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STAC Stories

Meghan smiling, headshot photo. Trees and white picket fence in background
Dr. Meghan DeWitt
Associate Professor of Mathematics

Science of Superheroes is Meghan DeWitt’s favorite class to teach: “We study quantum mechanics with Kitty Pryde, genetic modification with Wolverine, gravity with Superman, convection and heat flow with Storm, and electromagnetism with Magneto."

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Dr. Chayet smiling, hair in braids; outside greenery in background
Dr. Ellen Chayet
Professor of Criminal Justice

“Teaching criminal justice at the college level has always been my dream career,” says Ellen, who has since been sharing her years of research and field experience in criminal justice along with her education in sociology and social policy with students. At STAC, she values her colleagues with whom she collaborates not only academically on course and program development, but also to ensure the best overall college experience for students. READ MORE


Jessica smiling; green trees in background
Dr. Jessica Berrios
Assistant Professor in Exercise Science & Biology

Coming from a background of teaching at larger universities, Jessica truly enjoys the supportive environment and the sense of community that STAC provides. Being able to get to know her students and their stories truly enriches her teaching experience. READ MORE


bianca smiling
Bianca Wentzell, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biology

Dr. Wentzell teaches courses such as General Biology, Plant Biology, and Literature Research in the Biological Sciences. She says that her work at the College has been rewarding. “Not only do I get to be a lifelong student as I continue my quest for knowledge about wetlands, but I also get to teach students about how life works and help answer their questions as they investigate the world around them."

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Rossen Trendafilov
Dr. Rossen Trendafilov
Assistant Professor of Finance

Finance and Economics are both fields of study that require a great amount of analysis, attention to detail, and overall understanding of the world around us. “I try to establish a personal relationship with my students in order to better understand their current needs and their future goals. Further, I strive to help the students develop critical and independent thinking skills...

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Monica Wendel outside, smiling; grass and field in background
Monica Wendel
Associate Professor of Composition and Creative Writing

Monica joined the faculty at St. Thomas Aquinas College as an adjunct in 2010 and has been teaching English, creative writing, and poetry ever since. Now, as an associate professor, she values the College’s community and the close bonds students have with their professors and students’ commitment to service.

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Dr. Engels smiling; cream colored wall in background
Deirdre-Noel Engels, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Marketing

“In my classes, I encourage students to develop practical skills that will enable them to hit the ground running at their first job. There are so many budding young entrepreneurs on campus; I hope that my classes will inspire them and provide them with the tools necessary to bring their ideas to life."

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Linda Levine-Madori head shot photo; smiling yellow and pink solid background
Linda Levine-Madori, PhD
Professor of Therapeutic Recreation

For the past 30 years, Linda has devoted her career to research, practice, education, and the the benefits this therapy offers people with cognitive disabilities. Her research on Alzheimer’s disease, cognitive functioning, and psycho-social well-being was the basis for the TTAP Method...

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Meghan Mihal portrait photo outside on campus
Meghan Mihal, Ph.D.
Professor of Economics

One of the most rewarding things about teaching economics is showing students that they really can do it, especially when they think they can’t ... READ MORE


Christine Cahill
Christine Cahill, JD
Assistant Dean and Associate Professor of Business Administration

Before she joined the Business School faculty at St. Thomas Aquinas College... READ MORE


Ryan Wynne in biology lab
Ryan D. Wynne, Ph.D.
Professor of Biology and Honors Program Director

Dr. Ryan Wynne says that after having a horrible chemistry teacher in 11th grade, he vowed that he’d never take another chemistry class in his lifetime...

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Staci Shultz with bookcase in the background
Staci Shultz, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of English, Writing Program Director

Literature rooted in pop culture such as fan fiction is a genre that scholars like Dr. Staci Shultz find intriguing partly because, in the past, it has been dismissed as frivolous, Staci says. Today, “acafans” or academics who study fan practices... READ MORE


Ben Wagner
Ben Wagner, PhD
Assistant Professor of Psychology

Why do some people seek out and enjoy taking personality surveys more than others? This is the subject of a yearlong research project Dr. Benjamin Wagner, assistant professor of psychology at St. Thomas Aquinas College, is working on with honors student Melissa Etter ’22... READ MORE


