Class of 2020 Commencement events to be held Sept. 17-19

Syracuse University will host a Commencement ceremony—delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic—and other celebratory events for the Class of 2020 during the weekend of Sept. 17–19.  

Commencement will be held Sept. 19 at 10 a.m. at the Stadium. This University-wide ceremony, where Syracuse University Chancellor and President Kent Syverud will formally confer degrees, is for all undergraduate, graduate and doctoral candidates. Doors open at 8 a.m.

Following Commencement, all 2020 Newhouse graduates and their families are invited to join Dean Mark J. Lodato and the faculty and staff for a celebratory reception. The event will include a dean’s welcome, recognition of participating graduates and an opportunity to reconnect with faculty. A precise time and location will be announced soon; stay tuned for details.

For more information about Commencement activities for the Class of 2020, see the event listing.

Typographic Design students win 30 awards in international competition

When junior Lauren Brennan opened Adobe Illustrator to work on a project designing stamps for the Typographic Design class taught by Claudia Strong, she barely knew the software. Despite that, for the first time since the beginning of the class, she felt she had the creative skills to complete the assignment.

As the only design minor in the class, Brennan experienced “imposter syndrome” at first. She had only taken the Introduction to Graphic Design class, and that was remote. When she started the Typographic Design class, she wasn’t sure how to approach the design process. Midway through the class, however, she was confident enough in her design skills to know that even if she didn’t fully understand the software, she could design something great.

And she did. Her stamp series, “Fashion Forward,” which highlighted the fashion contributions of Lupita Nyongo, Michelle Obama, Naomi Campbell and Diana Ross, won gold in the Graphis New Talent Annual 2022 competition.

Lauren Brennan won Gold in the Graphis New Talent Annual 2022 competition for her stamp series, “Fashion Forward.”

“The whole class and especially this project pushed me to do many things that, honestly, I didn’t think I was capable of with the skillset that I was going in with,” she says “But it’s definitely rewarding now to see that the hard work pays off.”

Brennan’s gold was one of 30 awards won by students in Strong’s Typographic Design class, including two golds, 10 silvers and 18 honorable mentions. It’s a particularly impressive achievement because the competition is international and run by one of the world’s most prestigious publishers in design, advertising, photography and annuals. Students won for a variety of class projects, from brochures to typeface design.

Brennan says the class was pivotal in her understanding of design. While the sheer amount of projects seemed daunting at first, she says they each challenged her in a new way and built upon each other to give her a better understanding of what the design process looks like as a whole.

Strong chose to assign each project with specific goals in mind, like challenging students to work on a small scale in the stamp project or understand the intricacies of typefaces after designing their own. She says the class reflects the goals of the visual communications curriculum at the Newhouse School.

“Rather than forcing students into a pre-determined mold, we encourage all of our students to lean into their interests and instincts and strengths while coursing through the curriculum,” Strong says. “Our goal is to develop curious, adaptable thinkers who harness their individual vision to produce unique professional-level work.”

Sophomore Angelo Garufi, the other gold-winning student in the class, says that without these high expectations, he probably would not have been able to produce that quality of work. At the end of the class, when he revisited his first assignment to revise it for the final portfolio, he could see how much he had improved as a designer.

Angelo Garufi won Gold in the Graphis New Talent Annual 2022 competition for his stamp series, “Smallest U.S. Capitals.”

“It was a rigorous class. I learned a lot and I enjoyed it,” Garufi says. “We were held to a high standard, so we made high-quality work.”

Brennan agrees that the pressure to produce professional-caliber work was motivating, particularly because she knew Strong believed she could produce work at that level.

“It’s nice to have someone pushing you because that means they know that you are capable of what they are asking you to do,” Brennan says. “I think just having professors around you that are constantly encouraging you to do things or giving you advice [is] reassuring, that they trust that you have the capability.”

For Strong, submitting students’ work to the Graphis competition is all about showing students how capable they really are.

