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January 5, 2017

New Graduates Celebrate in the New Year

Winter Commencement Sends New Students on to Their Future

The new year will bring hundreds of parents, families, and friends to St. Charles Borromeo Church in Brooklyn Heights to celebrate the Class of 2017 at St. Francis College's Winter Commencement on Monday, January 9 beginning with a Baccalaureate Mass at 2:00pm and Commencement at 3:00pm.

The valedictorian for the winter commencement is Christine F. Muraco '17, an Accounting Major who graduates from the 5 year Combined Bachelors and Masters Degree program, which she completed in four and a half years.

christine muraco

Christine is now working full time at CBS Corporation in their tax department, where she originally interned. In fact, CBS hired Christine full time and she completed her final semester balancing her new career with a full class load.

"Dr. [Carmine] Nogara really helped when I started working full time. He took care of any problems I had and was very supportive," said Muraco who lives in Brooklyn and went to high school at Fontbonne Hall Academy. "I love that St. Francis is a small college. All the teachers were really helpful. They always seemed to care about the students and really helped you out."

Muraco was originally a Business Administration major but then she took her first accounting course with Professor John Lombardo. She said that Lombardo saw she had the skills to become a strong accountant and convinced her to switch majors, a decision that worked out very well for Christine.

evelyn wolfeThe Commencement Address will be delivered by Dr. Evelyn A. Wolfe, Professor and Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Physics. Dr. Wolfe joined St. Francis College in 1995 becoming Chair just one year later. She still holds that position 21 years later. Over the years, she has developed several unique academic programs that rely on the impact of emerging technology and health. Dr. Wolfe has received grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Hewlett Packard, and American Chemical Society (ACS) to purchase and update state of the art instruments such as the GC-MS (gas chromatography), HPLC and NMR. She has published her work in numerous peer reviewed journals and was the recipient of the Dr. Henry McBay Outstanding Professor Award from the University of California, and the Project Kaleidoscope Faculty Award from the NSF.

Before Commencement, a Baccalaureate Mass will be celebrated by Fr. Brian Jordan OFM, Director of the St. Francis College Campus Ministry.

A full replay of Winter Commencement will be available on the St. Francis website (

Among the students graduating in January:

Sr. Mary Diep Vu, a Psychology Major and member of the Duns Scotus Honor Society graduates Magna Cum Laude. She came to St. Francis College from Lovers of the Holy Cross in Phat Diem Diocese, a farming region a few hours south of Hanoi, Vietnam. Her journey to Brooklyn began after a sponsor from the United States based Formation Support for Vietnam brought her and Sr. Maria Yeu to Houston, TX where they enrolled in community college to take ESL courses. She plans to use her psychology degree to help change lives. "There is not enough help for mental health issues in Vietnam. The culture is not open to it. Our hope is that people will feel comfortable talking with a Sister about their problems."

maria yeu mary diep vumazlaharul islam

Mazaharul Islam is a Biology Major with a passion for environmental research. Under Professor Alison Dell, his mentor and the person who ignited his love for research, Mazaharul studied what potentially harmful environmental pollutants could be found in Newtown Creek and tried to determine the effects they could have on local wildlife. His research discovered high levels of copper in the water. He then exposed zebrafish to copper and found high rates of birth defects and lethality. Mazaharul presented his findings at the 2015 MACUB Conference at Montclair State University, as well as twice at St. Francis College, once was after receiving an honor at Student Recognition Day. He currently tutors and leads math workshops at a CUNY college and is applying to graduate and doctoral programs to achieve his goal of conducting research to better the world.

Christina Somma is an Education Major who will soon begin working as a full-time substitute at a public school in Sunset Park and plans to begin graduate school in the fall. She has already completed all her requirements to become a certified New York State teacher. Christina also tutors students from pre-k through 12th grade after school and teaches at an education enrichment program.

frank jankowski

Frank Jankowski is a Communication Arts Major with a concentration in Digital Media. A transfer student from the University of Tampa, Frank was able to secure three internships while at St. Francis, with Magilla Enertainment, the Disney College Program and at Saturday Night Live. He said Professor "Michelle Steven offered me a level of support and encouragement, with regard to my career aspirations in television, that will allow me to pursue my big dreams long after leaving this small college." Those career goals are already one big step closer. Frank has just been accepted to the CBS Page Program. He also performs stand-up comedy around the city.

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