Looking Ahead, Reflecting Back: Meet St. Lawrence's Class of 2023
- Laurentian Connections
- Liberal Arts Adventures
- Life at St. Lawrence
- Making a Difference
- University News and Stories
- Art and Art History
- Business in the Liberal Arts
- Careers and Outcomes
- Clubs and Organizations
- Global Studies
- Math, Computer Science and Statistics
- Peace Studies
- World Languages
- Performance and Communication Arts
- North Country Connections
- Off-Campus Study
- Public Health
- Varsity Athletics
Members of St. Lawrence’s Class of 2023 are scholar-athletes, global citizens, campus leaders, and advocates. They're future diplomats, doctors, financial analysts, curators, and so much more.
Our soon-to-be-grads reflected on their years at St. Lawrence—including their favorite courses and their proudest achievements. Now that they’ve left their mark on campus, read on to see what their next adventures have in store.
Sarath Novas '23
Major: Art and Art History
Minors: Public Health and Educational Studies
Hometown: New York City
Name one class that positively impacted you. “Photojournalism” hands down. I took this class with Associate Professor of Art and Art History Sarah Knobel as a sophomore and it altered the course of my life. After completing my final project "The First Touch,” a photo series featuring the stories of sexual assault survivors, I began to take my art practice more seriously. It was the most challenging project I took on at St. Lawrence and finishing it was one of my greatest accomplishments.
What accomplishment are you most proud of? Being a first-generation college student. When I was applying to college, I had no idea what I was doing. Four years have passed in the blink of an eye, and now I'm helping my younger siblings with their college applications. It's been challenging at times, but I persevered and made it to the end in one piece which I'm grateful for.
What was your greatest adventure during your time at St. Lawrence? I was honored to receive the Gilman Scholarship, which supported my semester abroad in London. I used to fear getting lost in a foreign country, taking public transportation I wasn't used to, and exploring new surroundings. Now, I can’t wait for the next time I get to experience different foods, people, and places. I also got to spend my last month interning at Time Out Magazine, where I wrote and published local London news pieces as well as tips and guides for fun things to do around the city.
If you were to put an object in a time capsule to represent your time at St. Lawrence, what would you leave and why? A pool ball. Now this is probably weird, but when I think of St. Lawrence, I think about the pool table in the Student Center. I have had so many great conversations while playing and just being around the table. It's how I have gotten close to some of the best people I have met here.
Derek Sherrange '23
Majors: Global Studies and Combined International Economics—Multilanguage
Minor: Caribbean and Latin American Studies
Hometown: Argyle, New York
Name one class that positively impacted you. “Race, Culture, and Identity” with Assistant Professor of Global Studies Sandhya Ganapathy. This was the first global studies course I took on campus and once I encountered the critical and transdisciplinary way of thinking that the department uses, I couldn't get enough. After that class, I understood the world in completely new ways, and I knew I had to major in global studies.
What accomplishment are you most proud of? Becoming a more critical and informed person through my time in the global studies department. I have produced research and articles for Weave News using modes of thinking that I would have never considered before I entered college. The global studies department truly made me realize my full potential and that will go on to be my biggest accomplishment.
Who is your most influential Laurentian mentor? My most influential mentor is Chair and Professor of Global Studies John Collins. John is incredibly committed to his students, his work, and the impact his work has on the world. That inspired me to apply those same principles to the work I do. John has spent countless hours mentoring me and I can only hope I can be that type of mentor for someone one day.
What was your greatest adventure during your time at St. Lawrence? Studying abroad, starting right from the beginning of my college experience when I took part in the London First-Year Program. I went on to study, intern, or work in Spain, India (twice), and Kenya during my time at St. Lawrence. That first adventure in London really inspired me to be bold and go wherever opportunity takes me.
