Commencement Delegates 2020-2021

Each college selects one undergraduate student and may also select one graduate student to represent degree candidates from the college—students whose overall personal achievement demonstrates the ideals of RIT including, but not limited to, academic achievement.

College of Art and Design

Matty Feric
Undergraduate Delegate

From River Edge, New Jersey, Matty is graduating with a BFA in film and animation. His work has been featured in 12 films. Nine of them were selected for the Honors Show within the School of Film and Animation (SoFA) or other awards. Matty’s professional experience also includes working as a teaching assistant and at RIT’s Telefund, where he secured more than $25,000 for the university in donations. Additionally, he served as the treasurer of the RIT Film, Video, Animation Student Association. Following graduation, Matty plans to pursue a career in film and animation.

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Unique Fair-Smith
Graduate Delegate

From Rochester, New York, Unique is graduating with an MFA in fine arts. Prior to this, he graduated from RIT with a BFA in illustration. Unique’s artwork has been displayed in multiple galleries, including the Joy Gallery in Rochester and the White Pigeon Studio in New York City. His work has also been archived in RIT’s Library Archives and accepted into Signatures Magazine. In recognition of his efforts, Unique has received numerous awards, including first-place winner of the Twenty20 Art Showcase and Competition. Unique currently works as an adjunct professor in RIT’s College of Art and Design. After graduation, Unique will pursue a career as a fine artist.

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Saunders College of Business

Jolene Alu
Undergraduate Delegate

From Rochester, New York, Jolene is graduating with a BS in business administration: management. Prior to this, she completed an associate degree in business administration and entrepreneurial studies from Monroe Community College. Jolene founded and operated an eponymous small business in 2015. She utilized her creative background to offer graphic design, marketing, and advertising solutions to regional companies. Jolene also served as a peer facilitator and administrative officer for RIT’s Student Affairs department. In her spare time, Jolene participated in Women in Business and tutored Applied Calculus. Upon completing her degree, Jolene plans to pursue her MBA in finance at RIT, and ultimately work in the airline/aviation industry.

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Sethunya Masebe
Graduate Delegate

From Botswana, Sethunya is a Fulbright Scholar who is graduating with an MBA with a concentration in supply chain management. Prior to this, she graduated from the University of Botswana with a BA in project and logistics management. Her professional experience includes serving as a business consultant for Brand Engage in Botswana. She was also a graduate trainee for Stanbic Bank. In her spare time, she volunteers with the African Women’s Leadership NGO, which is an organization that aims to mentor and empower young girls to overcome social limitations to reach their economic and leadership potential. Following graduation, Sethunya plans to travel and work around the world in the supply chain industry.

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Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences

Jin Jin Heipler
Undergraduate Delegate

From Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, Jin Jin is graduating with a BS in new media interactive development. Jin Jin completed co-ops at Constant Contact and MassMutual. During Jin Jin’s time at RIT, they worked on numerous projects, including a capstone team project called “Sprout,” which is an interactive application that allows users to tend to a virtual garden by sharing encouraging and kind messages. Another is “Coin Counter,” which is an app that helps students with special needs visualize money and give change. It won Best Multimedia Hack at RIT’s BrickHack V. Following graduation, Jin Jin will work as a junior front-end developer at Booz Allen Hamilton

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Ryan Cervantes
Graduate Delegate

From Medway, Massachusetts, Ryan is graduating with an MS in computing security. In 2020, he graduated from RIT with a BS in computer science. Ryan is a recipient of the National Science Foundation’s CyberCorps Scholarship and RIT’s Outstanding Undergraduate Scholar Award. His professional experience includes conducting cybersecurity research under multiple federal grants in 2019 and 2020. Prior to that, he interned at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory as part of the Mars Science Laboratory and Redhat as part of their DevOps team. After graduation, Ryan is heading to MITRE as a Cybersecurity Engineer, working with various government agencies to solve problems of national security

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Kate Gleason College of Engineering

Claudia Alant
Undergraduate Delegate

From Niskayuna, New York, Claudia is graduating with a BS and ME in mechanical engineering. Since 2018, she has completed co-ops at GE Aviation as a tooling design engineering intern and three consecutive co-ops at SpaceX. Most recently, Claudia worked in the Liquid Engine Department as a propulsion intern. At RIT, Claudia has been a member of the RIT Hot Wheels Formula SAE Team, serving as a suspension lead, propulsion designer, and test/validation lead. In recognition of her efforts, Claudia has received the Innovation and Creativity Award at RIT and the Outstanding Achievement Award from the New York State Society of Women Engineers. After graduation, Claudia plans to work as a propulsion engineer at SpaceX.

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Jigar Adhiya
Graduate Delegate

From India, Jigar is graduating with an MS in industrial and systems engineering. Prior to this, he received a BE in mechanical engineering from KJ Somaiya College of Engineering in India. Jigar’s professional experience includes a global supply management internship at Tesla in Palo Alto, California, and a supply chain: demand planning internship at Global Foundries in Malta, New York. Jigar also worked as a procurement and supply chain engineer at Blue Star Limited in Mumbai, India, from 2017 – 2019. In recognition of his efforts, Jigar received the Young Achiever – Supply Chain award from Blue Star Limited. At RIT, he was awarded the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers Scholarship.

