What to Expect
Each graduate will cross the stage to receive a letter of congratulations. Our ceremony is a moving, wonderful experience; we are sure you will want to be there with your family and friends.
About CUNY BA’s Commencement Speaker
Gareth Rhodes was born and raised in rural Ulster County, where he grew up working on a farm and graduated from Kingston High School. He started his college career in 2007 at The City College of New York and enrolled in CUNY BA in 2008. He assembled two challenging areas of study, in Public Policy and Political Economy, that included multiple honors courses, independent studies, study abroad in China and Argentina and internships with Congressman Charles B. Rangel, the White House, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo – both as Attorney General and in the Executive Chamber – and the Roosevelt Institute.
As an undergraduate, he was a news editor for the City College student newspaper and active in the award-winning Model U.N. Team, in addition to participation in other student clubs and organizations. He also served two years on CUNY Baccalaureate’s Governing Committee. Gareth was a participant in the City College Honors Program and the Skadden, Arps Honors Program in Legal Studies and was a recipient of the Colin Powell Leaders’ Fellowship, Thomas W. Smith Academic Fellowship, Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship and Peter J. Sharp Academic Scholarship.
In 2011, he was selected for the highly competitive Harry S. Truman Scholarship. After graduating summa cum laude from CUNY BA in 2011, he returned to Albany to work for Governor Andrew Cuomo as Deputy Press Secretary. Gareth is currently a third year student at Harvard Law School and a primary candidate in the 19th Congressional District in New York’s Hudson Valley.
About CUNY BA’s Faculty Speaker: Justine Pawlukewicz – NYC College of Technology
Dr. Justine Pawlukewicz is Chairperson and Associate Professor of the Human Services Department at The City University of New York (CUNY) – NYC College of Technology (NYCCT), and teaches in the CUNY Graduate Center’s Master of Arts program in Disability Studies. In addition, she has published in peer reviewed journals, presented at regional, national and international conferences, co-hosted a cable TV show on mental health issues, and is a member of multiple advisory boards throughout the metropolitan area. A clinical licensed social worker since 1981, she has supervised mental health and addiction clinics and is currently practicing psychotherapy in New Jersey. She is a graduate of Syracuse University and earned her Masters and Doctorate degrees in social work from New York University.
Dr. Pawlukewicz has been a supporter and faculty mentor of CUNY BA for many years, so it is particularly noteworthy that she is sharing the stage with one of her mentees, who is the 2018 student speaker.
About CUNY BA’s Student Speaker: Jawad Rashid
Jawad Rashid came to CUNY BA with an interest in medicine and human services, and is graduating with an area of concentration in Vulnerable Populations under the mentorship of Justine Pawlukewicz of NYC College of Technology. With his near perfect grade point average and his extensive volunteer activities at several NYC hospitals, clinics, and community organization, he is well on his way to fulfilling his goal of becoming a neurosurgeon. His hard work, dedication and commitment earned him several CUNY BA Scholarships, including the Thomas W. Smith Academic Fellowship. In 2017 he was awarded a U.S. Department of State’s Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship for summer study abroad in the Republic of Moldova, where he will be returning as a 2018 Fulbright scholar.