Spotlight on student Commencement speakers
By Katie Ellis
Three undergraduate speakers and one graduate student speaker addressed their fellow alumni during Commencement ceremonies held in the Events Center on Saturday and Sunday, May 21-22.
Nicole Rouhana, from Vestal, N.Y., spoke at the Graduate School ceremony, where she received her PhD in rural nursing. A practicing nurse midwife and nurse practitioner for more than 25 years, she earned her associate’s degree in nursing from Broome Community College, her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Alfred University, a certificate in nurse mid-wifery from the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey, and her master’s in nursing from Binghamton University. Rouhana also holds a post-master’s certificate as a family nurse practitioner from Stony Brook University. She is a clinical assistant professor as the director of the Nurse-Midwifery program and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner program at Stony Brook University Health Science Center’s School of Nursing.
Rouhana hopes to be a role model to individuals who are contemplating returning to school though they may have busy lives and professional responsibilities and will continue her career focused on rural healthcare following graduation.
“I’m looking forward to becoming more actively involved in research pertaining to improving the needs and outcomes of women and children in rural communities,” said Rouhana, who has been accepted into the National Rural Health Association Fellowship program and will be working with the organization to address the recruitment and retention of healthcare workers in rural America.
Sharif Khalil, who spoke at the Sunday morning Harpur College ceremony, and received bachelor’s degrees in accounting and Arabic, is from Catskill, N.Y. The first college graduate in his family, he will intern for PricewaterhouseCoopers this summer and begin a master’s in accounting program at Binghamton in the fall. On campus, he has been a resident assistant, a volunteer for the Student Volunteer Center, academic vice president of Mountainview College Council and an active member and club director of the Binghamton Ballroom Dance Association.
His off-campus internships have included work in accounting with Allied World Reinsurance Company, and as a national security intern for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington, D.C., but he also learned a great deal from a family visit to his father’s home country of Egypt.
“I expected to gain more of an appreciation for what I have here from that trip, but what I didn’t expect to gain was the greatest gift,” he said. “I believe that we all have a responsibility to take advantage of the opportunities given to us and to give back to those who do not have the same opportunity, in hopes that one day, they will, too.”
Yann Ilboudo, a bioengineering major originally from Burkina Faso in West Africa, graduated from a French-speaking high school – the Institute Saint Dominique in Rome, Italy – before enrolling at Binghamton. He spoke at the professional schools' ceremony and will attend Northeastern University in Boston for a one-year program in technological entrepreneurship. He also plans to start his entrepreneurial career right away.
“My friends and I plan to launch a venture called MYPD Books, which is a start-up dedicated to creating mementos for college graduates here at Binghamton University,” he said.
Ilboudo has been a Discovery Advisor, a leadership consultant for the Center for Excellence in Student Leadership and an Orientation Advisor at Binghamton.
“Binghamton University gave me the opportunity to pursue my goals and my dreams,” he said. “I have learned how to properly speak and write English, I regularly give presentations in my classes, I presented many workshops on campus, and as an intern last summer, I gave a presentation in front of venture capitalists, investors and bankers.”
Graduating in just three years as a double major in history and philosophy, politics and law, Nathan Satin was the speaker at the Sunday afternoon Harpur ceremony. The White Plains, N.Y. native will become a graduate student in Binghamton’s Graduate School of Education.
As a history major, Satin said he sees the larger-than-life figures of the past as evidence of the tremendous feats that can be accomplished. He looks forward to representing his fellow graduates, and hopes to leave them with a message they will carry into the future.
“Though all of us have had different experiences here at Binghamton, we nonetheless share a bond which cannot be broken by time or distance,” he said. “I believe it is my job as speaker to ensure that that bond is solidified. What better way to do it than by leading my fellow graduates in sharing laughter, and perhaps tears, for the final time?”