Leah Jasek '20
Remote Kindergarten Teacher, Grand Island Central School District
Education is a family affair for Leah Jasek ’20. From a young age she was active in her mother’s classroom and aspired to follow in her footsteps. “My mom makes every student feel like they are capable and belong which is exactly what I want to do with every student I meet and teach,” she shared.
Jasek has held several roles in her district, but is currently teaching kindergarten students in a 100% virtual learning environment. She runs her classroom and meets with students throughout the day. When not working with students, Jasek is planning future lessons and communicating with parents. “My favorite part of my day is interacting with my students,” she emphasizes, while affirming the importance of the administrative tasks of teaching. Jasek looks forward to one day teaching students in person, but for now she’s happy in the virtual classroom. “I love helping students shine and have fun while learning online.”
She credits the faculty in the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education for teaching her how to make each student feel valued and appreciated, and remains in touch with her professors, contacting them for advice, tips, and tricks. “My Fisher education prepared me for my career, when it comes to the material and knowledge that I needed to succeed in my classroom. In addition, Fisher provided me with experiences that have allowed me to grow as a teacher and a person. I would not be the teacher or the person I am today without Fisher,” Jasek shared.
Jasek encourages students to use their experiences at Fisher to excel in their career after college, recommending them to “use the knowledge and values you have learned from Fisher to continue striving toward your goals. Life outside of Fisher is definitely different, but the values and person you are is not,” she advises.
Margaret “Maggie” Rustowicz, '19
Nursing Instructor Erie 1 BOCES
From a young age, Maggie Rustowicz ’19 knew she wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. Her father was a first responder, and as a teen, she served as a Fire Cadet and learned about emergency medicine. “I saw how much of a difference my dad made attending calls, saving lives, and helping others.”;
As a nursing instructor at Erie 1 BOCES, Rustowicz works with high school students to prepare them for careers in nursing and other health care professions. Working with students from the Buffalo area is something she finds rewarding, sharing, “This program can really guide students to be successful, creating a bright future, and bettering themselves.”
Rustowicz describes her professors at the Wegmans School of Nursing as empathetic, independent, and hardworking. Their commitment to patient care had a profound effect on her nursing career, sparking an interest in nursing education. Her work with high school students confirmed her passion for teaching nursing. She is enrolled in a graduate nursing education program and looks forward to a career at the collegiate level while maintaining a part-time nursing career.;
“The personal relationships I had with both faculty and staff made me the nurse I am today,” she affirmed. “My Fisher education helped me not only realize what goals I had for my career but helped me achieve them by forming connections with people in my field and by providing me with internships in both Rochester and Buffalo.”
Rustowicz advises students to take their time finding their professional path and to feel comfortable changing jobs, continuing their education, or exploring career options. ”There are countless opportunities in the world and Fisher will prepare you for anything,” she noted.
She credits her time at Fisher for teaching her to be courageous, as well as giving her the skills and confidence needed to work as a nurse during a global pandemic. “Fisher molded me into the person I am today, the nurse I wanted to be, and showed me the instructor I strive to be,” Rustowicz shared. “Nothing compares to a Fisher Nurse."
Jake Allen ’18
Associate Specialist, Paid Social, Butler/Till
As the Student Government Association’s 2015 Freshman of the Year, Jake Allen ’18 made an immediate impression on campus. And, over the course of his time at the College, he never slowed down.
A media and communication major and ethics minor, Jake served as a managing editor, reporter, photographer, and videographer for the Cardinal Courier, a student-produced monthly news magazine, and was active in The PRIMA Group, a student-run full-service advertising, marketing, and public relations agency.
He credits the supportive environment at the College with fostering his motivation to be involved on campus.
“The compassion of Fisher faculty and staff have helped me realize my true potential and molded me into the person I am today, and I think that’s what makes Fisher so incredible,” said Jake, who took full advantage of all the opportunities in front of him, including a study abroad semester in London.
