The Quad 10 is similar to Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential, except on a Manhattan College-scale. The ten following members of the graduating class of 2020 have all left their own unique impact on Manhattan College and represent the best parts of our community. This list was put together by The Quadrangle’s editorial board.
Major: Management, Marketing
Minor: Religious Studies
Rabea Ali’s Manhattan College story isn’t quite like everyone else’s. As a management and marketing double major and religious studies minor, Ali spent four years commuting from Rockland County to the Bronx and at first, really did not enjoy it.
“I came to campus, I fell in love with MC and so I stayed,” Ali said. “I hated my freshman year, considered transferring and then things right around the end started to turn up.”
She found herself getting involved with the Muslim Student Association, the Commuter Student Association, joining student government, going on Kairos, leading Kairos and starting the women in business club.
“My college experience began [with commuting] and because commuting my freshman year was a nightmare, that’s how I realized I needed to have such a tight ship,” Ali said. “It was also the first thing I got involved with, was the CSA, because they had donuts.”
For Ali, being involved with a number of things that put her in meetings with administrators and other students taught her some valuable lessons.
“They all taught me how to advocate for myself and how to make change. And some days, it doesn’t seem like a lot, but if you look at how I started and how I’m ending, I can very clearly see some changes,” Ali said.
While she has certainly had a big impact on MC because of her leadership and advocacy, Ali cites Kairos as having a big impact on her.
“Because going on that retreat was so impactful and then being able to be a leader and give back to that experience, was life changing,” she said. “And that really is the community I built my senior year and those are the people I know walking away from this, we’ll always stay in touch.”
It took her four years to learn, but one lesson she wants to impart on other students is the issue of balance.
“Just figure out that balance of what you want to do, what you love to do and what you can let go of.”
Major: Political Science, International Studies
Kaylyn Atkins, a political science and international studies major, has become a household name on the Manhattan College campus. During her time at Manhattan she has been involved in Model UN, Student Court, the Kairos retreats and became the second woman of color to be elected student body president in the history of the college.
Originally, Atkins entered Manhattan as a civil engineering major after winning a week-long engineering competition in high school. However, she eventually found her place in the School or Liberal Arts.
“The funny thing is my sophomore year of high school I said I wanted to become a lawyer, ” said Atkins. “But I just pursued the engineering route because a lot of my family are in the STEM field. I quickly realized that I didn’t like the fact that I couldn’t speak on my opinions in engineering courses. It is kind of like you just learn the material, you take the test, you do a few projects but that’s about it.”
Atkins recalls being timid and quiet, never speaking up for herself. However, after a racially charged incident during her freshman year that experience pushed her to come out of her shell.
“When the incident happened I started speaking up and I kind of argued with the administration on the punishment that they gave him,” Atkins said. “I just didn’t agree with it. So I would be remiss if I didn’t say that but that situation with him had an effect on why I even switched to School of Arts because after that I realize that I like given the fact that I had a lot to say and people are willing to listen.”
As a junior, Atkins “dipped her toe” into student government picking up involvement in student court and running for the executive board.
As the 2nd woman of color elected as student body president she recognizes the importance of her role and feels extra pressure as she served as a role model for other students of color.
“We need to give students of color a platform to speak because what I found by speaking to other students of color is that they don’t feel as comfortable or as willing to have that platform and like run for leadership positions on campus,” Atkins said. “So I think that me becoming student body president really sent a message more than other people may think.”
Atkins is currently a finalist in two of the most selective fellowships in the country. Her plans for the future include a gap year to gain real world experience before going on to law school.
Major: Chemical Engineering
Senior chemical engineering student Kerry Cavanagh will leave Manhattan College knowing she has done her part to better the community.
Everyone who knows Kerry is aware of how much the Society of Women’s Engineers, more commonly known as SWE, means to her. After joining the club as a freshman, Cavanagh assumed her first leadership role as a sophomore, before serving on the executive board for her junior and senior years. As a junior, Cavanagh was one of six girls from Manhattan’s SWE chapter who traveled to Minneapolis, Minnesota for a national conference. For her senior year, Cavanagh was promoted to Vice President of SWE, and played a lead role in the logistical planning for the chapter’s trip to the national conference in California.
“SWE is one of my favorite things I have been involved with during my time at Manhattan,” Cavanagh said. “It was apparent to me early on that there was a community out there, particularly among the female engineering students.”
Cavanagh also believes her involvement in student government was instrumental in her development as a leader. Her experience with student government dates back to her freshman year, with the main highlight being her role as VP for Academic Affairs for the “Best of the Bronx” Party during the 2018-19 academic year. Cavanagh also served as Class VP for two years.
