May 13, 2021
By Alaina Uricheck ’24 and Nala Washington ’24
As Susquehanna University prepares to close its 163rd academic year, seniors are preparing for the next chapter of their lives.
New Jersey Native Graduates with Three Degrees
Amanda Gillette ’21 will graduate from Susquehanna with an astonishing three bachelor’s degrees and a minor in the Honors program.
Gillette entered SU with a double-major in creative writing and publishing and editing, and later expanded this course load to include a third major in German studies. She was able to complete all three degrees in four years at Susquehanna and also completed a semester studying abroad in Germany during that time. She credits her three academic advisors for “showing me the value of a liberal arts education and giving me that boost of confidence I needed to take on whatever I chose to pursue.”
“My advisors worked together to develop the best curriculum sequences for me to ensure I could complete my requirements despite the fact that some courses are only offered in certain semesters,” Gillette said.
Despite her heavier-than-normal course load, Gillette said that “during my time at Susquehanna, I have had so much fun: dancing the night away at our nightclub, Trax, petting goats and getting lost in the corn maze at Ard’s Farm, taking walks down to the Susquehanna River, meeting friends for brunch at the Kind Café, or just having a picnic on Deg Lawn.”
Gillette, of Hillsborough, New Jersey, has been accepted to four graduate school programs and is deciding between a publishing and writing master’s degree at Emerson College, Boston, or a publishing master’s and creative writing master’s in fine arts double-degree option at Rosemont College, Philadelphia.
“I am someone who is interested in learning above all else, and who has myriad interests that drive me. I chose to pursue three majors, held offices in clubs, engaged in internships and developed my own programming for students because I wholeheartedly wanted to, not because I was thinking about some end goal or impact on my future,” Gillette said.
Finance Major Lands Job at JPMorgan Chase
Finance major Alex Tobin ’21 has already accepted a position with JPMorgan Chase.
“I took business courses all throughout high school, and finance was the best fit for me, and so I chose to attend the Sigmund Weis School of Business,” Tobin said when asked why he chose finance.
While at Susquehanna, Tobin, of Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania, had internships to help prepare him for life after Susquehanna, including at Wegmans Food Markets and an international internship in London with the company Green Wallet.
“Green Wallet really started my interest in sustainability and helped me learn many valuable business skills,” Tobin said.
While at Susquehanna, Tobin also had the opportunity to connect with alumni, including participating in a mock interview with Kyle Robertson ’11, vice president for asset management at JPMorgan Chase.
Tobin said he is confident he can handle his upcoming job based on his experience with Susquehanna and the Sigmund Weis School of Business.
“It’s very relieving to have a job after graduation,” Tobin stated. “It helps alleviate some of the pressures of graduating after four years.”
Math Major Graduates at 19
Eager to graduate high school and begin her college career at Susquehanna, Mara Hashuga, of Coal Township, Pennsylvania, earned her diploma in just three years by skipping study halls.
She didn’t originally plan to earn her bachelor’s degree in three years, but that’s just what she’s done. Hashuga originally planned to major in mathematics and education, so she overloaded her courses, taking about 20 credits a semester. When she decided to drop her education major, she found herself positioned to nab her degree early.
When she graduates May 15, Hashuga will be just 19 years old.
She said she still wants to teach math, just at the college level. After graduation, Hashuga will attend George Mason University to earn her doctorate in mathematics.
“From all the way back in elementary school, I liked math. It was always my favorite subject,” Hashuga said. “I enjoy the problem-solving. It’s like a puzzle. I like the finality of getting an answer.”
Hashuga credits two people with inspiring her to pursue mathematics as a career – her grandfather and her mentor, Alathea Jensen, assistant professor of math and computer science.
“My grandfather was a teacher and I would always go to school with him and I would say, ‘Look at all of this crazy math I learned,’ and try to teach it to him,” Hashuga remembered. “He kept drilling into me, ‘You should be a math teacher.’”
It was Jensen who allowed Hashuga to imagine herself as a college mathematics professor.
“I had her every semester until final semester. I was definitely stressed sometimes, and Dr. Jensen was so nice to talk to,” Hashuga said. “Sometimes I felt like I was going in for a therapy session.”
Hashuga admits she tends to sell herself short, despite her clear accomplishment of graduating early with a notoriously difficult major.
“I’m good at doubting myself,” she said. “People would complement me for graduating early and I would say, ‘It wasn’t that hard. I just didn’t take a study hall. Anyone could have done it.’ I need to step back and remember that if it was so easy, everyone would be doing it.”
History Major Headed to Duke Divinity
As Susquehanna seniors gear up to take flight for graduation, many are going to different nests; this includes Max Miller ’21, who will pursue a master’s degree in theological studies at Duke University’s Divinity School, with plans to eventually enter a PhD program.
At Susquehanna, Miller majored in history, which he’s always been passionate about.
“I took European history 1648-present my freshman year and it really just took off from there,” he said. “Since then, I’ve done classes on the holocaust, early church history and the French revolution.”
Miller said he enjoys exploring the different viewpoints of religion, which he said prepared him well for Duke’s theological program.
“My history degree has also prepared me well with research and writing skills, especially when writing my capstone in the fall,” Miller said.
Miller was raised in the Lutheran faith and attended chapel regularly over the past year, he said. He also participated in SU’s interfaith fellowship program. Miller said he is considering entering the ministry, but is currently just looking forward to pursuing his area of scholarship.
“I am excited for the next couple years and look forward to studying things I truly have a passion for,” he said.