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December 2022 – Drew University recently celebrated January 2023 graduates in a Commencement ceremony in Mead Hall.
The ceremony began with addresses from President Thomas Schwarz, Provost Jessica Lakin, and Dean of the College of Liberal Arts & the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies Ryan Hinrichs.
The intimate setting allowed for the 24 attending graduates to be specially presented by a faculty or staff member with whom they had worked closely throughout their time at Drew.
“I enjoyed the personal nature of the ceremony and seeing my peers recognized for their work individually, which I think is unique when you compare it to May’s Commencement,” said Gabriella Ramirez C’23, who was presented her diploma by her friend Alyssa Sileo C’22, who now works in Drew’s Center for Civic Engagement as an AmeriCorps member.
“I did not plan to graduate early. However, receiving credit for all my internships really accelerated my academic journey,” added Ramirez, who is pursuing graduate programs in international affairs.
Addy Traficonte C’23 was able to graduate early having come to Drew with enough credits from her high school’s International Baccalaureate (IB) program to be classified as a sophomore.
“This allowed me to take an upper level French class my first semester which led me to pursue the subject as a minor,” she said. “I was also able to take a variety of science classes to decide which major would be the best fit for me. I loved neuroscience immediately, and picked up the major after my first semester, but after taking a few more biology courses I decided to major in it as well. I am very grateful that I was able to pursue what I truly enjoy doing and graduate early with a double degree.”
Traficonte, who will soon begin her career as a lab technician, has plans of entering a biology PhD program in the next two years. During her three-and-a-half years at Drew, she was a member of Associate Professor of Biology Brianne Barker’s and Professor of Biology Stephen Dunaway’s research labs, and spent two summers in the Drew Summer Science Institute.
“Having Dr. Barker present my accomplishments was touching, and I was very emotional saying goodbye,” she said of the ceremony.
The personal event closed with remarks from Vice President of Enrollment Management and Campus Life Frank Merckx before the graduates gathered with their friends, family, and Drew mentors throughout Mead Hall.
For more photos of the event, head to @drewuniversity on Instagram.
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