I Got This
Class of '22
Our graduates are ready. Focused on the future. Prepared.
Learn more about how Hofstra helped them get there.
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Class of 2022
Amudalat Ajasa / Class of 2022
Amudalat Ajasa was a junior, studying remotely at home in Minnesota, when she saw a social post that The Guardian newspaper needed freelancers to cover the protests and trial related to the murder of George Floyd.
“When we go out into the field, we have so much success because the work we do in the classroom is directly transferable to what professionals want us to do – the storytelling skills we have and the way we go about finding stories,” Amudalat said. “I feel like my editors are really impressed by the work that I do.”
Now she’s a regular freelancer for The Guardian. Her work there has led to primetime interviews by the BBC. This summer, she will do a two-week residency with POLITICO, the political news site in Washington, D.C. She has applied for a Fulbright Scholarship to teach English in Norway and is discussing full-time opportunities with The Guardian and other outlets.
Amudalat has worked with student media, too, including The Hofstra Chronicle newspaper, an investigative news site called The Hofstra Clocktower, and the weekly television news show Hofstra Today. But her Hofstra experience is not defined solely by her major. She got involved in clubs and organizations of all kinds and discovered an interest in meteorology. She was even elected to Hofstra’s Pride Court during Fall Fest/Family Weekend.
“I found clubs that fit all my wants and needs,” she said. She joined the dance groups TranscenDANCE and Danceworks Productions and became a campus leader – as a resident assistant, a Pride Guide (admission tour guide), and president of the Black Student Union. She also helped found BLAC – Black Students Advocating for Change.
“Hofstra challenged me and pushed me beyond what I thought I could be,” she said. “I’ve made an impact on the school and it’s had an impact on me.”
Amudalat’s story isn’t unique: 94% of 2019-2020 Herbert School of Communication undergraduate degree recipients who responded to our graduation survey or other reliable sources (75% knowledge rate) reported that they were employed or had started or were planning to start graduate school within one year of graduation.
Nia Atwater / Class of 2022
While working as costume designer for Hofstra’s production of The Revolutionists, theater production major Nia Atwater designed outrageous wigs, hoop skirts, and other costume accessories. But Nia had the most fun creating the wardrobe for Marianne Angelle, a character based on Haitian freedom-fighting women during the French Revolution.
“In my research, I learned about the tignon laws that prohibited women of color from showing their hair in public,” Nia said. “I landed on the idea of a beautiful, regal-looking headdress. It’s one of the pieces in the play that I’m most proud of.”
While she was still in high school in San Antonio, TX, Nia saw Hofstra listed among the best schools for theater studies. She liked that the university was close to New York City, but not in the city. “I love having access to the job and networking opportunities that Manhattan
offers,” she said. “But I also like being able to leave the city behind at the end of the day.”
During her time at Hofstra, Nia has played a prominent behind-the-scenes role in almost every show, including the plays Barbecue and Everybody, and the musical Legally Blonde.
Professor David Henderson encouraged her to apply to Equity through Design Mentorship (EtDM) – a program that connects design students with successful industry mentors. She was accepted and paired with costume designer Mitchell Travers and assisted him for two months on the Disney+ film Better Nate Than Ever.
Nia is confident about the future, thanks to her collaboration with Travers and the guidance of her professors. “The faculty in the costume shop have taught me everything I need to know in terms of physical costuming and wardrobe work,” she said. “My skills are now well beyond where I imagined they would be.”
Nia’s story isn’t unique: 89% of 2019-2020 School of Humanities, Fine and Performing Arts undergraduate degree recipients who responded to our graduation survey or other reliable sources (66% knowledge rate) reported that they were employed or had started or were planning to start graduate school within one year of graduation.
John Barry / Class of 2022
John Barry has known he wanted to study law since high school, where he competed on the mock trial team. Watching Hofstra University host three consecutive U.S. presidential debates (in 2008, 2012, and 2016) convinced him that Hofstra was the place to study political science.