“If I can pinpoint the place where I learned to not take ‘no’ for an answer it was student government,” said Cavanagh. “I think learning to have the courage to stand up for yourself and your peers while maintaining respect is a tough balance. All the leadership techniques I have learned from student government have been important and a big part of my growth.”
Cavanagh also served as a two-year Resident Assistant and was active in CMSA, which opened up doors to new service endeavors for her. She went on L.O.V.E. Dominican Republic in the summer of 2017, and was set to participate in L.O.V.E. Bethlehem back in March before the decision was made to cancel it.
“They [LOVE trips] have helped me get out of my comfort zone and be vulnerable and to listen to different populations and hear different perspectives,” Cavanagh said. “Conor Reidy played an integral part in my growth as a Jasper and he assisted me in having those additional experiences.”
During her time at Manhattan, Cavanagh took advantage of internship opportunities at Air Products, Tarte Cosmetics and Shell Chemical. Her time spent last summer at Shell Chemical in Louisiana led to a full-time position with the company which she will begin this summer. She hopes to have a seminal effect at Shell by paving the way for future Manhattan graduates to be hired by them.
“I am super excited and I think it will be great to expose Shell to Manhattan College,” Cavanagh said. “I am hoping I can be a good representative of what can come out of Manhattan.”
Although she will miss being close to home, Cavanagh is looking forward to adjusting to the Southern lifestyle. In this next chapter in her life, she will carry with her the great pride of having been a Jasper.
“What will take most getting used to is the pace because everything down south is a lot slower but [what they say] when they talk about southern hospitality is a thousand percent true,” Cavanagh said.
Major: Philosophy, Communication (with a concentration in media production)
The smiling face and trademark hair of Megan Dreher will surely be missed next semester on the sidelines of every basketball game, in the Quadrangle Newsroom, at Student Government meetings, and in countless other spaces at Manhattan College.
Dreher had the full college experience between extracurriculars and top notch academics. She graduates as next-in-merit for Valedictorian and is planning to pursue further education at Boston College
“I’ve learned a lot through all the clubs and activities I’ve involved myself in,” says Dreher. “Confidence is the first, the second is a genuine empathy for others. I realized how much I loved Manhattan College and the people who made this campus great. Finding myself in positions where I could use my platform to speak on behalf of the people was such a privilege.”
One of Dreher’s biggest triumphs during her time at Manhattan College is the creation and distribution of the second special edition of The Quadrangle: The Taboo Issue under her tenure as Editor-In-Chief.
“I was so honored to have received so many compliments on that issue from students, faculty, and administrators on behalf of my staff,” says Dreher. “It just made me so proud to run the Quadrangle and have such an incredible staff working with a shared vision.”
Dreher also spent her senior year serving as the Undergraduate Co-Director for the Center for Ethics alongside Faculty Director Heidi Furey.
She already knows MC has impacted her deeply.
“I loved my time at Manhattan, it has completely shaped the trajectory of my life,” she said. “I don’t know quite where I’ll end up…academia, law, politics…but I do know that whatever I do, I will always credit my drive, determination, and grit to all I did at MC. I don’t have to be memorable, but Manhattan will always be memorable to me.”
Major: Mechanical Engineering
When Pam Miceus arrived on campus, she was just a regular college freshman who had retired her basketball shorts in favor of a heavy mechanical engineering course load. But after one year off the courts, Miceus decided to try out as a walk-on; she made the team and never looked back.
“After joining the team there was another adjustment period,” Miceus said. “You go from having a lot of free time to not having a lot of free time.”
Miceus also picked up a job in the Center of Academic Success as a tutor because she frequently spent her time in the library tutoring others. When not in the library or in the CAS, though, Miceus could often be found perfecting her craft on the court.
“Coach [Heather] Vulin never treated me like a walk-on,” Miceus said. “From the day I came back, I was a year rusty off of playing basketball and that showed.”
“The common rule about being a walk-on is just kind of like being the glue for the team, but she also took it upon herself to make me better as a basketball player and expect the same level of play and ability from her recruits. And that was tough in the beginning.”
Her hard work paid off. She was selected to the MAAC All-Academic team in her junior year, became a regular fixture on the court and team’s lineup and, in her junior year, she was given a full athletic scholarship.
“[Receiving that scholarship] was my biggest accomplishment because of that transition I made from not being an athlete to being an athlete and just how tough it was to work on yourself, hard, every single day, day in, day out,” she said.
