Senior Spotlight: Santiago Sordo Palacios

Santiago in an Honors class in Alpha House

Santiago is a Mathematics-Economics major from Chicago, Illinois. He will be working as an Associate Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago after graduating in May. His Honors Senior Thesis explores whether there is a game theoretical model to explain political instability in Venezuela under Hugo Chávez.

 

Why Fordham/Why Honors?

Santiago chose Fordham because he was attracted to the Jesuit mission of the school, and because of two excellent campus visits. (On one visit, even though Fordham was closed, an admissions officer set Santiago up with a private tour of campus.) Santiago was excited to be invited to join the Honors Program because he knew its community and the experience of its curriculum would enrich his time in college. And they have!

 

Favorite Honors Class

Santiago’s favorite honors class was Religion in the Modern World with Dr. Kathryn Reklis. Analyzing what religion means in the modern world challenged his assumptions and pushed him to think in ways he considers “eye-opening.” Santiago believes that this analytic approach has helped him think more critically in his major classes, too. He seeks to assess, not merely accept, what he’s taught.

 

Other College Involvement

One of Santiago’s favorite extracurricular activities has been leading Fordham’s retreats. During these weekend trips, he’s been able to interact on a spiritual level with different kinds of people with whom he shares classes and a social life, and this, he feels, has both enriched and expanded his Fordham experience.

 

Feelings about Moving On

While Santiago will miss New York City, he is excited to be moving to his hometown and starting an engaging job with the knowledge that he is leaving college with a really strong and diverse set of skills. The strong liberal arts background of Fordham Honors will bolster his economics and mathematics skills, and he feels confident he’ll be able to apply all of this in his new job and professional future in Economic policy or research.

Honors Summer Internship Fellows: Paul

**This is the final post in a series of four posts written by the summer 2017 Honors internship fellows. The students received a stipend that enabled them to work at non-profit organizations for the common good.**

Author: Paul Samson

Paul in front of the AEI building in Washington, D.C.

It’s been said that the “dirty little secret” of Fordham’s Rose Hill Honors students is that they love to learn—not just in class, but on summer vacation, as well. After the Honors Program graciously granted me the Summer Fellowship, I had the funds to further cultivate my love for learning alongside some of America’s top policy experts at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington, D.C.  Given my previous summers of retail experience, the opportunity to intern at one of America’s top think tanks was an invaluable opportunity that I could not deny.

As an intern in AEI’s development department, I gained knowledge about the donor base fundraising methods, managerial structure, and finances of the non-profit institute. While my responsibilities alone granted me research, computer, and analytical skills, I also had the opportunity to attend weekly intern-only meetings as well as public events with United States Senators, diplomats, and scholars.

Whenever I told my peers and family members that I was venturing to “the District” for the summer, they would tell me something along the lines of, “Brace yourself. Weather-wise, those D.C. summers are intense.” What resonates now, however, is not my constant dehydration in the blistering swamp heat, but my memories of learning and personal development.  My conversations with interns and senior scholars constantly challenged me to reevaluate my opinions on public policy. I am beyond grateful to have received the Honors Summer Internship Fellowship, and my experience sparked a desire to further expand my policy knowledge and to promote civil discourse worldwide.

Honors Summer Internship Fellows: Rosalyn

**This is the third in a series of four posts written by the summer 2017 Honors internship fellows. The students received a stipend that enabled them to work at non-profit organizations for the common good.**

Rosalyn and a cooperative that works with Mercado Global

I am honored and extremely grateful to be an inaugural recipient of the Honors Fellowship. This new program is another indication of the commitment of Fordham and the honors program to supporting the intellectual and professional endeavors of their students. The fellowship enabled me to live and work abroad in Panajachel, Guatemala as the Community Outreach Intern at Mercado Global. Mercado Global is a non-profit that is dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty for indigenous artisans in rural Guatemala.

Lake Atitlan, where Rosalyn was based

My work entailed keeping track of the donations and fundraising efforts of our network and facilitating donor visits to our office in Guatemala. The most interesting aspect was being a part of the company’s biannual Social Impact Assessment. With the help of local interviewers, the company gathered data on their 200 artisan partners. I learned the demographics of their artisans and witnessed a process that enabled the company to better support the women in the future. I then was able to use this information and other interviews I collected to create a research project about the effectiveness of social enterprises in the lives of indigenous artisans. As a result of this fellowship I was able to live abroad, develop my foreign language skills and learn a significant amount about nonprofit management and the value of research.

Honors Summer Internship Fellows: Lily


**This is the second in a series of four posts written by the summer 2017 Honors internship fellows. The students received a stipend that enabled them to work at non-profit organizations for the common good.**

Author: Lily Patterson

This summer I had the joy and privilege of working at a non profit organization called charity: water as a Water Programs Intern.  charity: water works, through fundraising and implementation of those funds, to bring clean water to people in rural areas all over the world.