“I want these young design students to know that good work gets noticed, that hard work pays off, that they are talented, and that their future is at hand,” Strong says. “Placing at any level is a tremendous confidence boost and comes just in time to confirm their decision to become designers and propel them into the rest of their career here at Newhouse and beyond.”

Elizabeth Kauma is a senior in the magazine program at the Newhouse School.

Funding expands for Newhouse professors’ work on technology to combat fake news

Two professors from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications who are working on the development of technology to detect manipulated media and combat the spread of fake news are supported by a subcontract that now tops $1.1 million, thanks to a recent expansion.  

Jason Davis, research professor and co-director of the Real Chemistry Emerging Insights Lab, and Regina Luttrell, associate dean for research and creative activity, will continue to work on refining a theoretical framework for the creation and testing of AI algorithms that can identify manipulated media. In addition, they will expand the scope of their research to include new modalities such as image, video and audio manipulations. They will collaborate with researchers from private industry and academia.

“While the challenges associated with fake news and misinformation may not be new, the speed, scale and global impact created by digital media channels certainly is,” Davis says. “This research effort underscores Newhouse’s continuing commitment to addressing some of today’s most challenging problems and contributing to solutions with global impact. It is our intention that this research will help develop solutions that can detect and combat the effects of disinformation across a rapidly evolving digital landscape.”

The subcontract is part of the Semantic Forensics program, funded by an $11.9 million Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency contract with PAR Government Systems Corp. The program seeks to create a system for automatic detection, attribution and characterization of falsified media assets.

Davis and Luttrell will continue to grow a team of doctoral, masters and undergraduate student researchers, based in the Real Chemistry Emerging Insights Labs, to assist with the research.

Undocumented

Idalia Quinteros
Idalia Quinteros

Idalia Quinteros is a junior advertising major from Miami. She transferred to the Newhouse School after completing two years at a community college. She is a reporter on CitrusTV’s Spanish-language news program, “Noticias.” Like many Newhouse students, she wasn’t sure what she wanted to study in communications at first, but after a couple of classes, she felt her chosen major click for her.

“The thing I was worried about advertising was that I don’t consider myself a creative person,” Quinteros says, “but then I discovered, there’s this base to the creative, which is a strategic and account planning. When I started using the programs to do research on target audiences, that’s where I started seeing myself more.”

She says she loves how hands-on the professors are, and how they crack jokes and do exercises in class to illustrate concepts.

“I’m like, ‘Oh my goodness, this is what an advertising class is like, this is so fun!” Quinteros says. “I’m so down for it.”

Quinteros is like many Newhouse students in her enthusiasm and her hopes for the future, but she’s different from most Newhouse students in one fundamental way.

She’s undocumented.

“For half of my childhood, I lived in El Salvador,” she says. “I was three when my dad came to the U.S., and then my mom left a year later. I stayed with my grandparents from [the age of] four to eight years old, and then later I reunited with [my parents] here.”

Quinteros arrived in Miami in 2008, just months shy of the cutoff for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) status.

“I’m a Dreamer in the sense that I’m undocumented,” Quinteros says, “but not in the sense that I have DACA [benefits].”

For instance, Quinteros says, students with DACA can apply for a driver’s license. They can get social security cards, so they can work. They can apply for a credit card. But even with those benefits, students with DACA can’t get federal aid, and they can’t travel outside of the country.

“It’s a few benefits,” Quinteros says, “but you have a status.”

For Quinteros, navigating an education without even those few benefits was challenging.

“I don’t think any college or university really rejects students based on status,” Quinteros says, “but they will say, ‘We can’t give you any money.’”

Even in-state tuition can be inaccessible for undocumented students, despite having lived in these states for as long as they can remember. Quinteros was lucky; there is a law in Florida that granted her in-state tuition for community college, and she was also awarded a scholarship. Community college, however, was only for two years; if Quinteros wanted to get a full bachelor’s degree, she was going to have to transfer to a four-year school.