“I’ve always loved learning about history and government,” said John, who has minors in European studies and history. “Growing up 10 minutes from the campus, I was familiar with the university and everything it offered. What finalized my decision was Hofstra’s generosity with scholarships and financial aid.”
Hofstra also accepted all of John’s AP credits, allowing him to graduate a year early. He has already received acceptances to several law schools around the country, including Arizona State University, Florida State University, University of Florida, Penn State Dickinson Law, and St. John’s University – all with full scholarships. He decided on Florida State, where he’ll begin his law studies in the fall.
Being a commuting student from East Meadow, NY, didn’t stop John from enjoying the full college experience, from Hofstra’s diverse campus community to its more than 220 student clubs and organizations.
“I’ve made friends from all over the country,” he said. “In addition to being involved with the Political Science Department, I’m an active member of the Newman Club [student-run Catholic club on campus].
I went to a Catholic high school, so meeting students with a background similar to mine has helped
keep me grounded.”
He credits a constitutional law class he took in his junior year with cementing his ambition to study law, thanks to guidance and support from Professor William Schaefer, a former Long Island assistant district attorney and former assistant U.S. attorney with the Organized Crime Strike Force in Northern California. They met once a week to discuss John’s honors research project, and Schaefer would often share career advice and talk about his own experiences in law school.
“He became my mentor,” John said. “He was a real inspiration.”
John’s story isn’t unique: 94% of 2019-2020 Kalikow School of Government, Public Policy and International Affairs undergraduate degree recipients who responded to our graduation survey or other reliable sources (69% knowledge rate) reported that they were employed or had started or were planning to start graduate school within one year of graduation.
Isabella Burckhardt / Class of 2022
Isabella (Bella) Burckhardt became a successful entrepreneur before she finished her first year at Hofstra. With her roommates, Bella created a podcast called Blonde, Brunette and Confused, to share personal stories and advice about college life. The podcast, which has averaged about 100 listens per episode, won seed funding in one of Hofstra’s student entrepreneurship contests, which helped them continue to produce the show remotely during the pandemic.
More recently, she launched Paper Pigeon, which sells paper and digital journals that can be shared to help people stay in touch. The company, begun as a class project, sold over 1,000 journals in its first year.
“It’s an opportunity that Hofstra gave me,” she said. “The way faculty care about you, they want to know your name and your goals. I just got so much support, and it’s allowed me to do so many amazing things.”
Bella studied abroad in Amsterdam and South Africa, participated in the dual-degree program with Dongbei University of Finance and Economics in China (she’ll earn bachelor’s degrees from Hofstra and Dongbei), and did a fellowship with the University’s Center for Civic Engagement and an internship with the Uniondale Community Land Trust, a local revitalization group.
“I didn’t have to compromise graduating in four years or not take a class I wanted,” she said. “I didn’t have to choose one thing over the other.” That gave Bella room to discover and pursue a passion for sustainability and social justice. It changed how she sees her future in business. She wants to work in corporate social responsibility, helping a company create an ethical foundation and communicate its values.
“If you want to keep creating, you need to make sure there’s a sustainable world to create in and people to enjoy what you’re creating,” she said. “I definitely want to contribute to a company that believes that, too.”
Isabella’s experience isn’t unique: 95% of 2019-2020 Hofstra University Zarb School of Business undergraduate degree recipients who responded to our graduation survey or other reliable sources (68% knowledge rate) reported that they were employed or had started or were planning to start graduate school within one year of graduation.
Alori Council / Class of 2022
Being in an accelerated, dual-degree program at Hofstra means that Alori Council has started work on the Master of Health Administration (MHA), even though she is still completing her undergraduate degree requirements.
She’s also on a career fast track: She turned an internship into a job at The Safe Center LI, an organization that supports adult and child victims of domestic violence, dating violence, and sexual assault. She’ll work there full time while she completes her dual-degree program, earning the MHA in 2023.
“I’d like to be an administrator at a small clinic or agency that provides education on health issues to vulnerable communities,” she said. “I would also love to start or lead my own nonprofit someday.”
