The Quad 10 is similar to Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People list, except on a Manhattan College-scale. The ten following members of the graduating class of 2019 were chosen by the executive board of The Quadrangle as some of the best and brightest seniors MC has to offer.
Interviews compiled by Rose Brennan, Gabriella DePinho, Megan Dreher, Garrett Keidel and Alexa Schmidt
Minor: Digital Media Art, Film Studies
The familiar face of Taylor Brethauer on the Manhattan College campus will surely be missed. As an extremely involved undergraduate student, Brethauer spent four years as a Quadrangle scholar (holding the position of Editor-in-Chief for the 2018 calendar year), three years as a member of the sorority Sigma Delta Tau (holding the position of secretary also during the 2018 calendar year) and was often the mastermind behind much of the graphic design work done for many groups across campus.
Coming into her freshman year on The Quadrangle, Brethauer had some experience from her high school newspaper. She turned that experience into a time spent worthwhile at The Quadrangle, eventually becoming the Editor-in-Chief.
“My Quad experience has just gotten better each year,” Brethauer said. “I’ve loved see the team grow as people and friends, which, looking back, has been the most rewarding thing. Regardless of whether I was Editor-in-Chief or not, I would be proud of this team. But the fact that my peers elected me to run the paper for 2018 means more to me than they would ever know. It was a lot of responsibility, but so worth it every single week to sit at the head of the table in front of my hardworking friends to put something I’m proud of out onto the campus and into the hands of students and staff.”
Brethauer herself would even admit that she never intended on being a sorority girl coming into college, but at the beginning of sophomore year it really appealed to her.
“I’m so glad I decided to rush Sigma Delta Tau when I did because I was inducted with the best group of girls and then again elected by my peers to be their executive board secretary,” she said. “During my year as secretary, I was also balancing being Editor-in-Chief, which was hectic at times. But I really take pride in my organization skills and have gone on to be recognized nationally by the Sigma Delta Tau National Office for my minutes, the creation of our chapter’s website, and received a scholarship as well. My sorority sisters have been so super supportive with all of my successes and they’re always nice faces to say hello to on campus. I know they have my back and that feeling is just super special.”
As her time as a student at the college comes to a close, Brethauer offered some words of advice to her fellow Jaspers.
“I’m going to miss Manhattan College so much. It has provided me with so much and I am so grateful for all of the opportunities I’ve been able to get into. I think the best advice I would give to any freshmen (or really any Jasper) is to get involved with as much as you can because you never know what doors it will open. Also, take into consideration the people you have surrounding you and ask how will they lift you up to be the best person you can be. I’m so glad the people I have supporting me and loving me will always be there and that Manhattan College provided them for me.”
Shereen Chaudhry has forever changed the course of history in the chemistry and medical fields during her time at Manhattan College. She has made incredible strides in her biomedical cancer research.
When Chaudhry entered college her freshman year, she had no idea where her career would take her. Originally, she was focused on medicine, go the traditional pre-med, straight to medical school route. Now, she is questioning whether she wants to pursue her doctorate degree because of her passion for research. Currently, she is still on the medical track, and wants to earn a MBP Ph.D. degree.
“I’ve been involved in DNA research for about a year now, and it’s really full-time. I’m here during vacations when everyone’s home. Spring break, winter break, everything, and we found really significant results that we’re now publishing. I work with Dr. Bryan Wilkins. He’s amazing… The DNA segments and the modelers we’re looking at, that is what’s duplicated in prostate cancer and really specific kinds of cancers. We don’t know a lot about it, as a society as a whole, so it’s really important research,” Chaudhry said.
In addition to her dedicating herself to research, Chaudhry has served as the president of the American Chemical Society, the vice president of science for student government and president of the South American Student Association.
Post-graduation, Chaudhry will be employed at the National Institute of Health, to do even more cancer research. In August, Shereen will be presenting her research at the National American Chemical Society conference in San Diego.
Chaudhry likes to say she “bleeds green,” as her love for the Jasper community goes above and beyond.
“I love Manhattan College so much. Everyone knows this about me…. I think college has been amazing for me. It’s just a great environment. And the science department being small and very dedicated, I love that so much. I don’t think I would have gotten this opportunity anywhere else. As a whole, I think college was an incredible experience. I cannot believe I’m leaving.”