What do you hope or plan to pursue in the future? In the summer after graduation, I will be interning with the U.S. Department of State in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Office of South and Central Asia. After that, I will be pursuing my master’s in international relations at IE University in Madrid, Spain through a Fulbright Scholarship. Following my graduation from IE, I have been accepted to the global studies Ph.D. program at the University of California, Irvine, where I will be on track to get my Ph.D. in 6 years.
Zhuoer Li '23
Majors: Philosophy and Mathematics
Hometown: Qingdao, China
Name one class that positively impacted you. “Symbolic Logic” with Associate Professor of Philosophy Laura Rediehs. It humbled me so much to see the interconnection between math and philosophy.
What accomplishment are you most proud of? I am proud of myself for seeing the value of the St. Lawrence University community after studying here! I knew little about the culture of St. Lawrence when I was a first-year, and I am glad to have gained an appreciation of the warm, dedicated, and resourceful community here at St. Lawrence.
Who is your most influential Laurentian mentor? I have so many to name! Assistant Professor of Education Jessica Sierk believed in me and helped me with research fellowships! Beth Dixon '10 (executive director of NYC internships and Laurentian Engagement) helped me to get ready for my professional career. Stephanie Luedke ’94 and Trustee Trip Samson ’80 connected me with internship opportunities, and Hook Huang ’02 wrote countless recommendation letters for me in the job search process!
What do you hope or plan to pursue in the future? I will begin a full-time job as an investment analyst at HQ Capital. I initially reached out to Kyle Jonas ’19 for a networking phone call, and he mentioned that he worked at HQ Capital under Stephen Wesson ’91. After hearing about his positive experience there, I submitted my resume through the company's website. The company reached out to me for interviews, and Kyle, as well as previous HQ interns Jack Suominen ’20 and Julian d'Almeida Santos ’20, helped me prepare.
Nishal Basnet '23
Majors: Economics, Sociology, and Business in the Liberal Arts
Hometown: Syracuse, New York
What accomplishment are you most proud of? I have chaired the Literacy for Nepal (LFN) club for the past four years. The mission of our club is to sponsor an educational cost for at least one student in Nepal through our non-profit partners Sano Paila and the Himalayan Children’s Fund. With the help of our committed club members and faculty advisor Coordinator of International Student Services Tsewang Lama '10, M'15, we have sponsored three students. As a Bhutanese Nepali, I am very proud of the accomplishments of our club and look forward to seeing the good work continue.
What do you hope or plan to pursue in the future? I will attend the Brooks School of Public Policy at Cornell University to earn a master’s in public administration with a concentration in public and non-profit management. Following my master’s, I will join the foreign service as a contracting officer for USAID. My concentration will give me a strong foundation in the consulting and procurement laws of the federal government.
Who is your most influential Laurentian mentor? Being a Laurentian means being part of the family. Many people have given me tremendous support and I would not be the person I am today without their guidance and care. My accomplishments result from tremendous support from HEOP Director Bill Short, Assistant Director of HEOP Erin Colvin, Coordinator of Retention and Academic Support Tina Tao, Assistant Director of CSTEP and McNair Jenny Townsend, and Director of CSTEP and McNair Marsha Sawyer. Chris Rich ’18 has mentored me throughout the Payne Fellowships application process. Assistant Professor of Sociology Yesim Bayar has been cheering my success throughout the last three years. Her class “Nations and Nationalism” inspired me to pursue a career in international development.
What was your greatest adventure during your time at St. Lawrence? My senior year has been a great adventure. I triple majored in sociology, business, and economics all while balancing three part-time jobs. I was also applying for fellowships, jobs, and internships. The volume of rejections I received shattered my self-esteem. Then came the spring semester, when I was selected as a 2023 Payne Fellow. By mid-March, I was accepted to seven of the eight graduate schools I applied to. I have been on a roller coaster of emotions this year; my achievements are those of everyone who believed in me.
What is your favorite St. Lawrence tradition and why? Reunion Weekend! I was a student ambassador in 2022 and it was surreal to see how deeply connected we Laurentians are. Seeing our alumni making the most of their time on campus and continuously giving back to their communities wherever they go was inspiring.
