19 Binghamton University Lives Changed Because of Donor Support

Posted by Carolyn Bernardo on March 9, 2017

TAG (Thank-a-Giver) Day is a day when we pause to recognize alumni, faculty, staff, friends and students for their generous gifts that make a significant difference in our lives at Binghamton University. Every single person on campus is positively impacted by these gifts. Here’s a sampling of 19 people who are affected by, and living their dreams, thanks to generous donor support.

Dyana Beretz - Emerging Leaders Program Mentor

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"The Service Learning Project portion of the Emerging Leaders Program is an opportunity for students to take charge, impact the community and give back to those in need. As a mentor for the Arts and Humanities Knowledge Community, I not only witnessed each of my mentees develop, but I too grew. During my time as a mentor, I understood what it feels like to see all my academic and extracurricular experiences come together. I know I do not only speak for myself when I say, ELP is an incredible program that would not be possible without the support of donors and the Binghamton community."

Raven Pitarra - Education Abroad

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"Donor-funded scholarships gave me the opportunity to do something I never thought would be possible for me: explore the world."

Christina Rose - Student Curator, Art Museum Exhibition for Fall 2017

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''Participating in the Binghamton University Art Museum’s student curators program has been such a unique and rewarding experience. Gil and Deborah Williams' generous donations and collaboration with the museum have allowed me this amazing opportunity, and I can’t thank them enough.''

Gabrael Sindoni - Decker School of Nursing

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“Donor support has been a crucial part of my education. Having a family, I didn’t know how I would pay for all of my schooling. However, the generosity of alumni and other fellow donors eases that burden. I am so thankful and grateful for generous donors who have a love to support continuing education in the lives of college students.”

Imani Watkins - Athletics

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"Dr. Bai Lee's gift and gifts to the Binghamton Fund for Athletics have certainly benefited my team and all student-athletes. We are seeing changes to the Student-Athlete Success Center, sports medicine center, and the strength and conditioning areas that are making a positive impact on the experiences of all Binghamton University student-athletes. We are able to become better students and athletes because of donor generosity."

Anita Wong - Education Abroad

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“With the funds from the Myers Family Scholarship, I was able to study the Chinese language as well as the business culture of China, one of the fastest growing economies in the world… In China, I had discovered how much of my own culture I had lost touch with growing up in the United States. It made me realize how important my culture is to my identity and question what it really means to be a Chinese-American… The world is a big place and there are endless discoveries to be made out there, and within yourself.”

(Anita pictured fourth from right.) 

Alexandros Balili - Educational Opportunity Program (EOP)

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“Without the help and guidance of EOP, and everyone who has contributed to it, I wouldn’t be on the path that I am today. EOP has been there for me, as well as many others, our top support system in the school.”

Gabby Sagesse - Student Scholarship Recipient

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“The support donors have given me means that I am financially prepared to enter medical school in the fall of 2017. It means that the fruits of my labor all four years at Binghamton University have been graciously awarded to me. It means that I have a responsibility to do what my donors did for me: lift as I climb. It means so much more than its monetary value--it means my donors believe in me, trust in me and are proud of me. I cannot thank them enough!”

Paty Acipreste - Liberal Arts to Careers Externship (LACE)/Harpur Edge

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"LACE was one of the most important experiences in my life. It opened my eyes to a career I didn't know about and has helped me make important career decisions. I loved shadowing my mentor so much that I wanted to pursue a career in the same field. I learned so much by traveling out to California and meeting with different professionals. When I got interviewed for a dream internship in the same field, I know my job shadowing experience made me stand out as a candidate. I became more confident because my mentor had explained to me things that came up in the interview. I ended up receiving an offer from a wealth management firm and am excited to intern there this summer. Thank you to my mentor, as well as the directors of LACE. You all truly made an impact on my life."

Rebekah Jamison - CCPA Bearsch Fellowship

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"I almost cried when I received this award. This stipend has enabled me to pay for travel expenses associated with commuting to a very rural community. I am putting myself through graduate school and without this fellowship, I would have struggled to pay these expenses. I am so grateful for this award and the opportunity to serve Binghamton University and the Deposit community."