The Water Programs team is responsible for working with local partners in the field and ensuring that each donor dollar is used to promote the mission of the organization.  I was given incredible opportunities to sit in on phone calls with potential new partners and complete many other tasks that normally would not be given to interns.

I had worked at charity: water during my junior year in a different capacity than this summer, and while I grew to love c:w I had not been as passionate about my previous work.  I had been looking for a way to come back to c:w in a more exciting role, but it did not make sense for me to work as an unemployed intern in New York during the summer, so I had ruled that out.  For me, the Honors Summer Internship Fellowship came at the perfect time. When I saw the email from Dr. Keller in my inbox I jumped at the opportunity.  I would not have been able to have the experience this summer that I did and be so confident in my desire to work in the nonprofit sector if not for the Honors Fellowship, and I am so so grateful.

Honors Summer Internship Fellows: Olivia

**This is the first in a series of four posts written by the summer 2017 Honors internship fellows. The students received a stipend that enabled them to work at non-profit organizations for the common good.**

Author: Olivia Jones, junior

This summer, I was proud to receive the Honors Summer Internship Fellowship. The fellowship was an incredible opportunity for me, since it allowed me to pursue my dream of working at a nonprofit organization. Many nonprofits only offer unpaid internships, so the fellowship was crucial to my being able to accept the position.

“Pulse of Morning” sculpture outside my office building

I interned with the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), an international association of reproductive health care professionals, including researchers, practitioners, and clinic administrators.  During my internship, I worked with the Education and Training Department to prepare educational materials for dissemination and prepare for their annual conference. I spent much of my summer reviewing presentations that doctors has submitted to present at the conference, so I learned a lot about medical writing and terminology.

As an EMT with Fordham University Emergency Medical Services, I’m familiar with patient care, but less familiar with all the work that goes on behind the scenes in the medical field. This internship allowed me to explore possible careers in medicine that wouldn’t necessarily be hands-on. I’m excited to continue exploring new career fields as I continue my time at Fordham, and none of this would have been possible without the support of the Honors Program.

Honors at Undergraduate Research Symposium

The Honors Program had a strong presence at the Fordham College Rose Hill 2017 Undergraduate Research Symposium. Honors students from sciences, humanities, and social sciences gave oral presentations and presented posters on their research.

For example, in an oral presentation panel focused on cancer research at Fordham, two of the three presenters were honors students: senior Carolyn Allain (chemistry) and junior Bernadette Haig (physics). Carolyn presented on the angiogenic implications of mutant adenoviral E4ORF1, and Bernadette on innovative Raman spectroscopy for diagnosing head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Honors students spoke in other oral presentation rooms as well, on topics as various as refugee resettlement in upstate New York, Italian silent cinema, and historical trends in the United Mineworkers of America.

Carolyn Allain, senior
Bernadette Haig, junior

 

 

 

 

 

Besides oral presentations, there were also poster presentations at the event. Honors students were highly visible here as well. From a project on counter-terrorism through deep learning to drug delivery vehicles for cancer inhibition, honors student research from this past year was both prominent and exciting. We can’t wait to see what research honors students work on this coming year!

Sara Hurley, Junior
Dominic Fogarasi, senior

Senior Spotlight: Jennifer Rutishauser

Jennifer Rutishauser, a pre-med double major in biology and history, will be graduating in the spring as the Valedictorian of the Class of 2017 and is planning on working in the realm of pediatric oncology.  I had the opportunity to talk with her about her favorite moments in the Honors program, the research she has done for her senior thesis, and her plans for after graduation.

Jennifer Rutishauser, Class of 2017 Valedictorian

Q:What are some of your favorite things about Honors?  Do you have a favorite memory?

Jenn: I really like the social community you get with Honors; obviously, freshmen and sophomore year you’re in the same class with all the familiar faces but it also establishes who your best friends are.  For me, all of my best friends that I have now are people that are in Honors even though we don’t have classes together now.  It established my group for college.  I also just really like how Honors set me up to do better later in college; it gave me a really good foundation in terms of it being strenuous but giving me good writing and foundational skills.

My year of Honors we played a game of Assassin sophomore year.  At our interdisciplinary seminar it was down to three of us and we had this rule where if you were holding a spoon you were safe; so I was holding my spoon and one of my friends, Dom, who was also still in, was holding his spoon and Dr. Keller, who didn’t know me because I hadn’t been in her class, came up and we were explaining it to her.  She was like, “Oh so if I take Jenn’s spoon you win, Dom?” and he told her yes so all of a sudden she came up behind me and started attacking me to get the spoon.  This was basically my first interaction with Dr. Keller so that was pretty great.  It’s so hard to pick one favorite memory because I feel like there’s so many but that’s one that sticks out.

Q: What is your Senior Thesis about?

