USJ Student Superstars

USJ students succeed on so many levels!

Undergraduate Program


anderson-mary-nursing-200x136.jpgMary Anderson ’18

Major: Nursing

Career Goal: Orthopedic Nurse

As a nursing student at USJ, Mary Anderson ’18 is familiar with a variety of medical settings thanks to her clinical rotations each semester. Mary now continues her work in the field as one of two Connecticut college students selected to participate in the Hartford Hospital Bone and Joint Institute Fellowship. As part of the elite program, Mary works under a nurse preceptor, exploring a variety of orthopedic and inpatient units, learning how those units operate with musculoskeletal care, and conducting a research project with her peer fellowship student, which they will present at the conclusion of the program.

“I’m excited I have the chance to do what I really love to do, which is not only to work with patients, but to conduct research to bring about more awareness to musculoskeletal health and allow people to take different measures to recover,” Mary stated. “I am building on my nursing skills a lot throughout the fellowship. In addition to learning about the hospital setting, I am building my education as a nursing student. Going into senior year, I will be able to bring that knowledge to the classroom.”

diaz_janay_2011x133.jpgJanay Diaz ’18

Major: Business

After a positive experience with student leaders during her freshman year, Janay Diaz ’18 was eager to join the Student Affairs team as a sophomore. Currently in her second year as a Resident Assistant, Janay has also taken on the role of Orientation Leader for incoming first-year students. Her contribution to campus life, combined with her academic achievements and tradition of exceeding expectations held by her superiors, earned Janay the Region I NASPA Catch a Rising Star award at the region’s conference in November.

Janay’s work in Student Affairs has helped shape her experience at USJ, making it meaningful and memorable. For this, she credits the USJ community – from the faculty and Student Affairs professional staff to her fellow students and residents. This support has led to the success of Janay’s on-campus initiatives that fall outside Student Affairs as well, such as the Breast Cancer Walk she established with a fellow Resident Assistant.

“The most rewarding part of student leadership is making connections with everyone on campus,” said Diaz. “The people and the close-knit community definitely make USJ special. You’re able to see people on a daily basis and know what’s going on in their lives. We always have each other’s backs.”

christina_damico.jpgChristina D’Amico ’17

Major: English/Art History; Religious Studies Minor
Career Goal: To be a children’s book author/illustrator; poet; creative writing or art teacher

"I am grateful for the opportunities that USJ has given me to explore my passions in the Liberal Arts. With the support and guidance of caring faculty and professors, I know that I have the courage, confidence, strength, and intellect to succeed in whatever path I choose to follow."

Endless Possibilities

As a sophomore with a double major in both English and Art History, as well as a minor in Religious Studies, Christina has not only been able to pursue her love of writing as an undergraduate writing tutor in the Center for Academic Excellence, but has also discovered an intense appreciation for the history of art and all that it has to offer. She also never imagined that she would get the chance to live her dream and travel to Ireland on the 2015 spring break trip with Campus Ministry.

2014-2015-usj-swim-team.jpgUSJ Swimming and Diving Team

Congratulations to the Blue Jays Swimming and Diving team for achieving Scholar All American Status! The team earned this title from the College Swimming Coaches Association of America based on its cumulative GPA, which is greater than 3.0.

christine-ahoussi.jpgChristine Ahoussi '18

Major: Social Work/Criminal Justice (concentration)
Career Goal: To be a social worker in a prison or juvenile facility; to earn an MSW

"I love the sense of security and empowerment that USJ provides its students, along with opportunities to grow. I volunteer with a program on campus that helps fifth grade students with their homework — we mentor them and spend time together, which helps them develop positive feelings about their education. To me, the experience taught me that not only can I be a leader, but I can help create future leaders."

Christine was born in Ghana, Africa and is the first in her family to attend college. She loves to write and has written several articles about her life for Teen Ink.

baez_k.jpgKatelyn Baez ’17

Major: Psychology/Social Work
Career Goal: “I am keeping my options open, but am interested in the field of criminal justice.”

“I love the opportunities USJ has provided for me, such as traveling to Japan my freshman year, majoring in both Psychology and Social Work, and working as a Psychology content tutor for the Center for Academic Excellence. USJ is helping me grow as an individual.”

dezhbod_melina.jpgMelina Dezhbod ’17

Major: Social Work/Religious Studies minor
Career Goal: To earn an M.D. or Ph.D.