Lilly Sullivan '23
Minors: Sports Studies and Exercise Science and Educational Studies
Hometown: Orchard Park, New York
Name one class that positively impacted you. Any of the five classes I have taken with Associate Professor of Education Jeff Frank. Professor Frank truly cares about each and every one of his students and makes the classroom a very comfortable and enjoyable space. Each class I have had with him has pushed me intellectually to enhance my critical thinking skills.
What accomplishment are you most proud of? I am most proud of the work I have done within the Athletic Department. I’ve been an assistant event manager for hockey games, student manager of the Appleton Team Store, and student assistant to Associate Athletic Director Franco Bari. Each experience gave me the tools and skills I will need moving into my professional career.
I am also proud of my accomplishments as a student-athlete. I was a member of the women's tennis team for three years and ended my sophomore season making the All-Liberty League Second Team. I also was able to work my way up in the lineup and play number one singles and doubles in my junior year.
Who is your most influential Laurentian mentor? Professor of Psychology Tom Greene, who was my professor for the London summer program, “London Spaces and UK Places,” and my psychology seminar. Tom has been very supportive of my academic career and has been willing to help in any way he can. He always brightened my day with his energy and enthusiasm.
Another influential mentor of mine is Franco Bari. Franco allowed me to get very involved in the Athletic Department. Gaining hands-on experience helped me to know exactly what I want to do after I graduate and taught me that I have a passion for working in sports.
What do you hope or plan to pursue in the future? Right after graduation, I will be moving to Fort Lauderdale to work for the NHL team the Florida Panthers. I will be a sales representative at C.A.T.S. Academy and am beyond excited to start my career in professional sports.
Evan Holm '23
Majors: Economics and Environmental Studies
Hometown: West Granby, Connecticut
Name one class that positively impacted you. The Fed Challenge with Charles A. Dana Professor of Economics Cynthia Bansak. It taught me how to evaluate incoming data from economic events to better understand how it will impact markets. We also networked with several alumni in finance and took trips to New York City and Ottawa. In addition, "Econometrics" with Associate Professor of Economics Michael O'Hara stands out because I learned how to conduct economic research and carefully analyze data.
What was your greatest adventure during your time at St. Lawrence? I studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark during my junior year. Living in a new city in Europe was a great experience that widened my perspective. I also had the opportunity to travel around Europe and was able to go on skiing and surfing trips in several countries I’d never visited before.
What is your favorite St. Lawrence tradition and why? I love Titus weekend. It's awesome to have two days dedicated to skiing, getting outside, and being with your friends. It's a great event that energizes campus during the middle of the semester.
What do you hope or plan to pursue in the future? I have accepted an offer at eBay as a part of the Finance Futures Program, a two-year rotational finance development program, and will be moving to San Francisco, California. After a successful summer internship last year, I am looking forward to being back and starting my career in finance.
Marteas Johnson '23
Majors: Mathematics and Business in the Liberal Arts
Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
Name one class that you took that positively impacted you. Community-Based Learning 100. It provided me with the opportunity to mentor middle school students at a Potsdam school and serve as a positive role model for their development. The experience was incredibly rewarding, as I watched these students grow and develop into confident individuals. I learned the importance of empathy, leadership, and communication. Overall, this class was a life-changing experience that taught me the power of mentorship and the positive impact it can have on both the mentee and the mentor.
What accomplishment are you most proud of? Serving as the central treasurer in Thelmo and managing the student activity funds. It was an incredible responsibility to be entrusted with the budget that funds our clubs and organizations. Through this role, I gained valuable experience in financial management and developed strong organizational and leadership skills. The opportunity to make a significant impact on the student community was truly rewarding, and I am proud to have contributed to the success of so many organizations.
