Michelle Talarczyk graduated from Niagara University in May 2018 with a full-time position as an audit associate awaiting her at Deloitte & Touche.

Ninety-seven percent of Niagara University students find employment or enroll in graduate school shortly after they earn their degrees, because they receive an education that delivers exactly what employers and the world are looking for.

Ideally, that education also teaches students a little about themselves. That was the case for Gabriel Buck, who enrolled at Niagara University in the College of Hospitality Management. After completing one year in the program and a summer internship at a yacht club, she realized that this was not the right career path for her. She transitioned to the College of Business Administration, where the faculty “helped guide me to find out that marketing was my real passion, and were always very patient and understanding with any of the questions I had.”

As a marketing major, Gabriel interned with Perry’s Ice Cream, where she started out in the human resources office as a social media and recruitment specialist, then was offered a second internship in the marketing department. The work she has been doing there, from content planning to website maintenance, running social media campaigns to assisting with a product launch, gave her hands-on experience in the type of work she will be doing as a digital marketing specialist at Norazza, Inc., a job she will begin even before she graduates in May. She also credits her classes in the College of Business, and the Niagara alumni connection—one of her superiors at Norazza is an NU alum, she notes—with giving her the right combination of knowledge and skill to obtain the position.

“The amazing professors within the College of Business Administration, along with the small class sizes, helped to make my NU experience more personal and really helped me to grow and develop as a student and a person,” she says, noting that she was able to “figure out” who she was and what she wanted to become “without feeling like just another student.”

“I have been able to grow tremendously since starting at NU,” she adds, “and I have had experiences and memories here that I will cherish forever.”

Michelle Talarczyk says during her undergraduate and graduate years at Niagara University, her education, coupled with hands-on experience and service opportunities, helped to form the foundation on which she has been able to launch her career in accounting.

“Niagara University provides its students with nearly everything one would need to succeed,” she says. “Each year was full of new experiences that helped me mature and change into the person I am today.”

Those experiences included interning with ShurTech in Cleveland, where she gained firsthand experience in private accounting, and with Deloitte & Touche, where she was able to work in both the audit and tax departments. 

Throughout her years at NU, Michelle also received valuable guidance from her professors, whom she says “devote much of themselves and their own time” to their students, showing “genuine interest in the internships and careers paths their students have chosen to pursue.”

Michelle, who has decided to focus her career on auditing, was offered a position in the Buffalo, N.Y., office of Deloitte & Touche as an audit associate, which she will start in the fall.

“As a result of the support I received from my professors, and (by) taking advantage of all of the opportunities I was given, I was able to start graduate school with a full-time offer from one of the four largest public accounting firms in the world,” she says.

Richard Luczak, who graduated in May with a major in social studies and mathematics education (grades 5-12), accepted a social studies teaching position at St. Francis High School. But before he did, the honors student was Western New York’s lone representative at the 2018 Hudson River Undergraduate Mathematics Research Conference, which was held at St. Lawrence University in April.

Luczak’s research examined math modeling and how it can be used to positively impact high school students’ problem-solving and critical thinking skills. An in-depth study of the Common Core State Standards was also conducted to suggest recommendations as to how to incorporate more math modeling into the current curriculum.

Among Luczak’s findings, more math modeling needs to be incorporated into the curriculum, teachers should try to incorporate some type of math modeling in every unit and every class, and math modeling is the way of the future. With the NextGenEd Standards coming for full implementation by 2020 and the continued focus on college/career readiness for the students of New York state, math modeling is both an appropriate and meaningful way for students to engage with the material and, ultimately, produce primary evidence of their thinking and learning.

“With math modeling, students can identify with the situations they’re presented and see how the math they learn in the classroom is utilized in our everyday lives,” Luczak noted. “This is very powerful!”

One of the reviewers of Luczak’s presentation at the conference was Dr. Jeff McLean, a teaching postdoctoral fellow from St. Lawrence University whose research is specific to math modeling and designing related problems. He concurred with the information presented in the 15-minute talk based on Luczak’s research.

“It is significant and speaks to the extremely high quality of Richard’s research that a scholar with Dr. McLean’s expertise in the field agreed with Richard’s findings,” said Dr. Michael Barnwell, associate professor of philosophy and director of NU’s Honors program. 

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