Up Next: Life
Snapshots of the Class of 2008 — what they hope for, what they’ll remember, and why BU mattered| From Features | Photographs By Vernon Doucette
As the sun rose high in the sky on Sunday, May 18 — no small bit of news, after three years of rain-soaked Commencements — the 5,800 students who make up the Class of 2008 were gathered as one, for one last time. On a shining Nickerson Field, before family, teachers, and friends, they formed a sea of red, a large moving body of happiness and pride. But if Commencement is a mass exodus, it’s also the end of an individual journey and the beginning of as many different stories as there are graduates. Commencement speaker (and Boston Red Sox CEO) Larry Lucchino told the crowd, “Be mindful of the catalytic effect one person can have on a community, on a neighborhood, on a nation, on a compelling cause or a nagging injustice.” One person. Here are thirteen. For this year’s Commencement, we look beyond the cap and gown and celebrate the Class of 2008 by getting to know some of its members.
Rachel Sajous (CAS’08) Photograph By Vernon Doucette
Rachel Sajous (CAS’08)
Favorite class: Psychology of the Self
From: Brockton, Massachusetts, by way of Haiti
Best BU memory: Traveling to South Africa as a sophomore to attend BU’s African Presidential Roundtable, meeting former heads of state and students from all around the United States and Africa
Cool BU experience: Studying abroad in Senegal, staying with a host family, learning to drum, learning to speak a little Wolof
Next up: Working as a health-care assistant and counselor at a residential school for teens with brain injuries
Cordelia Hall (CAS’08) (left) and Kari Jaick (COM’08) Photograph By Vernon Doucette
Cordelia Hall (CAS’08) & Kari Jaick (COM’08)
How they met: Through friends, freshman year
Cordelia: “I was really intimidated by you.”
Kari: “I thought you hated me.”
Best BU memory, Cordelia: “The last day of school freshman year, someone organized a bike ride up Summit Ave. We climbed a tree, we all rolled down the hill.”
Kari: The sock-hop at their place on Greylock this year. “Everyone we know and love was there. It eventually got broken up, but not until later.”
Up next, Cordelia: Working on a community-supported farm in Vermont
Kari: Moving to the woods in Maine to live in a treehouse for the summer
Long-term goal, Cordelia: “Living in a community where people can grow their own food and make their own clothes and furniture, where I can have personal bartering and trade relationships.”
Kari: “I want to be happy. I still want to have the same adventures I do now.”
Gordon Allan (CAS’08) Photograph By Vernon Doucette
Gordon Allan (CAS’08)
Major: Environmental science
Best BU memory: “Being elected captain of the swim team after starting off as a walk-on. I was the weakest guy — they had me lift with the girls when I started. So to get the respect of the team means a lot.”
Favorite class: Hydrology
Favorite person: Coach Bill Smyth. “He taught me that if you want something, there’s no magic trick to getting it. Just work hard every day.”
Up next: He’s headed to Idaho to become a wildland firefighter.
Ten years out: “I hope to have a dog.”
Other lessons from the pool: “Instead of thinking, I’m not going to be able to do this, just start, and see what happens.”
Jay Youmans (CFA’08) Photograph By Vernon Doucette
Jay Youmans (CFA’08)
Major: Violin performance
How long he’s been playing: Since he was three
His violin: An August Gemunder, 1885. “I found it in New York when I was in high school. It just fits my character. It can be very bright. It’s mellow, but it’s loud.”
Why photos of loved ones in his violin case: “My case is open twenty-four hours a day. I’m not going to see them at home — I’m never home.”
Up next: He’ll be the administrative assistant to the director of Tanglewood.
And then: “I don’t know. I know I’m not going to sell my instrument. Right now, I see myself going down the business track.”
Best BU memory: Organizing the Spectrum Arts Festival, twelve days of performances, recitals, and exhibitions around campus
Regrets: None. “These four years have brought out a lot of strengths, and you start to come to terms with what your weaknesses are.”
