William Paterson Faculty, Staff and their Families Receive Degrees

William Paterson's Class of 2016 included many happy faculty, staff and family members

WP's own graduates included many faculty and staff and their families who have earned their degrees from William Paterson University.

Jaclyn Antonacci, online marketing coordinator, Marketing and Public Relations, earned an MA degree in professional communication: digital marketing and professional writing. She earned a BA in communication cum laude in 2014 from William Paterson. A graduate assistant and student intern in the office since 2012, Antonacci assisted with social media, video production, and cofounded the hashtag #Twilly P, a multiplatform social media initiative by students for students. Antonacci’s research, “The Influence of Social Media on Sense of Belonging in University Students,” was presented at the Marketing Management Association (MMA) conference. She also served as a panelist at the University’s Social Media Summit 2016.

Jaida DeJesus,
daughter of Lissette Gonzalez, program assistant, Office of the Provost, received her BA degree in early childhood education and psychology, and will be certified to teach grades preschool to 3rd grade. DeJesus has been nominated for the New Jersey Distinguished Clinical Intern Award for Outstanding Student Teacher. She is a member of the Theta Phi Alpha fraternity, and has served as an orientation leader. She currently works at the Clifton Boys and Girls Club in the early education department and looks forward to a career as a teacher.

Meghan Devlin, academic and student success specialist in the Office of the Dean, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, since October 2014, received an MEd in counseling.  She began at the University as program assistant in New Student Experience in 2010. Devlin says she loves working with students and helping people, so the MEd in counseling seemed like the perfect fit.  During her time in the program she served as president of Chi Sigma Iota, an international counseling honor society.

Elizabeth Diaz, head supervisor, second shift, Facilities, earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology with a concentration in criminal justice. Employed at William Paterson for 27 years, Diaz credits her husband Carlos and son Daniel for their support and encouragement as she pursued her studies. After years of taking classes in her spare time, she is proudly fulfilling a promise to herself to obtain her degree.

Nicholas A. Garcia, son of Carlos Alfredo Garcia, an adjunct professor in the Department of Languages and Cultures, received a bachelor of science degree in physical education. Nicholas Garcia put himself through school working full-time at Whole Foods Market. In his spare time, he is also an avid chess player, likes writing, and has won writing and performance competitions in hip hop. Garcia is seeking a position as a physical education teacher. 

Erick W. Gonzales, technical assistant, Financial Aid, received a bachelor’s degree in marketing. Originally from Peru, Gonzales began working at William Paterson in February 2011 and started classes toward his degree that fall. Gonzales is grateful to be a part of the WP family and enjoys serving and helping students and strives to give them his best.


Patricia Moore, technical library assistant, Cheng Library, earned her bachelor’s degree in computer science to enhance her knowledge and make a more valuable contribution to her job. Moore, who began part-time in the library in 1994, has been working full-time since 2004. She has seven grown children, including a son, James Moore who graduated in 2012 from William Paterson, also with a BS degree in computer science.

Dana Petrullo, daughter of Jerry Petrullo, fire safety, Physical Plant Operations, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, cum laude. This fall she will begin working toward an MBA in entrepreneurship at William Paterson, and plans to focus on a career in business management. She is currently working part-time for the Compliance Search Group, a recruiter for Fortune 500 companies. Petrullo is also a research statistics tutor for the Academic Success Center and assists as a note taker for the Office of Disabilities Services at William Paterson.

Cara Phillips, daughter of Karen F. Phillips, associate professor, Nursing, and coordinator of the School Nurse Certification Program, has earned an MBA in accounting. She is currently working as an accountant at Atlantic Home Loans. After graduation, she will be working toward obtaining her CPA and plans for a career in public accounting.

Stephanie Tatarelli, daughter of Patricia Tatarelli, senior clerk typist, Graduate Admissions and Enrollment Services, graduated cum laude with a bachelors degree in liberal studies with a concentration in psychology and sociology and minor in English writing. She is currently employed full time as program coordinator at a pharmaceutical speaker's bureau.

Amanda Thomas, daughter of Mary Thomas, director of business dervices, transferred from SUNY Rockland with an AA degree in psychology in 2014, and graduated from William Paterson with a bachelor of arts degree in sociology.  In her spare time, Thomas, who began with an interest in opera, enjoys being a vocalist and lyricist and has performed with the University ensembles. She is currently a supervisor at Century Direct International and plans to pursue a career in public service or counseling.

Julia Kolak, daughter of Daniel Kolak, director of liberal studies and professor of philosophy, is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, magna cum laude, and also completed the neuropsychology and clinical psychology honors track and a minor in linguistics and psychology. Kolak received the Paul Vouras Humanities Award. During her time at William Paterson, she won the University-wide Writing Across the Curriculum Award, served as president of Phi Sigma Tau, the philosophy honors society, and was a member of the Bioethics Club. After graduation she will follow in her father's footsteps and begin a PhD program in philosophy at CUNY Graduate Center in New York City where she received a full fellowship.

Ashley Farrell, granddaughter of Linda Farrell ’00, MA ‘05, administrative assistant to the director, Undergraduate Admissions, received an MA degree in professional communication: digital marketing and professional writing. As a graduate student, she contributed to the Communication Department’s PCOM Matters newsletter and was a social media intern at a public relations firm in New York City. Farrell works in customer service at Stop and Shop and assists with digital media for the William Paterson University Small Business Development Center. She is proud to join the alma mater of her grandmother, uncle, and an aunt in the process of obtaining an undergraduate degree at William Paterson.