After accepting their degrees during the University’s Winter Commencement ceremony, graduates reflected on what they have learned and their favorite experiences at the University, and look to the future.
December 18, 2019
By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications
From the first time she visited campus, Kayleigh Kish ’20 says she knew the University of New Haven would be a perfect fit.
“Being surrounded by a large student veteran population on campus made coming to the University of New Haven a smooth transition from active duty,” said Kish, who enlisted in the U.S. Air Force Reserve in 2012 and will be going on her first overseas deployment this summer. “The small campus provided a sense of community and a diverse environment.”
Hired as a police officer by the city of Milford during her senior year, Kish attended the police academy while completing her degree. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling.
Kish, who majored in criminal justice, was among the more than 700 undergraduate and graduate students who were awarded their degrees during the University’s Winter Commencement ceremony on December 15.
“My coursework, the opportunities I have had, and my sorority, Alpha Sigma Kappa - Women in Technical Studies enabled me to take positions of leadership and step outside my comfort zone,” said Hoschar, who plans to soon travel to Australia to conduct research. “I have grown as a person, and I feel prepared for next steps in my life.”
One of Hoschar’s favorite memories of her time as a Charger was planning a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) event with Alpha Sigma Kappa for a local group of girl scouts.
“The girls had so much fun, and they asked to do it again,” said Hoschar, who plans to pursue a master’s degree in biomedical sciences, and, eventually, her doctorate. “Through my sorority, I was able to work with many other organizations on and off-campus, and we helped to create a 'home' feeling on campus.”
Carolyn Olortegui ’20, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science, participated in internships in the office of State Representative Dorinda Borer’s reelection campaign and in the Office of Connecticut State Treasurer Shawn Wooden.
“The Myatt Center has been a second home for me at the University,” said Olortegui, who recently earned an internship in the district office of Connecticut Congresswoman Jahana Hayes. “Director Juan Hernandez has been an incredible resource. The Myatt Center is one of the reasons I became involved on campus, and my involvement with the Center has been one of the highlights of my time as a student.”
Andrew Rigoli ’20, ’22 M.S. is a veteran who served in the United States Marine Corps. After serving as a legal service specialist and working closely with the Naval Criminal Investigative Services, he got an inside look at the civilian side of the criminal justice field as a student while interning with the Seymour, Conn. Police Department. Now a corporate paralegal for Frontier Communications, he plans to pursue opportunities working for the government.
“My professors encouraged me to strive for more, to ask the uncomfortable questions, to separate myself from fact and opinion, and, most importantly, to listen – even when I might have disagreed with what someone was saying,” he said. “At the University, I was challenged every step of the way, but with the help of my fellow veterans, staff, and professors, I felt – and still feel – unstoppable.”
Meghan Mahar ’20, who majored in business management, says her time as a Charger taught her how to be resilient. Her involvement with The Charger Bulletin and the Student Committee for Programming Events (SCOPE) enabled her to combine her love of music with her interest in management. She earned music marketing internships at Live Nation, Atlantic Records, and Paradigm Talent Agency.
A member of the University’s Honors program, she says one of her favorite memories as a student was cohosting Comedy Week, an event that annually brings the University community together.
“I hosted viral comedian Trevor Wallace in the German Club,” says Mahar. “It was filled to capacity with students, and the energy was electric. Everyone waited for hours to get a seat and I was so excited to see students from all parts of campus attending the show.”