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SUNY Plattsburgh Graduates Off to a Good Start

Morgan Brooks

Photo of Morgan Brooks

  • Hometown: Clifton Park, NY
  • High School: Shenendehowa HS
  • Majors: Accounting and Business
  • Graduated: May 2010
  • Activities/Clubs you were involved in: Honors Program, Member of Honors Council, Tutor, Tour Guide
  • Awards you won: Presidential Scholarship, NYSSCPA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Accounting

Current Employer/Position: Experienced Staff Accountant at DeJoy, Knauf & Blood, LLP. in Rochester, NY.

What are your responsibilities at DKB as a Staff Accountant? I am a member of DKB’s personal tax team and I meet our clients’ income tax needs whether they relate to compliance or consulting. DKB has a widely varied client base comprised of individuals, businesses, and fiduciaries - each with unique tax situations. I am lucky in that I’m involved in a little bit of everything! However, my primary area of focus is in international issues including expatriate taxation, research in foreign income complexities, and other multi-national issues.

Have you had a noteworthy experience/accomplishment during your time at DKB? DKB encourages their employees to do work-related research. Recently, I gave a presentation on my research topics and a week later, one of the partners approached me and asked me how my research would translate to one of his client’s issues. In that moment, I realized that I was becoming an expert before I even hit my one year mark!

How did Plattsburgh prepare you for your current job? The accounting program in the School of Business and Economics has a diversified list of courses. I was able to meet the accounting course requirements for the CPA exam in four years of academic study and without a master’s degree! I did have to take extra business and liberal arts courses to reach the 150 credit hour requirement, but I still did it in four years and had time to also enjoy extracurricular life!

Why did you choose SUNY Plattsburgh? I received a lot of literature from various colleges - huge, colorful packages with splashy stories. SUNY Plattsburgh sent me a postcard sized pamphlet. I unfolded it, and it was a map of campus with all of the dining locations highlighted. I assumed that if a college had a good enough sense of humor to entice students with yummy food, I would like their style! And you know what? When I visited the campus, listened to the tour guide’s stories, and read about the academic programs - I knew I was right!

What types of hands-on experiences did you have as a Plattsburgh student? I participated in a Co-op with IBM in Westchester County. I worked full-time at the corporate headquarters doing the job of a “real-life” accountant. I did this in my sophomore year and learned two very important lessons: 1. I truly love accounting and 2. I truly hate private accounting. Without that experience, I probably wouldn’t have pursued a career in public accounting, which is where I am now and is exactly what I want to do!

What did you most enjoy at SUNY Plattsburgh? My best memories will always be of the Honors Program. The Honors Center was more than just a place to hang out, but a place to share ideas and perspectives vastly different from my own. I learned so much from sharing stories and wisdom with my classmates. I learned how to argue without frustration and dig deeper into my opinions before responding with gut reactions. I also began to understand what I believed to be true and why and learned to speak to others with poise and humbleness. Most of all, I learned that when you share your knowledge with others, you build bonds that never break.

What would you say to a prospective student about what they can expect if they attend SUNY Plattsburgh? I entered SUNY Plattsburgh as an unsure theatre major with no concrete plans. I left SUNY Plattsburgh with a career in accounting and a bright future. SUNY Plattsburgh provides students with the opportunities and the flexibility to spread their wings and explore their potential.  It is a place where, if you have the drive, you will find doors opening for you in places you never expected. Right now, you may not know where you want to end up (I sure didn’t), but Plattsburgh will help you figure it out and take you places you never expected.

What are your future plans? Where do you see yourself in five years? I want to be in a supervisory position where I get to work with new staff people. Public accounting is a tough career – there are long hours, deadlines, and a lot of pressure. My first year was hard, but I had a great mentor who helped me deal with tough situations. I know my firm has a solid client base and I’ll be doing interesting work no matter what. What will make it special will be watching the new staff people grow to their potential. When I’m partner some day, I want to see people I’ve mentored joining me.

Michael Freedberg

Photo of Michael Freedberg

  • Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
  • Major: Psychology
  • Minor: Chemistry
  • Graduated: May 2011
  • Activities you were involved in: I volunteered regularly at the North Country Regional Traumatic Brain Injury Center (located on Plattsburgh’s campus) with Dr. Jeanne Ryan.
  • Awards you won: Redcay Research Apprenticeship Award, Redcay Award for Excellence in Behavioral Sciences, Award for Academic Excellence in Psychology   

Current Graduate School/Program: The University of Iowa’s Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program (Ph.D.)