Jenn: I’m examining the role of a particular protein in the process of cell differentiation.  So differentiation is a process through which a cell becomes committed to a certain phase, and so I’m looking at skin cells.  The cells that we see as skin are terminally differentiated and I’m looking at the effect that this protein called PYK-2 has on differentiation.  The main way that I’m doing that is that I’m looking at a cell line that has this protein and then at another where this protein has been removed and then you differentiate the cell lines in tandem and see what the differences are between the two.

Q: What are your post-grad plans?

Jenn: I’m applying to medical school this June so I’m not going straight in but I definitely still feel very strongly and passionately about going into medicine.  I just recently got accepted into a gap-year program at Kuchnir Dermatology & Dermatologic Surgeon (KDDS), which is a private practice outside of Boston that has developed a program specially intended for students on their gap year between college and medical school.  I’ll be acting as a medical assistant, basically doing anything that you can do without a medical degree, so assisting the doctors and gaining clinical experience.  I’m really excited about that; I’ll be there from June through July 2018 so the idea is that’s what I’ll do while I’m applying and going into medical school.

Honors Alumni Reception

Dean Maura Mast welcomes alumni to the reception

The Honors Program hosted a lively alumni reception at the Lincoln Center campus at the beginning of March, to which we were excited to welcome 60+ alumni from class years 1957 through 2016. The alumni enjoyed drinks and hors d’oeuvres while mingling with classmates and honors students from different decades, as well as honors professors, Dean Maura Mast, the Dean of Fordham College, and Dr. Eve Keller, the Director of the Honors Program.

 

Honors students share about their experiences and accomplishme

The event also included a welcome from Dean Mast, some words on the current program from Dr. Keller, and highlighted accomplishments and experiences in honors from current students—accomplishments ranged from being recognized for work towards women’s equality at an event where the student met Joe Biden, to being admitted to Columbia medical school. The event was a joyful one for alumni to reconnect with old friends and learn about the honors program in 2017. We’re looking forward to hosting more fun alumni events in the future.

Honors Interview Workshop

In the most recent event of the Honors Professional Development series, honors students had the opportunity to practice interview skills one-on-one with trained career counselors. This event came out of the close relationship between Honors and Career Services, and an ongoing commitment to helping honors students both discern career paths and prepare for them.

 

Yianni, a first-year honors student, said that the individualized attention of the workshop was “really valuable,” and that the career counselor he worked with provided him with a lot of constructive criticism and helpful advice, even adding a resume review to the experience. Yianni applied and interviewed for an internship following the workshop, and attributes his success in getting the internship partially to the practice interview experience he had in the honors event.

 

We’re happy we were able to offer this event for the first time this year, and are looking forward to offering it again in the future, and continuing to build our Professional Development series in other ways.

Senior Spotlight: Monica Sobrin

Monica Sobrin, a Women’s Studies and English double major with a minor in history, was initially drawn to Fordham because of its focus on being “men and women for and with others.”  The emphasis that the university and its professors put on social justice and improving society strongly influenced her career path, allowing her to become the impressive advocate that she is today.

CO-FOUNDING THE STUDENTS UNITED ORGANIZATION
During her sophomore year, Monica was very involved in anti-sexual violence activism on campus.  in the middle of the fall semester, she joined student activists from all over New York City to found the Students United Organization.  This group collaborated with government representatives to change and advocate for the Enough is Enough legislation, which was passed in July 2015 with aspects of all four of the Students United Organizations’ main additions.

MENTORING OTHERS THROUGH IT’S ON US
After being inspired by the students she met through Students United, Monica went on to become one of 28 Student Advisory Committee representatives for It’s On Us:

Monica Sobrin, pictured with Vice President Joe Biden, after speaking at the White House as part of her involvement with It’s On Us.

“I just had so many amazing mentors who were juniors and seniors, mostly from Columbia [University].  They mentored me and helped me build my network and my confidence about things that I was really passionate about.  I wanted to be this mentor for others.”  As the sole representative from New York and one of six in the northeast, Monica acts as a liaison between students, government offices, and national partners in order to help individuals enact change on their own campuses.

WORKING WITH SENATOR KIRSTEN E. GILLIBRAND
More recently, Monica worked in the New York office of U.S. Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, handling casework and interacting with constituents to aid them in connecting with federal agencies. She noted that her work in the office was bittersweet, being that they were able to save lives in some cases, but were also acutely aware of how many people they would not be able to help.

LOOKING FORWARD
Looking forward, she is going to miss her time at Fordham, especially after looking back on fond memories of apple picking with Professor Jude Jones and Dr. Keller and attending the last interdisciplinary symposium in prom attire.  However, Monica is also eager to start making a difference on a larger scale: “I feel ready to move on.  Given the current socio-political climate, we need as many people on the ground as possible and I’m excited to go in and give my all to these issues that I care about at such an important time.  It will be a tough fight, but I feel like my time at Fordham prepared me for it and I am ready.”