An uncommon college experience in Northern New York.
Immerse yourself in a campus culture that's as eclectic as you are.
Tabitha Brown '20
It’s never too late to go back to school. Just ask Tabitha Brown who is back in college after a 25-year hiatus. After raising a family and homeschooling her children, she decided it was time to complete her bachelor’s degree—starting the same year her daughter went off to college. Brown is now excelling as a non-traditional student in SUNY Potsdam’s Department of History where she has been delving into local history projects to explore Northern New York’s past.
Laura Wessing '15
In four years, alumna Laura Wessing graduated summa cum laude with a double major in computer science and mathematics, as well as getting a master’s degree in math through the BA / MA program. In that time, she completed three internships, two of which were with the U.S. Air Force. Now she leads the quantum algorithms team at the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory in Rome, N.Y.—overseeing complex research on quantum bits.
Opera: The Marriage of Figaro
Led by Dr. Joshua Miller—the new director for the Crane Opera Ensemble at The Crane School of Music—students recently staged Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s comic opera “Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro)” at Sara M. Snell Music Theater from Nov. 8 to 9, 2019. Join us for a visual tour of the rehearsals leading up to the performances.
Yoga in the Greenhouse
Professor Kathleen O’Rourke recently brought her First Year Success Seminar to the WISER Greenhouse for a unique opportunity—yoga in the greenhouse! With the aeroponic Tower Gardens pushed to the side, yoga mats were unfurled to fit more than 20 students in the greenhouse as Isabelle Bailey ’23, a first-year student in the SIIM program, led the class.
For first-year students, there’s no better opportunity than the Environmental Studies Adirondack Experience. The unique program allows students to work with Dr. Glenn Johnson, Dr. Donald McNutt and Dr. Katherine Cleary as they focus on three disciplines (English, ecology and biology), set against the backdrop of the Adirondack Mountains. View a day in the life of our students exploring the Spring Pond Bog Preserve and the Wild Center in Tupper Lake as part of the Adirondack Experience.
Eric Zair '20
Hard work and networking have paid dividends for computer science major Eric Zair ’20. A brief encounter with alumnus Garry Griggs ’17 last spring paved the way for a paid internship over the summer at Assured Information Security, a cybersecurity contracting company in Rome, N.Y. That internship gave him real-world experience and allowed him to take what he had learned in the classroom and apply it in a professional setting. Now he’s back on campus completing the coursework for his degree and mentoring younger students in the computer science program. With commencement just around the corner, his sights are set on a future career in the field of cybersecurity.
Leanne Greene '18
Leanne Greene ’18 has had more than her share of setbacks on her way toward achieving her dream of being a teacher. She is a single mother of three school-aged children, and together they have had to weather more than a few storms. With a very ill child, and her own serious health challenges, Greene had to withdraw from school several times. When she returned to school, she was left with dwindling financial resources. Then, she received news that she had received the M. Catherine Roberts Scholarship, designated for students who might not be able to finish their degree without scholarship support.
Paul Dougall ’20
Paul Dougall ’20 is a true Renaissance man. Now in his last year at SUNY Potsdam, he is completing not only a degree in music business, but two separate degrees in mathematics as part of the Department of Mathematics’ BA / MA program—a unique opportunity for highly motivated students to graduate with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics at the same time. Over the summer he landed an internship at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center where he was able to incorporate all of those disciplines.
Rebecca Scholldorf ’15
Back when she was still a sophomore at SUNY Potsdam, alumna Rebecca Scholldorf ’15, a clarinet performance major at the Crane School of Music, decided to pursue a second degree in music business. It proved to be one of the best decisions of her life. After completing the required internship for her music business degree her senior year, she was immediately offered a job by that same company, DANSR, Inc., the exclusive distributor of Vandoren reeds, mouthpieces and accessories.
