July 21, 2024
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14 amazing students from the Binghamton University Class of 2024

Inspiring stories from the Binghamton University Class of 2024

Image Credit: Jonathan Cohen.

Each year, BingUNews features the profiles of several outstanding students as they prepare for Commencement. Check out the stories of 14 amazing graduates from the Class of 2024 below.

Dorian Wendler
History and Classical Civilization
Harpur College

Hailing from a small upstate N.Y. town, it wasn’t until he arrived in Binghamton that Dorian Wendler was able to explore his myriad academic and extracurricular interests. He considered four majors before double majoring in history and classical civilization.

Wendler is also a member of the Phi Alpha Theta honors society, a professional organization that promotes the study of history through research, publication, and sharing ideas among peers and professors.

Wendler also discovered the value of community during his time at Binghamton, which inspired him to return this fall to earn his master’s in higher education and student affairs.

I know it’s really hard to take those first steps to step outside of that bubble, but once you do and start seeing what’s out there, it can be very rewarding. Use your time at Binghamton to make the most of it and just explore, explore, explore.

Read more of Dorian’s story here >

Eshraq Islam
Doctor of Pharmacy
School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science

For Eshraq Islam, coming to Binghamton felt like a fresh start after his undergraduate degree in Drexel University’s combined medical school left him feeling burnt out.

Although his pharmacist father encouraged him to go into a different field, a job at a local pharmacy during a gap year inspired him to focus his healthcare skills in that direction, and he knew Binghamton could help him achieve his goals.

Binghamton does a great job at attracting a variety of different students and faculty from all walks of life. They helped me grow so much as a person and a professional.

Read more of Eshraq’s story here >

Madeline Bleier
Doctor of Nursing Practice
Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences

After graduating in 2014, Madeline Bleier worked as a registered nurse (RN) in a medical intensive care unit (ICU) at a trauma center in Cleveland, where she found she had a passion for critical care nursing. However, after several years working in ICUs across the country, Bleier noticed a profound gap between physical and mental healthcare.

A stint in a rural health clinic and a personal tragedy — losing her brother to gun violence — solidified Bleier’s desire to return to school for a degree in psychiatric mental health nursing. In August 2022, she enrolled in the Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program.

I liked that I could connect to rural and urban communities at Decker. And it has a fantastic reputation!

Read more of Madeline’s story here >

Daniel Chavarria
Business Administration
School of Management

David Chavarria’s family immigrated to Broome County, N.Y., from Mexico at the start of 10th grade, but Chavarria was determined to meet the challenges of settling into a new school and country.

Chavarria found that Binghamton provided numerous opportunities that allowed him to grow. After he considered alternative options, such as becoming a doctor or a teacher, the versatility of a business degree won him over.

How much I knew I could do with my time here was almost overwhelming.

He enrolled in Binghamton’s Emerging Leaders Program during his first semester, but it was a Road Map internship through President Harvey Stenger’s office that became the cornerstone of his student experience.

Read more of David’s story here >

Riya Bolander
Psychology and Music
Harpur College

Riya Bolander has considered many career paths throughout their life, including dentist, biologist, spy, artist and pop star. A love for music and performing from a young age led them to pursue a degree in that field. However, a more pragmatic side had them considering psychology, so it made sense to combine the two.

Since then, Bolander has had many academic successes; they are a recipient of the President’s Award for Undergraduate Excellence and the SUNY-wide Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence. They have also made connections through their work as a peer mentor at the University’s Q Center.

I have loved my time at Binghamton more than I could have imagined, and I am incredibly grateful to my past self for making that decision because it has led me to many incredible opportunities.

Read more of Riya’s story here >

Zaliyah Vernon
Human Development
College of Community and Public Affairs

Zaliyah Vernon credits the University’s Upward Bound program and the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) with the resources and support that prepared her to become a mentor and leader on campus and helped her find community.

EOP helped empower Vernon to find success with the Fleishman Center for Career and Professional Development, the Tutorial Center, the Juvenile Urban Multicultural Program (JUMP), Pretty Girls Sweat and Sigma Gamma Rho.

As a woman of color, you need those groups to make you feel like you’re accepted and that you’re seen on campus.

Read more of Zaliyah’s story here >

Kiara Walker
Master’s in Vocal Performance
Harpur College

Cortland native Kiara Walker graduated with a music degree from Georgia’s Valdosta State University. She then moved to New York City and started working in higher education, first at New York University and then at The Julliard School, where she was the schedule and program associate for the Vocal Arts Department. After several years, though, the soprano realized her passion for singing and opera.

While at Julliard, Walker met vocal coach Diane Richardson, a Binghamton University associate professor of music. Remembering Richardson when she began considering graduate school, Walker applied to Binghamton, where she landed a scholarship.