“I applied to the University of Miami, which is crazy expensive,” she says. “When I got the rejection email, they blatantly told me, ‘We see that you’re not a citizen and we can’t give you any aid, so we’re not going to accept you.’ That was like the first time I had gotten a rejection like that.”

A friend who had gone to Syracuse and received financial aid recommended that Quinteros apply.

“She told me Syracuse was a good school and that they helped her out financially,” Quinteros says. “Then I also found out about the schools here, which were really good, like Newhouse.”

Quinteros applied, was accepted and was offered financial aid, so she packed her bags and came to Syracuse.

Huey Hsaio, associate director of multicultural affairs, says that Syracuse University is empathetic toward students like Quinteros. “We understand that DACA/undocumented students and students with ‘mixed-status families’ might feel daunted by the challenges of navigating higher education. However, we are committed to supporting their success at the University,” Hsaio says.

But even with the support, Quinteros says that pursuing a college education is not easy. Despite having lived in the U.S. for most of her life, she has no access to federal student aid packages, she can’t get a job to pay her bills and she can’t participate in the paid internships that give her professional experience in her field. These struggles are a big part of the reason she wants to talk about her undocumented status, even though she understands there are risks involved.

“The biggest risk is my whole future… being deported,” Quinteros says. “I take the risk because if I don’t speak about it, nothing in my future is going to change.”

Quinteros is undaunted by these risks, however, because she believes in the power of communications.

“[I want to] bring more awareness,” she says. [I want to] hopefully make things better for someone, at least one person. When I tell someone and then they asked me questions, it makes me realize that I need to keep doing this so that more people can keep asking questions and more people can care about it.”

Even with the challenges she faces being undocumented, Quinteros is grateful for the opportunities she’s had, and dreams about one day having a job in the United States that will sponsor her work visa.

But, like many of her fellow Newhouse students, she’s got a few dreams about what she wants to do once she’s able to work.

“I have two dream jobs,” she says. “One is working for a sports team, maybe a women’s soccer team. [I would also love to go into] communications for nonprofits, maybe trying to do something for the undocumented community, since I’ve already set kind of my foot in there.”

2022 Newhouse School Awards

Each spring, the Newhouse School recognizes those students whose dedication, ingenuity, academic excellence and creativity exhibit extraordinary talent and effort.

