The Charger Blog

University Celebrates New Alumni to Receive Advanced Degrees

The University of New Haven recognized the newest graduates to have earned master's and doctoral degrees during three ceremonies as part of its 2024 Commencement. The new alumni, who hail from around the globe, are excited to begin fulfilling careers or to continue their education.

May 16, 2024

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

New graduates celebrate at the University of New Haven
New graduates celebrate at the University of New Haven.

For Jasmine Jathan '24 M.S., serving as a research assistant for the University's Lyme Disease and Breast Cancer Research Lab was more than an opportunity to hone her research skills. It was work that was fulfilling and enabled her to conduct impactful research exploring the connection between the bacteria that cause Lyme disease and breast cancer.

Jathan represented the lab at a variety of breast cancer awareness events, from a "pink out" football game on campus to a gala for the Pink Clover Foundation, an organization founded by University benefactor Sam Sorbello, held in New Jersey.

For Jathan, being a Charger also meant being part of a community. Head of logistics and hospitality for the University's Indian Student Council, she helped host a variety of fun events, such as a Diwali celebration, for her fellow Chargers. A new graduate of the University's cellular and molecular biology graduate program, Jathan reflected on the many exciting and educational opportunities she had as a Charger.

Jasmine Jathan ’24 M.S. in the laboratory.
Jasmine Jathan ’24 M.S. in the laboratory.

"As an international student, I found a diverse community of students and faculty at the University that provided ample networking opportunities to build connections with my peers and professors," she said. "During the past two years, working as a lab research student and working on my thesis, I have developed resilience and discipline, which have contributed to my career path, in addition to the knowledge I gained from my classes."

'The best choice'

Jathan was among the 3,500 students (including 2,300 who accepted master's and doctoral degrees) who accepted their degrees during the University's 2024 Commencement, comprising four ceremonies over three days. The ceremonies were held on campus, drawing more than 12,000 guests.

Nicolas Cortes Arango '24 M.S. was among those who accepted master's degrees in sport management. He, too, immersed himself in research, leveraging his fluency in Spanish as he and his faculty mentor Ceyda Mumcu, Ph.D., examined how disciplines such as marketing, sociology, and behavioral economics intersect in the sports industry.

Nicolas Cortes Arango ’24 M.S.
Nicolas Cortes Arango ’24 M.S., a new sport management grad.

As an intern for CT Sports Management Group, a sports organization that runs sporting events across the state every summer, he gained experience working with a variety of sports, from pickleball to soccer. He also earned a second master's degree in soccer data analytics from a European institution while earning a license with the United States Soccer Federation. He plans to move to the Pacific Northwest to work for the Seattle Celtic soccer club.

"Choosing the University of New Haven as my graduate education institution proved to be the best choice," said Cortes Arango, who hails from Colombia. "During my time at the University, I have broadened my knowledge in the sports industry, learned data analysis skills, and, most importantly, obtained valuable coaching practical experiences that allowed me to apply my expertise in soccer and data. I also had the opportunity to meet fantastic mentors, peers, and professors, creating valuable friendships and connections."

'Let us carry forward the lessons'

The Commencement ceremonies included speeches from U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, renowned Connecticut television journalist Ann Nyberg of WTNH-TV, and several students selected by a committee of University community members.

New graduates of the University’s School of Health Sciences.
New graduates of the University’s School of Health Sciences.

Esosa Edo-Osagie '24 MBA, addressed her fellow graduates during the Thursday afternoon ceremony for graduate students from the Pompea College of Business. She shared her own story of leaving her home country of Nigeria to pursue her degree, following in the footsteps of her cousin, who is also a Charger alum. She described finding a community at the University, despite being far away from home. She urged her fellow Chargers to make a similar leap as they begin the next chapter of their lives.

"The University of New Haven has become our comfort zone," she said. "As we graduate, we must leave this Charger community and once again face a new environment. But the amazing thing about leaving our comfort zone is that we take with us knowledge, wisdom, and the wealth of our experiences. As we stand on the brink of our future, let us carry forward the lessons of our journey."

'You can find your purpose'
Camryn Debose ’24 M.A.
Camryn Debose ’24 M.A. speaks to the Charger community.

Camryn Debose '24 M.A., who earned a master's degree in clinical mental health counseling, discussed her own journey, as well as her passions for basketball, her field, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. She spoke at the Friday morning ceremony for master's degree and doctoral candidates from the College of Arts and Sciences, the Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, and the School of Health Sciences.

"Choosing the University of New Haven opened up a lot of doors for me," she said. "That included developing into a leader on the women's basketball team, becoming Northeast-10 woman of the year, and also developing into a leader off the court where I use my voice to speak on matters relating to my Black community and mental health."

For Ololade Odunsi '24 M.S., Commencement truly did represent a new beginning. Odunsi, who accepted her master's degree in cybersecurity during the Friday afternoon ceremony for master's degree candidates in the Tagliatella College of Engineering, shared that she did not have a background in information technology. She had decided to make a career change, shifting from working as a business analyst to cybersecurity. She used her own story to inspire her fellow graduates, urging them to find their purpose.

"At age 30, I have pivoted," Odunsi explained. "Despite what I thought was a disadvantage, I worked hard, overcame my fears, and became a teaching assistant and student tutor. You can find your purpose and change careers at any age with proper planning and conviction."

'My life has changed for the better'
Jasmine Sawangsangsai ’24 M.S. and Nicole Robbins
Jasmine Sawangsangsai '24 M.S., a proud Charger (left), and Nicole Robbins '24 M.S.

Many new graduates are already charged up about what they will do next, whether that means beginning a new position or a new educational journey. Jasmine Sawangsangsai '24 M.S., who accepted her master's degree in criminal justice, plans to continue her education.

"My time at the University of New Haven has assisted me in preparing for success by opening new opportunities to network," she said. "The University has a close relationship with many criminal justice professionals."

Nicole Robbins '24 M.S. earned a master's degree in speech-language pathology. She is excited to begin a new clinical fellowship in speech-language pathology (CF-SLP) with Birth to Three. She's always had a passion for early intervention work, and when she completed her internship with Birth to Three, she knew she wanted to continue to work with this young population. She can't wait to begin her career in the field of speech-language pathology.

"The support I have received from my professors and supervisors, as well as the positive feedback I've received from clients has demonstrated that the University of New Haven has prepared me for future success," she said. "My life has changed for the better, and I am very excited for the future. I'm forever grateful I was accepted into the Speech-Language Pathology program."