Scott Elliott ’21
Scott Elliott ’21 has always wanted to be a teacher. After spending nearly 22 years as a musician in the U.S. Army, he’s turning that dream into a reality, as he pursues his master’s degree from SUNY Potsdam in childhood education, studying in Watertown. For more than two decades, he traveled the world playing his saxophone and clarinet to improve relations with other countries and support the troops. Now retired, his real-world experience will bolster his efforts in the classroom, as he follows his path to becoming a teacher.
Jeffrey Schulz '20
Jeffrey Schulz '20, who is majoring in biology with a minor in chemistry, keeps very busy balancing his academic life with a leadership role on the men’s soccer team. He has been on the SUNYAC Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll and President's list three times and was awarded Coaches' MVP and Players' Player of the Year. Join us for a look back at a day in the life of Schulz.
Miryam Veliz Calderon ’20
There is no doubt that Miryam Veliz Calderon ’20 is going places. A double-major in Spanish and mathematics, Veliz Calderon does not shy away from opportunities to grow as both a leader and a scholar. Since coming to SUNY Potsdam, she has actively participated in a variety of clubs and organizations on campus, ultimately taking on leadership roles. She has had the opportunity to work as a teaching assistant and attend conferences in both math and Spanish, including a trip to Madrid, Spain for 10 days as an intern for the AIBR International Conference of Anthropology with Dr. Sergio López.
Morgan Sychtysz ’20
Morgan Sychtysz ’20 completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in visual arts in just three years. After first appearing in the annual Bachelor of Fine Arts Exhibition at the Gibson Gallery last spring, her “fruit basket” oil paintings were then accepted into the SUNY Art at the Rockefeller Institute exhibition—a year-long art show depicting some of the best art from faculty and students within the SUNY system. Sychtysz is now focused on completing her certificate in art education, with the ultimate goal of being a K-12 art teacher when she graduates next spring.
Ivy Huber ’19
After walking across the stage at Commencement in May, Ivy Huber ’19, a double major in middle/secondary English education and literature/writing, spent the summer teaching English to children in Italy. Now she’s back home to start her career as a sixth grade English teacher at Waterloo Middle School after successfully completing SUNY Potsdam’s teacher education program and two student teaching placements in St. Lawrence County.
Mary Catherine Sawyer ’19
SUNY Potsdam alumna Mary Catherine Sawyer ’19 landed her first job just months after graduating from SUNY Potsdam this year. With degrees in music education and theatre education—and extensive student teaching experiences as an undergraduate—she’s well prepared for her new career as a music teacher in the Bronx, N.Y.
Amber Rudolph ’20
Amber Rudolph ’20 wrapped up her junior year with a trip to Cloughjordan, Ireland, as part of a sociology travel course with Dr. Heather Sullivan-Catlin. Now she’s back at SUNY Potsdam for her senior year where she’s taking on a leadership role as the new vice president of the Student Government Association. She is also completing two internships: one focused on launching a sustainability initiative on campus with Sullivan-Catlin, and another with Ray Bowdish in the WISER Greenhouse.
Mike Rogge '08
When he’s not carving through the fresh powder at Alpine Meadows in Lake Tahoe, Mike Rogge ’08 leads a successful career as the editor The Ski Journal and the founder/owner of the media production company, Verb Cabin. Since graduating with his degree in writing and literature from SUNY Potsdam over a decade ago, Rogge has turned his dream into a reality—skiing as many days as possible and writing about it professionally.
Dr. Jessica Rogers
Dr. Jessica Rogers, an assistant professor of environmental studies at SUNY Potsdam, brings global applied learning experiences into her classroom every day. Whether she’s teaching introduction to environmental studies, Geographic Information Systems, or conducting research on the purple loosestrife—her passion for teaching and environmental conservation is at the heart of everything that she does.
Q & A with Dr. Hadley Kruczek-Aaron
From June 24 to July 19, SUNY Potsdam Professor Dr. Hadley Kruczek-Aaron led an archaeology field school for 12 of her students at Camp Union in Potsdam—a Civil War training ground once used by soldiers preparing for battle. Students spent four weeks unearthing layers of dirt, digging excavation units, using sifter screens and bagging artifacts. The Meadow East Apartment Complex property in Potsdam became the students’ outdoor classroom for a month as they searched for historic remnants from the Camp Union occupation.
