Once a Mustang, Always a Mustang – Vol. 2

Seniors are preparing for graduation and looking ahead to life after SU; a few May 2024 seniors post-grad plans
Once a Mustang, Always a Mustang - Vol. 2

With just over a month until the May commencement ceremonies begin, more seniors begin to solidify what they plan to pursue after their careers at Stevenson come to a close. Whether it is staying locally, seeing the world, pursuing a trade, going to grad school, or joining the workforce, Mustangs are more than ready for whatever the next steps may be.

Here are a few soon-to-be Stevenson alumni and their post-graduation plans:


Jai Raccioppi

Jai Raccioppi will be leaving this Spring with a degree in biomedical engineering. During his four years at Stevenson, Raccioppi has been extremely active in the community, garnering countless awards, athletic accomplishments, and memberships that set him up for success.

Raccioppi has been involved in many clubs, sports, and organizations on campus, including the Black Student Union (BSU), Men’s Bible Study, Leadership Scholars, and the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). He was also a leader on the men’s indoor and outdoor track and field teams, a model for Under Armour in Baltimore, Maryland, and maintained national society memberships in the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) and the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE).

In the summer of 2023, Amazon sponsored a research internship opportunity for Raccioppi at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

There he researched the acute effects of transcranial magnetic stimulation on spatial learning and memory under Dr. Jiang and Dr. Song in USC’s Neural Modeling and Interface lab. These experiences allowed him to get a feel for both the industry and field of academia, leading Raccioppi to pursue a Ph.D. after developing a passion for research.

His experience with the Career Connection Center, specifically Dr. Gabrielle Styles, led him to receive another internship at AstraZeneca, a multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology company.

After graduation, Raccioppi will attend the University of Florida in Gainesville to complete a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering. He will then join the TM3 lab under Dr. Lakiesha Williams to research the effects of traumatic brain injury on neurodegenerative disorders such as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).

“My overall experience at Stevenson has proved to be very fruitful. I have made impactful relations with faculty and met many lifelong friends and peers throughout my experiences here,” Raccioppi said.


Kara Yarusso

Kara Yarusso will be graduating with a degree in business administration and a minor in accounting from Stevenson. She is contemplating furthering her studies through enrolling in a master’s program or entering directly into the workforce.

Kara completed an internship last summer with the United States Department of Defense, which she loved.

“Working with the Department of Defense allowed me to gain hands-on experience in a career I could pursue,” Yarusso said.

Yarusso was a student orientation leader during her time at Stevenson, where she organized events that presented learning opportunities, such as scenarios to practice conflict resolution and the skills necessary to lead a large group, both of which are crucial in the workforce.

Yarusso, too, acquired an impressively long list of athletic accomplishments. As a four-year member of the women’s lacrosse team, her career at Stevenson will come to an end, having left her mark on the program. Just last year, She was named Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC) Midfielder of the Year, Second Team All-American by USA Lacrosse Magazine, and a Metro All-Region First Team nod from the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association.

Being able to play lacrosse while focusing on academics is what Yarusso loved most about Stevenson; she felt a family-oriented environment and loved every second of it.


Kevin Franiak

(Franiak pictured left)

Kevin Franiak will be graduating in May from the nursing program at Stevenson University, with a job already secured as a registered nurse in the University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center’s Intensive Care Unit.

Franiak has been a member of the National Student Nurses Association throughout his four years at Stevenson. This nonprofit organization mentors nursing students, preparing them for initial licensure as Registered Nurses and promoting professional development.

He has also been active within Stevenson’s nursing department by attending nursing career fairs and maintaining contact with the Career Connection Center. Franiak credits his level of involvement with being able to find a post-grad job, months before the commencement ceremony even takes place.

“Attending Nursing Career Fairs has been very beneficial,” Franiak said. “They bring in hospital representatives from the area to come to Stevenson to accept resumes and set up share dates.”

Another one of Franiak’s goals after graduation is to hike the Grand Canyon by 2025

“I loved my time at Stevenson,” Franiak said. “I am definitely ready for the next chapter in my life, but I feel so prepared and so fulfilled with the college experience Stevenson has offered me.”


Tylor Blake

Tylor Blake is a senior who will graduate this May with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a minor in psychology.

As a four-year member of the Mustangs football team, Blake was active throughout his college career, balancing a full course-load and football schedule. Despite being busy, his time at Stevenson has been an experience that Blake will never forget.

“Being a member of the football team has been one of my fondest memories at Stevenson,” Blake said. “I was able to work my way to captain after years of hard work.”

After graduation, Blake plans to move back home to New Jersey to attend fire school to become a volunteer firefighter.

In addition, Blake will work as a firearm instructor at a local gun range, planning to work his way toward becoming a member of the New Jersey State Police.

Blake knew he wanted to be a police officer from an early age and majoring in criminal justice at Stevenson presented an ideal stepping stone for him to get one step closer to achieving this dream job.


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About the Contributor
Caleigh Bernota
Caleigh Bernota, Reporter
Caleigh is a senior business communication major with a minor in fashion merchandising. She is from Frederick, Maryland, and is a member of Stevenson's beach volleyball team. Outside of the Stevenson community, she is employed part-time as the communications specialist at PPR Strategies, an economic development and tourism agency. Her favorite food is guacamole!
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