2015 Graduate Profiles

MAGDALENA FITIPALDI

Political Science and International Studies

Bound for Stanford University to pursue a Master’s degree in Latin American Studies, Magda has made the most of her Dominican Experience.

Magda’s journey through Dominican began with an engaged learning trip to Uganda and ended with a study abroad experience in Spain. In between, the double major was a regular fixture on the Dean’s List and in honor societies on campus, an active member in Campus Ministry’s Siena Leadership Team, and interned with Marin Chapter of the World Affairs Council of San Francisco. She also spent time each week to tutor at-risk school children attending local schools.

In 2014, Magda traveled to her native Uruguay where she interviewed Senator Lucia Topolansky, the First Lady of Uruguay, for her senior thesis focused on the role of women in politics. Magda also attended the Public Leadership Education Network Conference, the World Affairs Council Annual Conference, and represented Dominican as a delegate at the Millennium Campus Conference. In March, Magda was named recipient of a 2015 Newman Civic Fellow Award for best representing the next generation of public problem solvers and civic leaders.


JESSICA HERNANDEZ BIVIAN

Chemistry

Excellent laboratory skills and high scholastic achievement earned Jessica a prestigious National Institutes of Health (NIH) Minority Health International Research Trainee fellowship to Nicaragua through UC Berkeley’s Global Public Program last year.

Jessica, who also minored in Mathematics, participated in Campus Ministry service trips to Mexico and presented biomedical research at the Bay Area World Malaria Day Symposium and the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene international conference in New Orleans. She has submitted an application for NIH’s Post-Baccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award Program.

A first-generation college student, Jessica was a three-year recipient of Dominican’s Lillian Wang Yin Scholarship and a member of multiple honor societies, yet she still found time to serve as president of Dominican’s Latinos Unidos Club, tutor students in San Rafael’s Canal District, and volunteer at Memorial Hospital in Santa Rosa. Jessica has contributed to the Intergenerational Conversations program at Dominican and the Kaiser Mentorship program as she aspires to become an MD or MD/PhD.


MARGARET HIBERT

Art and Art History

Maggie enrolled at Dominican as an undeclared exploring student and soon after discovered and followed her passion for art. She was so dedicated to it that Maggie presented a senior art thesis – Beyond the Picture Plane: A New Approach to Figurative Painting – as a junior.

That commitment was evident in the classroom as well. Since Fall 2011, she had made the Dean’s List every semester while carrying an 18-unit course load to complete her double major. Maggie’s caring and commitment has touched others. She has taught an art class to elementary and middle school children at the Pickleweed Park Community Center and become involved with issues surrounding educational equity and resources for underserved communities. Maggie has volunteered the last three years as a Vision Quest Student Leader to share her experiences and outcomes from the program where she started. Maggie, who plans to enter graduate school next fall, has been accepted to a pair of MA programs for Counseling Psychology and aims to apply her art and community engagement in that field.


KHALIF “YEMA” MANYANKI

Communications and Media Studies

He was 24 and working on the Nairobi set of the movie Lost in Africa when he met actress Connie Nielsen. Many of the extras on the film were living in Kibera, and Nielsen visited the slum several times over the course of shooting the film. Her visits inspired her to form a nonprofit called The Human Needs Project and create the Road to Freedom Scholarship Program. Yema, one of the first recipients of that scholarship, arrived at Dominican determined to embrace every opportunity.

In the past four years, Yema has held four internships; produced and presented three shows for Dominican’s online radio station; honed his skills through the LeaderShape program; served as a student ambassador for Admissions; developed and executed a social media strategy for the Department of Athletics; served as student body vice president; performed each year in the student-produced Soul Candy; and participated in the American Conservatory Theater’s prestigious Summer Training Congress. In March, Yema received the Melba Beals Award for Excellence in Diversity, named in honor of the Little Rock Nine civil rights pioneer and former Chair of Communications at Dominican.