2022 Syracuse University Scholars

Ghael Fobes Mora

Thomas J. Shaw

2022 Newhouse Class Marshals

Chelsea B. Stern

Morgan C. Tucker

2022 Newhouse Scholars

Angelique Bey

Ghael Fobes Mora

Emma Folts

Ethan Garcia

Isabelle Hong

Priscilla Kang

Katie Lane

Jillian Leveille

Emily Lyons

Amanda Paule

Thomas J. Shaw

Cole Strong

2022 Graduate Master’s Prize

Maya Abrams

Emily Apple

Thomas Edson

Michael Fedczuk

Catalina Gaitán

Sherman Patrick Hardy

Katie Hopsicker

Katie Kiessling

Josh Kim

Nia Lucky

Rebecca Meluch

Kaitlin Parisi

Tatum Partrich

Eliana Pietras

Haytham Saqr

Morgan Scott

Rosalie Stevens

James Year

Mary Zoretski Key Award

Amanda Paule

Dean’s Service Award

Candice Bina

Priscilla Kang

Moriah Humiston

Zoe Selesi

Gaurav Shetty  

Newhouse First-Year Achievement Award

Jada Knight

Advertising Awards

Harry d. Meyers Memorial Prize in Advertising

Greta Hartwyk

Maya Tsimmer

Deborah Fink Green Award

Eleanor Bilodeau

Daphne Nydam

Brian Chau

Most Promising Advertising Student

Alexandra Schneider

Advertising Department Award for Academic Excellence

Victoria Lin

Emma Michelson

Ryan Peiffer

Allison Scherger

Advertising Student of the Year

Rachel Kanter

Bandier Awards

Bandier Program Innovator/Operator Award

Colleen O’brien

Bandier Program Leadership Award

Noa Getzug

Juliette Milber

Broadcast and Digital Journalism Awards

Don Edwards Broadcast Journalism Award

Moriah Humiston

Daniel Wood

Radio-TV-News Power Producer Award

Katie Lane

Beth Mowins ’90 Award in Broadcast Journalism

Jenna Elique

Magazine, News and Digital Journalism Awards

Bob Heisler Award For Excellence

Amanda Paule

Henry J. Wolff Memorial Prize

Emma Folts

Heather L. Fleischman Memorial Scholarship

Sarah Allesandrini

Tolu Fajolu

Margaret Hicks    

Brittany Miller

Maria Riccardi Scholarship

Ashley Clemens

Zoe Glasser

Ava Hu

Emily Steinburger

Magazine, News And Digital Journalism Graduate Achievement Award

Josh Kim

Calvin Milliner

Emma Vallelunga

Henry J. Leader Memorial Prize

Megan Aprill

Shivani Manjunath

Bianca Pineda

Samuel V. Kennedy III Award For Newspaper Editing

Andrew Crane

Emma Folts 

Amanda Kraynack

Charnice Milton Award For Excellence In Community Journalism

Adrianna Adame

Calvin Milliner

William Glavin Award For Excellence In Magazine Writing

Christopher Cicchiello

Sydney Gold

Shivani Manjunath

John Mitchell Award for Sports Reporting

Roshan Fernandez

Lauretta H. McCaffrey Journalism Prize And Newhouse Award For Journalism Excellence

Ghael Fobes

Morgan Tucker

Public Relations Awards

Public Relations Certificate of Achievement

David Halbert

Annalise Silkaitis

William Doescher Award for the Outstanding Public Relations Master’s Degree Student

Annalise Silkaitis

William P. Ehling Award

Chelsea B. Stern

Public Relations Department Chair Award for Leadership

Daniel Davis

Mengyao Wang

Public Relations Public Service Award

Catherine Burns

Julie Mendez Diversity and Inclusion Award in Public Relations

Matthew Edwards

Michael Spencer

Television, Radio and Film Awards

Gordon J. Alderman Memorial Prize

Jessie Zhai

A. William Bluem Award

Nina Bracey

Nicole Villalobos

Leah Wan

Edward L. Hersh Award

Paul Levine

Bridgit M. Patterson      

Glenn Steinfast Award for Excellence in Documentary Film Production

Zachary Katz

Rowan Elizabeth Ide

Stan Alten Excellence in Audio Award

Ben Teolis

Zak Trifone Love of Life and Music Award

Ethan Fields

Irene M. Sholkin Prize in Script Writing

Grace Gay

Shriya Menon

George Plavocos Radio Achievement Award

Allison Weiss

Visual Communications Awards

Prize in Graphic Design

Abant Berke

Prize in Motion Graphics

Natalia Deng Yuan

Immersive Media

Shannon Kirkpatrick

Video Production

Xinning Li

Bertram J. Davis Scholar Award

Emily Steinberger

Dr. Frank Meola Photography Prize

Siena Pennington                                    

Jeff Licata Photography Award

Siena Pennington

Society for News Design/Marshall Matlock Student Designer of the Year Award

Lucinda Stol

School-wide Awards

Catherine l. Covert Research Award

Maleeha Bhadki

Min-Chun Lo

Yueqi Su

Phoebe Smith – Honorable Mention

David Rubin First Amendment Prize

Catherine Burns

Teresa Buzzoni

Amanda Paule

David Peters

Ufon Umanah

Excellence in Web Development and Coding

Mark Nash

Soo Min Seol

Oh, The Places You’ll Go/ Rafferty Award

Katie Hopsicker

Survey of journalists, conducted by researchers at the Newhouse School, provides insights into the state of journalism today

A majority of U.S. journalists say they have been abused and threatened.

