William Paterson Graduates in Class of 2013 Represent a Wide Range of Interests and Activities

Degrees will be conferred on more than 2,600 bachelor's and master's candidates. Read some of their stories below:

Jenny Riveros of Elizabeth emigrated from Colombia in 2003 to major infinancial planning and finance. Riveros personifies the “American Dream”—she will be the first in her family to earn a college degree. She has paid for her education by working 40 to 60 hours a week at United Airlines in the finance department. Riveros completed two internships and attended three national conferences. Six months ago she secured a job as a financial planner with Plan Plus, Inc. a financial planning firm, where she will continue after graduation. Her father will travel from Colombia to attend the ceremony.

Darlene Edewaard of Hawthorne will graduate as the salutatorian at the commencement ceremony. Edewaard is a psychology major who has distinguished herself for her intense research on the “Moon Illusion,” a study of the judgment of visual perception (the phenomenon that the moon looks larger at the horizon than it does when it is higher in the sky). She will present her findings at the annual Association of Psychological Sciences Conference in Washington, D.C. later in May. In June, she will present a paper at the International Congress on Acoustics in Montréal. Edewaard’s dream is to work with NASA in California.

Kelle Carbone of Hawthorne will graduate from William Paterson University with dual degrees in anthropology and women’s and gender studies. At William Paterson, she founded the Gamma Zeta chapter of Iota Iota Iota, the Women’s and Gender Studies honor society. She has supported herself financially to get her degree working as a peer tutor at the academic support center and as a student patrol supervisor. She presented a paper at the New Jersey Women’s and Gender Studies Consortium dealing with issues of oppression and a path to self-acceptance. Carbone has chosen the New School for Social Research master’s program from among several where she was accepted and she plans to pursue a career in academics.

Ezana Taddese of Englewood will earn two degrees, one in psychology and another in anthropology. He was also in the honors program in cognitive science. While at the University, he worked in the Numerical Cognition and Inference Research Lab with Professor Natalie Obrecht, presented “Printing Color Descriptions in a Conversation Setting,” and used his National Science Foundation funding award to complete undergraduate research training program, Research Experience for Undergraduates, in perceptual science at Rutgers University. In the fall, Taddese will begin a doctoral program in cognitive psychology at Washington State University.

Jean-Gratien Uwisavye of Teaneck is originally from Burundi. He will earn his master of arts in teaching degree at the May 15 ceremony. In 1992, Uwisavye earned a bachelor’s degree in French language and literature and a minor in African linguistics. He returned to Rwanda in 1994, prior to the end of the genocide, to eventually work with Arts et Media d’Afrique. There, he coordinated the Residence of African Authors, a writer’s group for people who went to Rwanda to write about and document the genocide. The project published 10 books in 2001. Uwisavye immigrated to the United States in 2002 as an asylum seeker. He teaches French at Benjamin Franklin middle school in Teaneck. In October, he became a U.S. citizen.

First generation college student German Decena of Union City is a scholar and athlete. As a scholar, he discovered a passion for criminal justice while studying sociology at William Paterson. To support his newfound interest, a professor helped him earn a prosecutor's office internship where he learned about the court system. A defensive back for the Pioneer football team, Decena was named one of the 10 male national finalists for the Diverse: Issues In Higher Education 2013 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Award. Following graduation, Decena plans a career in law enforcement where he will use his knowledge and experience to empower others.

Jancy Tejada of Paterson, born in the Dominican Republic, came to the U.S. at age 12. She is graduating with B.S. degree in nursing. For her spring break, she seized the opportunity to return to her native country as part of the Cheerful Heart Dental Mission and help people in dire need of dental care. On the mission, she was reminded of the scarcities of running water, food and electricity that she experienced as a child. She worked her way through college with the help of scholarships, financial aid and part-time jobs. She currently works in St. Joseph’s as a patient care associate. After graduation, she plans to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and will explore out-of-state opportunities for nursing.

Esmeilin Beco of Paterson, born in the Dominican Republic, came to the U.S. at age 9. She is graduating with B.S. degree in nursing. For her spring break, she seized the opportunity to return to her native country as part of the Cheerful Heart Dental Mission and help people in dire need of dental care. On the mission, she was reminded of the scarcities of running water, food and electricity that she experienced as a child. Throughout college, she has been working as a certified nursing assistant at Arden Courts Assisted Living in Wayne. After graduation, she plans to take the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) exam, work in a hospital for a couple years, and then pursue a master’s degree in geriatrics.

Mandy Muraca of Miller Place, N.Y., is a scholar and athlete. She will graduate cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from William Paterson, where she is president of the chemistry club. Her area of research is material chemistry; specifically she works with energy sources and conservation. At Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island she works for the energy sustainability department in the area of material chemistry. Muraca was the senior captain on the softball team and helped organize the “Beat Cancer with a Bat” program. Muraca has been accepted into the Ph.D. program at Stony Brook University as a teaching assistant on a full scholarship. She hopes to continue her research in areas of energy in a national lab.

Kali Wallace of Wayne will graduate with three degrees at commencement: a B.F.A. in painting, a B.A. in art history, and a B.A. in Asian Studies. Wallace immersed herself in her studies and took advantage of art study trips to China and Italy. She will graduate with a 3.9 grade point average and is president of the Student Art Association. Her senior thesis focused on socialist realism style with North Korea and propaganda as her subjects. She interned with, and continues to work with, Montclair-based artist Siona Benjamin. Wallace is assisting Benjamin, a Fulbright scholar, on a mixed media project about Jews in India and will accompany the artist to the exhibition in Mumbai.

Christina Nicastro of Dunellen will graduate with a bachelor of arts in music, vocal performance, at the May 15 commencement. She was chosen to sing the national anthem at the ceremony. Nicastro recently completed a performance as Pamina in Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” the first fully produced opera at the University. She is a three-time winner of the New Jersey National Association of Teachers of Singing Vocal Competition and the recipient of the Garden State Arts Foundation/Thomas H. Kean Scholarship Award. Following graduation, Nicastro will dedicate a year to private study and coaching to eventually pursue a career in opera.

05/13/13