Those experiences, paired with a passion for communication, technology, and social and digital media led Allen to pursue a career with Butler/Till, a Rochester-based communications agency. There, he traffics digital campaigns for online platforms, primarily serving clients in the pharmaceutics and health care fields. That means Jake has to stay sharp in understanding the ever-changing worlds of two industries.
“Part of my job entails staying up-to-date on the latest health care trends as well as digital media trends that will most likely impact the work that I present throughout my career,” he explained.
It’s a challenge he said he was well prepared for thanks to his Fisher education.
“I feel that I have not only been set up to be successful in any path that I choose but have also been prepared to challenge things that may seem wrong or even overcome obstacles destined to be in my way,” he said.
Becca Davis ’18
Sponsorship Assistant, Boston Red Sox
Becca Davis ’18 took full advantage of the opportunity to work for her dream organization, the Boston Red Sox. Since January 2018, Becca has served as a sponsor services assistant, fulfilling sponsorship contracts, maintaining relationships with corporate clients, and providing support for the client services department. Today, she continues on with the Red Sox organization as a sponsorship assistant, maintaining sponsor relationships by providing personable service, tour and scoreboard messages, and processing and selling tickets.
Prior to landing the position, Becca completed internships with the Amsterdam Mohawks and the Rochester Red Wings. She said all of her internship experiences helped solidify her passion for the game of baseball.
“This has been a tremendous learning experience for me,” said Becca. “I work with a great group of people and I get to go to work at Fenway Park everyday.”
Kevin Kulawiec ’18
Inside Sales Representative, Paychex
Kevin Kulawiec, a finance and economics double major, stepped off the stage at Commencement and right into his first job with Paychex. As an inside sales representative, he draws on both his majors and the leadership and teamwork skills he honed as a member of the men’s tennis team to promote new products to current and potential customers.
“A lot of times, I’m the first interaction people have with Paychex, so I want to make sure it is a completely positive one,” Kevin said, noting that economics courses taught by Dr. Clair Smith, along with a study abroad experience in London, England, helped prepare him for life after Fisher.
And, he’s found that many Fisher graduates have also made their careers at Paychex, creating a strong network of alumni and a whole new chance for learning.
“A Fisher education is what set me apart when it came time for the job search. I found that Fisher was very well-known and respected throughout our community, and this is a great first job for me,” he said. “Every day I am developing my personal, professional, and customer service skills, and learning what it’s like to work on a team.”
Tyana Velazquez-Smith '15
CSTEP Program Director, St. John Fisher College
Tyana Velazquez-Smith ’15 is the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) program director at Fisher. In this role, she supports undergraduate students at Fisher who are pursuing degrees in STEM-related fields. In addition, she is working towards her Ph.D. in education, a process that entails completing course work, conducting research, and serving as a teaching assistant for two doctoral-level courses.
She describes a typical day as “jam-packed with reading, writing papers, studying for exams, supporting CSTEP students, grading assignments, meetings, classes, and LOTS of emails.” Velazquez-Smith continues, “But these are all things that I love and genuinely enjoy doing. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
A former kindergarten teacher, she emphasizes the skills she learned at Fisher prepared her to be an innovative, thoughtful, and engaging educator. “I learned skills that elevated my craft as a teacher, but also as a professional. The fabulous professors at the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education guided me to graduation, but their teachings have also guided me throughout life.”
She credits her academic advisors for their continued support and motivation during her time at Fisher. “Their guidance while I was a student and post-graduation is why this College is referred to as a Fisher family. As my advisors, they reminded me of my intellect and strength and inspired me to be the best educator that I could be.” She continues, “It is now my honor to work alongside these powerhouses five years later as colleagues.”;
Ultimately, Velazquez-Smith looks forward to working as a professor at the college level. She also plans to continue her research and eventually publish a book on literacy and identity construction among young Black women.
She advises students to stay true to themselves and stay on a path that has meaning for them, not the path of your friends or what you think will make your family proud, sharing, “Only do the things that speak to your heart.”