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College of Engineering Technology

Aaric Celeste
Undergraduate Delegate

From Oswego, New York, Aaric is graduating with a BS in civil engineering technology. His professional experience includes working at C&S Companies and Wegmans Food Markets. At Wegmans, Aaric started as a construction estimator and currently works as a construction manager. Some of his projects include multi-week remodels and construction developments. At RIT, Aaric has held various positions in the College of Science and the College of Engineering Technology. In addition to being a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Aaric served on the university’s first team to compete in the finals for the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. Following graduation, he plans to pursue a master’s degree in architecture.

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Dekshitha Sridhar
Graduate Delegate

From India, Dekshitha is graduating with an MS in packaging science. Prior to this, she graduated with a bachelor of engineering degree in printing and packaging technology from the University of Mumbai, where she was named “Student of the Year” by Printweek India. When she began at RIT, Dekshitha worked as a graduate teaching assistant. In 2019, she began a yearlong co-op at Cummins, where one of her responsibilities was to work on packaging waste reduction projects. That same year, Dekshitha received the Excellence in Packaging Scholarship Award at RIT. Currently, Dekshitha is the Sustainability Chair of the Student Government. After graduating, she plans to use her experiences and skills to contribute to the world of sustainability in packaging.

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College of Health Sciences and Technology

Diksha Thakkar
Undergraduate Delegate

From Fairport, New York, Diksha is graduating with a BS in biomedical sciences. She has conducted research at the university since 2018. Initially, she studied cancer research. Later, Diksha researched biofilm formations formed by growing streptococcus pneumonia in various microaerophilic conditions. Diksha completed two Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships at RIT, and also served as a student ambassador and teaching assistant. Additionally, she served as the Student Government Senator for the College of Health Sciences and Technology. She is currently a patient care technician at Rochester General Hospital. Following graduation, she plans to attend New York University to pursue a master’s degree in public health.

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Portrait of Melissa Briody
Melissa Briody
Graduate Delegate

From Versailles, Ohio, Melissa is graduating with an MS in health systems management. Prior to this, she graduated with a master’s degree in occupational therapy from Xavier University. Melissa has practiced occupational therapy in diverse health care settings in Chicago, Illinois, and Rochester, New York, since 2013. Her clinical expertise lies within pediatric rehabilitation for developmental, neurological, and/or physical disabilities. Melissa currently works at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab as an Allied Health Research Associate. She manages several programs that support translational research and innovation at the organization.

School of Individualized Study

Kevin Booker
Undergraduate Delegate

From Brooklyn, New York, Kevin is pursuing a BS in applied arts and sciences with a concentration in entrepreneurship, advertising, and marketing. Prior to this, he received his associate degree in film and television production from Monroe Community College. During his time at RIT, Kevin worked as a marketing assistant. In this role, Kevin created marketing materials, videos, and website content. In 2019, he worked as a consultant for startups and small businesses in Rochester and founded a talent management company called Artbored. Following graduation, he plans to continue to grow his business.

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Tymoni Correa-Buntley
Graduate Delegate

From Rochester, New York, Tymoni is graduating with an MS in professional studies, with concentrations in entrepreneurship and criminal justice. She graduated from RIT in 2017 with a BS in journalism and political science. Since then, she has worked with several media organizations to create and execute multimedia storytelling and social media projects. As a content creator, she believes in giving a voice to communities often left out of critical conversations. Tymoni is pursuing a career in marketing and communications at an organization dedicated to equality and progressive criminal justice reform.

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College of Liberal Arts

Colleen Eckl
Undergraduate Delegate

From Rochester, New York, Colleen is graduating with a BS in psychology. Her professional experience includes working as a test proctor in RIT’s Disability Services Office, classroom aide at Margaret’s House Child Care Center, and camp counselor at Creative Themes Day Camp. As a member of RIT’s Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field team, Colleen was recognized twice as a Student Athlete of the Week. She also won the RIT Reporter National Day on Writing Contest: Fiction Category in 2018 and 2020. Following graduation, Colleen will begin a master’s degree program in childhood education and literacy at the University of Rochester. She plans to pursue a career in teaching.

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Jessica Burt
Graduate Delegate

From Hamlin, New York, Jessica is graduating with an MS in criminal justice. Last year, she graduated summa cum laude from RIT with a BS in criminal justice. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Excellence in Research Award (2018, 2019). Jessica has been a research assistant at RIT since 2017. She started in the Criminal Justice Department working on a Federal Probation Project. Afterward, she worked at the Center for Public Safety Initiatives. Jessica’s research has been presented at multiple academic conferences, including the American Society of Criminology Conference. After graduation, Jessica will work as an analyst for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

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National Technical Institute for the Deaf

Teriana Mewborn
Undergraduate Delegate

From Kinston, North Carolina, Teriana earned an AS degree in Applied Liberal Studies in 2020 and is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in RIT’s College of Liberal Arts. During her time at RIT, she worked as a learning assistant for two years. She also served as a production stage manager for the NTID production of “Fences.” Due to her efforts, she received the Kennedy Center Honors Certificate of Merit for “Excellence in Stage Management.” Most recently, she worked as the assistant director for the NTID production of “Dial M for Murder,” where she led several rehearsals and coached three of the actors. Teriana was also the president of the Masquer’s Drama Club (2018 – 2019) and is a member of an ASL poetry/music performing group called Dangerous Signs. Following graduation, Teriana will pursue a bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice at RIT. 

