2016 Graduate Profiles
Russell Sage College
Major: Political Science
Hometown: Franklin, New Hampshire
While growing up in New Hampshire, Victoria Bunk had always been involved with politics. Her mother was very politically active and always encouraged her to be civically engaged even when she was in middle school. When she began her academic career at Sage, Victoria was considering pursuing nursing. However, after excelling in political science coursework her academic advisors encouraged her to pursue political science.
During her junior year at Sage Victoria was accepted for a New York State Assembly internship. She was also nominated for the Best Policy Analysis Paper and Best Mock Session Performance. She also received the Arnold S. Harris Award for her involvement in local and state government. Victoria made Dean’s List, became a Kellas Scholar, and served as president of the Athenian’s Honor Society. She has participated in community service with Literacy Volunteers of Rensselaer County and worked with civic engagement groups to improve the city of Troy.
Victoria has been awarded a full scholarship and will be attending American University’s School of Public Affairs in the fall to pursue her Master’s in Public Policy with a concentration in Social Policy. She has aspirations to run for public office. “My dream is to run for president one day. My teachers and advisors have never laughed at this dream, but instead have worked to put me on a path to make this a reality,” explains Victoria. “Without the education I received here I would not be the woman of influence I am today. Russell Sage College teaches all of its students that we have a responsibility to better the world; it doesn’t matter if we are studying nursing, business, or political science. As women, we have a responsibility to show the world we can be agents of change. We are the future of the world and it’s our duty to do whatever we can to better it for ourselves and our future.”
Kermit DeGraffenreidt Obeng
Sage Graduate School of Management
Major: Master of Business, Business Strategy
Hometown: Gomoa Aboso, Ghana, West Africa
Growing up as a child in a little town in Ghana, Kermit DeGraffenreidt Obeng always dreamt of achieving great and wonderful things. He moved to United States at 11 years of age which proved to be a great challenge for him. He learned quickly to adapt to the new culture and environment. It was difficult for his teachers to understand him due to his strong accent. This did not discourage or stop him from wanting to achieve greatness.
“It was up to me to prove the naysayers wrong as I knew the circumstances I faced at that moment didn’t determine my future,” explains Kermit, “I chose to focus on education as I understood at a young age the impact education would have in my life down the road. Throughout high school and college, I gravitated toward educators and intellectuals who saw more in me than I saw in myself. They inspired and pushed me to surpass limitations I placed on myself.”
Kermit has the passion and desire to someday return to Ghana and help improve the quality of life for others which contributed to his motivation to earn his MBA.
He plans to go to work after graduation and also pursue the possibility of starting a business. Kermit recently participated in the StartUp Weekend event hosted by Sage where his business idea came in 3rd place.
Ka’Miah Ta’Shey Turmon
Russell Sage College
Hometown: Troy, NY
Ever since Ka’Miah Ta’Shey Turmon was 7 years old she always knew that she wanted to be in the nursing profession. Her dream was to become a pediatric advocate and be the voice for children all around the world. Now Ka’Miah will focus on women and children’s health and being the voice for those in high poverty areas.
While attending Sage, Ka’Miah traveled to Italy. She was also honored with the Helena Roscoe/ Frances Woodward Nursing award and presented with a Champions of Character award from the Academy of Character Education at The Sage Colleges.
She enjoys mentoring others. “I love to empower those who feel as if they can’t and uplift them so they know and feel that they can,” says Ka’ Miah. “The power of spoken word is such a powerful tool.”
Ka’Miah has accepted a fulltime position as a postpartum nurse and also plans on expanding her part-time business. She wants to collaborate with the Ronald McDonald House to make wigs for those who suffer from cancer and alopecia.
“I am looking forward to growing as a woman and chasing my dreams,” states Ka’Miah. “The sky is the limit for me. I will continue to motivate others as I achieve success.”