As Chaudhry approaches her last couple of weeks at Manhattan, she leaves advice for current and incoming students. “Don’t forget that this is a really great time of your life. Behind all the papers, all the work, this is probably the most fun you’re ever going to have.”
Major: Adolescent education (English concentration)
Minor: Religious studies
Pretty much everyone on campus knows the perpetually smiling face of Kaiyun Chen.
This adolescent education major’s involvement on campus has been, in her own words, “all over the place.” Her involvement in activities ranges from the Green Club to Sanctus Artem and nearly everything in between. She even spent some time as a staff photographer for The Quadrangle.
However, Chen is most known for her involvement in the college’s numerous Lasallian initiatives, most prominently in organizations such as Just Peace and Catholic Relief Services (CRS).
Chen cites CRS as particularly pivotal and engaging in her time at MC. As a CRS Ambassador, she personally participated in social justice and advocacy work.
“What we do as student ambassadors is … a lot of informing, and doing a lot of events like education … on our campus, on campaigns and on issues that CRS is focused on,” Chen said. “So some of these include climate change, global hunger, migration [and] human trafficking. These are some of the main campaigns that they want us to focus on, so our purpose is to help the student body to be more understanding or more informed about these things.”
While she personally does not consider herself particularly religious, Chen nevertheless recognizes the vast impact a Lasallian framework has had both on her education and on her as a person.
“I did a lot of Lasallian-related programs including … the International Association of Lasallian Universities,” Chen said.”It’s a program that basically invites students and faculties … from Lasallian colleges and universities, and you go to a location that is very Lasallian-involved. So when I went, I went to Rome and we stayed at the Brothers’ headquarters, and there we did a lot of leadership training. SO basically, being trained to understand what is our role … to be a Lasallian on campus.”
“After that, I was so inspired that the next year, I did a study abroad program and it’s a new program and also Lasallian based. So I guess that because of that, Lasallian values has had such a big influence on me,” Chen said.
After graduation, Chen will be joining the Lasallian Volunteers program for two years. She looks to the future with the Lasallian Volunteers as she does to her past with Manhattan College: with hope, happiness and, most importantly, a smile.
Major: Political Science, Communication
Of the many powerful women on campus, one that has surely made great strides during her one year tenure as Student Body President is Jaycie Cooper. A native of Monroe, Conn., Cooper has left her mark on Manhattan in multiple ways, a school that she ultimately believes gave her the most room to grow and provided boundless opportunities in the New York City area.
Though Cooper has been involved in multiple areas of campus life, none of them compare to the experiences she has had as an active member of Student Government. As President of her student government team, B.E.S.T. of the Bronx, Cooper has made great strides in accomplishing each initiative she set out to achieve, including bridging the gap, educational success, sustainability on campus, and bringing people together by association.
“I would have never pictured myself joining Student Government coming in as a freshman, so it’s been a really special experience getting to meet so many different people,” said Cooper.
In addition to her time spent with Student Government, some of the strongest bonds that Cooper has created over her four years at Manhattan have been with the girls that she calls sisters.
“Having a sisterhood of over 100 sisters has helped me feel grounded and always like I had someone there.”
Cooper believes that much of her confidence, which has blossomed over her college career, is due in part to the time she has spent with performing arts, specifically as a performing arts scholarship recipient.
Just two short weeks after graduation, Cooper will be starting her job as a healthcare consultant at FTI Consulting in the city, where she will be working with healthcare companies and living in New York City.
As someone who has had her hand in many clubs, activities, and initiatives around campus, Cooper is familiar with giving advice, specifically to incoming Jaspers, as a tour guide for the Office of Admissions.
“If you’re coming in to Manhattan and you don’t know exactly what you want to do, you’re in the best position because the world is your oyster, and Manhattan College is your oyster. My best advice is to get involved in whatever you may think you might have an interest in. If it doesn’t work out, then it doesn’t work out, but you may find exactly your niche. Everything you’ve ever wanted out of your college experience is waiting for you, you just have to go get it,” said Cooper.
Major: English, Philosophy
There are just a handful of people on the Manhattan College campus that you are guaranteed a good laugh if you happen to strike up a conversation with them. One of those friendly faces is Kevin Donald, known around campus for being a multi-platform entertainer.
