It all came together under the tent on Monday morning, May 16, as the Class of 2016 switched their tassels, stood for the alma mater and marched out triumphant.
But, before being treated to the keynote speech by Steve Pemberton, Vice President Diversity and Inclusion and Global Chief Diversity Office for Walgreens, and to remarks by student speaker Michaela Dady, there were a whirlwind of activities.

Award ceremonies celebrated the depth of accomplishments of many, many graduates and pinning ceremonies were held for Dental Hygiene and Funeral Services.
On Sunday, ten awards were handed out in the School of Applied Sciences, two in the School of Business, six in the School of Design, six in the School of Social Sciences and Humanities, and the graduating members of sports teams were called to the stage for special recognition during the Senior Student Athlete Recognition reception.

The evening concluded with the Senior Soiree and the presentation of the College-Wide Awards where six graduates stepped up to the stage to take their bows.
It was truly a weekend to remember for the Class of 2016.


Nicholas Santos-Powell thrived in high school, loving science and math and was always fascinated by the intricacies of the human body.  When it was time to look at colleges, he found himself drawn to Mount Ida and intrigued by the combination of a program in forensic science and time on the lacrosse field.

Within weeks of leaving Fairfax, Virginia to come to campus, intense discussions with the faculty of the Mount Ida School of Applied Sciences told him that his future lies in medicine and he transferred to the pre-medical program with his eyes set on becoming a surgeon or a physician researcher studying infectious disease.

“My passion for science and wanting to work on hands on projects is why I chose to pursue a career in medicine. Since an early age, I have been mesmerized by the workings of life. The human body is a remarkable mechanism with numerous amounts of diverse systems producing an organism that could almost never be artificially reproduced,” Nicholas says.

“I grew up with a single mom who raised four boys and who is my role model.  I have become strong-minded and determined to go for what I want in life,” says Nicholas.  And it is that determination that has led him, as a freshman to being elected president of the Pre-Med Organization on campus and to secure a summer internship at Yale University.

“The small size of Mount Ida has allowed me to interact on a one-to-one basis with the amazing faculty.  They have seen my potential and have gone way beyond the classroom to help me realize my dream.”

At Yale, Nicholas was chosen from a vast amount of applicants across the county of which only 80 were selected, to participate in a 6-week program this summer where he will work side-by-side with doctors and faculty learning about the medical profession and what it holds. In addition there will be workshops in science and communication as well as sessions with admissions counselors on what it takes to apply – and get into – medical school.  In addition, the program allows for the opportunity to network and is designed to help position him as an excellent candidate with all the requisites to be admitted to medical school when he applies to Harvard Medical School and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Nicholas is also keen on giving back to the community. He will be volunteering as an ambassador this summer at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital in Boston, both helping patients and working in the pathology lab.

In the future, Nicholas would like to learn more about microorganisms and gain experience in research on antimicrobials. “I’m concerned about the over-use of antibiotics. It has been determined to be the wonder drug. It is used on a daily basis to treat an overabundance of infections.”

This matter is scary and exciting to Nicholas because “microorganisms that cause disease are getting more immune to modern medicine and we have to find new ways to balance the use of antibiotics.”  We could use, he says, “more of the newly discovered micro-flora associated with larger organisms to fight infections. A great deal of research would have to be done in order to get to this point. The possibility of being part of the research that may solve this problem is very exciting to me.”

Nicholas knows the road ahead will not be easy, but he is ready. “I enjoy a challenge that leads to a rewarding objective. Although medicine is a tough career, it is also extremely rewarding. The doctors I have conversed with during my volunteer experiences at health facilities as well as in my personal life have all reinforced this. I have always imagined working closely with people in a professional and stimulating environment, and in my opinion, a career in medicine is one of the best ways to achieve this because it blends the critical thinking of a scientist with compassion. My ultimate career goal is to do just this.”

And you can be sure, whether the road leads to a career as a researcher in the world of antibiotics and microorganisms or as a neurosurgeon, Nicholas will succeed.


It was standing room only in the campus center theater for this year’s Next Big Thing student competition, the School of Business’ equivalent of “Shark Tank.”



First place winners Zack Samiljan and Tyree Singletary.

The event was the culmination of four months’ work by the participants who wrote full business plans for each idea that was submitted to a panel of judges in advance. Then, they got to take to the stage to pitch the highlights and to answer hard questions on their proposal details.

First up was Cameron Morison pitching the concept of Intramural Unicycle Basketball. His mission was to provide a safe and comfortable learning experience to help in the growth of unicycling as a sport, hobby and meditation method that would promote fellowship among the student population in the spirit of friendly competition.

Next was the team of Kaela O’Connell and Alexandra Battaglia with their “Good Dog” business model. To be located in Wellesley, Good Dog would provide dog daycare, overnights and walks in an indoor/outdoor facility that would be completely crate free.

Second place winners Alexandra Battaglia and Kaela O'Connell.

Second place winners Alexandra Battaglia and Kaela O’Connell.

Following was “Stage Presence LLC,” presented by students Ryan Burch and Thomas Thompson, passionate lovers of music whose plan is to develop an online music service that would serve as a unique social network connecting indie and garage and established musicians to new audiences.

Closing out the night was “Yur’rito, a food-truck concept presented by Zack Samiljan and Tyree Singletary.  Catering to college students who crave food at odd hours and who enjoy putting together admittedly unhealthy options in unique ways, Yur’rito would service college campuses through an App.

At the conclusion of the presentations the judges set about making the tough decision as to which business plans would be awarded prizes. Yur’rito was acclaimed the first place winner and presented with a check for $1500 and Good Dog took home second place and $750.

The distinguished panel of judges included; Zachary Rosen who works with the NES Group, a bank design company and Corey Bowdre, founder of the Bowdre Group, a boutique consulting firm specializing in sports marketing, player career transition and small business growth.

Joining them were Christopher Reynolds, a computer and networking entrepreneur focused on information security and workflow efficiency, Jean Williams of Williams Consulting Group with more than 20 years of experience in executive/leadership development and general management and Geoff Cramer, CEO and founder of SocialMadeSimple, a company that creates web-based tools to help small businesses succeed on social media.

The prizes presented to the Next Big Thing winners were made possible by a generous donation from Gregg and Pamela Rosen.  Their son Zachary, who graduated from Mount Ida in 2014 with a Bachelor’s degree in Sport Management, always spoke highly of his Mount Ida experiences in both the classroom and on the lacrosse field.

His parents, proud of his accomplishments and seeing how Mount Ida was growing and changing, established the Business Plan Competition to give other students the opportunities Zachary had. In opening remarks, Gregg Rosen shared his thoughts with the students. “Nothing is easy about success but there are opportunities to do something wonderful.”

And wonderful it was. “On to next year,” adds Sharon McKechnie, Dean of the School of Business.