The Verrazano School recently recognized student achevement at its second annual Senior Commencement.

The Verrazano School at CSI celebrated its second annual Verrazano Senior Convocation in the Center for the Arts.

The 41 very talented and diverse students who graduated from the honors program this year are members of The Verrazano School’s third graduating class, and members of the Class of 2012 were accepted into the program as incoming freshmen or as transfer students. 

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The Verrazano School serves all majors, and Verrazano students benefit from smaller class sizes and priority registration, additional support from faculty, scholarship opportunities for study abroad and research, and personalized advisement and career and graduate school preparation.

The Verrazano School also offers its exceptional, highly motivated students added assistance and guidance in pursuit of internships, research, and community service opportunities. However, none of that would matter if the students themselves were not motivated to make their experience on campus a memorable one.

“We’re privileged to work with so many wonderful students, and this year’s graduating class is no exception,” said Katie Geschwendt, Coordinator of The Verrazano School. “As members of The Verrazano School, students have the opportunity to take advantage of the best that CSI has to offer while being supported throughout the undergraduate experience. Students in the Class of 2012 certainly utilized their opportunities well and made the most of their time here.”

Many of this year’s graduates studied abroad during their undergraduate careers, and some of them even studied internationally more than once. Destinations included China, England, France, Ireland, Italy, Japan, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Graduates also remained active locally by participating in internships at organizations including the Northfield Community Local Development Corporation, the CSI Women’s Center, African Burial Ground, and the Snug Harbor Cultural Center, to name a few. 

“Being a part of The Verrazano School has really been the highlight of my time at CSI,” said Deryn Cro, a Verrazano student who graduated cum laude with majors in History and English Literature. “People familiar with the program know Verrazano students can be counted on to work hard.”

Verrazano students strive for success, and Cro joins a significant number of Verrazano graduates who will pursue master’s degrees at CSI as well as at other universities nationwide.  This year’s CSI Valedictorian, Irvin Ibarguen, a Verrazano student and History major, will be attending Harvard University to earn a PhD in History. 

Other Verrazano graduates are pursuing career opportunities at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, New Vanderbilt Rehabilitation and Care Center, and the New York City Council among others.

“The myriad Verrazano events and workshops helped to broaden my horizon and prepare me for post-college life,” said Joseph Marcellino, a summa cum laude graduate with a degree in Music. “The Verrazano School at CSI has given me the confidence and tools to succeed not only in my career, but in life overall.”      

“Our students have sought to make the most of their time at CSI through internships, community service, and study-abroad,” said Dr. Patricia Brooks, Interim Director of The Verrazano School, during her opening remarks. “They have played a key role in shaping The Verrazano School by sharing their ideas and vision for the program.”

As Dr. Brooks extended her gratitude toward the Verrazano students who went above and beyond during their years at CSI, there were many attendees who wanted to thank Dr. Brooks for her efforts in serving as the Director for the 2012 class. “We are grateful to Dr. Brooks for her leadership as Interim Director of the Verrazano School for the 2011-2012 academic year,” said Geschwendt. “Her dedication to the students and to the success of the program truly helped make this past year a productive and enjoyable one.”

The dessert reception, catered by Jodi Merendino and her staff, kept with the Verrazano tradition of including an assortment of sumptuous, homemade miniature pies with the Verrazano “V” on top. The reception offered an opportunity for students to celebrate with their families and friends, professors, and CSI administrators and alumni. Dr. Charles Liu, the Verrazano Director, even returned from his sabbatical to reprise his role as musician for the evening. 

“This year’s Convocation was a celebration of the achievements of the Verrazano students and a testimony to the quality of education that The Verrazano School provides,” said Dr. Deborah Vess, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Studies and Academic Programs. “Verrazano students emerge from their programs ready to be leaders of tomorrow in research, service, and other areas.”

As the reception came to a close, professors and students alike seemed unwilling to say goodbye, many of them lingering even as the event was breaking up. “It is always hard to see our students leave CSI,” said Dr. Vess, “but we are excited about what their futures hold.”  If the efforts of the Verrazano students during their careers at CSI are any indication, the future of this graduating class should be very bright.