Tareek Alando Solomon
Sage College of Albany
Major: Computer Information Systems, minor in Business Administration
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Tareek Alando Solomon has wanted to be a programmer since he was in high school. He is one of the first members of his family to attend and graduate from a four-year college. During his academic career at Sage Tareek has served as a mentor, a tutor, and was a founding member of a young men’s group on campus that aimed to empower and influence other young men to become better men. His most memorable accomplishment is making the dean’s list junior year with a 3.5 GPA. “I never saw myself graduating from college yet attending one,” explains Tareek. “Then to see myself make it this far and grow, I am so proud of myself and am happy that the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) gave me this opportunity to become a better man.” Tareek says the best piece of advice he received while attending Sage is “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” Tareek plans to work upon graduation then eventually attend graduate school.
Jessica Cecilia Wright
Russell Sage College
Hometown: Middleburgh, NY
Jessica Cecilia Wright has always been focused on the future, and always wanted to have a job in health care. Upon graduation she will be taking her NCLEX then working as a perinatal nurse.
“One of my proudest moments at Sage was becoming a student mentor for the freshman students,” says Jessica. “Through my three years of doing this I have seen students enter Sage as quiet, passive individuals and over two semesters become outspoken, proud, women of influence. Russell Sage really has taken pride in giving students a voice. We have participated in projects to help Troy become even more beautiful than it already is, and this shows students what little things can do to help the community. We learn to stand with the community, to not be afraid.”
Jessica has been inducted into both the Athenian Honor Society and Sigma Theta Tau. She is excited to begin work as a registered nurse and would eventually like to go on to pursue her Master’s in Maternal Health Nursing.
Russell Sage College
Hometown: Sugar Land, TX
Kayla Hartman began attending Sage as a nutrition major. However, she realized that more hands on, holistic, clinical care really appealed to her. It took some time to realize that nursing was the right fit but now it is something she is passionate about.
While at Sage, Kayla has participated in student government as the first year class coordinator and vice president, served as a resident assistant, worked as a student center staff member and assistant manager, sang in the Sagettes a cappella group, and served as president of the LGBT group on campus among other activities. “The times where I have felt most influential are those moments where I can advocate for others – those who otherwise might not be able to advocate for themselves,” explains Kayla. “Something I am most proud of is initiating the change for LGBTQIA inclusive education in the nursing curriculum. It is vitally important as we enter the professional world to be able to treat all people with the understanding, respect and dignity that they deserve. Implementing material that focuses on diverse groups throughout the span of the program is both an important and achievable goal for not only nursing, but all majors.”
Kayla has accepted a nursing position at St. Peter’s Hospital and hopes to bring her passion for advocacy and education to her new role.
“I’ve learned how everyone has their own story to tell which is unique and beautiful in its own ways,” says Kayla. “More important is giving people the platform to tell their stories authentically and in a raw way, to listen first without interruption or judgment. When humans can do this for one another it is transformative and we can all grow spiritually and intellectually.”
Sage Graduate School of Health Sciences
Major: Master of Science, Occupational Therapy
Hometown: Gansevoort, New York
Kayla Ochse always knew that she wanted to pursue a career in the medical field and to help others. When she learned more about occupational therapy and saw that she would be able to help people do the things that they love and make a difference in a unique and meaningful way, she knew that occupational therapy was perfect for her.
Kayla has faced a lot of adversity while pursuing her Master of Science at The Sage Colleges including being separated from her husband who was serving in the military and stationed at Camp Lejeune and grieving the passing of her mom. “As a result of these experiences I have grown stronger and more independent as an individual, and I have been able to learn more about myself,” says Kayla. “I have been able to see my strength shine through evidenced by my ability to finish my degree program despite experiencing difficult situations. I learned what it means to have to find it within yourself to dig deeper and continue pursuing your goals despite the odds against you.”
While attending Sage, Kayla worked in the Office of Career Planning and also enjoyed helping others accomplish their goals through her fieldwork experiences. As a result, she has grown more confident in her abilities to treat patients and work with them to achieve what they set out to do.
After completing her 6 months of fieldwork experiences, Kayla will pursue her professional career in occupational therapy.