“USJ has helped me grow as a person. The faculty and staff are so supportive and have opened my eyes to the many opportunities I have as a young woman. Through creating the True Beauty Celebration (with the help of many other students), and becoming an RA, I have become more than just a student; I have become a confident young woman who is sure she will succeed and make a difference in the future.”

Graduate and Professional Studies


chmura_a.jpgAlyssa Chmura, ’12, M ’17

Degree: B.A. English
Major: Education - Curriculum and Instruction
Career: Suite I (Fourth Grade) Teacher at Talcott Mountain Academy

Alyssa, who was in the Honors Program at USJ, is a Suite I (4th grade age) teacher at Talcott Mountain Academy in Avon, a private school for the gifted. She teaches social studies, language arts, and math to her class and Spanish to grades 2-5. She is also the advisor for yearbook and has helped with student council as well.

“I would definitely say that the School of Education at USJ prepared me well for a career as an educator, both in the classroom and during my student teaching experience, as well as in my current classes for my Master's in Curriculum and Instruction. I gained valuable insight into the world of education from knowledgeable faculty and through authentic learning experiences. Also, the leadership opportunities I was afforded at USJ helped prepare me for being a leader at my school.”

angel-guevara.jpgAngel Guevara MSW

Major: Social Work

MSW student and veteran Angel Guevara was featured in the Middletown Press for his field work at St. Luke’s Community Services Center. Congratulations!

“For my fieldwork location, I wanted to work with veterans to help them and their families receive the right information in order to overcome obstacles. With the help of my advisor, Dr. Aguilar, field director, Dr. De Jesús, and MSW professor Dr. Battle, I was placed at St Luke’s, which I enjoy. Dr. De Jesús explained to me that this site would benefit veterans, as well as me. St. Luke’s assists the elderly, veterans, and family caregivers living in Middlesex County. They work to help them remain safely at home and to be independent in the community.”

Read the full article.

berthiaume_s.jpgSusan Berthiaume

Major: Clinical Mental Health
Career Goal: Counselor

“I love that as a graduate student in the Counseling program, my professors challenge me to not only master class content, but to truly begin to understand my own values. My beliefs about service were shaped through my own challenging experiences which taught me we all face difficult challenges, and deserve the same opportunities to receive help. Community service is important to help change communities, save lives, and transform the world. If people don't care, there is no change.”

hughes_m.jpgMiranda Hughes

Major: Marriage & Family Therapy
Career Goal: To become an accredited sex therapist in order to treat sexual minorities and abuse/trauma survivors

“I love the faculty's willingness to let me explore my interests beyond the classroom, which creates a culture that breeds success. The school supports my efforts, and is invested in helping me reach my goals, which opens doors to opportunities that I have not had access to in other educational experiences.”

Engaging with Professionals

Miranda served as representative on the student committee for the Connecticut Association for Marriage and Family Therapists.

romanik_t.jpgTracie Romanik

Major: Education, History, Secondary Education
Career Goal: High School History Teacher

“During both my undergraduate and graduate careers at USJ, the faculty have been instrumental in my academic and personal success. With their guidance, support, and the occasional push, I have become more focused and have developed the necessary tools to achieve my goals and dreams."

A Meaningful Graduate Assistantship

Tracie co-facilitates the Leadership Excellence in Academic Programs (with Amanda Greenwell, Academic Success Coordinator) and worked with Hartford high school students to assist them in writing their college essays.

toney_s.jpgStephanie Toney

Major: Education Elementary School Teacher

“USJ has been a home away from home for me for more than 10 years, as I worked on two master’s degrees. The flexibility, small class sizes, convenient locations, and the true love of learning that the school fosters, are all reasons that I keep coming back. The preparation I received through USJ has helped me to become a capable and knowledgeable teacher who can employ cutting-edge techniques and technologies to push my students and colleagues to achieve even greater success.”

west_k.jpgKimberly West

Major: Secondary Education

“I am exceedingly grateful for the experiences with my off-campus master's program. My peers — the fellow educators in the cohort — enlightened, inspired, and enriched my experience more than words could ever fully express. Specifically, two of the courses within the program were extraordinarily meaningful; these classes triggered significant changes in me academically, professionally, socially, politically, and personally. For these reasons, I am forever grateful for USJ.”

j_bishop.jpgJon Bishop

Major: Education

“The strongest accolades I can provide for the University relate to my continued positive experiences as I built relationships with other students in my cohort. This has truly been a learning experience which will last a lifetime; imparting good not only for me, but for my students as well."