From Ivy League to Sri Lanka, YSU Honors College grads move forward

From pursuing graduate degrees at Ivy League schools to teaching English in Sri Lanka as part of the Peace Corps, the Spring 2020 class of graduates of Youngstown State University’s Honors College are setting out to make their marks across the globe.

“You have raised expectations,” YSU President Jim Tressel said.

In all, 135 Honors College students graduated during YSU’s Virtual Spring 2020 Commencement on May 9.

Tressel and Provost Brien Smith addressed the graduates during a separate virtual medallion ceremony that also included remarks from graduating senior Hannah Haynie, who will attend medical school in the Fall at Lake Erie College of Medicine. A virtual YSU Wind Ensemble performance of Stars and Stripes, produced by graduating senior Brendan Gage, concluded the program.

The graduates now hit the road to pursue further education and career opportunities in a variety of fields.

Among the grads are Ivy League-bound Samantha Fritz, pursuing a PhD in Philosophy at University of Pennsylvania; Jacob Tomory, attending Yale Law School; and Sarah Elisabeth Odidika, entering the Columbia School of Nursing in New York.

Anthony Nakley heads east to study and work at the Mountbatten Institute in London, while Sarah Schwenke goes west to seek a master’s degree in Music at the University of New Mexico. On the other hand, Mark Slavens stays in the Buckeye State and attends Ohio State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

Other graduates begin their work careers, including Alyssa Adams at the Bank of New York Mellon and Brooke Lissy at Energy BBDO, the Chicago office of one of the world’s most awarded advertising agencies. Graduate Kenneth Diogo will design and implement solutions for machine learning powered signal processing software at Expedition Technology in Virginia, and David Irwin works for OPW a Dover Company in Cincinnati, a Fortune 500 company and global leader in fluid-handling solutions.

And finally, graduate Jessie Gamez joins the Peace Corps and heads nearly 9,000 miles to the other side of the world to teach English on the island country of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean in South Asia.

"Whether heading to grad school or starting their careers, Honors College graduates never cease to impress us," said Amy Cossentino, dean of the Honors College. "Our graduates' stories provide further evidence of the strength of the YSU degree and the way we prepare our students for future success."