Who is your most influential Laurentian mentor? Vice President and Dean of Student Life Hagi Bradley. He is not only relatable but also treats all students with an abundance of love and kindness. Hagi always has a positive attitude and a smile on his face. He is an inspiration to me and many others, and his guidance and support were invaluable.
What was your greatest adventure during your time at St. Lawrence? Thanks to the Black Laurentian Initiative (BLI) Grant, I was able to embark on a life-changing journey to Jamaica, where I conducted research on Black-owned businesses. This experience allowed me to gain valuable insights and learn about different approaches to business. It was fulfilling to present my findings to a wider audience and share my newfound knowledge.
What is your favorite St. Lawrence tradition and why? Commencement is my favorite tradition because it serves as a powerful reminder of why we attend college—to work hard and achieve our goals. It's a celebration of all the effort we put in and a moment to reflect on our accomplishments.
What do you hope or plan to pursue in the future? I will be joining Goldman Sachs as an analyst at their Newport Beach office in California. This is a fantastic opportunity to gain valuable experience and contribute to the success of such a reputable company.
Maddy Mercier '23
Major: Multifield in Peace and Conflict studies
Hometown: Lewiston, Maine
Name one class that positively impacted you. “Introduction to Peace Studies.” If it weren't for this class, I wouldn’t be on the path I am now. Peace studies opened my eyes to a way of critical thinking that I wasn’t given the chance to explore in high school. Not only did it influence my studies, but it also influenced the way I choose to go about the world, especially in my relationships with others and in the change I seek to make.
What accomplishment are you most proud of? I am most proud of the work I was able to do during the Kenya Semester Program while interning for the Flone Initiative. While at Flone, I produced the final draft of the Machakos County Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Public Transport Policy, which was signed into law in September of last year, just a few months after the final draft was submitted.
What was your greatest adventure during your time at St. Lawrence? Kenya was certainly an adventure. Throughout much of this cultural exchange, I often found myself not knowing what to expect next, but that helped me learn and walk away with an appreciation for those we met. To do the whole adventure alongside 23 other St. Lawrence students (except for our one friend from Union College) meant the world, as well.
What do you hope or plan to pursue in the future? In the summer, I will be interning for the Brookings Institution doing policy research for their African Security Initiative project. Following that, I will be attending Utrecht University in the Netherlands to pursue their master's program in conflict studies and human rights.
Did you work with the Center for Career Excellence throughout your college journey? Yes! While I only had a few meetings with them in total, Associate Director for Career Education Michelle Gould and Senior Associate Director for Career Programming Beth Larrabee ’97, P’20,’22,’25 have a beautiful way of encouraging students and making them feel as though they are entirely capable of the things they set to achieve. It is a really refreshing feeling amidst many periods of uncertainty and doubt.
If you were to put an object in a time capsule to represent your time at St. Lawrence, what would you leave and why? A single Java sticker! No matter how stressful or hectic things became, dancing to live music alongside the people I love most was always the best cure.
Nathan Turtledove '23
Triple Major: Business in the Liberal Arts, Government, and Economics
Hometown: Leawood, Kansas
Name a class that positively impacted you. “International Relations” with Associate Professor of Government Mert Kartal. This was one of my first classes freshmen year and I fell in love with Professor Kartal's teaching style and international relations. At the end of the semester, he called me into his office, and I was terrified—I thought I had failed an assignment or the class. Instead, he told me that he loved having me in class and walked me through all the future courses in the government department and career opportunities. Four years later, I have maxed out the classes I can take with him and I am thrilled to call him my advisor, but more importantly, a friend.
What accomplishment are you most proud of? I really have taken full advantage of the St. Lawrence liberal arts experience. As a triple major, Admissions senior fellow, Student-Athlete Advisory Committee president, Jewish Student Union president, music columnist for The Hill News, and tennis team captain, I dove into every opportunity St. Lawrence had to offer, and I made countless friends because of it. I am proudest of leaving with no regrets!