Alori initially wanted to study neuroscience but switched her major after taking a community health class her first year. “There was more focus on people and behaviors and social justice,” she said. “We were looking at the plagues of human trafficking, bullying, and substance abuse. I knew right away this was the path I’d be sticking to.”
At Hofstra, she’s put her education into practice as a supervisor for the Hofstra Health Ambassadors, a group of peer educators that helps inform the Hofstra community about COVID-19 health and safety protocols and encourage compliance. They also organized counseling sessions, resiliency lectures, and even Zumba and yoga nights.
Coming from a small town in Georgia, Alori visited more than a dozen schools around the country before committing to Hofstra. “I loved the idea of being close to New York City,” she said. “At heart, I’m a city girl.”
Alori’s story isn’t unique: 98% of 2019-2020 School of Health Professions and Human Services undergraduate degree recipients who responded to our graduation survey or other reliable sources
(67% knowledge rate) reported that they were employed or had started or were planning to start graduate school within one year of graduation.
Ming Doherty / Class of 2022
Ming Doherty was a sophomore marketing major and member of the Hofstra Field Hockey team when she discovered her career path: working with athletes. But that meant changing her major to exercise physiology, and she wasn’t sure where to start.
“Thanks to my amazing advisors and professors,” Ming said, “I’m not only excelling in my studies but also graduating on time.”
At Hofstra, she has been a consistent Dean’s List student and was named to the Spring 2021 Colonial Athletic Association Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll. She recently received Hofstra’s Marques Colston Fellowship, which provides students in health fields with professional development, mentoring, and educational experiences outside the classroom.
Ming is involved with Hofstra’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and the Exercise is Medicine Club, and she helped launch the Physical Therapy Club.
She credits her coaches with helping her juggle the challenges of being a student-athlete, including Field Hockey Head Coach Courtney Veinotte and Assistant Coach Courtney Deena.
“When I’ve had class conflicts, they have gone on the field with me early or late to get in extra time for practice,” Ming said. “And they check in with me if they know I’m having a difficult time with something. There is an understanding that I’m a student first and an athlete second.”
And in Dr. Katie Sell, director of the Exercise Physiology program, she found a mentor and a fan.
“She’s been there for me as an advisor, as a professor, and as a person,” Ming said. “She comes to cheer me on at my games and takes the time to discuss my concerns and questions.”
Ming plans to enroll in a master’s program in exercise and sport science and ultimately will pursue a PhD in physical therapy.
Ming’s story isn’t unique: 98% of 2019-2020 School of Health Professions and Human Services undergraduate degree recipients who responded to our graduation survey or other reliable sources (67% knowledge rate) reported that they were employed or had started or were planning to start graduate school within one year of graduation. Visit hofstra.edu/outcomes for detailed information.
Catie Pfeiffer / Class of 2022
Hofstra’s First-Year Connections seminar CSI: Psychology changed the trajectory of Catie Pfeiffer’s life.
“I really enjoyed examining why and how people think the way they do and learning about the criminal justice system,” Catie said.
Already an English major, she added a major in psychology. In the fall, she’ll begin a graduate program in mental health counseling at Naropa University in Colorado, with a career goal of helping people who, like her, identify as LGBTQ+. “I’d love to be a resource as the people in this community begin their acceptance journey,” she said. “This community is so often vulnerable to mental illness and depression. I’d want to dedicate my practice to working with LGBTQ+ individuals, helping them come out and navigate their personal lives.”
A Boston native, Catie fell in love with Hofstra’s close-knit community and location less than an hour from New York City. “It was important to me to have access to the resources of the city without actually going to college in the city,” she said. “Hofstra gives me both: a beautiful campus and all the opportunities that Manhattan offers.”