What are your responsibilities/involvements in the neuroscience program at the University of Iowa? I am currently rotating through several labs in order to get a feel for the different laboratories and faculty here. I have aspirations of becoming a full-time member of Dr. Eliot Hazeltine’s cognitive neuropsychology lab, which primarily studies task representation and response selection. I am also taking classes in Neuropsychology, Fundamentals of Neurobiology, and Medical Neuroscience. These classes are intense, but incredibly interesting! This is all supplemented with 20 hours per week spent in my lab rotations and two cognitive neuroscience meetings as well as a seminar every week where faculty and students discuss their research.

Have you had a noteworthy experience/accomplishment in your Ph.D. program thus far? As part of the neuroscience department at the University of Iowa, we get to participate in the Society for Neuroscience’s annual meeting every year. This year, we traveled to Washington DC where I was able to see the research of thousands of investigators. Some of the talks I was able to attend included work on reward circuitry and on the basal ganglia, which has been a great way to enhance my studies.

How did Plattsburgh prepare you for your graduate program? Plattsburgh’s psychology, chemistry and biology programs all provided me with a great foundation for the work I do at the University of Iowa. Aside from being extremely helpful with most of my class work, the research foundation I established at Plattsburgh from working with Dr. Ryan gave me a great hypothesis-driven mentality for doing my own research for my Ph.D.

Why did you choose SUNY Plattsburgh? After hearing so many great things about SUNY Plattsburgh from my friend Andy Sokol (who recently graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh with a master’s degree in Education), I decided to look into their psychology program. Psychology has been a long-standing interest of mine and I was even more interested after looking into Plattsburgh’s program. Ultimately, I am extremely happy I decided to attend!

What types of projects and/or hands-on experience did you participate in as a Plattsburgh student? I had the opportunity to work as a Teaching Assistant for Dr. Braje and Dr. Ryan. I also performed two years of research under Dr. Ryan and traveled to Atlanta, Georgia for the 37th Annual International Neuropsychological Society meeting where I presented research that Dr. Ryan allowed me to work on as a student.

What did you most enjoy at SUNY Plattsburgh? The most enjoyable part of SUNY Plattsburgh was the faculty. I feel like I was able to take part in so many different opportunities that might not have been possible at another university.  Dr. Jeanne Ryan was incredibly helpful in guiding my interests and my pathway to where I am right now. She always had the time to help me and made opportunities for me to broaden my knowledge of psychology. Drs. Braje, Dunham, and Elwess were also very important parts of my growth at SUNY Plattsburgh.

What would you say to a prospective student about what they can expect if they attend SUNY Plattsburgh? I would let them know that they can expect the most out the faculty as well as a great overall environment for learning.  There are plenty of open doors at SUNY Plattsburgh, which can lead to some great chances to expand your knowledge of your particular field.  I always felt encouraged to participate in extra-curricular programs and opportunities and I think this is where Plattsburgh stands out from many other colleges. They can also expect plenty of great peers to work with.  I was able to meet so many wonderful people during my time at Plattsburgh.

What are your future plans? Where do you see yourself in five years? I hope to acquire a post-doctoral position after completing my neuroscience training at Iowa. Ultimately, I would like to be able to obtain a faculty position at a university in order to teach as well as conduct research.  I have a very deep interest in psychology/neuroscience and I would be lucky to be able to pass on that knowledge to other passionate students in the field.

Christine Pawlowicz

Photo of Christine Pawlowicz

  • Hometown: Goshen, New York
  • High School: Goshen Central High School
  • Major: Childhood/Special Education (grades 1-6)
  • Graduated: May 2011
  • Activities/Clubs you were involved in: Dance Corps, Resident Assistant, Relay for Life, College Theatre Association
  • Awards you won: Commencement Speaker for spring 2011, Kappa Delta Pi (Education Honor Society), Phi Kappa Phi (Academic Excellence Honor Society), Omicron Delta Kappa (National Leadership Honor Society)

Current Employer/Position: ESL Teacher at Arno Elementary School in the Republic of the Marshall Islands through the WorldTeach program.

What are your responsibilities as a teacher at Arno Elementary? Currently, I teach students from kindergarten to eighth grade and prepare students for their high school entrance exam. Most of the Marshall Islands only have elementary schools, so this will give them the chance to further their education off the island. I also provide teacher training and English lessons to the school's teachers (since the main island language is Marshallese). During this time, I am also working toward a TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certificate and will be involved with the pilot program “One Laptop per Child”.

Have you had a noteworthy experience during your time in the Marshall Islands? Everything in the Marshall Islands is noteworthy, because it is an environment and culture so different from my own. The Marshall Islands are a developing country and most of the islands are without Internet, cell phone/telephone service, electricity, and running water (although we are lucky enough to have solar power). Learning Marshallese and integrating into the culture has been such an eye opening experience in and of itself!