The next step: finding an artist diploma program in performance.

I love opera. I love recitals. I love singing. I want to put myself out there and soak up as much as I can.

Read more of Kiara’s story here >

Ann Badia
Biomedical Engineering
Watson College of Engineering and Applied Science

Ann Badia first became interested in science and engineering while attending St. Raymond Academy for Girls, a Catholic high school where she graduated in the top 10 of her class. One of her teachers encouraged her class to consider engineering as a possible career.

I chose biomedical engineering because I wanted to be a doctor growing up. Once I learned that I could do engineering and apply that to healthcare, I knew that was for me.

During her time at Binghamton, Badia (a self-described introvert) learned to be independent and outgoing, which has led to leadership roles in organizations such as the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers.

Read more of Ann’s story here >

Kevin O’Donnell
Decker College of Nursing and Health Sciences

After earning a degree in chemical engineering from Notre Dame in 2021 and landing a job in supply chain distribution and quality engineering, O’Donnell realized that engineering was not his passion.

I wanted to have a more people-focused career where I could have a more powerful and positive impact on the lives of others.

While O’Donnell was inspired to follow in his firefighter father’s footsteps, he also knew he wanted a career that he could combine with firefighting, and something healthcare-related made the most sense. O’Donnell began exploring accelerated nursing programs before selecting the Baccalaureate Accelerated Track program at Decker.

Read more of Kevin’s story here >

Roberta Vasili
Master’s of Business Administration
School of Management

Roberta Vasili started her first year at Binghamton University as an undecided undergraduate but wasted no time. Vasili joined the Binghamton Business Fashion Society student club, and by her sophomore year, she had applied to the School of Management.

She used opportunities to hone her fashion marketing skills, including a study abroad opportunity in Florence, Italy, one of the world’s “fashion capitals.” She then parlayed her acumen and fashion sense into a job after graduation as an assistant buyer at Burlington in New Jersey.

Believe in yourself and your dreams, put your best foot forward, and you will succeed.

Read more of Roberta’s story here >

Nashaan Howard
Harpur College

Nashaan Howard had a few things in mind when researching colleges: the school should have diversity, offer a sound financial aid package, be within driving distance of his Schenectady, N.Y., home and be highly rated regarding dining services.

However, it wasn’t until his high school guidance counselor brought him to Binghamton University on a visit that he knew he was in the right place.

I just kind of fell in love with the campus. It felt modern but kind of homey in a way.

Once here, Howard reconsidered a career in medicine and found psychology to be a perfect fit with his interest in science and mental health.

Read more of Nashaan’s story here >

Nazila Bazrafshan
Industrial and Systems Engineering, PhD
Watson College of Engineering and Applied Science

Growing up in Iran, Nazila Bazrafshan, PhD ’24, had long planned to further her education at one of the best universities in the U.S. When she learned about Binghamton University’s industrial and systems engineering program, she knew she found the perfect fit.

The very first day that I arrived in the U.S. was a dream come true. I was filled with pure excitement as I embarked on this new journey…I had achieved what I had worked so hard for, and I was incredibly passionate to begin the program.

Read more of Nazila’s story here >

Casey Adrian
Master’s in Social Work
College of Community and Public Affairs

Ask a young Casey Adrian why he’d consider leaving his hometown of Binghamton, N.Y., and he could list a million reasons. It wasn’t until after his first semester at Binghamton that Adrian realized he wasn’t just testing the waters; he was where he was meant to be.

Adrian not only graduated with honors as an undergraduate, but his work in the Binghamton Human Sexuality Research Lab and an archival project involving the Gay Men’s Health Crisis led him to continue on to a Master’s in Social Work degree.

I chose Binghamton University because I’d gotten in and told myself: ‘I’ll go for one semester, and if I hate it, no harm, no foul.’ But it ended up being the best decision I’ve ever made.

Read more of Casey’s story here >

Yasmeen Gilani
Global Public Health and Africana Studies
Harpur College

Sequestered in her New Hyde Park home during the pandemic, Yasmeen Gilani watched the Black Lives Matter protests unfold in the news, creating a shift in perspective and her life’s course.

I realized that a lot of the systems that I had thought were protecting and serving people were instead disproportionately impacting marginalized communities, such as low-income communities and communities of color.

So, this May, Gilani became one of the first graduates of Harpur College’s new program in global public health, with a goal to solve inequities in healthcare through research, policy and advocacy, possibly with the United Nations or a non-governmental organization.

Read more of Yasmeen’s story here >

Posted in: CCPA, Decker, Harpur, Pharmacy, SOM, Watson