She pursued interdisciplinary projects that allowed her to combine her majors and her minor in LGBTQ+ studies. Her honors thesis, a creative nonfiction memoir, was inspired by English Professor Kelly McMasters, an award-winning author whose work has been highlighted by Oprah Winfrey. “If not for her, I wouldn’t even know what creative nonfiction is,” Catie said. “The process of working on my memoir has been really therapeutic for me.”
Catie tutors at Hofstra’s Writing Center and is active in the Culinary Club; the Hofstra Hillel a cappella group, Chai Notes; and the Hofstra PRISM peer mentoring program, which connects LGBTQ+ first-year students with junior and senior mentors.
Hofstra helped Catie chart a course she could not have imagined when she arrived. “Hofstra offers wonderful mentors and resources,” she said. “It’s important to remember that all students need help at some point – whether it’s emotional support or academic guidance. We’ve all been there.”
Catie’s story isn’t unique: 93% of 2019-2020 School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics undergraduate degree recipients who responded to our graduation survey or other reliable sources (70% knowledge rate) reported that they were employed or had started or were planning to start graduate school within one year of graduation.
Avery Rudd / Class of 2022
Avery Rudd has known she wanted a life in the theater since she made her stage debut at the age of 3 in a community variety show, singing “So Long, Farewell” from The Sound of Music.
Fifteen years later, with the deadline to choose a college looming, the Plano, Texas, resident was still searching for a school to study drama. Then, she visited Hofstra.
“I visited on May 1 – the final day to give a decision,” Avery said. “I met the drama chair [Professor Royston Coppenger], who took the time to speak to me very thoughtfully about my plans. But what I most appreciated was the diversified education I would be receiving in the department: Not only would I be learning about acting, but I’d be learning about theater history, production and design, and publicity.”
Avery has had tons of performing opportunities at Hofstra and found inspiration in the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, including appearing in several online productions.
“I learned that art can come from anywhere,” she said. “We have impressive facilities here, like the Adams Playhouse and the Black Box Theater, but when you have all that taken away, you can still collaborate with your professors and classmates and produce something polished and beautiful. I feel that we are graduating with heightened senses of resourcefulness and resilience.”
When she graduates, Avery plans to move into New York City and jump into the auditioning scene, but not before starring as Celia Peachum in Hofstra’s production of The Threepenny Opera, directed by her closest mentor, Professor Cindy Rosenthal.
“She understands me as a student, as a performer, and as a person,” Avery said of Rosenthal. “She also has a lot of connections in the industry and puts a tremendous amount of energy and time into reaching out to those connections on behalf of her students.”
Avery’s story isn’t unique: 89% of 2019-2020 School of Humanities, Fine and Performing Arts undergraduate degree recipients who responded to our graduation survey or other reliable sources (66% knowledge rate) reported that they were employed or had started or were planning to start graduate school within one year of graduation.
Justin Shah / Class of 2021
There isn’t much Justin Shah didn’t do during his time at Hofstra.
He was a senior resident assistant. He served as president of two a cappella groups, the Hofbeats and the Hofstra Dutchmen, and president of the Hofstra Chorale and Hofstra Chamber Choir. He belonged to two preprofessional music education clubs and volunteered at the student-run radio station, WRHU-88.7 FM, Radio Hofstra University. Oh – and he was elected to the Fall Fest Hofstra Pride Court by his classmates.
“All of these things made me a better leader,” said Justin, who graduated in December 2021 and is now working as a middle school band and chorus teacher. He plans to start a graduate program at Hofstra in September. “I wouldn’t feel confident in the position I’m in today without the four years I had at Hofstra. I felt so ready.”
The challenges of attending college during the COVID-19 pandemic provided unexpected lessons and inspiration for Justin.
“These professors – they had something to give us, even during Zoom,” Justin said. “I remember thinking: Whatever they’re doing, I’m stealing their methods when I get into a classroom. I don’t think I could have learned what I did anywhere else, whether it’s the Music Department or the School of Education.”
Generous scholarships and the reputation of the Music Department first drew Justin to Hofstra. But it was the School of Education’s reputation among Long Island educators that convinced him to return for graduate school.
