University News

William Paterson Staff and Family Graduate

Campus community members and their families graduate from William Paterson.

Tinu Adeniran, interim associate director of graduate admissions, graduated with a master of business administration degree at the same time her son, Rilwan, earned a bachelor’s degree in finance. “I encouraged my sons to go to school, and to learn from my experiences,” she says. Rilwan saw his mother balancing work and school and decided he would follow in her footsteps and work towards a degree. “William Paterson has a good business program, so I decided to come here,” he says. In the pipeline: Rilwan’s two brothers are also students here. Kareem Omotola is a communication major, and Farouk Omoshola is studying biology.

AlayaA. Joseph Alaya, data processing programmer, information systems, earned a master of business administration degree. Working on campus for five years, he spent the last three pursing his degree, studying late into the night in order to spend time with his young family. Alaya pursued a graduate degree because “lifelong learning is important to me to be able to grow with the University into the future.”

PamTara M. Fueshko, community support assistant in hospitality services since 2007, and the daughter of Pamela Fueshko, director of telecommunications and physical security technologies, who has directed the University's commencement ceremonies for thirty-one years, has earned a master's degree in history. Tara, who received teaching certification from the University and teaches as an adjunct, will begin a doctoral program in British and Irish culture at Drew University in the fall.  She plans to be a college professor. Pam, who has worked on campus for thirty-four years, says she is "very proud that Tara is pursuing her dreams and goals."

CaraCara A. Phillips, the daughter of Karen Phillips, assistant professor of nursing, earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in finance. She has a 3.5 GPA, and made the Dean’s List while also working fulltime as a bank teller. Cara is a very caring, compassionate young woman who often offered to help other classmates having difficulty in their classes,” Karen says. “Cara was a very determined, motivated student who worked hard to maintain her grades as well as a full time job during her four years at the University. We are very proud of Cara and all that she has achieved.” Cara is currently working for Atlantic Home Loans in Pine Brook as an accounting/payroll administrator.

SchaefferDavid Schaeffer, the son of Marc Schaeffer, senior academic advisor/career counselor, Career Development and Gloria S. Williams Advisement Center, has earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing. He took two years off after high school to pursue a career as a musician. A drummer and a guitarist, he eventually decided to go to college. He lived on campus, started the Billiards Club, and was active in the Korean Club.  “We’re enormously proud of his accomplishments at William Paterson and his success in a difficult economy in getting a job in his field,” his father says. David has a full-time job at Native Nation Events in Ramsey, a firm that creates and manages events for Native Americans and the providers of goods and services they use.

SomoNicholas Sommo, the son of Frank Sommo, managing assistant director, physical plant operations, received a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology.  An Eagle Scout, he is currently working as a substitute teacher, while conducting a job search. He also volunteers as the assistant freshman baseball coach at Gov. Livingston Regional High School.  “I’m proud of him,” Frank says. “He took his education seriously, and put his nose to the grindstone. I know he’ll be successful in his field because of the work he put into his college years.”

VeneziaTori Venezia, a scheduler in the department of events and conference services, and her daughter, Tia, each earned bachelor’s degrees: Tori in women’s and gender studies, and Tia in elementary education with a concentration in English literature. Tori, who has worked on campus for eight years, volunteers for the University’s domestic violence program, WPSAV (WP Students Against Violence), giving advice and information to those in need. She also volunteers in a similar capacity with the Hawthorne and North Haledon Police Departments. Tia plans to be a teacher.

HopkinsRosa Williams-Hopkins, a secretarial assistant in the Center for Continuing and Professional Education (CPE), received a bachelor’s degree in sociology with a concentration in criminal justice that was the culmination of eighteen years of time spent in the library, juggling studying with caring for her children, and working fulltime. She credits her supervisor, Bernadette Tiernan, executive director, CPE, as a mentor who motivated and encouraged her.  “She kept on saying ‘you can do it.’” Tiernan also nominated her for the 2012 Extra Mile Award from the Paterson Alliance, an award which highlights the achievements and efforts of staff members and/or volunteers within the non-profit sector serving the Paterson community. Her daughter, Whitney Lluen, is a 2009 University alumna, but Williams-Hopkins is the first of her generation in the family to earn a college degree.

Jennifer Marrero, an assistant in the Office of Financial Aid for the past three years, has earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology. The mother of a two-year-old, with another baby due this month, she found juggling all her different roles challenging. “Being a mom, working full-time, caring for my father who’s ill, and going to school was the hardest part,” she says. Future plans include graduate school, after a break.