We shine a spotlight on alumni students who have used their CW education for success!
We shine a spotlight on alumni students who have used their CW education for success!
You will find thousands of alumni working in every field imaginable, enhancing their world around them every day. Take a look at what some CW alumni are working on now and some of their thoughts.
Congratulations to the 2022 Alumni Achievement Award recipient, Danielle Settembre, CW Class of 2015
Danielle is the owner and founder of the innovative concept Hair Saloon & Café in Scarsdale, New York. The first of its kind in Westchester County as a full-service salon, spa, café, and full liquor bar. After signing her lease, COVID hit and while it may have delayed her opening, it did not diminish her spirit. Danielle forged ahead and her grand opening was in October of 2020.
Danielle trained at L’Oréal academy in Paris, has worked alongside French celebrity stylist Odile Gilbert and is an ambassador for the global hair care product line, Kerastase.
Danielle has worked with some of the biggest names in fashion backstage during New York City and Paris fashion week where she mastered precision cutting and color techniques on runway models. With years of extensive experience, Danielle built up her clientele working in New York at Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa.
In addition to hair, she has always had a love for hospitality. Her family-owned restaurant inspired her to merge the concept of food and beverage with a full-service salon experience. Danielle is a fierce supporter of female-owned businesses and welcomes all to experience the concept that she so passionately built.
Hair Saloon and Café was named Best of Westchester salon in 2020. Most recently, Danielle was named to Westchester’s 914 Inc Class of 2022 Wunderkinds; as one of the savviest businesswoman in Westchester under the age of 35.
Danielle’s advice to the CW Class of 2022 is, “never give up on your dreams even though it may seem hard to get there it will be worth it in the end. You can do anything you put your mind to. Surround yourself with positive and supportive people and you will get there sooner than you know it!”
For all her perseverance and determination, please join us in congratulating Danielle Settembre for earning The College of Westchester’s 2022 Alumni Achievement Award.
Congratulations to the 2021 Alumni Achievement Award recipient,
Mary Magdalene Anyansi, CW Class of 2013
Mary Magdalene graduated magna cum laude with her online Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a focus in Project Management and Finance in 2013. She was one of the first cohorts of the Online Division. She graduated with BBA honors, was the recipient of the Dr. Milton E. Cagan Memorial Award, and a member of Sigma Beta Delta.
In 2011, Mary Magdalene graduated Summa Cum Laude with her Associates degree in Accounting and was also the recipient of The College of Westchester Charitable Foundation Scholarship Award, and a member of Phi Theta Kappa.
Mary has been a leader within the finance industry with 14 plus years of increasingly responsible experience in delivering maximum value through skilled financial, operational, and administrative leadership by collaborating with stakeholders to establish strategy and drive business decisions. Mary is a subject matter expert in finance applications and system implementation. She is known for defining and developing effective and workable framework to manage and improve all organizational functions and corporate change agenda and transformation.
Mary’s career highlights include:
• Orchestrating the rollout of a new travel and expense (T&E) system for +10,000 employees in the UK, US, and Canada.
• She developed a “World Class AP Department,” according to her Global CFO, by commanding department reorganization and overseeing talent acquisition to increase team skillet and deliver top customer service.
• She orchestrated and created new company policies that enabled her team to achieve 100% vendor compliance and streamlined efficient processes daily.
• And so much more.
After graduating CW, Mary has obtained a Certificate in Project Management Essentials from Pace University, a Certificate in Accounts Payable Manager from the Institute of Finance and Management, and is currently pursuing her M.M.G.T, Strategic Management and Executive Leadership from Penn State, World Campus.
Mary Magdalene is a member of the Institute of Financial Management, the Project Management Institute, and The Global Business Travel Association. She has also received the Distinguished Performance Award and Employee of the Year award from her employers.
“Mary has said CW has provided her with a means to juggle being a full time mom, employee and student with flexibility in her classes, a personal success coach who always counsels her in every way possible…Her professors were always willing to work with her, with all the necessary resources needed to attain success.”
