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Making their mark: Meet the Class of 2017

May 6, 2017
group portrait of five studentsGraduating seniors Charlisa Goodlet, Anis Kallel, Crystal Colon, Sam Borst-Smith, and Stephanie Venturino. (University photos / J. Adam Fenster)

Meet five members of the graduating class who are ready to make their communities—and our world—ever better.


Crystal Colon

Major: English
Hometown: New Brunswick, New Jersey

Colon has dedicated more than 600 hours as a tutor for LEAP (Learning and Exploring at Play), is a youth leader at her church, and a coordinator of the Safe Haven program, keeping urban children safe, occupied, and learning during the summer months.

What’s next: She will enroll in the University’s Warner School of Education to pursue her master’s degree in teaching and curriculum as she works to become a high school English teacher.

“I feel that if I’m being that role model, being that mentor, being that educator, they will be able to see that it’s possible to achieve your dreams, to reach for your goals.”

Anis Kallel

Majors: computer science and business
Hometown: Ariana, Tunisia

Kallel served as president of the Computer Science Undergraduate Council, helped organize the RocHACK hackathon, played club volleyball, and worked on the team that developed ROCSpeak, a software program that helps people improve their public speaking skills.

What’s next: Kallel will be doing a Kauffman Entrepreneurial Year. His project has him travelling to 20 countries in eight months, doing research on emerging markets in Africa.

“I’ll compile my experience and put it all into perspective. I’ll see what worked in other countries. I want to make a difference—in Tunisia and everywhere.”

Charlisa Goodlet

Majors: political science and African-American studies
Hometown: Rochester, New York

Goodlet has served as president of the Douglass Leadership House and has held leadership positions in the Black Students’ Union and the Xclusive Step Team. In her work with the Office of Faculty Development and Diversity, she worked on a research project analyzing 10 years of data on faculty diversity.

What’s next: After a summer internship at a think tank in Washington, D.C., Goodlet will pursue a master’s degree in political science or Africana studies at SUNY Albany before working toward a law degree.

“For me what’s important is that I leave a legacy behind or that I’m able to reach out and help others as I climb up the ladder to success.”

Sam Borst-Smith

Major: English
Hometown: Los Angeles, California

Borst-Smith was named to the 2017 National Association of Basketball Coaches’ Division III All-America Team. He also won the 2016 State Farm Assist of the Year competition for an intentionally missed free throw and assist to teammate Mack Montague ’17 for a buzzer-beater in overtime. Video of the clip went viral and was shared widely around the world.

What’s next: After graduation he’ll be playing basketball professionally in Europe.

“It’s been honestly everything that I can ask for and more.”

Stephanie Venturino

Majors: classical saxophone performance and music theory
Hometown: Palmyra, New York

Venturino was an active of several ensembles at the Eastman School of Music, including the Highland Saxophone Quartet, the Eastman Saxophone Project, and the Eastman Wind Ensemble. As both a soloist and chamber musician, Venturino has played in venues such as the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. and the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing.

What’s next: Venturino plans to begin a PhD program in music theory in the fall.

“The thing that really stands out most to me about my time at Eastman has been the amazing community that the school offers.”

graphic reads CLASS OF 2017

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Category: Campus Life