Countdown to Commencement: Stories About Our Graduates

Join RWU and RWU Law as we celebrate the Class of 2018 graduates.

They’ve studied hard, made lasting memories, grown together as a family, and created a meaningful impact through research and service in communities locally and around the globe. Now, they’re graduating together, sent off with cheers from faculty, staff and their families celebrating their Commencement.

In a time-honored tradition, the Roger Williams University Class of 2018 students will cross the Commencement stage and receive their degrees on Saturday, May 19. A day earlier, on Friday, May 18, the Class of 2018 law students will take part in the same tradition and collect their well-deserved degrees.

Here is just a small sampling of what this year’s graduates have been up to:

  • Victoria Davis – a science communication major – took a chance on developing her own academic journey, and now she’ll seize the opportunity to offer parting words and inspiration to her peers as student Commencement speaker.
  • For three years, Hien Ngo, a double major in applied math and bio with a minor in visual arts, worked on research that might contribute to NASA’s next frontier of space exploration: bringing human expeditions to Mars. Not only did she collaborate on NASA-funded research to design a manned rover, she also partnered with RISD students to build a model of her spacecraft which is on display inside MNS.
  • Forensic science major Rebecca Millard got a real-world taste of crime-scene investigation working with a faculty member at the Massachusetts State Police Crime Laboratory this summer. She says that hands-on experience and opportunity to study with faculty experts and practicing professionals gave her an edge at getting into Boston University’s School of Medicine for Biomedical Forensic Science.
  • Graduating in the top 10 of his class at RWU Law, John Caruolo is a member of both the Law Review and the Honors Program, and has a job lined up with the venerable Boston law firm of Riemer & Braunstein LLP, where he’ll likely be working in the Banking & Finance Practice Group.
  • As their time at RWU came to a close, senior visual arts students partnered with Bristol Art Museum to display their works in an exhibition titled, “Unspoken Language: Silent Landscapes.”
  • During her junior year, Mary Dinnean, a double-major in public health and psychology and a student leader in the Food Recovery Network on campus, was honored as a Newman Civic Fellow, a national award recognizing students who create lasting change in communities around the world. With an interest in researching the intersection of education with public health, she’ll continue addressing social justice issues at Boston University’s master’s in public health program.
  • Before he’s even graduated, Rosalvens Saint Jean, a double major in accounting and management, has already been offered a full-time position with Ernst &Young.
  • Plumbing the insights from her own experiences during her first years on campus, Emily Parratt, a psychology and American studies double major, shared that knowledge as a Peer Mentor helping this year’s freshmen students navigate college life.
  • Thanks to his experiences and connections at RWU, Christopher Pierce, a graduate student in public administration, was recently appointed student representative on the national board of the American Society for Public Administration.
  • Mikayla Barnwell, a marine biology major and mathematics minor, will continue to connect her passion for creating change within communities to her research after she leaves RWU through a prestigious research internship with Roatan Institute of Marine Sciences, where she'll link her own coral reef lab and field research to conservation efforts.
  • When Andrew Kong decided to change career paths, he found what he was looking for in the Career Pathway Program at the School of Continuing Studies. This May, he’ll graduate from the Intro to Computers & Cyber Security pathway program, a 30-week program where students learn intensive computer and technological skills that prepare them for high-paying entry level jobs.
  • Starlyn Nunez is one of the first students in the state to complete the Gateway to College program at RWU School of Continuing Studies. Through the program, he has earned his high school diploma while at the same time earning college credits. “I am changing my life,” Nunez says. “Doors are going to open.”
  • RWU students are always willing challenge themselves, try new things and develop real-world experience. Daymar Rosser, a West Philadelphia native who was captain when RWU's National Polo Team went on a championship run, is a prime example. Hear his story as he prepares to become an RWU graduate on May 19.
  • Kristina Todorovic’s graduate school experience was all about research opportunities. Read about some of them here.
  • On May 19, the first cohort of students will graduate from the accelerated 4+1 Master of Business Administration program at the Mario J. Gabelli School of Business, Roger Williams University. One of the seven students graduating is Francesca Montemarano who took full advantage of the program including an internship at Wheels Up, a private aviation company. 
  • Molly Hamlin – who will graduate in the top 10 of her class at RWU Law, was a member of Law Review and Vice President of the Moot Court Board – chose Rhode Island's only law school because "it felt like community." After Commencement, she'll be a judicial clerk to the Presiding Judge of the Lane County Circuit Court in Eugene, Oregon.
  • Allison Raine is graduating with her degree in Healthy Communities, and a Certificate in Gerontology. Starting out her journey at the School of Continuing Studies, Allison was able to use her experience in the healthcare industry since and apply it to her Prior Learning Assessment which allowed her to purse the topics and courses she needed to focus on and not spend time relearning what she already knew. Read about her experience.
  • Whitney Belton, a master’s of architecture graduate student, will be among 1,100 students who will cross the commencement stage on May 19. Almost ten years ago, Whitney began her RWU experience as a high school student in RWU’s architecture summer program. Looking back, Belton says, that experience helped her become who she is today.
  • In a ceremony filled with laughs, joyful tears and messages of strength and resiliency, RWU celebrated its LGBTQ+ graduates in the university's first-ever Lavender Graduation.
  • Before donning their caps and gowns and walking across the commencement stage, graduating master's of architecture students are presenting their graduate thesis design projects. Take a look at some of the designs they've come up with.
  • At RWU Commencement and RWU Law Commencement respectively, Frank R. Rainieri, a visionary leader in the ecotourism industry and RWU Trustee, and Marielena Hincapié, director of the National Immigration Center, will deliver the keynote addresses for each ceremony.
  • Visit the Social Hub at RWU page for all things #RWUgrad.

Check back regularly for more stories added in the weeks leading up to Commencement.