Mary Magdalene currently resides in Pennsylvania with her two children ages 14 and 6. Also in her “kid pack” are mischievous chocolate lab, Loki age 1, and feisty American short hair tabby, Francine who is 12. When not working, Mary Magdalene enjoys time with her family and traveling.
She is proud and honored for this recognition and shares it humbly with her fellow CW graduates and all faculty. She is grateful to her father for always pushing her to be her best self, to her best friends Daisy and Susan for their unwavering support and love through the years, and to her daughters for being her inspiration and drive each day.
For all her perseverance and determination, please join me in congratulating Mary Magdalene O. Anyansi for earning The College of Westchester’s 2021 Alumni Achievement Award.
Congratulations to the 2020 Alumni Achievement Award recipient, Damara Wright, CW Class of 2016
Damara is a member of Phi Theta Kappa and graduated in 2016 with Magna Cum Laude honors with her associate degree in Computer Network Administration. She plans on continuing her education in Cyber Security. As a student at The College of Westchester, Damara was a work-study for the library and a member of the PC Doctors under the direction of Dr. Grace Bonanno.
After graduating CW, Damara used the education and hands-on experience obtained to excel in her career. In the past 3 years, she have leveled up 3 times. Damara currently works for the Department of Juvenile Justice in South Carolina. Her responsibilities and work duties are providing advance customer service and technical support to end users for hardware and software, password protection and resets, installing new and existing software, assist users with access to systems, communicate and translate technical information to non-technical users, assist with set up of new equipment, run updates, and troubleshooting computer issues remotely.
Damara is also co-owner of Wright Away Travel, an Independent Travel Agency where she is responsible for the website design, website security, troubleshooting, and installing and updating software from suppliers.
In her spare time, Damara is a member of 3MC Car Club which participates in Trunk or Treat for an underprivileged neighborhood, and Toy for Tots. She strongly believes that the education She received from CW helped her to excel in my career.
For all her perseverance and determination, join us in congratulating Damara Wright for earning The College of Westchester’s 2020 Alumni Achievement Award.
We would like to recognize those alumni who have submitted their bios for this year’s award. We are so proud of our Warriors and their accomplishments! Click here to read their bios.
Confidence and Wonder
Mario Bravo Jr., 2019 Day College Student Speaker
The college community and academics make CW stand for more than just The College of Westchester. To me, CW stands for confidence and wonder, two things that I have gained through my experience as a student. The first thing that CW gave me was confidence. The knowledge that I gained has given me the confidence to enter the real world. CW has given me the confidence to stand up here and speak to you all, today. CW has provided me all the tools I need to enter the real world, but more importantly CW has given me the confidence that I am ready. I am ready to present in front of a company my ideas. I am ready to be a part of a work team. I am ready to start the next chapter of my life. I would not be as ready for the future as I am today if it were not for the confidence given to me through CW.
The second thing that CW has given me is wonder. I have learned so much from my professors over my three years. I have learned the essentials needed to be successful in business. But what I believe to be the most valuable lesson I learned from CW was that there is always more to learn. I have learned that we are not entering the real world filled with all of the knowledge we can possibly know, but that we are starting at a clean slate, and that the knowledge that we have currently is only the basis for what we can know at the end of our careers. CW has given me the drive to continue to learn, and to continue to grow and develop new ideas. The wonder that CW provided me drives me to discover the unknown, and remember that there is always more to learn and discover, both about ourselves, and the world around us.
After 3 years of hard work, perseverance and determination, we are finally here. This journey will not be easy, but the confidence and wonder that CW has given you will guide you. I hope that wherever you end up, you will find yourself in a loving community. But no matter what we do or where we go, we will always be a part of the CW family. Here’s to the graduating class of 2019!!!
Internship Turned into Career
Brittany Morris, 2019 Adult College Student Speaker
Before attending CW I was a stay-at-home mom of a son with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Every day I would get up for therapy sessions with him. My first night of class I had major anxiety that I would fail or drop out but, I remembered at orientation I wrote on my little goal card what I wanted to accomplish at CW and managed to accomplish every single one of my goals and more.