According to a survey conducted by researchers at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, a majority of journalists working in news media across the U.S. say they have faced verbal abuse, and about a third have received threats from a variety of sources—likely a reflection of bitter political divides, social media use and the stress of the COVID pandemic.

Female journalists were 7-to-14 times more likely to have experienced sexism and about 10 times more likely to have encountered threats of sexual violence, both online and offline.

However, journalists’ professional satisfaction in their work, and the degree of freedom they feel they have to do it, appear to be up slightly compared to a decade ago.

These are among the initial findings of “The American Journalist Under Attack.” The study, based on an online survey of 1,600 journalists in early 2022, was funded by the Newhouse School and the John Ben Snow Foundation. The authors are Lars Willnat, John Ben Snow Research Professor at the Newhouse School; David H. Weaver, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Indiana University; and Cleve Wilhoit, Professor Emeritus at Indiana University. Survey findings will be published in a book titled “The American Journalist Under Attack: Media, Trust & Democracy.”

Key findings:

The survey continues the series of major national studies of U.S. journalists begun in 1971 by sociologist John Johnstone and continued in 1982, 1992, 2002 and 2013 by Weaver, Wilhoit and their colleagues at Indiana University. Few studies of an occupation as important as journalism can claim a half-century’s analytical perspective on the work, professional attitudes and ethics from large samples of the people working in it.

For more information about the study, visit www.theamericanjournalist.org or contact Willnat at lwillnat@syr.edu.

Class Notes: April 2022

80s

J. Daniel Pluff ’82 joined WCNY as the host of “On the Money.”


90s

Anthony Calhoun ’96 was inducted to the Clayton Family Circle Wall of Fame.


00s

Amanda Raus ’04 joined WTNH-TV in New Haven as weekend news anchor.

Taj Rani ’09 is a co-host on “Amanda Seales’ Smart Funny & Black Radio” on Kevin Hart’s Laugh Out Loud Sirius XM radio channel.


10s

Tommy Farrell G’18 was hired as the head football coach at Manchester Township High School in New Jersey.

Meghan Mistry ’17 joined “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” as producer.


20s

Scarlett Lisjack G’21 joined KOB 4 in Albuquerque as the Farmington bureau reporter.

Media Hits: April 2022

Every month, media outlets around the world consult with the experts at the Newhouse School for context on what’s happening in communications and why. Here are some of this month’s stories:

Media hits

“[Students] want to do something that’s more meaningful, tighter to a community, standing for something bigger, [rather] than ‘Oh, yeah, our marketing is that we help poor kids, but that’s just a marketing spin.’ Instead, it’s built in.”

Sean Branagan

Kyla Garrett-Wagner

Associate Professor
COMMUNICATIONS

Media hits

“What we have done is put even more power into fewer hands.”

Kyla Garrett-Wagner

Jennifer Grygiel

Associate Professor
COMMUNICATIONS

Media hits

“No one person should have this kind of power.”

Jennifer Grygiel

Media hits

“It feels like this is Netflix’s ‘come-to-Jesus’ moment. They were able to be headstrong and play the role as a disruptor for a long time. But now the honeymoon is over and they have to face the reality of business.”

J. Christopher Hamilton

Media hits

“We have an illusion of knowing celebrities intimately, but that’s just what it is: an illusion.”

Robert Thompson

Winners announced in the 2022 Alexia Grant competition at the Newhouse School

The Newhouse School today announced the winners in The Alexia 2022 grant competition, which supports professional and student photographers whose work inspires change and world understanding. This year’s contest, sponsored by Sony, drew over 250 project proposals from more than 50 nations.

Professional Grant

Istanbul-based photographer Danielle Villasana is the recipient of the $20,000 professional grant for her project “Abre Camino.” The work explores the challenges faced by transgender women in Latin America.

“I’m incredibly thankful and humbled to receive The Alexia [grant] and am honored to not only follow in the footsteps of incredible storytellers who came before me but also to carry on Alexia Tsairis’ legacy,” Villasana says. “I dedicate this recognition to the many women who’ve graciously shared their stories with me for the past decade in my project documenting the life-threatening challenges they face as a result of transphobia throughout the Americas.”  