“I knew I wanted to teach in a Long Island school district. So, when I started to think about grad school – the people here, the connections here, it’s hard to beat,” he said. “Everybody I’ve met in a school district knows one of my professors. They know the program at Hofstra and they know I got a great education and that I know what I’m doing.”
Justin’s experience isn’t unique: 94% of 2019-2020 School of Education undergraduate degree recipients who responded to our graduation survey or other reliable sources (56% knowledge rate) reported that they were employed or had started or were planning to start graduate school within one year of graduation.
Efe Unuigbe / Class of 2022
By the time Efe Unuigbe came to Hofstra, she was a world traveler. Born in Maryland, she and her family relocated briefly to Nigeria, where she attended school from the fifth to eighth grades.
“My parents thought living there for a few years would be a good opportunity for their children to learn more about their heritage,” Efe said. “Having spent my life up to that point in a primarily white community, it was enlightening to live among people who looked like me and shared my culture. The experience gave me a desire to learn about people around the world and how they live.”
When it came time to choose a college, Efe was impressed by Hofstra University’s multicultural campus life and the short commute to New York City.
Whether her professors were instilling a love of Kubrick films or encouraging her to reveal more emotion in her writing, Efe says they have been inspiring. She particularly credits Professors Rodney Hill, Russ Harbaugh, and Paul Zimmerman for building her appreciation of classic movies and giving her honest, constructive feedback about her writing.
She also praises an internship she completed at The Jackson Agency, a boutique talent agency that represents a multicultural roster of actors, directors, and screenwriters.
Efe, who has written and directed her own short films at Hofstra, is planning to earn a master’s in screenwriting. She has been accepted to graduate programs in England at the London Film School and the MetFilm School. While she decides her next steps, Efe is confident that her Hofstra education has prepared her for success. “I feel capable and professional thanks to the experiences I’ve had in the classroom and the mentoring I’ve received from my professors.”
Efe’s story isn’t unique: 94% of 2019-2020 Herbert School of Communication undergraduate degree recipients who responded to our graduation survey or other reliable sources (75% knowledge rate) reported that they were employed or had started or were planning to start graduate school within one year of graduation.
Esther Zhang / Class of 2022
Esther Zhang was a shy first-generation college student when she arrived at Hofstra, drawn by small class sizes and generous scholarships.
Thanks to mentoring from her professors, Esther got involved in research, developed leadership skills, and found her passion: using engineering for social and economic change.
“There’s such a great community at Hofstra,” said Esther, a civil engineering major on the structural track. “There are so many cool people here – people who will support you, build you up, and give you chances to do things you never thought were possible.”
In 2021, with the support of Professor Ted Segal, she started a Hofstra chapter of the national organization Engineers in Action. “We look at isolated countries in South America and study geographical issues that keep societal progress at a standstill,” she said. The focus is primarily building footbridges that provide safe access to essential resources. The Hofstra chapter is currently focused on a Bolivian floodplain – an area where river flooding often prevents people from crossing.
During her sophomore year, she joined Professor Segal’s research team for Rapidly Deployable Rope Bridges, an emergency mechanism to save people in life-threatening floods. She is also a member of Hofstra’s Christian Fellowship, the Society of Women Engineers, and the professional fraternity Theta Tau.
After graduation, Esther wants to spend a year working at a structural engineering firm in New York City before pursuing a research-based graduate program, exploring the intersection of sustainability and engineering. “My hope is to help solve the worldwide problem of affordable housing, especially in developing countries,” she said.
Looking back, Esther can’t imagine having gone to college anywhere else. “I wouldn’t change my decision for anything,” she said. “High school friends who attended other institutions have not had nearly the quality education that I’ve enjoyed.”
Esther’s story isn’t unique: 87% of 2019-2020 DeMatteis School of Engineering and Applied Science undergraduate degree recipients who responded to our graduation survey or other reliable sources (77% knowledge rate) reported that they were employed or had started or were planning to start graduate school within one year of graduation.