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College of Science

Portrait of Paul Podbielski
Paul Podbielski
Undergraduate Delegate

From North Carolina, Paul is graduating with a BS in biotechnology and molecular bioscience. He is a recipient of the RIT Presidential Scholarship and the Nathaniel Rochester Society Scholarship. From 2018 – 2020, Paul completed four independent research projects. Most recently, he served as the principal investigator on a project that studied synthetic systems in yeast. Additionally, Paul has served as a teaching assistant for Organic Chemistry, Plant Molecular Biology, and a Molecular Biology Lab. Following graduation, Paul plans to travel the world to help make better plants that use the finite amount of land on Earth more efficiently. He is starting in Iowa with Corteva Agriscience to find new herbicide resistance genes.

Liam Megraw
Graduate Delegate

From Rochester, New York, Liam is graduating with an MS in environmental science. His thesis focused on improving invasive plant monitoring, examining reporting biases, and understanding factors of spread. In 2020, he graduated with a BS in environmental science from RIT. Liam’s professional experience includes working as a Green Infrastructure Peer Mentor at RIT, where he served as a liaison between university students and Rochester Museum and Science Center clients. Liam also worked as a graduate resident advisor and graduate research assistant. One of his responsibilities was aiding in research on wetland restoration and nutrient cycling. After graduation, Liam plans to work on invasive plant management, public engagement, and environmental justice.

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Golisano Institute for Sustainability

Ayomipo Arowosola
Graduate Delegate

From Lagos, Nigeria, Ayomipo is graduating with a Ph.D. in sustainability. Prior to this, she graduated with an MS in materials science and engineering from RIT and a BS in metallurgical and materials engineering. She is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Architecture at RIT. Previously, she served as a teaching assistant in the School of Chemistry and Materials Science. As a student researcher, Ayomipo has worked with the Gaustad Research Group in Rochester, Nano-Bio Interface Lab in Rochester, and the Metallurgy and Materials Engineering Department at the University of Lagos. Her findings have been published in six peer-reviewed publications.

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RIT China

Li Jiayu

From Weihai, China, Li is graduating with a BS in management information systems. Li completed internships in Ernst & Young Global Limited, IBM, and Digital China. At RIT China, Li served as a vice president and academic director of International Communication Association and as a team leader of Model Apec school team. She also participated in the establishment of Student/Staff Committee in RIT China, bridging the gap between the Chinese students and professors from RIT. After graduation, Li is eager to pursue a master’s degree in business analytics and to be a professional consultant.

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RIT Croatia

Portrait of Mirko Ðukić
Mirko Ðukić

From Podgorica, Montenegro, Mirko is graduating with a BS in hospitality and tourism management. He is a recipient of RIT’s Outstanding Undergraduate Scholar Award. Among his many achievements, Mirko was a tutor for Financial Accounting and participated in the Erasmus+ exchange program, spending one semester at the University of Applied Sciences Krems, Austria. Mirko gained a rich professional experience by completing a rotational internship at the Valamar Riviera Hotel Group, working as a Hotel Manager Assistant at PORT 9 Hotel – Korčula Hotels, and as a Corporate Purchasing Assistant at the Grand Circle Corporation. After graduation, Mirko plans to pursue a master’s degree in finance.

RIT Dubai

Portrait of Christabelle Alvares
Christabelle Alvares

From India, Christabelle is graduating with a BS in computing security. She is currently a part of Student Government at RIT Dubai as the Senator for Computing and Electrical Engineering students. Over the years at RIT, she has been an active member of various clubs, serving as the VP of the wRITer’s Club and a singer in the Music Club. She is also a founding member of the Puzzlers Club. For the past two years, she has participated in CPTC and her team has won the regionals both times. Following graduation, Christabelle plans to pursue a master’s degree in the field of cybersecurity.

RIT Kosovo

Portrait of Bind Ahmetaj
Bind Ahmetaj

From Prishtina, Kosovo, Bind is graduating with a BS in applied arts and sciences with concentrations in economics & statistics and management & entrepreneurship. He is a recipient of the university’s Outstanding Undergraduate Scholar Award. While studying at RIT Kosovo, Bind was the president (2020 – 2021) and secretary (2019 – 2020) of the Student Government. He completed an internship in Treccert Management Services as a researcher and data collector, worked as a policy assistant at American Chamber of Commerce in Kosovo, and is currently working in USAID’s program on commercial justice as a coordinator of the Commercial Justice Academy. After graduation, Bind plans to pursue a master’s degree in macroeconomic policy, development economics, or energy policy