“Knowing that [hard work] was seen from my coaches, my teammates, how happy they were for me, that was unbelievable.”
Miceus and her team, who consider each other a family, were robbed of one last chance to play together because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Something about sports is there is rarely any unfinished business,” Miceus said. “You can sometimes pin a loss on a ref or something didn’t go your way but you always have the opportunity to leave everything on the court. So having unfinished business is something that will linger for a long time.”
Though her time on the court and off the court at MC was ended abruptly, Miceus does have one last message for the MC community.
“I didn’t get to say goodbye to O’Malley Library,” she said. “I extend my thank you there. They put in really long hours, they’re always super helpful and they’re kind of like your friends at the end of the day.”
Major: Childhood/Special Education (with a concentration in math)
Isabel Quinones is one of the few students who can say that she did it all; from leading retreats and going on a LOVE trip, to serving on the student government executive board and indulging in plenty of J-del iced coffee, she has certainly achieved the full Manhattan College experience. Manhattan has not only allowed her to learn and grow, but has also given her a place she feels blessed to call home.
Quinones’ avid involvement on campus has given her a plethora of leadership opportunities and has allowed her to contribute to the MC community. Her involvement first began when she entered college as a performing arts scholar, eventually becoming the treasurer of Singers and a music coordinator for music ministry. In addition, Quinones was The Vice President of Residential Affairs for student government, the Co-President for the Kappa Delta Pi honor society, and was an active retreat go-er.
“As I got more involved on campus, that’s when I really started to find my place, and that’s when I found myself a lot happier,” Quinones said. “I was very happy with being able to kind of contribute towards something I felt [was] bigger than myself.”
Yet, her most rewarding experience was serving on the executive board for student government. Although the position had its challenges, she finds the experience to be the most impactful one she’s had at MC because it gave her the ability to advocate for student’s needs.
“It’s provided the most opportunities for me,” Quinones said. “I was able to meet a bunch of different administrators and faculty members and collaborate with them on solving campus issues, and hearing student voices– especially resident students.”
When first touring MC, Quinones thought it was the perfect fit for her; the real campus-like feel, accessibility to downtown and the five-year education program was just what she was looking for. As a first-gen college student, she was excited to join the Jasper family.
“The location appealed to me, the [education] program appealed to me and everyone seemed really excited to be there,” Quinones said. “I just had that gut feeling [where] everything kinda feels right. It just seemed like the perfect fit for me.”
After graduation, Quinones will be remaining on campus to earn her master’s degree as part of the five-year education program. She hopes to remain in the area and teach in the city.
Her experience at Manhattan is one she wouldn’t trade for the world. Manhattan introduced her to many new opportunities, as well as to some of the most supportive and important people in her life.
“I love the people at Manhattan, and I feel like everyone says that, but I’ve met my best friends [here],” Quinones said. “The people are very people-friendly and they love each other, and they want the best for everyone, and I think that’s evident throughout campus life, everyone really wants the best for each other. So that was really impactful for me and that’s what I love the most.”
Major: Computer Science
Manhattan College was originally not on Leon Wu’s list of schools to attend after serving in the military. After checking out MC from a friend’s recommendation, Wu appreciated the small classroom size, the Lasallian values, quality education and it’s close proximity to New York City.
If you’re ever down at Gaelic Park, chances are, you’ll see Wu on the sidelines taking photos of Jasper nation.
“I remember I decided to bring my camera to one of the soccer games in my sophomore year I think was 2018,” Wu said. “And like, I just really had fun. It’s capturing those little things. So I reached out [to Kevin Ross] and was like, can I just volunteer with you guys? And, you know, in the process I discovered, it’s all about storytelling, right? Like, there’s a lot of moments where people can get the same shots as I do, mostly. But I just like to look for the little things nobody really pays attention to or get paid to take photos of. So the emotions or team dynamic. I want people to kind of like get a glimpse of what the athletes go through and be able to come back and support,” Wu said.
“Obviously I’ve had a lot of fun doing it for three years, it’s been a very long time,” Wu said. “I made a lot of friends because of it and I feel like I’m a pretty competitive person. I value teamwork and just being alongside all the athletes that are working that have that great team chemistry. I actually learned a lot from them. I may incorporate those different aspects in my life personally,” Wu said.
In addition to taking photography, Wu was a member of the Air Force ROTC detachment, as well as the Student Veteran Association.
“I wanted to be an officer and I wanted to lead,” Wu said. “And ROTC was a way for me to kind of do that seamlessly. You know, like, we’re all just college students, some of us have never left the house until college. So what better way to get out of your comfort zone and be involved,” Wu said.
