Students prepare for graduation

Commencement kickoff gives graduates information

Molly Begeman, Staff Writer

With graduation right around the corner, seniors are finishing up their last semester at Gannon University as well as finalizing plans upon receiving their degrees. 

To aid in this big change and the confusion of graduation, the Alumni Association is holding its usual Commencement Kickoff.  This event is vital to graduating students because it allows them to ask questions as well as learn all the valuable information that they will need. 

This semester’s Commencement Kickoff will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday in Yehl Ballroom.  

During those seven hours, upcoming graduates will have the opportunity to have their photos taken by Grad Images, order graduation announcements and class rings, meet with staff from a number of university offices, and most importantly pick up their caps and gowns.  

Along with making sure everything for their big day is in place and figured out, future graduates will have a chance to talk with other graduates over food, refreshments and prize drawings.  

With commencement coming up many seniors are actively making plans upon their graduation.  

Brianna Phillips, a senior occupational therapy major, said that after graduation, she’ll be completing her “fieldwork 2’s” for the occupational therapy program in the summer and fall.  

Once she has finished her field work, Phillips will be completing one more semester at Gannon to earn her master’s degree.  Upon completion of her master’s degree, she will study for the board exams, and once passing the board exam she hopes to get a job working in an outpatient hands-on clinic or an inpatient unit in a hospital.   

Phillips isn’t the only one graduating this spring.  Brittany Miller, a senior criminal justice major, said that upon her graduation in May that she will be in Erie for another year completing her master’s degree in criminalistics. 

While working toward her master’s degree she also hopes to find a full-time job.  Miller said she is very excited to graduate and find a full-time job, but she is also sad to say goodbye to all of her friends and teammates here on campus.  Miller was on the women’s diving team for her four years on campus and just celebrated her senior night this spring. 

Another senior who will be a part of the May graduation ceremony is Brady Bizon, a physician assistant major. Bizon’s plan is to stay in Erie over the summer and play with his band, Caught in the Rain, which will be performing in the area.  

After the summer, though, Bizon’s plans are to continue with his education at Gannon, with the goal of earning his physician assistant degree, and upon graduation in 2023, he will apply for jobs within his field.  

The last senior who shared his post-graduation plans was Nathan Manion, a senior political science major.  Manion is weighing his options and deciding whether to stay in Erie and work for political campaigns or go back home to Columbus, Ohio, and work for the state government.  

No matter where he ends up, Manion said that he hopes to work in politics “in some form, whether it is back in Columbus or here in Erie.” 

Madelyn Feyko, a senior legal studies major, said she is looking forward to getting more information about graduation at Commencement Kickoff.  

“My parents ask me questions about it almost every day and I never have the answers,” Feyko said. “I’m hoping to get clarity on tickets, COVID regulations, and more. I can’t wait to get my cap and gown too! For my high school graduation, we didn’t wear caps and gowns, so it makes getting to wear one in May super special!” 

Feyko also said she is excited about graduation. 

“Although the leaving Gannon, my best friends and Erie is bittersweet, I’m excited to continue pursuing a career in law and get into the real world,” Feyko said. “Thinking about walking across stage to receive my diploma with my fellow classmates and celebrating with my family makes me SO excited! I can’t wait to be done with classes, school work and exams too!” 

Feyko plans to attend law school after Gannon, but she is still waiting to be accepted.  

“I’m grateful for the exposure to different areas of law I’ve gotten here at Gannon, I feel like I already have a leg up heading into law school having majored in Legal Studies,” Feyko said. “I’ve had the privilege of being taught by attorneys, Judges, campaign managers and more, which has been incredible!  The education I received here at Gannon has prepared me for the next steps in my career, as well as life outside of Erie, PA.” 

All four of these seniors are looking forward to their graduation in May and are also looking beyond, to their post graduation plans. 


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