Jisa smiling, headshot photo
Jisa Jose ‘21
Computer Science, Minor: Visual Arts

Jisa's growing interest in computer science inspired her to major in it at St. Thomas Aquinas College. “Computers are an integral part of everything we do,” she says. “The idea of using technology to solve problems always fascinates me.” READ MORE


Sean smiling; sunset with river and trees in background
Sean Leiper ’22
Biology Major

Working in the medical field has been Sean’s dream since he can remember. When he was in sixth grade his dream was to be a surgeon. Sean knew that he needed to find a school with “smaller class sizes, a great biology program, and the ability to gain real world skills and knowledge.” Sean immediately took to STAC's community-like atmosphere on campus and truly enjoyed “being able to develop and build relationships with professors.” 

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Walter smiling in front of Sullivan Theatre
Walter Ahlf '22
Computer Science Major, Performing Arts Minor

Now a junior at STAC, Walter says that gaming, and specifically his favorite series “Legends of Zelda: The Wind Waker,” inspired his interests in both computer science and the performing arts. READ MORE


Abagaile smiling, wearing sun hat
Abagaile Kimbrell ’21
Natural Sciences Major (Physics Specialization)

In the fall of her junior year, Abagaile decided she would pursue a degree in education, to teach high school physics. “Seeing my professors like Dr. Emanuel for example, be so passionate about learning was very eye-opening. She makes it fun and that really inspired me to want to provide the same feeling to students of my own one day,” she says.

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Isabella smiles outside green trees in background
Isabella Szklany ’21
Communication Arts Major

Before she took the class Content Development for Public Relations, Isabella Szklany ’21 didn’t imagine herself baking cookies and handling PR for a local nonprofit that sends children with life threatening and/or terminal illnesses and their families on an all-expense paid vacation to ALL the theme parks in Orlando, Florida.

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Timothy smiling; blue suit jacket and red tie; outside fence and trees blurred in background
Timothy Henion '21
Finance Major

Timothy is an Honors Program student who hopes to work for a bank or financial firm in New York City upon graduation. Timothy shares, “I always take advantage of events going on around campus, from resume workshops to networking events. You never know where something could lead, but you have to show up and put yourself out there.”

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Melissa smiling, green grass, tree, sunshine in background
Melissa Mounier ’20
English and Creative Writing Double Major

“Ever since I was twelve, I have been writing stories." Melissa sees herself working as an editor for a literary magazine or publishing house. “STAC helped me to consider the different career options within my field of study, and really helped me decide what field within the writing industry I wanted to pursue.”

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Suzanne Clarke athletics head shot; smiling light green and pink background
Suzanne Clarke ’21
Accounting Major

Suzanne knew when she arrived at St. Thomas Aquinas College that she wanted a career that involved travel. Because of her international experiences and with the guidance of her professors in the School of Business, she decided to complement her Accounting major with a minor in International Business...

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Gianna Galu portrait photo, smiling
Gianna Galu '21
Biology Major

During Spring 2019, Gianna Galu ’21 and three other students spent seven days in the Dominican Republic on a medical mission ... READ MORE


Aliza Deen
Aliza Deen ’20
Psychology and English Double Major

Aliza Deen loves anime, so when her English professor suggested making it the focus of a joint project, she jumped right in. ...  READ MORE


Luke Taplin
Luke Taplin
Finance Major, Economics Minor

Luke Taplin ’20 grew up playing tennis in Auckland, New Zealand. In fact, it’s the sport that brought Luke to the states after he was recruited to play it at St. Thomas Aquinas College...

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Tyiana Nunez on sport field wearing STAC Triathlon T-Shirt
Tyiana Nunez
Criminal Justice Major; Forensic Psychology Minor

From the time she was in sixth grade, Tyiana Nunez knew she wanted to be an FBI agent. Since then, the Criminal Justice major has had many opportunities to see what her future career is like in real-time. She has investigated... READ MORE


Americo Acevedo
Americo Acevedo
Accounting Major

Americo Acevedo got a taste of what it’s like to work at a Big Four accounting firm courtesy of the Deloitte Pioneer Internship he landed during the summer of his freshmen year. For six weeks, he worked alongside partners and staff in Deloitte’s offices at New York City’s iconic Rockefeller Plaza and... READ MORE


Heather smiling, headshot photo
Heather Palmer, BS ’16
Senior Actuarial Manager, Equitable Life

Heather's interest in math evolved from her major in actuarial science—a discipline that applies mathematical and statistical methods to assess risks in fields like insurance and finance, which led her to a senior management position at Equitable Life.

