June 24, 2013
Students Take Center Stage at SUNY Empire State College Metropolitan New York Center Graduation
Jennifer Pyne was selected to be one of three student speakers, a significant academic honor. Pyne addressed fellow degree candidates and remarked on shared challenges, support from family, faculty mentors and friends and success.
(NEW YORK CITY – June 24, 2013) Amy Alio ’12, the mother of two young daughters, Katelyn Jorgensen ’13, a black belt in Tae Kwan Do, and Jennifer Pyne ’13, a certified medial assistant and community volunteer, were selected to represent their fellow students at the June 13 SUNY Empire State College Metropolitan New York Center graduation this year in New York City.
Selection as a student speaker at graduation is a high honor and reflects the academic accomplishments of the student. The ceremony took place at 6:00 p.m., Thursday, June 13, Alfred Lerner Hall, 2920 Broadway, Columbia University, New York City.
“As SUNY Empire State College graduates, you now join a family of more than 66,000 college alumni around the world and you also join the Power of SUNY as one of nearly three million SUNY graduates,” said former Acting President Meg Benke. “I hope that you continue to learn and to grow for both professional and personal gain and that you continue to contribute to your communities, enriched by a high-quality education. Congratulations to the Class of 2013.”
“I am proud to congratulate the 2013 graduates of the Metropolitan Center,” said Cynthia Ward, dean of the college’s Metropolitan New York Center. “They demonstrated persistence and overcame obstacles to achieve their degrees. They were empowered by the center’s flexible, personalized learning and supportive environment. They serve as role models for their families, friends and communities, and now look toward new horizons with their degrees in hand.”
SUNY Trustee Joseph Belluck congratulates student speaker Amy Alio ’13.
“My Empire State College family has given me the confidence, knowledge and skills I need to open up a new chapter in my life, so I can reach my academic and professional goals,” said Alio. “The fears I had going back to school, especially being a mother of two young girls, were overwhelming. But, during my two years at Empire State College, I was never treated like I was below anyone else. All students were taught by professionals and never once did their expertise make us feel like we are to ‘old’ or below them to begin a career. I thank each and every one of you for allowing me to stand here before you. Congratulations to the class of 2013 and to everyone without whom we could not have done it.”
About Amy Alio ‘12
Staten Island resident Amy Alio earned her bachelor’s degree in 2012 in community and human services. She is the married mother of two daughters, Jaylynn, 7, and Jaymie, 4. She attended the Staten Island Unit. Her goal is to earn a master’s degree in social work and ultimately to become a licensed clinical social worker. She aspires to work with children in need and their families, with the long-term goal of operating her own practice on Staten Island that will offer an art program for children.
Student speaker Katelyn Jorgensen ’13 shared the stage with her sister, Jennifer Jorgensen ’13, who also earned a bachelor’s through the Metropolitan New York Center.
Former Acting President Meg Benke congratulates Jennifer Jorgensen and her sister Katelyn, one of the student speakers.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the families, friends and faculty here today for supporting their respective graduates,” said Katelyn Jorgensen, “I am proud to say I am officially a graduate of Empire State College. From day one I knew this was the perfect school for me. My mentor, Kevin Woo, was beyond patient with every question and concern I had. Graduation shows that each and every one of us made a commitment to ourselves and believed enough to keep pushing forward. Life and hardships go hand in hand, but behind each of our stories today is persistence and strength. My congratulations go to all members of the class of 2013.”
About Katelyn Jorgensen ‘13
Katelyn Jorgensen was born and raised in Brooklyn, one of three siblings, where she attended Saint Saviour High School. She has attended both the Brooklyn and Manhattan locations of the college and is earning a B.S. in business administration. While she was a student, she also served as the Metropolitan Center student ambassador. She is applying to graduate school, with the goal of earning a Master of Science in Criminal Justice.
Jorgensen has traveled extensively throughout the U.S. and Italy and is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
Student speaker Jennifer Pyne waited backstage before graduation with Metropolitan Center Mentor David Fullard, who also is a member of the Empire State College Foundation Board of Directors.
About Jennifer Pyne ‘13
Brooklyn resident Jennifer Pyne graduated from the college in February with a B.S. in community and human services with a concentration in health and human services. She also has been a certified medical assistant since 2003.
Pyne has been a student assistant for the college, a human rights associate at the apparel company Phillips-Van Heusen, an executive assistant for KPMG, compliance assistant for Deutsche Asset Management and a senior administrative assistant for Transatlantic Reinsurance Company.
“I loved the journey despite its arduous path,” said Pyne. “It was not easy to read and absorb all those books and articles, to write those 15-page essays, and it certainly was not easy to fight off sleep while solving differential equations. We are Empire State College alumni, and we don’t press the ‘easy’ button when we are challenged. We are motivated problem solvers who want to learn and achieve more. The sacrifices that we have made in order to cross this stage tonight have made us stronger and smarter. My congratulations go to the class of 2013 and all of those who helped and supported us along the way.”
Additionally, as a volunteer, she assisted patients in numerous ways at Mount Sinai Medical Center, and coordinated client programs that promote healthy aging for Health Advocates for Older People, both in New York City. She is also an active board member for her condominium association.
Pyne is interested in exploring global religious themes, literature pertaining to healthy living and community outreach.
Valerie Irby ’13, and her husband Steven, at right, are joined by their son Steven and daughter Lauren.
SUNY Empire State College was established in 1971 to offer adult learners the opportunity to earn associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the State University of New York.
The college’s Metropolitan New York Center in Manhattan also oversees locations in Brooklyn and Staten Island. The center also is home to two college art galleries, the Hudson Gallery in Manhattan and the Livingston Gallery in Brooklyn.
In addition to awarding credit for prior college-level learning, the college pairs each student with a faculty mentor who supports that student throughout his or her college career. Students engage in guided independent study and course work onsite, online or a combination of both, which provides the flexibility for students to learn at the time, place and pace they choose.
The college serves more than 20,000 students worldwide at more than 35 locations in New York state and online. Its 66,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more. More information about the college is available here.
Media contact: David Henahan, director of communications
518-587-2100, ext. 2918
518-321-7038 (after 5 p.m. and weekends)