Who is your most influential Laurentian mentor? Trustee Emeritus David Officer ’67 (Mr. O!). I met him on the Vilas Scholar semifinalist trip in New York City during my senior year of high school, and he was the first to welcome me into the Laurentian family. I've stayed in touch with him every step of the way since, and he is my go-to guy whenever I need advice or just a great chat!
What was your greatest adventure during your time at St. Lawrence? Summer semester during the 2020-2021 school year. It still feels like a fever dream, but it was the adventure of a lifetime. Being able to enjoy the North Country summer and all you can do in the warm weather was incredible!
What is your favorite St. Lawrence tradition and why? The 5 P.M. ringing of the Chapel Bells! It always brings a smile, and I love singing along to the Alma Mater when it rings. My favorite is when they play “Happy Birthday” on Charter Day. The bells are definitely one of the things I will miss most after I’ve “wended down” these hills.
What do you hope or plan to pursue in the future? This summer, I am heading to Dartmouth College for the Tuck School of Business Tuck Bridge Program. While my future is still undecided after that, I am looking forward to the next chapter in my journey and know that no matter where it takes me, St. Lawrence will always be a part of it!
Did you work with the Center for Career Excellence throughout your college journey? Absolutely—as a Vilas Scholar, they supported me from the beginning. We went to New York City and Boston to meet with alumni of the Vilas Scholarship, and they continued to help me throughout my time here when I went to them for networking advice or resume and cover letter help. I also attended and even moderated many panels!
If you were to put an object in a time capsule to represent your time at St. Lawrence, what would you leave and why? A signed tennis ball from my last home college tennis match, and a Polaroid picture with all of my friends!
Toky Rakotoarisoa '23
Majors: Government and Global Studies
Hometown: Antananarivo, Madagascar
Who is your most influential Laurentian mentor? My experience at St. Lawrence would have not been the same without the professors, academic advisors, alumni, and friends that I got to learn a lot from and who were nothing but supportive of all my aspirations. I am extremely grateful for my academic advisors, Michael W. Ranger '80 and Virginia R. Ranger P'17 Professorship in Government and Chair Ronnie Olesker and Assistant Professor of Global Studies Sandhya Ganapathy, who helped make sure I complete all my requirements on time to graduate and gave kind words of advice and support throughout.
I am also grateful for the alumni who have encouraged me to achieve my goals including Julius Johnson '89, P'22, the founder and CEO of Johnson Development, and Andrew Dabalen ’90, chief economist at the World Bank.
What was your greatest adventure during your time at St. Lawrence? My role as creative director of The Underground, under the supervision of my mentor, Associate Professor of English and Performance and Communication Arts Juraj Kittler. The Underground is an academic journal concerning issues of representation. As creative director, I was able to focus on my artistic expression, which was previously overshadowed by my academic and professional priorities. In my last semester on campus, I published a piece that offers a new artistic and political perspective on my home country. I hope it will speak to others.
Did you work with the Center for Career Excellence throughout your college journey? Yes. It can be difficult for international students to secure and fund internships in the United States, especially with limited means and connections, but the Center has been a great resource. I am especially thankful for Senior Associate Director of Internships Sarah Coburn, who listened to and guided me on my professional path.
What do you hope or plan to pursue in the future? My dream has always been to work in the political field in Madagascar and tackle challenges like growing poverty levels and the recurrence of political crises. Thanks to an internship with The Kaizen Company in Washington D.C., I now have experience working with international development organizations.
This summer, I will put my coursework and professional opportunities to use in my internship with the World Bank. Starting in the fall, I will begin my studies at Sciences Po Paris in international business and sustainability. I am thankful for all the faculty and staff, friends, and family who have helped me overcome obstacles and make this experience possible.
Brian Uceta '23
Major: Performance and Communication Arts
Hometown: New York City
Name one class that positively impacted you. "Taboo Body Politics" with Associate Professor of Performance and Communication Arts Jennifer Thomas. She asked us to investigate which bodies and people are conventionally accepted on stage and which are deemed "taboo” or unacceptable by society. It made me rethink what representation truly means and has inspired me to create a space in the theater that includes everyone, no matter what they look like or how they identify.