Through CW’s Part Time Career Fair, I was able to land an internship at Columbia University Medical Center, and I am proud to say I am the first student at the college to do so. Now I have accepted an offer to work there full time upon graduation.
Throughout my time at the college, I was always pleasantly greeted by the Security Team. When I had a personal issue I could always count on Counselor Megan to tell me to stay on track. When it came to academics Brittany and the whole Student Services team made sure my grades were on point and congratulated me on my accomplishments. Jason and Teresa in the Learning Center helped me with statistics and writing essays. My Financial Aid Advisor Melissa assisted me from the beginning to the end of my college journey. And of course the Professors like Dr. Wright, Dr. Schacht, Professor Feifer, and Professor Strange have taught me so much, and I will never forget them.
The College of Westchester has molded me into a new career driven individual. I have developed so many skills; for example leadership, public speaking, and the ability not to say “I can’t do it!”
Marcus Futrell, 2019 Student Spirit Award Recipient
For me, coming to CW has sparked the biggest growth in my life. From my first days to becoming a member of Brothers United, to becoming a member of Just Dance Crew and a member of the Caribbean Student Association, I have found myself on a wild ride at CW. With the help of many of you here today, I have been able to plan club events, represent CW by lobbying in Albany, motivate incoming students to continue on the path for their future, and finding my home away from home working closely with my supervisors in the Academics Office. And most importantly, I am proud to stand here before you today, being presented with the CW Spirit Award.
Graduates, now is the time for us to go out into the world and show them what we are made of. Whatever struggles you have gone through in the past, turn them into life lessons, turn them into trophies on your own personal shelf. Smile to yourselves every morning and remember that what you choose to do matters and will make a difference in this world.
Finally, I would like thank the people who pushed me through this very wild ride. The academic center, filled with amazing staff who have been vital to my success in this college, ensuring that I was always on top of my studies; my family, for sticking by my side making sure I knew my efforts were being noticed and how proud they were of the man I was becoming; and, especially my mother, for never giving up on me, even through every headache and gray hair I gave her, assuring that knew I was loved and was making the smart decisions that lead me here today.
The MOMentum that took 42 years to generate
Marie Russo, 2018 Adult College Student Speaker
Being a mom is supposed to be all sunshine, rainbows, and gifts, but it certainly wasn’t the case for Marie Russo over four decades ago, “I was forced to leave high school due to my pregnancy. I was given up on, thrown away, told I had ruined my life and would never amount to anything.”
Despite having everything against her, Marie kept working in several jobs while keeping the promised she had made to her mom, to complete a college degree. Marie worked as a massage therapist, esthetician, and even as a desairologist in a funeral home. Her true passion was definitely helping others and serving her community, “I believe we all have very individual unique gifts in life and my gift has always been to extend my hand to one in need and help bridge the gap from despair to hope. After exploring my options for college, I decided upon The College of Westchester. I now have been given the opportunity to be in the field that I have dreamed of entering over the years: The field of Health Care Education where I can grow and touch the lives of many in a positive way,” says Marie.
It’s never too late to aspire to earn a college degree, and Marie and her entire family celebrated this amazing and unique moment during CW’s commencement ceremony. As a student speaker, Marie concluded, “Now in a few short moments I will walk across this stage and with pride and dignity accept this degree and fulfill a promise I made to my mother 42 long years ago. It’s never too late to give up on a dream. If you believe it, you can achieve it.”
The Good Flavor of Victory
Naika Saint Preux, 2018 Day College Student Speaker
College graduation is a bittersweet moment in the life of a young adult. The excitement of embarking on a new adventure as a working professional is tempered by the sadness of parting ways with friends and, faculty, and staff who won’t soon be forgotten. But for Naika Saint Preux, her college degree has only one flavor, the good flavor of victory, “CW treated me like family since the first visit and they never stopped believing in me. They never stopped showing me what I am capable of— instead they kept shooting opportunities at me to see if I could handle it and I did. And guess what, we all did, because we are here today celebrating this day together.”
