Our Graduates

Thearse McCalmon                    [Thearse McCalmon]
Russell Sage College
Major: 
History
Minor:
American Studies
Hometown: 
Schenectady, New York

As a mom of four, Thearse McCalmon decided to go back to school because she wanted a more viable career. She credits her children with inspiring her.

While attending Russell Sage, Thearse, who is of Native decent, started the Native American Daughters in Education (N.A.D.I.E.) to display the beauty and culture of Native peoples. The organization helps the college and local community become more aware of the Native American culture and its peoples and to replace stereotypes and myths with truth.

Thearse has helped to organize many N.A.D.I.E. events but her most memorable was a fundraiser for a Native American family in need on the Akwesasne reservation. “That was my heart. I always wanted to help kids on the reservation.”

Thearse also participated in the New Leaders New York program which allowed her to work as a session assistant in the Senate. “It showed me that I could do so much more if I were in public office. Russell Sage prides itself on developing ‘women of influence’ and I think they 150% do that!” Thearse now has aspirations to run for public office.

Thearse also served as a teaching assistant, is active in the Underground Railroad Project and sits on the leadership board for the Academy for Character Education at Sage. The academy recently presented her with a Champions of Character Award for Parent Leadership. “Being honored as a parent leader and upholding the tenets of Character Education was very exciting. If I see a need, I say let’s go help out! It feels good to do it.

“I’ve learned that I can’t do everything, but the things I can do, I make sure they count. I’ve always believed get out there, and get it done! Nothing can stop you. Just do it if you want to do it!”

Thearse plans to attend graduate school and pursue a master’s in education.


Yagana Hafed
[Yagana Hafed]
Russell Sage College
Major: 
Political Science and International & Globalization Studies
Hometown: 
Kabul, Afghanistan

Yagana Hafed came to Russell Sage College as part of The Initiative to Educate Afghan Women (IEAW) which seeks to create Afghanistan's future women leaders through education and career guidance. Yagana was not familiar with Russell Sage when she came to the United States but says the college turned out to be her “dream place”.  The passion to pursue her studies came from her love of politics and governmental work. “Being affected by these two areas my whole life, made me want to pursue a career in the field.”

Adjusting to life in a different country has been difficult for Yagana.  She misses everything about Afghanistan, from family and food to the streets of Kabul. Aside from getting used to a different culture and customs, one of the biggest challenges was getting acclimated to speaking in class. “Students back in Afghanistan are not able to speak in front of their professors, let alone ask a question or correct them. Another challenge has been voicing what we believe in. In Afghanistan we cannot do that. Also, smiling at people. We do not smile at men, and here we do.”

Yagana has enjoyed her classes, meeting different people and learning about different cultures and religions and comparing all of these differences with her own culture and religion. “Everything about Sage has been so meaningful and fun.” Growing up in a culture where it is not acceptable to speak up has taught her some valuable lessons.  “Speak your mind. Do not be afraid to say what you believe in. Communicate if you have a problem with someone. Initiate a conversation. Even if you are wrong, talk.”

Yagana is a member of the Athenians Honor Society, the Muslim Students Association, and the Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society. Her college experience has changed her in many ways. “The way I approach people, how I can talk and speak my mind, and being able to know so much about the society, and the world around me.” She explains that living in America has provided her with many opportunities. “Everything I am today, my courage, how I carry myself with confidence and knowledge is due to my college experience and of course my parents.”

Yagana is hoping to pursue her master’s at Sage and then work toward her Ph.D. “I will not be able to bring a change in our society with a bachelor’s degree. Once I get my doctorate I will be going home.”

The best piece of advice Yagana has received while at Sage, “Be who you are, never stop. Keep GOING and the way will open up!”


Margaret “Molly” Lundquist
[Margaret Lundquist]
Russell Sage College
Major: 
Psychology
Minor:
Sociology
Hometown: 
Niskayuna, New York

When Margaret Lundquist walks across the stage at Commencement it will be a symbolic moment for many reasons.  Her dad, Sage’s vice president for marketing and enrollment management Dan Lundquist, will be the one to hand Molly her diploma.  Walking off the stage together will be a special moment for both daughter and father, as Dan will be retiring after forty years as a college administrator, the last six of those with Sage. “My dad and I have been through a lot together. He’s been the one person that’s been there for me since day one. I’ve always wanted to make my dad proud so seeing his face light up, and how our relationship has grown and changed has been my inspiration.”

"'I used to do many speaking engagements at high schools on the topics of the college admission process and financial aid, and I would often get invitations to speak at parent weekends at New England boarding schools. A few times we made it a dad-and-daughter thing and Molly accompanied me. It was fun for me and eye-opening for her. When she came to Russell Sage, I had one request – please don't give her special treatment or be tough on her because of my role at the college."

Molly transferred to Sage after getting her start at Schenectady County Community College and quickly felt at home. She participated in the Sage Singers and also served as a tour guide for admission. “My favorite part of my experience has been the community. People care at Sage including everyone from the professors to the staff in the dining hall. It is a supportive, caring environment.”

Molly explains that her most memorable accomplishment while attending Sage is not an academic achievement. “It’s becoming the person I have become. I feel like I have a future. My education at Russell Sage has helped me grow as a person.”

In September, Molly will begin basic training to become a security specialist in the Air Force National Guard. After basic training, she would like to attend graduate school and eventually pursue a career as a psychologist or counselor.


Letycia Tillman

Russell Sage College
Major: 
History
Minor:
Spanish
Hometown: 
Hudson, New York

Letycia Tillman says she chose Russell Sage because the atmosphere on campus inspires learning and understanding in an environment that is challenging.

Letycia was very active on campus through various clubs and organizations and she took on a leadership position in student government. She was also very engaged in the Troy community through her participation in “Building Civic Capacity for a Stronger Troy” which included a series of public deliberations focused on the future of Troy.  She also studied abroad in the U.K.

Letycia was named a 2014 New York State Excelsior fellow. The New York State Excelsior Service Fellowship program is designed to attract talented graduates from colleges, universities and professional schools across New York who are called to career in public service. Fellows work full-time in the executive branch of the New York State government and play a policy-influencing role working on the most pressing policy issues of our time. “I am looking forward to giving back to New York State on a larger level by serving my community with the tools I have gained throughout my academic career at Russell Sage.”


Bryan Kelly[Bryan Kelly]
Sage College of Albany
Major:
Law and Society
Hometown:
  Warwick, New York

Bryan Kelly was named captain of the Sage Cross Country team for four years and a member of the 2014 Men's Outdoor Track and Field Team, which had its inaugural season this year.

He also served as a student mentor. “Being a mentor gave me the ability to give back to Sage while also helping incoming students.”

Bryan was also selected as a 2014 New York State Excelsior fellow and is looking forward to impacting the people of the state in his role as a fellow.


Sarah MacArthur[Sarah MacArthur]
Sage College of Albany
Major: Law and Society
Hometown: Ancram NY

Sarah MacArthur completed her degree in three years. She was the only woman on the men’s golf team for a year before finding another female to join the team and was also the first woman to compete against other women as a Sage athlete in golf. Sarah was a two-time Skyline Conference Scholar-Athlete on the men's golf team.

As a 2014 New York State Excelsior fellow she is looking forward to gaining more field experience.  “I think of this as an amazing opportunity to grow as a person. I think that the fellowship will further guide me in my quest to figure out what and where I’m meant to have a career.”