Two women walking down the street hand in hand.
On March 6, 2018, Alexa, right, and Nahomy, left, walk toward the corner where work in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. On the streets trans women often experience abuse, sexual assault, threats, theft, and extortion from gang members, clients, and the police.

Runner-up

Newhouse graduate student James Year was named runner-up for his project “The Moment,” which explores the state of the long-haul trucking industry. “The loss of this profession to converging technologies in AI and robotics is an ominous prelude to a future that will not create equitable new roles for the populations they will displace throughout America, especially regarding women, people of color and working class Americans,” Year says.

A snowy, gray day on the highway from the viewpoint of a driver.
Andre Ralow Wilson takes a load on Interstate 90 from G&C foods to Utica and Canastota, NY on Monday, Jan. 17, 2022.

Awards of Excellence

Student Grant

Newhouse graduate student Caitlin Eddolls is the recipient of the student grant for her project “Eight Hundred.” Her work will focus on the rare genetic disorder fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP) using audio interviews, a photo essay and a book of portraits as well as motion portraits of people living with FOP.

“Having received this grant, I am left with a huge sense of responsibility not only to the people impacted by FOP (the focus of my project) but [also] to the people and values at the center of this [organization] that have chosen to support this project,” Eddolls says.

Eddolls will receive tuition for three courses, plus a $1000 cash grant and a Sony A7III camera and lens. During her Alexia term, she also will serve as a paid research assistant to The Alexia chair.

A young girl carrying tree branches in a black and white photo
Liesl Saufley carries branches back to the car that she’s found on the ground to use for handmade wreaths in Syracuse on Dec. 11, 2021.

Runner-up

Jordi Jon Pardo of Universitat Ramon Llull in Spain was named runner-up for his project “Eroding Franco,” which compares the suppression of scientific archives during the regime of Spanish prime minister Francisco Franco with the current desertification state of Spain.

“Thirty-six years of dictatorship legitimized a culture of destruction and abandonment of the territory in favor of economic growth,” Pardo says. “Today we know that 80% of Spain will become a desert by the end of the 21st century.”

The silicon head of Franco by Eugenio Merino on exhibit in Barcelona

Awards of Excellence

The grant competition took place April 1 -2 at the Newhouse School. Judges for the student grant were Whitney C. Johnson, vice president for visuals and immersive experiences at National Geographic; Sandra Stevenson, associate director of photography at CNN; and Todd Heisler, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times photographer. David Sutherland, founding Alexia Tsairis Chair for Documentary Photography, moderated the panel. The professional panel was judged by Stevenson, Heisler and Jehan Jillani, visuals editor at The Atlantic. Johnson moderated the panel.

Bruce Strong, associate professor of visual communications who serves as the Alexia Chair and director of the program, says this year’s process was a success.

“I am deeply grateful for everyone who helped make this year’s in-person judging such a success: Adriana and Graham Letorney from Visura.co and Whitney C. Johnson from National Geographic; jury members Sandra Stevenson, Todd Heisler and Jehan Jillani; Claudia Strong, Rachel Cooper, Donna McLellan, Zach Krahmer and the staff and faculty at Newhouse; Samantha Corn and Joseph Stamper at Sony; and Peter and Aphrodite Tsairis (and their children and families), whose passion for The Alexia, our industry and the power of visual storytelling honors the depth of love they had for their daughter, Alexia. I’d also like to thank all the visual storytellers who chose to participate in The Alexia’s grant process this year and who are using their visual voice to tell stories of significance in the pursuit of making our world a better place.”

About The Alexia

The Alexia, now part of the Newhouse School, began as the Alexia Foundation, created with the mission to promote the power of photojournalism and to support photographers as agents for change. It was established in 1991 by Peter and Aphrodite Tsairis in memory of their daughter, who was a photography student at Newhouse when she was killed in the bombing of Pan Am 103 in 1988. Since its founding, The Alexia has awarded more than $1.7 million in grants, scholarships and special projects while encouraging a diversity of creators, issues and approaches. For more information, visit newhouse.syr.edu/alexia.