Advice for freshmen: “You have four years with some of the best professors at your fingertips. Knock on doors. Shake hands. It’s up to you to tap into it.”
Annie Albagli (CFA’08) Photograph By Vernon Doucette
Annie Albagli (CFA’08)
Major: Sculpting and painting
The apron: “I’ve had it for two years. My mother found it in the basement. It was this beautiful color blue, and now … it’s not that.”
Favorite class: Senior sculpture studio. “My roommates are history and psychology majors and have to sit all day and write papers. I do my share of paper writing, but I also get to run around with power tools and build things.”
Big risk: She finished her painting degree early and took up sculpting.
Up next: Teaching drawing and sculpture to high school students at BU’s Visual Arts Summer Institute
Lifelong ambition: “I haven’t made plans. I feel like I’ve learned so much at BU. My head is full of cotton balls. I want to take them out and digest them. I want to go to Israel for a year, then grad school, then start my studio and my teaching.”
Advice for freshmen: “Throw yourself against the wall and see what sticks. Just go at it.”
Andy Hoglund (COM’08) Photograph By Vernon Doucette
Andy Hoglund (COM’08)
Favorite professor: Debbie Danielpour (COM). “I remember going to her office unannounced, and on the spot she recited passages from my screenplay, talked about characters, and speculated about what the script meant and where it was going.”
Favorite person: “My roommate. I’m extremely grateful that a random room assignment from Housing resulted in four years of domestic bliss. He’s been a good friend and a good listener, and he always refills the toilet paper.”
Best BU memory: WTBU. “The show I produced was called On Air with Captain Awesome. We’d emphasize irony, shamelessly fading Eminem’s Kim into the theme song from Full House.”
Screenwriting style: Authentic, small-scale, character-based, satiric. “Thematically, I’m interested in how we find happiness, why people behave self-destructively, and how come, sometimes, werewolves appear and chew up our best friends?”
Long-term ambition: Sell a feature-length screenplay, study communication law, or become a writer for Sesame Street.
Nazish Haider (SAR’08) (left) and Sarah Peerwani (CAS’08) Photograph By Vernon Doucette
Nazish Haider (SAR’08) and Sarah Peerwani (CAS’08)
How they met: A meeting of the Islamic Society
Naz: “Within minutes, people started asking if we were related.”
Sarah: “We don’t fight, because we’re like the same person. I know what bothers her, so I don’t do it.”
Favorite professor, Sarah: Herbert Mason (UNI, CAS). “He allowed the class to get into deep, analytical debates, even to the point of arguing. I think he understood the value in feeling passionate about something.”
Up next: Law school, times two
Ten years out, Naz: “I hope to be an established lawyer with a great career, something related to health law — but more importantly, I hope to be happy.”
Sarah: “I hope to be a prosecutor in Texas and eventually run for office as a district judge.”
Best BU memory, Sarah: Becoming engaged to Alex Farr (SMG’08), on April 12.
Elise L’Herault (CFA’08) Photograph By Vernon Doucette
Elise L’Herault (CFA’08)
Best BU memory: Painting in the senior studios over winter break
Up next: Start applying to the Peace Corps
Big dream: “To explore the power of visual language and use it to positively affect people.”
Regrets: “I wish I’d been more open to, and receptive of, my mentors and peers.”
Favorite media: Charcoal, oils, and glass. “I want to make a glass quilt.”
Advice for freshmen: “Take out loans and don’t work a job while you’re in school. It eats the vital time you have to grow as an artist.”
David Yi (CAS’08, SED’08) Photograph By Vernon Doucette
David Yi (CAS’08, SED’08)
Favorite class: The Civic and Social Context of Education. “We talked about controversial issues: the achievement gap, school vouchers, teacher pay. It was amazing to spend each class in passionate debate.”
Up next: Going to Washington, D.C., to teach English as a second language for two years with Teach for America. “My family came from Korea and I had to be their tutor and translator, so I think it’ll be familiar to me.”