How did Plattsburgh prepare you for your current job? Without the teacher training SUNY Plattsburgh provided, I would have no idea what to do here in the Marshall Islands and I doubt I would have made it into the WorldTeach program. I set my sights on teaching in the Marshall Islands my second semester at SUNY Plattsburgh and nearly three years later, it is a reality. SUNY Plattsburgh gave me the skills and confidence I needed to live my dream!

Why did you choose SUNY Plattsburgh? SUNY Plattsburgh had a dual certification program I could find nowhere else. Also, I came to Plattsburgh as a transfer student.  Since Plattsburgh is a SUNY school, I knew the credits I earned at my previous school would transfer seamlessly. The student body and teacher to student ratio reassured me I would be receiving valued attention from professors and I sensed that Plattsburgh had a strong community.

What types of hands-on experiences did you have as a Plattsburgh student? Completing my student teaching was one of the best experiences of my life. Through SUNY Plattsburgh, I was able to live and teach in NYC, which was one of my dreams. Additionally, I was able to organize a science explorations field trip with the help of Karen Larkin (instructor) and Kappa Delta Pi, the education honor society. Elementary students from local schools came to SUNY Plattsburgh for the day to participate in science activities about the environment and body. On a different note, I am proud of choreographing one show in Dance Corps and performing in two theatre productions during my time on campus.

What did you most enjoy at SUNY Plattsburgh? How much I grew as an individual! I entered SUNY Plattsburgh as a self-proclaimed average student and left an honors student giving the commencement speech at graduation. The environment was so conducive to emotional and intellectual growth - from the housing, to the professors, to the student body - that it's impossible not to leave a changed person.

What would you tell a prospective student to expect if they decided to attend SUNY Plattsburgh? Expect to have professors who care about your education and your success. Expect to stay in touch with those professors semester after semester and year after year! Expect to find at least one organization on campus to which you will become a member of their community. Expect to be comfortable living here, with the support of people who want to make sure you succeed. Expect to change socially, emotionally, and intellectually. Expect to have hard times that will pave the way for you. Expect to be cold. Expect to find everything you're looking for in a college experience!

What are your future plans? Where do you see yourself in five years? In five years, I plan to have graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh (again), but this time with my master’s degree in education. I plan to move to New York City and work there as a teacher during the school year. During the summers, I hope to explore international volunteer teaching opportunities in countries all over the world, with each summer leading me to a different country. While I will never live long enough to teach in every country, it is my hope to come as close as possible!

Michael Riley

Photo of Michael Riley and Jessica Light '07

  • Hometown: Niskayuna, NY
  • Major: Biology
    Minor: Chemistry
  • Activities/Clubs you were involved in: Member of the  Phi Kappa Phi Academic Honor Society and Tutor in the Claude J. Clarke Learning Center
    Awards you won: Presidential Award for Student Excellence, Sankalchand Devjibai Sangvhi Scholarship, Paul and Alice Krueger Scholarship, Academic Excellence Scholarship
    Former Graduate School and Program: Received a Master’s degree from Cornell University in Neurobiology and Behavior

Current job title and place of employment/internship: Clinical Neurophysiologist at Surgical Monitoring Associates.

What are your responsibilities/involvements at your current job/internship/graduate school? I am responsible for monitoring brain and spinal cord function during surgeries where there is a high risk of injury to the nervous system. My role in the operating room includes placing electrodes in and on the patient, connecting those electrodes to specialized equipment, and using computer software to run electrophysiological tests on the nervous system throughout the surgical procedure. Changes in the integrity of neural structures usually present in a measurable way before there is permanent damage. If such a change is detected, I am responsible for communicating with the rest of the surgical team so that the cause of the injury can be determined and resolved.

Have you had a noteworthy experience/accomplishment at your current position? What was it? I was recently monitoring surgery on an infant with a tethered spinal cord and the gravity of this job really hit me. In this surgery, I played an integral role in the progression of the procedure. Together with the surgeon, we tested responses from nerves at the end of the spinal cord to determine where it was safe to cut. After identifying non-neural tissue, the surgeon could then untether the cord without the risk of damaging any of the nerves. It was an amazing experience to help ensure that this young girl’s life wouldn’t be drastically altered by a single misplaced snip.

Why did you choose SUNY Plattsburgh? When I applied to SUNY Plattsburgh, it was because I originally intended to major in mechanical engineering and their program was highly rated. However, I soon discovered that their biology curriculum also had a lot to offer and was a better fit for me. In conjuction with the overall affordability and opportunities for additional scholarships – the choice was a no-brainer. I’m also an avid skier, snowboarder, and hiker so the location was a great bonus!