When asked to sum up his college experience, Wu said that he “loved every single moment of it.”
“I am a firm believer that when you come into a place, you should leave it better than it was before,” Wu said. “So that’s why I liked to be involved with a lot of organizations on campus just so that I can perhaps make a little bit better. The college experiences are what you make of it. I worked very hard to get to where I am right now. If you really want to do well in school, you definitely have to work hard, but I think that you know, at the same time that has provided me with a lot of opportunities,” Wu said.
Post graduation, Wu will be commissioned in the Air Force as a second lieutenant, as well as attending the Air Force Institute of Technology.
Wu leaves some advice to undergraduates who still have some time left at MC.
“I think it’s very important for people to just always seek out opportunities, especially in college, on campus and in regards to internships in the city, and it’s always very important for them to never self eliminate,” Wu said. “Don’t ever tell yourself no, because you never know where you’ll end up after graduation unless you take a leap of faith,” Wu said.
Major: Management, Marketing
Paul Fucao is guaranteed to put a smile on your face, whether you’re saying a quick hello or sitting down with him to chat. From being an orientation leader to a resident assistant, to working with student government, and performing arts, Fucao is a man of many talents. A former tour guide, the man behind marketing social media pages for the visual and performing arts departments, and the main photographer for Players, Fucao can do it all.
During his time at Manhattan, Fucao studied management and marketing, and added a minor in digital media arts.
“Because management and marketing have a lot of stuff that are interchangeable with each other, they complement each other quite well,” Fucao said. “And then in my second year, I realized that I’ve been doing photography forever, and I play the piano and I figured that for marketing, I could do more on the creative side of things. Because not only am I learning like the signs of marketing because it’s a lot of numbers, but now I also know the creative side of things. And it’s what I like to do anyway. So I figured why not?”
Fucao plans on continuing his education for a fifth year at MC to get his masters in computer science.
“I got an email last week that I got into the official program,” Fucao said. “I’m not trying to rush it. It’s going to be fun because I got the letter and I was super excited. Because you know in times like this, everything is uncertain. So I’m staying for one more year.”
To describe his college experience, Fucao admitted that it wasn’t “smooth sailing,” but a constant journey.
“I’m trying to improve while being surrounded by insanely talented people,” Fucao said. “Here, people do things not because they have to. I’ve just constantly been inspired by all the people that do all the other things on this campus. I’m really glad I’ve been inspired by so many people that are so multi-talented and that they do the things they love. And I’ve learned a lot from all those people. And I try to be like them. I’m not. But I think now, I’m just going to try to do things as best as I can.”
In addition to being inspired by those around him, Fucao reflected on the tight-knit community at MC.
“I’ve had awesome professors, the ones that are still here, the ones that retired recently,” Fucao said. “But they’re like family to you. You go to your professors, you only talk about your assignment, but you should definitely talk about your life. They help you out with things that you never would dream. You know, and it’s and then I think it’s times like these that you really see how Manhattan comes together as a community. And it really goes to show that, you know, everyone cares about each other here. And that’s what’s great about this campus.”
Major: International Studies
Minor: Spanish & Religious Studies
August Kissel, an international studies major with a double minor in Spanish and religious studies, was busy during her time at Manhattan College. Her extracurricular activities ranged from writing for The Quadrangle to leading Kairos trips to creating new programs for the Lasallian Women and Gender Center and the Campus Ministry and Social Action Suite. She also managed to study abroad in Italy.
One of her most significant memories from her time at the college is closely linked to her major. When she was just a sophomore, Kissel was chosen to lead a L.O.V.E trip to Ecuador where she and her group were educated on aspects of life in the city of Guayaquil, including the issues of illegal land sales and community gang culture.
“When I found out I was leading Ecuador, I remember I was in D.C. on a school trip for Manhattan and I started sobbing in the bathroom because I was so excited.” Kissel recalled.
Kissel considers Manhattan College to be a truly special place, and notes the people in this small community to be the most profound aspect of her college career. She notes that many of them, including her close group of friends and several faculty members, have been her inspirations to become the more outgoing and confident person that she has become since she arrived on campus as a freshman.
“Jackie [Martin], Connor [Reidy] and Kathleen [Von Euw] have been phenomenal mentors to me,” Kissel said. “Getting to have the three of them help me with my post grad process and do the letters of recommendation and all this kind of stuff has just been a privilege that I haven’t been able to find elsewhere.”