Kalis Nunes ’20
Kalis Nunes ’20 has been on a trajectory of success ever since he first set foot on campus his freshman year. After entering SUNY Potsdam through the Bridges Program, he went on to work as a resident assistant, a tutor for TRiO, a coordinator for Multicultural Weekend, on top of being the president/captain of the Bear Witness Step Team. Now he is taking on his most significant leadership role yet, as the next president of the Student Government Association.
Alanna Pinard-Brace ’19 & ’20
Alanna Pinard-Brace ’19 & ’20 is one of the newest faces in the graduate program in music education at the Crane School of Music—an expedited one-year master’s degree available to Crane graduates. She recently returned from Peru where she was learning about Andean music and hiking the Salkantay and Inca trails to Machu Picchu as part of an international travel course.
Brian Dougherty ’06
Brian Dougherty ’06 landed his first job in the music industry immediately after graduation. What started as an internship for Samson Technologies his junior year, parlayed into a full-time position that started nine days after commencement. Now he works for Sennheiser—one of the leading music industry companies in the world.
Amiere Bell '20
During his first three years at SUNY Potsdam, Amiere Bell ’20, a theatre major with minors in dance and speech communication, has grown both academically and artistically. He has choreographed dances, played the lead role in “Wiley and the Hairy Man,” and landed on the President’s List the last two semesters.
Brooke Falsion ’19
Brooke Falsion ’19 is a record setter. During her time at SUNY Potsdam, she became the first All-American in the history of the SUNY Potsdam women’s soccer program. She was also the SUNYAC Offensive Player of the Year during her senior year, while setting several new SUNY Potsdam women’s soccer records, including being the all-time leading scorer with 46 career goals. Academically, she was just as impressive—recently graduating summa cum laude with a degree in exercise science.
Crane Students Embark on Epic Journey Through Peru
From May 19 to 31, a group of 16 current and former Crane students traveled to South America for an epic journey through the Andes in Peru with Dr. Jeffrey Francom, an associate professor and coordinator of the choral area at SUNY Potsdam's Crane School of Music. They started by learning traditional Andean music at a cultural center in Calca, Peru, before setting out for a seven-day backpacking trip along the Salkantay and Inca Trails.
Class of 2019
As another academic year comes to a close, we take a look back at some of our outstanding graduating seniors—their stories of success, the professors who have impacted their lives and the challenges they faced along the way. Congratulations to the Class of 2019!
Erica Ylitalo ’19
Like all music education students at The Crane School of Music, Erica Ylitalo spent her last semester at SUNY Potsdam as a student teacher in both a middle school and high school in Central New York—leading everything from band rehearsals and band lessons, to music theory classes.
Jillian Dolder ’17 & ’18
Finding a job after graduation is always the ultimate goal, and for Jillian Dolder, that came to fruition literally two days after Commencement. She received her diploma on a Saturday and found herself standing in front of a group of high school students on Monday morning.
Isata Tarawally '19
During her last semester at SUNY Potsdam, community health major Isata Tarawally landed an internship with the American Red Cross in New York City. As part of the amazing hands-on experience, she has been traveling all over the city to speak with children about disaster preparedness. The opportunity led to a job with the American Red Cross after graduation—a position that will allow her to continue her philanthropic work as part of an Americorps program.
John Alleyne '14
SUNY Potsdam alumnus John Alleyne ’14 has found great success since graduating with a BFA in studio art five years ago. He went on to work at the Museum of Modern Art, received his master’s degree from Louisiana State University and now works as an artist and adjunct professor at three universities in and around Baton Rouge.
Dr. Faris Khan
Assistant Professor Dr. Faris Khan has spearheaded a number of projects at SUNY Potsdam since he started teaching here in the fall of 2017. Last semester he launched a new digital anthropology studio, started a digital anthropology internship and he created the inaugural anthropology film festival. His implementation of digital technologies, in and out of the classroom, is driven by an effort to make anthropology more accessible to the public.