ALYSSA MITCHEL

Liberal Studies

So motivated was Alyssa that she presented two theses her junior year: One at the National Conference of Undergraduate Research (NCUR) in Kentucky and the other at Dominican’s Academic Showcase. Originally Alyssa enrolled in Dominican’s LINES Ballet BFA in Dance program, yet elected to pursue Liberal Studies in order to teach and be of service. She joined the Service-Learning program and took an Honors class “Aquatic Ecosystems of the San Francisco Bay Area” that led her to three local research reserves to collect data on oyster settlement.

Alyssa, who minored in mathematics and serves as a dancer and choreographer with the Marin Dance Theater, joined the Honors Program in Spring 2013 and completed the requirements in a snap. She is a 4.0 GPA student who has tutored at local schools and students in math and statistics classes on campus through the Teaching Learning Center.

Alyssa has been offered a professional contract to dance as an apprentice with Polaris Dance Theatre in Portland, Oregon beginning in September. In addition to dancing with Polaris, she will continue to teach dance and will also continue tutoring students in mathematics. After her dance career, Alyssa aspires to become a high school teacher and will return to Dominican in order to obtain her single-subject credential in mathematics.

 


ERIK ANDERSON

Business Administration

As a two-year captain of Dominican’s men’s soccer team and a member of the Pacific West Conference All-Academic Team, Erik’s contribution as a student-athlete went beyond the classroom and field of play.

Erik utilized his marketing skills through two internships and served as a student representative on selection committees to hire new faculty in the Barowsky School of Business. Exposed to public speaking as a freshman, Erik emerged as a voice for Dominican in a video announcing the largest gift in the University’s history and addressed a large audience about his Dominican experience during Parents’ Weekend. He also presented to Marin County executives participating in the Institute for Leadership Studies’ Leadership Academy in an effort to showcase Dominican’s business programs and its students.

Erik’s reliability and kindness extended into the community where he volunteered at an elementary school to help with reading comprehension and, as a member of the Penguins Student Athlete Advisory Committee (PSAAC), he assisted in promoting and marketing fundraising projects such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation.


MEGHAN NELSON

Business and Political Science

Meghan didn’t ease into her senior year at Dominican. After returning from a study abroad experience in Austria during the fall semester, she finished her thesis – Understanding the Relationship between Foreign Direct Investment and Political Risk— which was two years in the making and presented it at the Pi Sigma Alpha National Honor Society Conference in Washington, D.C. The double major is carrying 20 units in her final semester and will complete between 130-140 units in her four years at Dominican, graduating Summa Cum Laude.

In addition, Meghan, a first generation college student, was president of Dominican’s Accounting and Finance Association, represented the University in the Deloitte Tax Competition, completed internships with Avani Media and U.S. Capital Partners in San Francisco, received a scholarship from the Financial Women of San Francisco (FWSF) and participated in the Honors Ethnics Service-Learning program where she was a student leader at both Marin County Community School (MCCS) and the Education Dedicated to Justice and Equity (EDJE) program.


STEPHANIE RASMUSSEN

Chemistry

An opportunity to work on several malaria projects with Dr. Roland Cooper at Dominican has inspired Stephanie to pursue a Master’s degree in Biological Sciences focusing on antimalarials and drug resistance. Upon graduation from Dominican, she will travel to Uganda to collect samples, study antimalarial drug resistance, and work with malaria patients at the Tororo District Hospital.

 

Stephanie, who minored in Biology, aspires to get a PhD in infectious diseases and her Dominican Experience has prepared her for that as she is in the top one percentile of her class. She was chapter president of the Gamma Sigma Epsilon Chemistry Honor Society, was the recipient of several prestigious scholarships at Dominican, participated in the Intergenerational Conversations program and the Kaiser Mentorship program at Dominican, and presented research at several prominent national tropical disease conferences. Stephanie has worked as a tutor for other students in calculus and chemistry, and she worked as a laboratory technician at Graphene Technologies in Novato when she was a junior and senior.