Oh, the Places They'll Go: Class of 2019 Edition

Susquehanna University

April 26, 2019

Susquehanna University's 2019 graduates are going places.

The 575 members of this year's graduating class have pursued degrees across the School of Arts and Sciences and the Sigmund Weis School of Business. Now, they are ready to apply what they've learned to their career and life pursuits, whether their first postgraduate job or graduate school.

Senior Connects with Alumnus to Land First Job

When Melissa Barnes first won a $2,000 scholarship from T&M Associates, a New Jersey-based environmental consulting firm, she didn’t know that she would also win an alumni mentor.

It was Rebecca Neubauer ’15 who notified Barnes of her successful scholarship application. From then on, they stayed in communication. A senior earth and environmental sciences major, Barnes later won a second scholarship from the company, and Neubauer continued to coach Barnes on her résumé and job search before notifying her of an available position with the company.

“At first, Becky was someone who was mentoring me and then we built a friendship,” Barnes said. “Now that she’s a coworker, it’s neat to have that foundation.”

At T&M, Barnes will work as a staff scientist, working in the field to conduct soil and groundwater testing for government and private clients. She encourages other students to take advantage of alumni who are willing to help.

“Our alumni network is this great thing that SU has, and some schools that are larger don’t have that,” Barnes said. “If you know alums in your field or a related field, never be afraid to reach out. Take the opportunity and run with it.”  

Finance Major Headed to JP Morgan Chase

Matthew Bershefsky

Matthew Bershefsky

Finance major Matthew Bershefsky, of Scranton, Pa., is one of the first two Susquehanna students to pass the CFA Level I exam—the first step toward earning their CFA certification.

Bershefsky has already accepted a position with JP Morgan Chase, Newark, Delaware.

Bershefsky benefitted from Susquehanna’s two-year-old membership in the University Recognition Program of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute. Susquehanna is one of only two undergraduate liberal arts colleges in North America that have been accepted into the CFA Recognition program and are also accredited by the prestigious Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

“A lot of the classes we had in the business school exposed us to what was on the test,” Bershefsky said.

The CFA exam is a three-level exam that must be taken sequentially. The Level I exam is a day-long session. Its pass rate stands at only 40–50%, with most test-takers tackling the exam only after several years of work experience. The Level I pass rate for the December 2018 exam was only 45%, but Bershefsky made the cut.

“It was such a relief, knowing I wouldn’t have to do it again or at least have some time before I took the second level,” Bershefsky said.  

First-Generation American, College Student Set to Graduate

Tina Dy

Tina Dy

Tina Dy faced several challenges as she progressed toward her college graduation—challenges that separately could have discouraged another person. She is the youngest child of six born to parents who immigrated to the United States from Cambodia and is the first member of her family to graduate from college.

Dy, of Philadelphia, is a double major in strategic communications and Italian. Though her parents supported her decision to attend college, they did not have the means to support her financially. Dy has done that herself, through academic scholarships, summer jobs and a student loan.

“It’s made me more responsible about how I spend my money,” Dy said, “and that’s like a gateway for me to be responsible about other things.”

As a first-generation American and college student, Dy said she often felt out-of-place. She also has a disability—a brachial plexus injury—that has left her right arm essentially paralyzed.

Despite all of this, she has persevered.

“At Susquehanna, I gravitated toward other students of color and felt like I found a place with them,” she said. “I made a family here.”

Dy studied abroad in Italy for a semester, and is currently applying for jobs in marketing and advertising before possible attending graduate school.

“I’m a positive thinker,” Dy said. “If you let these challenges keep getting in the way, then you’re just going to be in the same spot. The way I look at it is, if I’ve made it this far with a disability, then I can make it with my financial situation and other challenges.” 

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