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Bill smiling headshot photo gray shirt, beige wall background
William E. Wrightson 5th, ’16
High School English Teacher

Bill models the examples set by his professors in the classroom and credits the time he spent as an RA at STAC for developing other skills that have proven useful in his career, including an immediate comfort level standing up before a class to teach: “Dr. Shultz, Dr. Rothschild, Professor Golland, Dr. Murray, and Dr. O’Neill had a lasting impact on my love of English. I found their love and knowledge infectious and hope to instill that same spark in my students now.” READ MORE


Angela standing with left arm on hip. Wearing pink dress.
Angela Santoro ’16
Special Education Teacher

“I decided to pursue education because I wanted to teach children that learning can be fun and that they can do anything they set their minds to,” she says. “Once I took the first few education classes at St. Thomas Aquinas College, I knew that this was the right school and the right career for me.” READ MORE


Alumnae, Amanda Iacobellis
Amanda Iacobellis '16
ELA Teacher at St. Leo’s School

Amanda credits her professors in the English Department at STAC for reaffirming her career plans, holding students to a high standard, and for introducing her to new genres and authors. “Some of the most rewarding moments in my career have been when my students become sincerely invested in the piece of literature we are reading in class,” she says. 

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Jerone smiling professional photo
Dr. Jerone Dunbar ’09
Senior User Experience Research Lead at Honda

As the lead of future in-car technology UX research for both mainstream and luxury cars, Jerone’s role as the User Experience Research Lead at Honda allows him to spearhead design and conduct evaluative research for future vehicle infotainment systems. READ MORE


Courtney smiling; black long sleeve; bookshelf behind her full of various texts
Courtney Gerver '17
Teaching Assistant and Cognitive Neuroscientist at Penn State University

When it came time for Courtney to pick a school, what drew her to STAC was the smaller class sizes, the ability to get to know the professors, and the Honors Program. During her first semester, Courtney immediately found her passion when she took her Introduction to Psychology class. READ MORE


Kat Baumgartner smiling with green mountain-scape in background
Kathryn Baumgartner '15
Children’s Librarian within the Great Neck Library System

For Kathryn Baumgartner, teaching was always a desired industry, and English was a field that greatly interested her. However, it was not until later on in her professional and academic career that she would realize a career as a Librarian would be the perfect fit.

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Caitlin Zungoli smiling; outdoors
Caitlin Zungoli '15
Financial Services Analyst at ConEdison/Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc.

While Caitlin wishes she had more time for volunteering, she always has time for her alma mater: “I will give the school as much time and talent as I can so that other students can have the same exceptional experiences I did..."

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Melissa Castillo
Melissa Urena Castillo ’17
Recreation Therapist at Helen Hayes Hospital

"The most rewarding thing about my career is seeing the physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits Recreation Therapy has for my patients" ... READ MORE


Sarah Jo Montello
Sarah Montello, BA ’16
8th Grade ELA Teacher, Durham Public Schools, Durham, NC

Imagine researching 19th-century literature in one of the oldest libraries in Europe .... READ MORE


Ariana Carpentieri at Macmillan Publishers
Ariana Carpentieri, BA ’18
Assistant to the Associate Publisher/Vice President of Marketing & Publicity for Books, Macmillan Publishers

Watching big ideas transform into manuscripts and ultimately bound volumes that land on bookstore shelves .... READ MORE


Nicki LiTrenta sitting in front of a fountain
Nicki LiTrenta
Accounting Operations Representative at Bloomberg LP '18

Nicki LiTrenta knew she wanted to work at Bloomberg from the moment she visited the organization’s New York City’s headquarters with the STAC Business Club last year. While it took some serious perseverance, she has since made... READ MORE


Alexa Fox
Alexa Fox, BS ’13
Optometrist

Alexa Fox discovered her passion for optometry while shadowing professionals in the field as an honors student at St. Thomas Aquinas College. “I was pretty certain I wanted to pursue a career as an eye care physician and that decision was solidified after shadowing professionals in the field... READ MORE