Warren Abriel, Jr. Alumni of Empire State College

Meet Warren Abriel Jr. '83

By Helen Edelman, manager, Exchange

Albany Mayor Sheehan swore in Warren W. Abriel Jr., a 42-year fire department veteran, as the new chief of the Department of Fire and Emergency Service at a ceremony at City Hall on Feb. 25. Abriel is a 1983 graduate of Empire State College. ... MORE

Meet Michael Alston

By Helen Edelman, manager, Exchange

Michael Alston ’87, at left, graduated from the Center for Distance Learning with a bachelor’s degree in business, management and economics. ... MORE

Meet Gerald Beaudin '78

By Helen Edelman, manager, Exchange

Gerald Beaudin '78, at right, graduated with a B.P.S. in science, math and technology from the Genesee Valley Center. ... MORE

Meet George Bosolet

By Helen Edelman, manager, Exchange

George Bosolet '03, at left, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in professional studies in management and economics from the Metropolitan Center. ... MORE

woman posing in yellow dance outfit

Meet Lisa Brescia '08

By Helen Edelman, manager, Exchange

Lisa Brescia ’08, at right, graduated from the Center for Distance Learning with a B.A. in the arts. A native of Sioux Falls, S.D. who was raised in Milwaukee, she is an American musical theatre actress who has performed as lead and understudy in several Broadway shows, including on Broadway as Donna in the critically acclaimed “Mama Mia!” ... MORE

Meet Donald DeSmith

By Helen Edelman, manager, Exchange

Donald DeSmith alumni ... MORE

Meet Sandra Dollard '10

By Wendy Page for women@work, January/February 2014 issue

You can take the girl out of the city but not the city out of the girl — and for Evoke Style’s proprietor Sandra Dollard, at right, the city of Albany is who she is. ... MORE

Meet Carol Dwyer

By Helen Edelman, manager, Exchange

Carol Dwyer '96, at left, earned a B.S. in business administration at Central New York Center. Her research for more than 15 years has been in nonprofit board governance and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of local governments and nonprofits. As the founding director of the Community Benchmarks Program at The Maxwell School of Syracuse University, she developed the program with a mission to “support local governments, nonprofits and educational institutions through the use of comparative measures to improve performance and accountability.” ... MORE

Nehme Frangie, Alumni

Meet Nehme Frangie '09

By Helen Edelman, manager, Exchange

Nehme Frangie '09, at left, received a B.S. in business, management and economics at the Northeast Center. He is the vice president of partnerships and operations at Vicarious Visions, Inc. ... MORE

Meet James Froio

By Helen Edelman, manager, Exchange

Last year, the Jordan-Elbridge (N.Y.) school district was ripped apart by an upheaval marked by suspensions, firings and lawsuits. The shake-up spurred a grass-roots citizen uprising, lots of bad publicity for the district and a series of lawsuits. ... MORE

Meet David Gentner '96

By Helen Edelman, manager, Exchange

David Gentner '96, was appointed president and CEO of The Wartburg Adult Care Community, in Mount Vernon. Gentner received his B.S. in business, management and economics from Central New York Center. ... MORE

Paula Gravelle, Lutheran Minister and Alum

Meet Paula Gravelle '78

By Helen Edelman, manager, Exchange

The Rev. Paula Gravelle '78, at left, a Lutheran minister, is the newly appointed executive director of the New York State Council of Churches, a statewide network of Christian denominations. Gravelle is an Empire State College graduate with a B.S. in Community and Human Services earned at the Northeast Center. ... MORE

Meet Deborah Gregory

By Helen Edelman, manager, Exchange

Writer, performer and designer Deborah Gregory ’86 is the award-winning author of “The Cheetah Girls,” a series of novels for adolescent readers published by Disney Publishing Worldwide. She also has been a National Association of Black Journalists award-winning contributing writer for Essence magazine since 1992 and her work has appeared in Vibe, More, Heart & Soul, Entertainment Weekly and US magazines. ... MORE

Meet Michelle M. Hagen

By Helen Edelman, manager, Exchange

As angelic as their faces may be, Michelle M. Hagen ’04 of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., (at left, in Paris) usually can tell if one of her sons is lying. The co-author of “Everything Body Language Book: Decipher signals, see the signs and read people's emotions without a word!”, Hagen (who uses ‘Shelly’ in her professional byline) admits the skill is useful, “but not magic. It doesn’t work if you don’t understand the context for a behavior or a gesture.” ... MORE

Student Alum, Erin Hamlin, Olympic Luge Athlete

Meet Erin Hamlin '11

By David Henahan, director of communications, Office of Communications and Government Relations