Why teaching: “I love the feeling when you know you’ve really taught someone something new. That ‘Ah, yes’ moment — you can see it in their eyes.”
Most recent gig: Student teacher, eleventh-grade history, Somerville High School
Kids today: “They know a lot about U.S. history, but other countries — not so much. Like, it really surprised them that China has a history.”
Ten years out: Working as a lawyer specializing in education policy and advocacy, practicing in New York
Ibrahim Konate (CAS’08) (left) and Max Gotzler (CAS’08) Photograph By Vernon Doucette
Ibrahim Konate (CAS’08) & Max Gotzler (CAS’08)
How they met: BU basketball team
From, Max: Germany
Favorite class, Max: Organizational behavior, for the teamwork
Ibrahim: Statistics, for the self-reliance
Most important person, Max: “Becky, my girlfriend.”
Ibrahim: “Everyone I met at BU.”
Best BU Memory, Max: The basketball team’s trip to Taiwan last summer. “The girls were screaming like we were rock stars. They all wanted our autographs.”
Favorite professor, Ibrahim: Lou Bianco (CAS). “He’s the reason I’m doing math right now. He taught me not only academically, but things that have to do with life — how to conduct myself.”
Ten years out, Max: Build a career as a consultant, learn as much as possible, then start a business. “It’s sports-related. I have some ideas.”
Ibrahim: Teaching college math in Mali
On basketball, Max: “Basketball is a great passion. I’ll always be involved with it in some way or another.”
Ibrahim: “To me it means everything, but my priority now is to gain experience in the working world.”
Below are eight more senior profiles only on Bostonia Online.
(from left) Ashley Graul, Catherine Todd, and Lauren DeMerchant (all CAS’08) Photograph By Vernon Doucette
Ashley Graul, Catherine Todd, & Lauren DeMerchant (all CAS’08)
Majors: Biology and sociology (Ashley), international relations, with a French minor (Catherine), psychology (Lauren)
Favorite professor, Ashley and Catherine: Allison Adair (CAS)
Ashley: “I stayed in touch with her from freshman year on. She wrote my recommendations for med school.”
Catherine: “I had the opportunity to work with her on one of the nonprofits she’s involved with. I helped cater an event at the mayor’s mansion. She’s always willing to talk.”
Favorite professor, Lauren and Catherine: Tom Nolan (MET)
Lauren: “We took a class together this semester for fun — crime scene investigation. He’s a great professor who really cares about his students, and it was like watching CSI for three hours.”
How they met: Freshman year, Warren Towers, 16B. Roommates ever since.
Favorite BU people: Each other. “And there’s a fourth one of us, Hillary Thompson (CAS’08), who graduated in December. We love her, too.”
Ashley: “We balance each other out.”
Catherine: “They helped me loosen up a little bit and become a lot more confident.”
Lauren: “We’re very pro each other.”
Lauren: “That doesn’t mean we don’t fight.”
Ashley: “We keep each other on track and keep each other sane.”
Best BU memory: The day they moved into their own apartment, at the beginning of sophomore year.
Catherine: “Organizing the furniture, unpacking the dishes — it was like we had real lives.”
Next up, Catherine: joining a private wealth management firm, planning a career in the financial industry
Ashley: Medical school, with aspirations to be a trauma surgeon in a teaching hospital
Lauren: Taking a year off, then back to BU to enter a speech pathology graduate program, aiming to work with autistic children
On saying goodbye, Lauren: “This is corny, but there’s a quote I really love. It doesn’t matter how far apart we are, we take a little piece of each other everywhere. And I really feel like that’s true.”
Steven Holtzman (CAS/GRS’08) Photograph By Vernon Doucette
Steven Holtzman (CAS/GRS’08)
Favorite class: Sampling Design: Theory and Methods. “Graduating from the B.A./M.A. program in statistics, I’ve taken many courses that cover the theory and application of data analysis. I found it very interesting to take a class that concentrated on how to choose the best method for collecting the data. And I was one of only two students in the class.”