An English and philosophy double major from Long Valley, N.J., Donald candidly confessed that he came to Manhattan College because it was cheaper than our friendly rival on the other side of the Bronx, Fordham University. Nevertheless, he admitted that his decision to come here was one he won’t regret.
“I feel like I really discovered a really fantastic place to spend four years. On my first visit I knew that MC would offer me the space to do all things I wanted to do – Music, comedy, and make a lot of close friends,” says Donald.
Donald definitely found a space to create, perform, and ultimately share his talents. He involved himself almost immediately in Scatterbomb, the improv group on campus. He recalled, “At least once a month, every month I’ve been here, I’ve gotten the opportunity to get on stage and make people smile. That’s something I’ll always be insanely grateful for—what a crazy opportunity.”
In addition to his improv work, Donald also noted how special his other performance opportunities have been while here, and how he has seen some of these programs grow from the time he was a freshman.
“I’ll never forget the jazz band and small groups (especially hauling around tons of gear for gigs with some of my closest friends). Most recently, I’ve been so excited to see WRCM get its feet off the ground. Sam, Joe, Alexa and the whole team have done such a great job putting together this little community, and I’m so happy to have been a part of it.”
Upon graduating, Donald hopes to secure a job in the publishing industry, or doing other editorial work here in New York City. But besides that, he hopes to continue the pursuit of his passions—entertaining others and giving people a reason to smile.
But before departing campus in Riverdale, Donald left some advice for current and future Jaspers on how to make college a totally unique experience.
“My advice is to really take advantage of what’s available here at MC (a lot!). Find places to create, debate, learn, explore, have fun, and if those spaces aren’t there, do your best to go and make room for them. There’s a lot of great things here for you, but I think the most rewarding opportunities I’ve had here were the ones I had to go out and create for myself.”
In the Manhattan College Athletic Department, everyone knows of Lisa Fajardo, the five-foot-tall distance runner who’s reached new levels in and out of competition. The graduating biology major has received academic recognition from the MAAC as well as her amazing athletic achievement of breaking several school records in several distance running events, combining for eight total records under Fajardo’s name.
Known heavily for her athletic achievement at the college, Fajardo did not arrive at MC running at the dominant level that she now leaves at.
“ I have never really been ‘naturally’ talented,” she said. “No matter how hard I worked in high school, I never made it to a national meet, and I never made it into the competitive sections at the State Championships. Even at the beginning of my collegiate career, I was not running very well. I wanted to prove to myself that if I work hard enough I could make it to the next level. My coach said that if I make all of the right decisions outside of running, such as living a healthy lifestyle and taking care of my body, then it will show in my performance. I listened to her advice, and I came back stronger than ever.”
As her time as an athlete and a student, Fajardo remembers well the highs of her career and has advice for those at the school also looking to do great things.
“My favorite moments on the athletic end are when I broke the outdoor 5K record for the first time at Princeton, and also when our Distance Medley Relay broke the indoor school record at Boston University,” Fajardo said. “Both of those moments were so exciting and special to me, and I still replay them back in my head. On the academic side, an exciting moment was realizing I earned a 4.0 my spring semester of my freshman year, because I had a little bit of a rough start to my fall semester.”
Her departing words of advice to fellow Jaspers looking to do great things? “If you want something, whether it is athletic or academic, just work hard for it. People will be willing to help and support you if they see how badly you want to achieve something. When you work hard for yourself, you motivate others along the way, and that is the most rewarding part of it all.”
Major: Philosophy, political science
Liam Moran’s involvement with student life on campus essentially began the day he arrived on campus, though it would be awhile before he actually held an elected position in the college’s Student Government Association (SGA). He, like many other students across campus, was a commuter student, and therefore was devoted to improving accommodations for fellow commuting students.
“I’ve really dedicated my four years here at Manhattan College [to] making sure commuter students are heard on campus, are represented on campus and, most importantly, actually feel that they can be a part of campus,” he said. “It really involved getting to know some of the concerns of residents, but most importantly, working on building a commuter community on campus, figuring out those communal needs, advocating for those needs, and generally listening to those needs, rather than … listening and having an apathetic approach.”