When Naika first learned English as a second language, she received a fair amount of criticism. “I struggled to overcome my fear to speak out loud because people made fun of my accent and still do today, but I know better to just ignore them. I will forever be the girl who learned English as a second language, but CW has helped me to be more comfortable in my own skin physically, mentally, and emotionally. The success we are celebrating today was conditioned by the amount of risk we were willing to take, but also by the friendship and the cultural exchanges we shared.”
Since Accounting is considered the language of business, one can say Naika obtained her bachelor’s degree fluently speaking three languages, “CW has provided us the material and the tools, and now it’s up to us to use them out there and mow down the competition. Let’s remember that it is the end of one chapter. Now get your pen ready to start the next chapter,” said Naika to the Class of 2018.
Alumnus Anthony Mormile Speaks to Students
As part of the Conversations Series Seminars, CW alumnus Anthony Mormile, Regional VP at Tompkins Mahopac Bank, spoke to students about banking, business ventures for the entrepreneur, as well as business management and administration in today’s job requirements.
With over two decades of experience in the banking industry, Anthony has been working with Tompkins Mahopac Bank as Regional VP since 2012. He is involved with the Westchester Business Council, the Westchester County Association and The Westchester Food Bank. Anthony graduated from The College of Westchester (formerly WBI) with and AAS Degree in Management and Marketing. He received this BS degree from Concordia College and has extensive training in Commercial Lending through RMA (Risk Management Association).
Alumni Summer Party
It was a Bowling Night! The CW Alumni Association sponsored the annual Alumni Summer Party at Bowlmor Lanes in White Plains. It was the perfect atmosphere to catch up with graduates, faculty, and staff. All guests enjoyed a festive reunion with delicious food, music, and of course the best CW bowling teams.
Click here to view more photos
A Retail Experience
With over 20 years of experience in the retail industry, Jose Cortez has worked for important companies in the sector including Limited Brands. Last month Jose joined JCrew’s Managing Global Sales Audit Operations. Graduated from CW (then WBI) in 1993, Cortez came back to speak to CW students about his experience in the business world. A member of the CW College Advisory Council at CW, Cortez shared with the Management Applications and Theory class, anecdotes that illustrated how competitive the retail industry is, the role of a manager, the importance of networking, and some challenges he still faces, “Get rid of hobbies that drain you and don’t help your career… and find the balance between work and family. I was a workaholic for many years, but I finally found the perfect balance,” said Cortez.
Alumni Return to CW
The Alumni Association sponsored its annual Alumni Homecoming Dinner. Graduates, faculty, staff, and current students enjoyed the return of our alumni in the Student Center with music, refreshments, dinner, and interesting conversations of how CW has changed their lives. Also, congratulations to the three happy winners of the raffle.
Giving Leadership a Helping Hand
Howard Millman’s Business Applications & Leadership class received a visit from Wade Young, a CW alumnus and founder of Right Choices, Inc. Wade received his Associate degree in Business Administration in 2002 and he currently leads Right Choices, a non-profit organization dedicated to mentoring students between the ages of 7 and 13. Wade spoke about leadership and the importance to help troubled kids become enriched and empowered, "I've been working with a lot of schools and lots of kids and I look forward to keep working with many more," said Wade.
Right Choices, Inc. was founded on the belief that “straight talk” delivering the crucial message of love and the importance of instilling strong family values are the keys to helping our youth make right life choices. Right Choices is based in Stamford, CT.
Alum Giovanny Ramirez Speaks to Class
Prof. Michael Flanagan’s Evening Writing for the Business Professions class was visited by an Alumni Ambassador recently. Giovanny Ramirez earned his BBA at CW in 2012 and currently serves as a consultant at the Reskunks Works Hedge Fund in Westport, CT. He spoke with students about the bridge between their studies and their careers, particularly about ways to create operational documents that bolster our career status.