Although Kissel fits into the culture at this school perfectly, she didn’t always know that this was where she wanted to attend. As a senior in high school she applied to a wide range of schools across the country, unsure of what she wanted. Eventually, she figured out that Manhattan was the school for her.
“I don’t know what it was, but everything kept coming back to Manhattan,” Kissel said. “That’s how I knew that this was the better place and then I got the Quad scholarship which was a major factor as well. Just knowing I’d be involved in something before I even got there was a nice feeling.”
Kissel would go on to assume many leadership roles in the upcoming years, including a position as a resident assistant in Horan Hall. She is clearly a strong leader now, but she had to grow just like anyone else.
“Manhattan’s super special in the way that it gives us so many opportunities to try all these things but also fail at them and [it provides] a safety net,” she said. “If it doesn’t work out the first time, you can try it again.”
As for her life post graduation, Kissel will be working with Immigrant Counseling Services through Northwest, a Jesuit volunteer service in Oregon.
The departure of senior T.J. Stuart of the Manhattan baseball team marks the end to a special student-athlete career.
Stuart, a native of Milford, Connecticut and a marketing major in the O’Malley School of Business, was a force for the Jaspers on the mound, compiling a 3.38 ERA and 185 strikeouts in 194.1 innings pitched across four years. In 2018, Stuart pitched his way into the Manhattan record books with 10 saves on the strength of a MAAC-best 2.57 ERA in 63 innings pitched. Stuart finished off his junior season in 2019 with the second most wins in the MAAC, with eight. All eight of those victories came as part of complete game performances, ranking him first in NCAA division 1 in complete games for that season. Although his senior season this spring was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic, Stuart was yet again one of the MAAC’s top pitchers.
Even though he never fulfilled his dream of pitching at Van Cortlandt Park in a Jasper uniform, Stuart is still grateful for his time as a student-athlete at Manhattan. The way he sees it, his individual journey as a student-athlete was a microcosm of the larger mission of Manhattan student-athletes to work hard and cultivate friendships with one another.
“Life as a Manhattan College athlete is not always glamorous, but what I think is special about the type of athlete that is attracted to Manhattan College is that we embrace that challenge,” Stuart wrote in a statement to The Quadrangle. “Knowing that other student-athletes go through the same daily grind as you, creates a mutual respect for one another.”
Away from the diamond, Stuart made a name for himself while serving as President of MAAC Student Athlete Advisory Committee.
“The experience taught me about planning and organizing teleconference calls and meetings, networking with student-athletes from across the conference, as well as the country, understanding all different sides of an issue, and taking everyones opinion into account,” Stuart said. “My favorite part of the experience would have to be the travel to the NCAA SAAC meetings, and fostering relationships with other student athletes from different conferences and sports around the country. Being in a room, surrounded by like minded student-athletes, looking to improve and provide the best experience for their peers, is something I am thankful to have been a part of.”
The past few weeks of downtime afforded Stuart the opportunity to deliberate his next step in life. The path to the MLB Draft was open for him to potentially fulfill his dream of playing professional baseball if he really wanted it.
“At the moment getting drafted by an MLB Organization is not the top priority on my mind,” Stuart said. “Due to the pause the sports world has seen, and the revenue cuts that are taking place across the board, the MLB Draft is only going to be 5-10 rounds. Moving forward I am just going to continue to develop myself as a pitcher, and hope at some point in the future I will have the opportunity to be selected.”
For now, Stuart will put his professional baseball ambitions on the backburner with the hope of setting himself up in a more favorable position ahead of the 2021 MLB Draft. Instead, Stuart will resume both his college baseball and academic careers at Florida Atlantic University where he will balance his time playing baseball and pursuing an MBA in sports management. Once the NCAA made the official decision on Mar. 30 to grant spring sport athletes an extra year of eligibility, Stuart felt that returning to school for one more year was in his best interests.
“Ultimately, my family and I thought it would be best if I entered the transfer portal to explore new opportunities where I could challenge myself academically and athletically in a new environment for what potentially could be my last year of competitive baseball,” Stuart said.
Stuart’s journey at Manhattan College may be over, but the memories and relationships he made during his time in the Bronx will never leave him. To Stuart, Manhattan attracts a specific mold of people which makes the school special. He is humbled to be recognized among his classmates with his induction into the Quad 10.
“What I will miss most about going to school at Manhattan College is the people,” Stuart said. “Manhattan College is a special place, but that is in part to the type of person Manhattan College attracts. There is a structure in place full of caring, good-hearted people that have made my four years here unforgettable.”