This year, Moran took on several positions directly involved with the college’s governance. He ascended to the role of vice president in the Commuter Student Association (CSA), commuter representative in the SGA and, most notably, Speaker of the college’s Senate.
“As Speaker, I basically help run the … second-tier level of governing body on the Manhattan College campus. So it’s basically the communal voice of Manhattan College, and it helps bring community and campus-wide initiatives to reality,” Moran said.
Moran began acting in these positions during the Fall 2018 semester. It was during this time that SGA was rocked with the year’s biggest scandal: the Class of 2019 would only be allotted two guest tickets for their graduation in May 2019.
As both a member of the Class of 2019 and as a major student advocate on campus, Moran not only was personally invested in the senior class’ concerns, but was also in a position to try to change it as best he could.
“Commencement … really did stem from a lack of communication from the administration, or even within the administration. And so my role in that was generally … focused on getting more tickets, because that’s what people wanted,” he said. “I really did work with student government’s [executive] board, like making sure we were unified on a message. On my end I … expanded the reach of accountability. We had the town hall meeting with student government, and that was important because it showed the student force behind it.”
Eventually, after widespread advocacy and the efforts of students across classes, the college allowed for four guest tickets for each graduating senior.
But though Moran is graduating, he does not anticipate his involvement in advocacy work or governance will end anytime soon. He noted several career possibilities, including graduate school, accreditation in conflict resolution, politics and law school.
Moran has high expectations not only for his future, but also for Manhattan College’s.
“In four years here I really hope that I’ve done the best that I could to bridge the gap between commuters and residents. I think we have a lot more struggle[s] along the way, so I ask that we all be vigilant in that, vigilant in our actions and helping to make Manhattan more of a welcoming and inclusive community, as per our founding traditions.” he said.
Reilly Love Rebhahn
Major: History, peace & justice studies
Reilly Love Rebhahn, a peace and justice studies and history major, to put it simply, is busy changing the world.
She has found herself deeply involved with the social action part of CMSA, a student worker in the Lasallian Women and Gender Resource Center and the rooftop garden.
Her involvement with these outlets on campus mean more to her than just being things to do.
“My friends inspire me to use my privilege in constructive ways, like learning to pass the mic and hold space for non-white women to have their voices and interests heard,” said Rebhahn. “These roles have been important to me for many reasons- mostly as avenues to expand inclusivity, justice, and healing on campus.”
Rebhahn has been to on the L.O.V.E. trip to Palestine twice, once as a participant, the second time as a leader.
“One of my most rewarding experiences at MC was being able to travel to Palestine. The most recent trip was beyond special, the group I went with were the most thoughtful and amazing women. The experience was intense, specifically because of the human rights violations we saw and how badly we needed to share the stories of Palestinians we met over the week,” said Rebhahn.
“My privilege of being a white American student from MC made it easy for me to get into the country, while others on my team were subjected to racial and religious discrimination and profiling. Seeing Palestinian life and culture helped me realize that injustice somewhere is injustice everywhere. We’re not free until we are all free,” said Rebhahn.
After graduation, she will be moving to Denver, Colo., to be a Care Manager at the Empowerment Program through Loretto Volunteers.
Rebhahn, who found Manhattan College after a high school teacher told her about the school, has taken away more than just a textbook education from Manhattan.
“I’m wrapping up my tenth year as a Lasallian student where I’ve always been taught that I have to agitate the system so that injustice can be addressed. Some of the people who helped shape my goals and passions over the last four years are mentors that challenge systematic oppressions in their work,” said Rebhahn, “Dr. Badruddoja taught me to honor myself, Dr. Arenson taught me to love my work, Dr. Takla taught me to be brave, and Kathleen Von Euw taught me to be honest. With them and so many others Manhattan College is a special place.”
Though Rebhahn is graduating and leaving MC behind, the work she has done will have a lasting impact on the campus, but she knows there’s still more work to be done.
Rebhahn said, “I hope that after I leave MC, my friends and later students will be able to be their most authentic selves without push back from administration. My sisters and brothers from MSA need a designated prayer space, and I hope all women of color are able to see themselves reflected in actual inclusive representation across all schools at MC.”