CW Graduate Jarryed Scott Returns to CW
CW graduate Jarryed Scott returned to CW as an Alumni Ambassador recently and spoke with Prof. James McGee’s Marketing class. “Get the highest education you possibly can and network as much as you can,” said Jarryed. “You have to stand out from the rest so if everybody is getting a BA you have to go for the Master’s,” Jarryed added.
Currently serving as an Analyst Aide at Con Edison in New York City, Jarryed earned his BBA from CW in 2011 and an M.B.A. in Project Management from Walden University last August. Jarryed is currently pursuing his second master’s degree in Energy Management from New York Institute of Technology.
Alum Speaks Out to Service Industry Class
Carolyn Ashford, who earned a business degree in 2012, met with James McGee’s Service Industry class as an Alumni Ambassador recently. Currently supporting Marketing Managers at PepsiCo, Carolyn described their corporate culture as emphasizing leadership, responsibility, ethics, integrity, and diversity. Now studying in the BBA program, Carolyn extolled her education at CW as cultivating important professional qualities of self-motivation, consistency, self-discipline, courage, flexibility, and creativity.
Business Grad Returns to CW
Edward Eways, who earned his degree in Business Administration in 2012, returned to CW as an Alumni Ambassador to speak with evening BBA students about completing their internships. Ed, who currently serves in the Trump Corporation and as an award-winning community organizer in Port Chester, NY, spoke about the invaluable support and guidance he found as a CW student, the way a CW education provides a bridge to professional advancement, and the necessity to clearly envision success and be persistent in the job search process.
Medical Alum Speaks to Class
Medical Office Systems Management graduate Sheena Hutchinson returned to CW as an Alumni Ambassador recently. Speaking to Rosetta DiRentiis’ Administrative Medical Practices class, Sheena described how her studies at CW helped prepare her for her current position managing a medical office, including the skills and professional standards required to succeed. After her talk, the students engaged in a vigorous question and answer session with Sheena about her position and her career.
Students Get Real-Life Talk from Alum
Having earned her Associate degree in Business Administration in 1998 and her BBA last April, Espy spoke with the students about how they will soon experience a significant transition – either into the BBA program or the workforce – and the importance of taking responsibility for their current educational experiences. The students explored their strengths and weaknesses in time management, writing papers, and self-motivation and Espy emphasized the significance of preparing to meet the challenges of the next stage in their lives, both academically and professionally.
Business Alum Gives Workforce Knowledge to Evening BBA Students
Nancy Mendes, who earned her degree in Business Administration in 2001 and received the 2012 Alumni Achievement Award at Commencement, returned to CW as an Alumni Ambassador recently. Currently serving as the Regional Account Manager for Enterprise Learning Solutions, Nancy spoke to a cohort of Evening BBA students preparing to begin their internships about the importance of an educated workforce and her own personal transition from the classroom to corporate America.
Alum Shares her Success Story to BBA Class
Graduate Alicia Thigpen-Matthews recently returned to CW as an Alumni Ambassador. A 2007 graduate with an Associate in Business Administration, Alicia spoke to BBA students in Prof. James Magee’s Technical Writing class about how her studies at CW led to her founding and running GDI Enterprises.
Students Get Real-Life Talk from CW Digital Media Alum
Graduate Daniel Sanchez Cardenas, who earned his Associate in Digital Media in 2010, returned to CW as an Alumni Ambassador recently. Daniel spoke with Prof. Michael Grassia’s evening Studio Art class, discussing how his studies at CW prepared him for his current position as Art Director at Universal Views and Creative Director at Inlanet. The students engaged Daniel afterwards in a lively question and answer session.
CW BBA Alum Speaks to Evening Students
Graduate Michael Adebiyi returned to CW as an Alumni Ambassador recently, visiting John Strange's Evening Accounting course. Last spring Michael had attended an Entry-level Management Career Fair sponsored by Career Services which led to his current employment with the Hertz Corporation. Having earned his Associate in Accounting in 2010 and his BBA in December of 2011, Michael engaged the current students in a conversation about being assertive in the job search process and the qualities required to succeed in a managerial position.