Mark A. Freithaler - Watson School

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"I laughed, cried and screamed for joy when the call came through. It is my dream to develop world-changing technologies, like the biofuel cells I presently research and the bio-electrical human interfaces I'm reaching for. That generous gift replaced a job with research, learning and projects, speeding up my educational aspirations and allowing me to pursue my engineering passions."

(Mark pictured far right.) 

Qiana Watson '07 - The Bear Necessities Food Pantry

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"As someone who experienced food insecurity as a college student, the Bear Necessities Food Pantry is something near and dear to my heart -- and it wouldn’t be here for students if it wasn’t for generous donors. How can we expect to produce excellent learners if they cannot access proper nutrition to keep their brains functioning? I wish I could share the smile of thanks and look of relief from every student that visits the pantry. It’s hard to put into words, and we really can’t thank our donors enough for what they do."

Giovanna Bernardo - The Berm

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"I just learned that donors give back to make our campus beautiful! I’m graduating in a few months, and I've imagined myself in that green gown at the Berm, throwing my cap into the air with my friends, since my freshmen year. Binghamton has been a great experience, and I’m thankful every day for all of the opportunities I have received thanks to generous donors."

Alumna Gabriella Casey - Institute for Childhood Development

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"Through generous donor support I was able to attend the New York State Association for Behavior Analysis Conference for two of my undergraduate years. Attending these conferences enabled me not only to present a poster, but also to establish contacts in the field that I have maintained to this day. The financial support of the donors helped me to bridge the transition from student to involved member of the professional behavior analysis community."

Robert Pim - SOM

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"Donor support has had a large impact on my college experience, and has provided great opportunities to apply the knowledge I have gained here. Donors allow us to represent Binghamton on a national stage and showcase the skills and knowledge we have developed here. We love doing whatever we can to give back to Binghamton, and donors provide us with the ability to achieve this."

(Robert pictured far left.)

J.C. Show - Athletics

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"Dr. Lee's gift has meant a great deal to the men's basketball program. Without his generosity, our program would not have a first-rate locker room that draws in recruits and rivals other universities. Our locker room is a second home for me and my teammates. It has given us a place to prepare for games, come together and become a family. Thank you, Dr. Bai Lee." 

Abel Solomon - Fleishman Career Center

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"Through the Fleishman Center’s mock interview program, I not only received vital interview practice, but gained valuable exposure to top-tier employers. It was through participation in one such mock interview that I achieved my dream of securing a full-time offer from a bulge bracket investment bank. Thank you for all your help in making the (mock interview) program, the (Fleishman) Center and, ultimately, my dream possible."

Edward (Ed) Cheswick - Watson School

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"I am so grateful to Iberdrola, not only for the scholarship which will allow me to focus on my master’s degree without the financial burden, but also for the honor and privilege of meeting the King and Queen of Spain, and the president of Iberdrola in Madrid. I will carry this life-changing experience with me throughout my career. This experience was “eye-opening” and has reinforced my desire to focus on researching alternative energy sources and creating a greener future"

Alumna Laurie Seymour '92- Financial Aid

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"The scholarships I received as an undergraduate meant so much more to me than just money to help pay for college, although as a single parent raising four children and a first-generation college student that was invaluable! But to me, the fact that someone ‘noticed’ me and felt I was ‘worth’ supporting meant the world! It made the struggle of attaining my goal of an education and raising my family out of public assistance easier, both financially and mentally. I am proud to continue the tradition as I assist with scholarship oversight and financial aid counseling as an alumna and staff member in Financial Aid & Student Records. Thank you to all the “givers” out there that work so hard to make this possible! You made a difference in my life, and from where I sit, I see the ripple effect across the entire community every day, year after year. Thank you!"

Carolyn Bernardo is the alumni engagement social media coordinator at Binghamton University. As a Binghamton native, she is passionate about the area and about the University. One day you might run into her fulfilling her dream (of being a mascot) as Baxter the Bearcat. Paws crossed!

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