Newhouse student wins first place in Hearst Personality/Profile writing competition

Abigail Weiss
Abigail Wiess. Photo by Tamara Beckwith/NYPOST

Newspaper and online journalism senior Abigail Weiss took first place in the Hearst Journalism Awards Program Personality/Profile Writing competition.

Weiss won for her article, “THE ONE: Joe Biden’s 1st wife Neilia Biden shaped his life, career while at Syracuse,” published in The Daily Orange. Weiss did the article at the urging of her editor at The Daily Orange.

“I saw this as an opportunity to not only write the untold story of an exceptional SU alumna but to learn how she shaped our current president and connected with people in Syracuse. While it’s been 50 years, I don’t think Biden would be who he is without Neilia. I wanted to give her some recognition for that.”

Weiss says she’s in the job-hunting stage right now, but would like to go into climate journalism or become an audience producer in the future.

Weiss will receive a $3,000 scholarship for the first place win, and qualifies for the National Writing Championship in May.

Congratulations, Abby!

Dear prospective international students

First of all, congratulations! Congratulations in advance for being a part of the Newhouse and Syracuse University community!

This is a letter for you from me being an international student nearly a year in Syracuse. Even though I’m coming to an end to my time at Syracuse, I still have one more semester to complete in Washington D.C.

I’m not sure if you have completed your bachelor’s in your home country, in the U.S. or in any other country. In my case, I came here after working for four years and did my undergraduate in the country where I’m from. Regardless of our background and situation, here are some lessons I have learned that I will share with you:

Make the whole experience worth it

Moving to a different country and perhaps sacrificing some things and investing thousands of dollars are not easy decisions. I totally understand.

Make it worth it. Attend the classes, engage in class, ask questions, use professors’ office hours, build relationships with your classmates and be yourself. Also, some days you may not feel good and wouldn’t feel like coming to class. It’s okay to take a break.

There are always numerous events happening; take advantage of them. Join student organizations, go to those events, hang out with classmates, make new friends and, most importantly, make the best of it and seize the opportunities to the fullest. What can I say? Take advantage of the tuition you paid!

Speak up

In my country, I wouldn’t dare to speak with my dean of school and share some issues. They wouldn’t bother to listen, honestly.

But here, when you’re dissatisfied with something especially that has to do with academic quality, speak with your professors directly. Their doors are always open, which I’m thankful for.

If you happen to face problems as an international student, don’t hesitate to talk to the dean, academic affairs, Center for International Services, Barnes Center or professors. As they’re striving for improvement, they would be happy to talk to you and hear your concerns.

Don’t let the fact that you’re an international student be the excuse for not speaking up.

Explore the campus and city more

I haven’t seen many university campuses before but ours is beautiful and you may agree with me. When you have time, explore the campus and enter every academic building. Take tons of pictures on campus, or with Otto. Study outside, eat outside and play outside.

There are many decent restaurants downtown worth trying. There are Asian restaurants and markets as well. Get to know about the city a bit more in case someone asks about Syracuse.

Don’t worry; you will get this degree!

It’s an overwhelming experience. Each class, you will be given some amount of readings, assignments, team projects and more. You want to have fun but, at the same time, you don’t want to fail. Being an international student makes it even harder. Reading takes a lot of time for me.

As long as you manage your time well, make an effort and be engaged, you can still party hard and study hard and get your degree.

Overall, make this period of time meaningful and worthwhile. Sometimes I forget I’m an international student here because everyone is treated equally and respectfully. Good luck, make it happen, get that degree and go make a difference.

writer headshot
Oko Khosbayar

Ichinkhorloo Khosbayar is a graduate student in the public diplomacy and global communications program at the Newhouse and Maxwell schools.