2015 Commencement Speakers
The Valedictory Committee, chaired by Associate Professor Emerita Chrysanthy M. Grieco, Ph.D., and comprised of a faculty member from each of Seton Hall's schools and colleges, invited students with the highest grade point average from each school and college to participate in a process to select a commencement speaker. The students were asked to write, then deliver, a commencement address reflecting on the meaning of their Seton Hall education and how their Seton Hall experience has led to a special vision for the future. The two students with the most highly ranked speeches based on both content and delivery were chosen to give the Valedictory and Salutatory addresses, and a third was chosen to serve as an alternate speaker.
Valedictorian for the class of 2015, Isabella Duarte, is completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics and a minor in Applied Scientific Mathematics. She has conducted undergraduate research into the characterization of microplasma source reactors manufactured in the Physics Department's Laboratory of Electrophysics and Atmospheric Plasmas (LEAP). The "cold" plasmas created by these reactors have a wide range of applications including cancer treatment, wound healing, and ozone production for water treatment. This research has been supported in part by grants from the Clare Booth Luce Foundation, the Independent College Fund of NJ, and NASA.
Originally from Cancun, Mexico, Isabella has been active in a number of outreach projects to underprivileged youth. She is a site leader and tutor in the Center for Community Research and Engagement and she has worked as a mentor in the Young Developer's Program for high school students. She is president of the Society of Physics Students at the University.Isabella has received a full scholarship for the Ph.D. degree in Medical Physics at Duke University this fall.
Salutatorian for the class of 2015, Janielle Viuya, born in the Philippines, will receive a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in Nursing and a concentration in pediatric care. In the future, she plans to work in hospital medical-surgical units to enhance her career as a nurse practitioner in pediatrics. Janielle will deliver her address at the Academic Awards Ceremonies.
Alternate speaker for the class of 2015, Alma A. Banyai, will be graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art, Design, and Interactive Media and a minor in Art History. The recipient of the Henry Gasser Scholarship Award for design in 2013 and for graphic design in 2014, she anticipates building her career in the field of advertising to foster the arts as a tool of empowerment.
As alternate, Alma will take the place of speaker in the event of illness or other need.
Vocalist Christine E.S. Byrne will receive a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and Theater Performance. She has acted in numerous University productions as well as in local theaters. Appearing as Paggio with the MidAtlantic Opera Company, Christine is the recipient of the Music Honors and Theatre Studies Honors Citation. Further, she was nominated for the 2014/2015 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival's Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship. Christine will pursue her Master of Arts degree at The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, this fall.
Matthew Ullrich, a Marketing and Management dual major in the Stillman School of Business, was selected to represent the Student Government Association at commencement. Having earned certificates in market research and entrepreneurial studies, he will receive a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. In addition to his participation as a member in Student Government, Matt is a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma International Honor Society and the Alpha Sigma Omega Management Honor Society. After interning as an executive team leader, Matt was offered a position at Target, which he will assume in the fall.