Major: Civil engineering
Despite facing several injuries at his time here, Samson Usilo has been an important asset to the Men’s Basketball team. A member of the team since 2014, Usilo spent the 2015-2016 season as a redshirt and other significant time off the court due to injuries. However, for Usilo, there’s more to his college experience than just basketball.
Usilo’s achievements are not limited to the court. In October of the 2018-19 academic year, Usilo received notification that he was being inducted to Manhattan College’s chapter of Chi Epsilon, an honor society for civil engineering majors.
Usilo considers making the honor society while on the team one of his most rewarding moments at Manhattan.
“I was able to maintain good grades by having a lot of sleepless nights and also cutting down on social life,” said Usilo. “Playing basketball and doing engineering is very demanding but determination and good focus … I was able to get it done.”
In a Feb. 2019 article about his induction, one of Usilo’s civil engineering professors, Moujalli Hourani Ph.D, recognized the work that this achievement required him.
Hourani said, “Samson is an excellent student, who happens to be a great human being. Everything he does, he does with respect to himself, to his classmates, and to this college, and you cannot ask anything else from any student.”
Usilo noted that basketball gave him bonds on and off the court but also life skills that are transferable beyond his time on the court.
“Playing basketball help[ed] shape me in a lot of ways. It helped me build character and also great leadership skills. It helps me develop ways to interact with different people and different personalities. It helped me build great communication skills and also to be able hold myself accountable for whatever I do,” said Usilo.
Usilo’s last appearance with the men’s basketball team was during the MAAC Tournament in Albany, N.Y. in early March. The team lost to Canisius in overtime during the quarterfinals.
After graduation, Usilo will be continuing on to complete his master’s in Civil Engineering at Manhattan College. Though one chapter of his life is closing, Usilo is nothing but grateful for it all.
“I just want to thank the whole MC community for everything. The love that they showed me is something I will always remember, and I will forever be grateful. The coaches, professors, teammates, friends and everyone that encouraged and believed in me, thank you,” said Usilo.
Major: Civil engineering
Minor: Urban studies
Stephen Zubrycky is the Renaissance man of the Manhattan College community. With a dynamic college career under his belt, Zubrycky will leave a lasting impact on MC’s campus. Whether it be writing for The Quad, leading community service projects, serving in student government or anything in between, he has truly seen it all.
Zubrycky entered the college in the fall of 2015 as one of twenty Quadrangle Scholarship recipients. In his time with The Quadrangle, he held the positions of Staff Writer, Web Editor, Editor-in-Chief, Managing Editor and, most recently, Senior Writer. From there, his involvement with Manhattan College only grew.
In terms of co-curricular interests, Zubrycky joined the executive board of Manhattan College’s chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) as its marketing lead. During his time with the organization, he submitted a paper on their behalf, which garnered a first place award.
One of the experiences most essential to Zubrycky’s time at MC was his involvement in L.O.V.E. Texas, in which students spend a week at Camp Reynal, a camp for people with kidney disease. Though the trip eventually lost L.O.V.E. trip status, that did not stop Zubrycky and the Jaspers Take Texas team. The trip continued independently, and this summer, 17 students, including Zubrycky, will be traveling to Camp Reynal for another week long experience.
This year, Zubrycky also participated in the Student Government Assembly (SGA) as one of two School of Engineering vice presidents. In his time with SGA, Zubrycky proposed one piece of legislation, which called for four tickets to graduation per student. The resolution passed in Nov. 2018.
To sum up his college experience, Zubrycky said, “I think it’s very enriching to be a part of a community like Manhattan College because everyone is so supportive and friendly and nice. I’m grateful to have spent time with and made memories with and learned a lot of lessons. Both inside and outside of the classroom.”
After graduating next month, Zubrycky will be working full-time as a civil engineer at STV, Inc. in New York City. As someone who has been through it all, Zubrycky had some powerful advice for the student family he is leaving behind.
“I think it’s very important to take chances,” he said. “Any big decision you make involves some kind of chance, and coming to Manhattan College was a chance. I think it was one of the best chances I ever took because I had a really great time. I’d say that’s the biggest lesson I ever learned. That you should seize every opportunity that you get and just take as many chances as possible because sometimes they may not work out, but most of the time they do. And even if they don’t work out, you’re all the richer from it. You’ve learned.”