Tag Archives: Graduation

Meet SLU’s 2020 Valedictorian and Salutatorian

Gena-Fae Fillingham
B.A. Urban and Community Studies, summa cum laude
Valedictorian, SLU Class of 2020

Gena-Fae Fillingham was born and raised in a small farm town in Nebraska, where her mother taught her to care about the most vulnerable in her community. She worked as a certified nurses’ aide throughout her senior year in high school, and later attended nursing school where she graduated with honors and was certified as an LPN. She worked as a charge nurse in a nursing home in Brooklyn, and simultaneously volunteered for the charity “Hope for Kids,” which seeks to raise awareness and increase the number of children receiving up to date immunizations. Gena-Fae later changed her career path and worked as a legal secretary in the corporate sector, then decided to return to a field of work that would allow her to engage more with the community and serve others. Gena-Fae found the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies a perfect fit for her ambitions. After completing her coursework at SLU in December of 2019, she completed an online TEFL certification course in April 2020, and was officially certified as an ESL teacher in May. Her internship took her to lower Manhattan, where she worked with Chinese immigrants and tutored a Chinese student online. Gena-Fae plans to move to Asia and work as an ESL teacher. Read more about Gena-Fae.

Karen Gale Mardenborough
B.A. Urban Studies, summa cum laude
Salutatorian, Class of 2020

Karen hails from the beautiful twin island Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis. Karen excelled in her education and after graduating from high school, became an untrained elementary school teacher. She spent just over one and a half years on the job before migrating to America, moving to New York City in 1999.

While raising her two children, she worked part-time and decided it was time to go back to school. In 2005, Karen enrolled at Cypress Community College in California. However, after only two years, she and her children returned to New York in 2007. There, Karen was able to get a part-time position as a College Assistant at Hostos Community College, and later took and passed the CUNY Office Assistant exam. This provided her with a secure, permanent, and full-time position working for the Human Resources Department at Hostos.

Karen took advantage of CUNY’s tuition waiver benefit to pursue her higher education, earning an Associate’s degree in Criminal Justice from Hostos in June 2017. Her education at Hostos made Karen realize that it is not only the justice system that is broken, but there are so many disparities within her own community that need to be mended. She subsequently enrolled at CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies, and has now earned a bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies, summa cum laude. She will enter SLU’s master’s program in Fall 2020. Read more about Karen.

Gena-Fae and Karen appear on this CUNY video at minutes 2:55 and 4:50.

SLU Virtual Graduate Celebration Honorees Announced

Four SLU students and alumni will be honored at our upcoming Virtual Graduation Celebration.
Urban Studies MA graduate KenDell Jackson has been selected as the student speaker for the event. A Labor Management Consultant at 1199SEIU Training & Employment Fund and a lifelong Bronx resident, Jackson’s Capstone project examined health disparities in his home borough. During his time at SLU, Jackson was the winner of a University Student Senate Peer Mentorship Scholarship, which recognized his work as a volunteer coach for the Velocity Track Club, where he coaches fifty young athletes including his daughters, Tiarra and Karly.
Two SLU alumni, Kristina Ramos-Callan and Bradley Kolb, will receive the SLU Distinguished Alumni Award. Ramos-Callan began her studies at SLU in the Healthcare Administration Certificate Program and completed a Master’s in Urban Studies as a proud member of the class of 2018. Ramos-Callan’s career in healthcare stretches back to her first job, at age 17, as a ward clerk at a neo-natal intensive care unit. Today, she serves as a Program Manager at United Hospital Fund, where she works to give voice to communities often left on the fringes. Recently, Ramos-Callan developed a collection of Covid-19 resources for pediatricians and families that has been distributed throughout the City and State.

Continue reading SLU Virtual Graduate Celebration Honorees Announced

Congratulations to Spring 2018 Graduates!

On May 30th, the Murphy Institute hosted our spring graduation party.

The event was emcee’d by Diana Robinson, who graduated with an MA in Labor Studies, and Racquel Barnes, who graduated with an MA in Urban Studies. Thanks also to MA in Labor Studies graduate, and new father, James Van Nort for his stirring speech.

Some photos from the event are below.  A big congratulations to our graduating class of 2018!

Photos by Aaron Lenchner

And congrats to our graduates who attended the CUNY School of Professional Studies commencement ceremony at Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall on Friday June 1st. Some photos of our grads are among those posted on the SPS Facebook page.

Photos: 2017 Murphy Graduation

On May 19th, JSMI hosted our Spring 2017 Graduation Party. A big congratulations to our graduating class of 2017 — and gratitude to all the staff who planned and worked this event.

Current Labor Studies MA student Carmelina Cartei organized a performance to kick off the event, along with performers Elaine Betesh, Naomi Calhoun, Katherine De La Cruz, Susan Epstein,
Anabel Lugones and Sarah Venezia —  and with our own Irene Garcia-Mathes supporting and Rose Imperato on saxophone as well! Photos from the performance and the rest of the graduation celebration are below.

Our thanks as well to our wonderful MC Stacey Payton, who is a Diversity Scholarship recipient and graduated with an MA in Labor Studies. Check out the text from Stacey’s speech, posted in full below the photos.

Continue reading Photos: 2017 Murphy Graduation

Congratulations, Graduates!

By Padraig O Donoghue

On May 20th, the Murphy Graduation Party was held. A big congratulations to our graduating class of 2016! And a big thank you to all the staff who planned and worked this event! Our gratitude, too, to our wonderful MCs on the night — Sheryl Calderon (MA in Labor Studies graduate) and Joel Thomas (MA in Urban Studies graduate) — for guiding us through the evening’s celebration.

Our graduating degree students “passed the torch” to our degree graduates of the future, so we are in good hands.

We look forward to seeing our graduates next at the CUNY School of Professional Studies commencement ceremony on Monday, June 6th.

Passing the Torch
By Walter Romney
As we pass the torch to the next graduates
We’d like to say “CATCH!”
A world in turmoil awaits your guiding hands.
A disintegrating nation needs to be rebuilt in a new form.
Come and build. Come with new ideas, new visions…
we hope for a better way to live.
You are now on a path to creating a better tomorrow.
You already have the torch, so let’s start moving.
The world is at a crossroad, come show the way home.
Walter Romney is a College Assistant at the Murphy Institute.

All photos CC-BY Aaron Lenchner