Favorite professor: Hsueh-Ling Huynh (CAS) of the economics department. “It is impossible to pass him on the street without him stopping you to see how you are doing.”
Best BU memory: CAS Forum, the CAS student government. “The election involved a large amount of campaigning, where our slate had to persuade the student body why we were the best candidates for the job, something that I never would have been able to do before college.”
Regrets: “As a result of my being both a double-major (statistics and economics) and a B.A./M.A. student, I was unable to fit a study abroad program into my schedule.”
Next up: He’ll be an analyst for Educational Testing Service (ETS) in Princeton, New Jersey.
Advice for freshmen: “Take advantage of as many opportunities and resources as you can while at BU. College is a time for students to grow academically, socially, and culturally; remember that a large amount of learning takes place outside of the classroom.”
Kelly Hinde (CAS’08) Photograph By Vernon Doucette
Kelly Hinde (CAS’08)
Favorite class: “My French class during my semester abroad with BU’s Geneva Internship Program. I loved learning more than ‘textbook French,’ laughing about our French faux pas, and finally feeling comfortable using a different language in everyday life.”
Favorite professor: Igor Lukes (CAS). “I looked forward to his classes every day. He really wants his students to be interested and passionate. He brings genuine experience and humor to his teaching.”
Favorite BU person: “My sisters in Alpha Delta Pi.”
Best BU memory: Spending Spring Break 2007 in Paris, Rome, and Berlin.
Regrets: “I wouldn’t have changed a single thing. “
Next up: Traveling to Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos, then starting as an investment bank operations analyst at JPMorgan Chase in New York City.
Lifelong ambition: To get an M.B.A., live overseas, and work for an international consulting firm.
Advice for freshmen: Do as much as you can — join clubs, stay up late with your friends, take hard classes, go abroad, and make people will remember you after you leave BU.
Blake Goodwin (CFA’08) Photograph By Vernon Doucette
Blake Goodwin (CFA’08)
Favorite professor: Theo De Winter (ENG). “He always encourages students to contact him about school issues, employment questions, or just to talk about fishing in Maine.”
Favorite BU person: “Richard Doubleday, my professor of graphic design. I transferred from Engineering to CFA on a wing and a prayer early on, when I didn’t know what was going on in life. He was reviewing some of my work and said, ‘we may have a budding designer on our hands.’ That one comment probably saved my college career.”
Best BU memory: “The first time I experienced T Anthony’s at 2 a.m. on a Saturday. It seemed as though half of BU was out that night, and the line to get cheese slices was out the door. When we finally got inside, someone put the Spice Girls song “Wannabe” on the jukebox and the place went insane.”
Up next: A small startup in Boston. “It’s exciting, kind of risky, and right up my alley.”
Big picture: “After I finally realized that I couldn’t do a 720 and therefore wouldn’t make it as a professional snowboarder, and crunching numbers as an engineer wasn’t going to work, I knew I wanted something that would allow me to travel, have time to board, and be financially stable in order to pursue my interests. I got lucky with design. It can fit all of the above requirements.”
Ten years out: “If I'm lucky, meetings one day, studio the next few, drafting contracts the next, Western powder the next, and the off to the beach to relax after that.”
Advice for freshmen: “Be open to career paths that everyone in high school forgot to mention, and ultimately do something you like. When you find it, give it hell.”
Elizabeth Fierman (COM’08) Photograph By Vernon Doucette
Elizabeth Fierman (COM’08)
Major: Magazine journalism, with an American studies minor
Favorite professor: Jack Falla (COM’67,’90), a College of Communication lecturer in journalism. “He’s the only person I’d take an 8 a.m. class with, senior year. He’s a very real person. He’s had so many experiences. He’ll tell us the mistakes and great choices he’s made careerwise. I feel like he believes his job is to help us succeed.”
Long-term goal: Athletics communications. “I worked as an intern in the BU athletics department for three years, and I was manager of the hockey team senior year.”