What did you most enjoy at SUNY Plattsburgh? Meeting my wife, formerly Miss Jessica Light, a Broadcast Journalism major from the class of 2007! Downtown Plattsburgh will always hold a special place in my heart, as it was the first scene in our love story. Really, the atmosphere at SUNY Plattsburgh is great. The campus is full of fun-loving students that will make your time there a great one. Also, the professors are really willing to become your mentors. I still talk with some of my closest mentors today. I greatly appreciated the resources that were available to me as a student. I found my professors and mentors to be extremely helpful whenever I approached them.

What types of hands-on experiences did you have as a student? I had the amazing opportunity to participate in a 15 credit, full semester research course during my junior year. I didn’t take any other classes that semester, focusing solely on a cell biology research project. It was great preparation for graduate research, and a unique experience. All of my colleagues in graduate school were impressed with this opportunity, having never been offered that sort of research program at their own schools.

How did Plattsburgh prepare you for your current job? The courses I enrolled in at SUNY Plattsburgh definitely gave me a sound knowledge of the fundamentals needed to be successful in biology and neuroscience.  However, many of the courses I took also taught me how to be a good critical thinker. Both the courses related to my major, as well as many of the electives I took were thought-provoking and left me well-prepared for a career in the real world. Additionally, I had the opportunity to be a teaching assistant in one of my favorite courses, and I also landed an internship at a major pharmaceutical company the summer before my junior year. All of these experiences helped to give me the experience and the confidence I needed to succeed after college.

What would you say to a prospective student about what they can expect if they attend SUNY Plattsburgh? You can expect a great education at a low cost!

What are your future plans? Where do you see yourself in five years? I plan to continue in the field of intraoperative neuromonitoring. In five years, I see myself as a supervisor at one of the Philadelphia-area hospitals, managing a team of clinical neurophysiologists and performing clinical research in order to move the field of neuromonitoring forward.

Susan Karlik

Photo of Susan Karlik

  • Hometown: Briarcliff Manor, NY
  • Major: TV-Video Production
  • Activities/Clubs you were involved in: PSTV (Plattsburgh State Television), National Broadcasting Society, Lambda Pi Eta (Communications Honor Society)

Current job title and place of employment/internship: Associate Producer for NBC Universal’s Maury.

What are your responsibilities/involvements at Maury? Some of my responsibilities include pitching stories and ideas; booking and pre-interviewing weekly guests;  and coordinating travel arrangements, paternity tests and lie detector tests.  On show day, I prepare the guests backstage to be with the host, Maury Povich.

Have you had a noteworthy experience/accomplishment at your current position? What was it? I was promoted from Production Assistant to Associate Producer after just one year! My name is in the credits for every episode!

Why did you choose SUNY Plattsburgh? I heard about its amazing TV Production program. I was impressed by the equipment I would be using and knew immediately that I wanted to be a part of Plattsburgh State Television. I really liked the intimate setting of the campus and classroom sizes were not too large, so teachers really got to develop a relationship with the students. I knew that the welcoming atmosphere and the small classes were right for me.

What did you most enjoy at SUNY Plattsburgh? I most enjoyed the group of students I became friends with while participating in PSTV, the student-run TV channel and the National Broadcasting Society (NBS). I continue the friendship with many of those students to this day and plan on staying in touch with them in the future.  Through experiences like visiting Dallas with NBS and even just working on projects in Yokum Hall, you truly start to feel at home while you are at school.

What types of hands-on experiences did you have as a student? PSTV was very hands-on! I got my start as a camera operator for the hockey games and it snowballed from there. I then hosted the game show, Smarty Pants; appeared as a regular in Writer’s Block; became producer of The News Briefs; and eventually was voted in as the Executive Producer of PSTV. I also created my own show, “Burghy’s Nest” which covered local campus events. Taking classes like Basic Planning and Production for TV and Television Studio Production through your major allows you to gain confidence both in front and behind the camera.

How did Plattsburgh prepare you for your current job? I am faced with strict deadlines everyday! The homework assignments, projects, and deadlines at PSTV definitely helped prepare me to meet those same kinds of time constraints in the real world.

What would you say to a prospective student about what they can expect if they attend SUNY Plattsburgh? Come in with an open mind - what you make of it is up to you. There are a variety of social and activity-based clubs. There are a ton of professors with industry experience.  Pick everyone’s brain! You can make lifetime connections and friends.

What are your future plans? Where do you see yourself in five years? I plan on continuing my career in television. With hard work and determination, I hope to be a television producer within five years.


Contact Information

The Admissions Office is located on the 10th floor of the Kehoe Building.

Phone: (518) 564-2040
Toll-free: (888) 673-0012
Fax: (518) 564-2045
Email: [email protected]

Mailing Address:
SUNY Plattsburgh
101 Broad Street
Plattsburgh, NY 12901