Less than one year after Commencement, nearly every member of the University of Hartford Class of 2016 is putting their hard-earned degree to good use. Ninety-two percent of our recent graduates are either employed, pursuing further education, serving in the military, or participating in a program of volunteer service. Here is a look at what four young alumni have been up to:
Aika Aluc ’16, who is planning on a career in healthcare, is pursuing a Master’s in Public Health at George Washington University. She is also an admissions counselor and is working on child and maternal health issues at the Breastfeeding Center for Greater Washington. Aluc studied biology in the University's College of Arts and Sciences and is a member of the first graduating cohort of the Leadership Education and Development program (LEAD), a program of the University’s The Women’s Advancement Initiative. “LEAD gave me the confidence to get involved and I can see that I am ahead of others in juggling many things and not feeling overwhelmed,” explains Aluc. She says she never would have decided to push herself out of her comfort zone and move to Washington if not for LEAD. “It taught me how to leap ‘responsibly’. I did not know anyone, and had no support system in D.C., but I was not fearful.”
Anthony Branciforte ’16 decided he wanted to become a journalist when he was 16- years-old. It didn’t take him long to reach that goal. Branciforte is a reporter covering East Windsor, South Windsor, and East Hartford, Conn. for the Journal Inquirer newspaper. He writes everything from news articles about local politics to feature stories about remarkable people or interesting events in the three towns that make up his beat.
Branciforte is thankful for the instruction and support of faculty from the School of Communication in the University’s College of Arts and Sciences, including Professor Roger Desmond who served as reference when he applied for the Journal Inquirer position.
“They were always willing to give me guidance on areas that I could improve,” Branciforte says of his professors. “They always let me know what my strong suits were and what I should continue doing. It wasn’t just a degree I earned, it was experience. If I didn’t spend that time in the classroom, there is no way I would be the writer I am today or in the position I am in career wise.”
Tahylur “TJ” Hebert ’16 developed a love of community service while working for the Student Government Association (SGA), including one year as its president. That experience led him to apply to Teach for America, which places new teachers in low-income communities around the country. Hebert is teaching sixth-grade math and science at the Veritas Preparatory Charter School in Springfield, Mass. Hebert, who studied politics and government in the University’s College of Arts and Science, hopes to continue a career in education once he completes his two-year placement in Springfield.
Hebert recommends that students interested in joining Teach for America or similar organizations get involved as much as they can at UHart.
“Join some clubs,” he urges. “Get to know people and try different things. If I had never done student government, I wouldn’t have been a Red Cap (orientation leader) or a member of the Red Key Society (campus tour guides).” He says having this experience on his resume helped put him above other Teach for America candidates.
Brett Marks ’16 turned his love of music into a job as a full-time marketing manager for Live Nation, the world's leading live entertainment company. Marks, who studied performing arts management in the University’s The Hartt School, helps market concerts and other live performances in Connecticut and upstate New York. He started working for the company part-time during his senior year and has been promoted twice already this year.
“It is a very cool job,” says Marks. “It’s a stressful industry and the hours can be crazy because there are offices on both coasts and around the world. But I knew this going into it and I know this is what I want to do, so I am thankful for the opportunity.”
Marks credits his five internships and his ability to network for his success. “What the University was really great about was allowing me to use internships for elective credits,” he says. “I met people from all different sides of the industry.”
Marks, who plays drums on the side, also manages Wise Old Moon, a Hartford-area band that has toured throughout the Northeast. Wise Old Moon’s drummer Steve Cusano is a 2015 graduate of The Hartt School.
Read about other successful alumni from the University's Barney School of Business; College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions; College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture; Hartford Art School; and Hillyer College.