The thing about hockey: “I don’t play hockey. I can barely skate, oddly enough.”
Athletic pursuits: Played field hockey and softball in high school; also played soccer
About being a fan: “Sports is my life. I like rooting for my team.”
Favorite BU person: “It’s too hard to pick. Before I came here I was very shy. There are so many people who’ve helped me become who I am now.”
Why she chose BU: “I thought I wanted a medium-sized school. I made three or four visits with my father. He showed me how close Fenway Park was, and I thought, I’ll have to think about this school more.”
Lifelong ambition: “It changes all the time. If you just have one dream and it doesn’t happen, you’re disappointed. But if you’re flexible, you won’t be disappointed.”
Christine Reinders (ENG’08) Photograph By Vernon Doucette
Christine Reinders (ENG’08)
Major: Mechanical Engineering
The contraption: Her senior design project ¾ a fence post remover.
Favorite class: Boston Art and Architecture. “It is the class most related to what I want to study. I came to BU to build a foundation for a career in architecture and to be in Boston.
Favorite BU person: Ray Taylor (ENG’08). “I met Ray through Facebook before freshman year started. We found out that we had consecutive room numbers in the same building and figured we would be neighbors. For the first five semesters at BU, we had almost identical schedules and became very good friends.”
Regrets: Not staying involved in music. “I have participated in the All-Campus Orchestra, the Concert Band, and the Pep Band while at BU, but after my junior year, my schedule was just too hectic, and something had to go. I decided to put more time into synchronized swimming. And though I was able to place fourth at the U.S. Collegiate Championships this year, I really miss playing my oboe.”
Next up: Boston Architectural College for a master’s in architecture.
Lifelong ambition: “I hope to develop new methods to make historic buildings more energy-efficient while maintaining their historic character.”
Phumelele Trasada (CAS’08) Photograph By Vernon Doucette
Phumelele Trasada (CAS’08)
Cool BU experience: Volunteering as a health educator in Boston public schools with Peer Health Exchange. “This year I led a rape and sexual assault group.
Best BU memory: FYSOP. “We bonded in about thirty seconds.”
Favorite professor and class: Daryl Costos (CAS) and Psychology of Women. “Hand’s down. It was eye-opening. We discussed women’s relationships with other women, women’s occupations, relationships with men, attitudes about menstruation.”
On her generation: Everyone likes to label us as apathetic or into ourselves, but I think we’re really turning into a service generation.
Career ambition: Public health, working on maternal and child health issues in a nonprofit setting. “I would love to work internationally, on women’s health and development, gender equality, reproductive rights. I’d like to be remembered as doing something that had a large impact.”
Next up: Joining Room to Grow, a nonprofit assisting poor women and their babies.
Kristie Rosen (left) and Monica Ledermann (both CAS’08) Photograph By Vernon Doucette
Kristie Rosen (CAS’08) & Monica Ledermann (CAS’08)
Favorite professor, Kristie: Robert Wexelblatt (CGS). “He really cares about his students, he’s passionate about what he teaches, and he really inspired me to think outside the box.”
Monica:“Irit Kleiman (CAS), who taught my Medieval Lyric French class. We received a research grant this semester and have been working together to create a multimedia portfolio for future courses.”
Favorite class, Monica: “One that I took during my year abroad in Paris at
Sciences Po. It was a class about the crises faced by the European Union and was taught by the current vice president of the European Parliament.
Favorite BU person, Kristie: “My closest friends at BU — Monica, Brendan Marrese, and Amanda Moore.”
Monica: “I couldn’t possibly choose one favorite person. I’ve made some great lifelong friends at BU.”
Best BU memory, Kristie: “Probably freshman year when the Red Sox won the
World Series and my entire floor in Warren Towers went to the riots together.”
Next up, Monica: Law school, with the aim of becoming an international attorney working mainly with French-speaking countries.
Kristie: Moving to New York City, taking courses at Sotheby’s Institute of Art, and eventually pursuing a career as an antiques dealer.