SUNY Empire State College alumna Erin M. Hamlin ’11, at right, will compete in her third consecutive Winter Olympic Games in luge, women’s singles. A former world and three-time national champion, the 27-year-old Hamlin of Remsen, N.Y., earned her A.A. in interdisciplinary studies online through the college’s Center for Distance Learning. ... MORE

Meet Alida Karakushi

By Eric Zencey, part-time mentor, Master of Arts in Liberal Studies, School for Graduate Studies

Alida Karakushi '11, at left, a graduate of International Programs in Tirana, Albania, was instrumental in the initiative for a national ban on using plastic bag as food packaging in Albania. Her efforts were an outgrowth of a project completed in Visiting Associate Professor of Historical and Political Studies Eric Zencey’s class, "Ecological Economics: Principles and Policies." The final assignment in the study was to prepare a position paper on an environmental topic of interest, using the concepts learned in the course, to make a case for a new or improved policy ... MORE

Meet Brian McDowell

By Helen Edelman, manager, Exchange

Brian McDowell ’97, at left, who earned a Master of Art in Culture and Policy Studies from SUNY Empire State College, is a recipient of the Morrisville State College Distinguished Faculty Award. The award is presented to faculty members who display professional growth, personal and professional achievement and have provided outstanding service to the college. ... MORE

Student Brenda Muhammed

Meet Brenda Muhammed

By Helen Edelman, manager, Exchange

Muhammad is always moving. There is no other way to end up with the sizable list of volunteer activities and educational pursuits that she is juggling at any one time. This juggling is what earned her the 2013 Unsung Heroes Award during Syracuse University's annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration earlier this year. ... MORE

Empire State College student alumni, mark Oldroyd

Meet Mark Oldroyd

By Desiree Drindak, military academic development coordinator, Office of Veteran and Military Education

Command Sgt. Major Mark Oldroyd, (in profile, far right) at Fort Drum, has relinquished his post and enrolled in the Master of Arts in Liberal Studies program through Empire State College’s School for Graduate Studies. ... MORE

Alan Rachins at Golden Globe Event

Meet Alan Rachins '74

By Helen Edelman, manager, Exchange

Alan Rachins ’74, at left, graduated with a B.A. in the arts from the Metropolitan Center. The Boston native is one of an elite group of actors who has starred in two successful television series in his career, both the Emmy Award-winning “L.A. Law,” for which he created the complex character of Douglas Brackman that earned him both Golden Globe and Emmy nominations, and “Dharma and Greg,” now in syndication, in which he starred as Larry Finkelstein, the hippie father. ... MORE

Dr. Emad Rahim in profile with "Immigration + Reform = Entrepreneurship" written on his arms.

Meet Dr. Emad Rahim ‘03

By E. Patrice Perkins, student, Northeast Center-Latham Unit

Entrepreneur, mentor, professor, project manager, philanthropist and advocate for education are a few of the terms that can be used to describe Dr. Emad Rahim ’03, at right. For a child who fled a Cambodian concentration camp in his mother’s arms, and for whom school had originally been a struggle, this might seem an improbable outcome. ... MORE

Meet Victoria A. Rockwell

By Helen Edelman, manager, Exchange

Victoria A. Rockwell ’76, immediate past president 2011-2012 of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, is a former member of the Board of Governors and has been an active volunteer during her 30-plus years as a member of the organization. ... MORE

Student James Sheppard with mentors

Meet James Sheppard '99

By David Henahan, director of communications

James M. Sheppard, (center in photo, flanked by Genesee Valley Center Dean Jonathan Franz, at left, and Acting President Meg Benke, at right) chief of the city of Rochester Police Department, has received special recognition as an alumnus of SUNY Empire State College’s Genesee Valley Center for his outstanding leadership and service to the community. ... MORE

Meet Vincent Smith

By Helen Edelman, manager, Exchange

Vincent J. Smith ’88, chief of the Wayland (Mass.) Fire Department, is the first city resident to assume the role in more than 30 years. He received a B.S. in business, management and economics through the Center for Distance Learning. ... MORE

Meet Labor and Policy Studies Graduate Erin Sullivan

By Jason Russell, coordinator, Master of Arts in labor and policy studies, School for Graduate Studies

Erin Sullivan, a recent M.A. in labor and policy studies graduate, recently initiated the implementation of a new member mentoring program within International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 3. Local 3 has had a long association with ESC through the Harry Van Arsdale Center, and Sullivan also completed her undergraduate studies at ESC. ... MORE