What accomplishment are you most proud of? My work as the former secretary of the Black Laurentian Initiative (BLI). I believe the work of the BLI has special significance as an organization dedicated to institutional change, which I feel is essential in higher education. Besides that, my work in University Theater and being a recipient of the Jeffrey Campbell Award are also accomplishments I hold close.
What was your greatest adventure during your time at St. Lawrence? Studying abroad was easily one of the greatest decisions I've ever made. I went to London and ate foods from so many different cultures, experienced art in ways I had not before, and finally traveled to the Eastern Hemisphere for the first time. It was an unforgettable experience—we don't know just how big our world is until we go out and take a look at it for ourselves.
Caitlin Erb '23
Majors: Biology and Anthropology
Minors: Public Health and African Studies
Hometown: Winooski, Vermont
Name one class that you took that positively impacted you. Associate Professor of Anthropology Mindy Pitre's “Paleoepidemiology” course. In this class, I realized that I had a passion for paleopathology and biological archaeology. I explored different historic diseases, the impacts that they had on people's lives, and how those diseases appear on bones.
Who is your most influential Laurentian mentor? Professor Mindy Pitre. She taught me important biological anthropology lab practices and skills and helped me to further my study within the field. I have also spent the last year working as her teaching assistant, which has allowed me to gain a better understanding of effective lab instruction and organization. The passion she brings to teaching and her research has inspired me and will be something I think back on throughout my career.
What was your greatest adventure during your time at St. Lawrence? Studying abroad in the Kenya Semester Program. I was able to immerse myself fully in another culture for several months, which allowed me to learn a lot about myself and what I am capable of. This experience is one that I value immensely.
What do you hope or plan to pursue in the future? This summer, I will intern at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I’ll be working on a project in their archaeological collections facility to gain a better understanding of the responsibilities and daily routines expected of those who work in museum archives. This internship will be funded by St. Lawrence through the Internship Fellowship program.
Keenan Wilson '23
Minor: Public Health
Hometown: Francestown, New Hampshire
Name one class that positively impacted you. “Psychology and Law” was my favorite course. Associate Professor of Psychology Cathy Crosby really shifted my perspective on the legal system and how psychology functions to inform laws and cases. While I am not going into law, gaining a better understanding of the legal system was eye-opening and practical.
What accomplishment are you most proud of? Being accepted to SUNY Upstate Medical School. It required a very difficult course overload, and many people told me I couldn't get into medical school while being a psychology major and choosing to go abroad. I am proud of all I did to get in, but also extremely thankful for everyone that helped me along the way; I could not have done it alone.
Who is your most influential Laurentian mentor? My mom and dad, both from the class of 1990, have been my most influential mentors. My dad helped me pursue my dream of becoming a doctor. He also has taught me that you can balance work and life to be a fun-loving person that works a serious, meaningful job. My mother has taught me to persevere through anything life throws at me. I truly would not be the person or student I am without their influence.
What was your greatest adventure during your time at St. Lawrence? After my semester abroad, my brother Reid and I biked the entire coast of Northern Ireland. We saw the prettiest sunsets, the most remote northern island of Rathlin, and drank so much Guinness that our mom called the bank to dispute the charges because she thought our cards were stolen. We had so much fun and made so many memories together.
What do you hope or plan to pursue in the future? I will be attending medical school at Upstate Medical University this summer to pursue my M.D.
If you were to put an object in a time capsule to represent your time at St. Lawrence, what would you leave and why? A cup of coffee, because it fueled me for every exam, every paper, and every weekend of fun. Whether it was hiking 25 miles in one day with my friends to bag 10 High Peaks at once, or heading to Whiteface to ski down the mountain faster than any human should, I needed energy for my early mornings, and I definitely wasn't going to bed early.