10 Under 10 - 2015

"Under 10" Overachievers: Meet the latest group of recent Suffolk graduates making their mark in the world (or their corner of it)

A fourth-grade teacher in one of South Carolina’s poorest school systems whose plea for “for families not to have to struggle” in the holiday season led to a $500,000 donation to Feeding America. A journalist whose work on the Boston Globe’s Pulitzer prize-winning coverage of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings led to her present role directing video operations for BostonGlobe.com. An expert in crime and justice who applied her sociology studies to reduce mass incarceration around the country. What do these and seven other accomplished individuals have in common? All have been making major contributions in their fields and in their communities during the 10 years since they graduated from Suffolk. The work of this year’s honorees at the University’s fourth annual “10 Under 10” awards has made an impact locally, nationally, and in a number of cases, even internationally. A November ceremony at Suffolk’s 20 Somerset building celebrated this eclectic, exceptional group.

A native of Conowingo, MD, Gary Benjamin BA ’09 studied philosophy at Suffolk. His focus on ancient Greek philosophy and Plato led him to have an appreciation for cities and how a city’s spatial and political organization relates to the concept of “the good life.” Today, as a senior planner at the Elizabeth Peterson Group, Gary manages and represents some of the most dynamic development projects in downtown Los Angeles. After Suffolk, Gary earned a master’s degree in urban and regional planning at UCLA before taking a role in that city’s revitalization. He turned his attention to Los Angeles’s physical attributes after becoming involved in nonprofit organizations promoting urban agricultures in low-income neighborhoods that lacked investment and access to healthy foods. Today, Los Angeles is in the midst of a transformation from a sprawling, automobile-oriented capital of inequality to a healthy, just, walkable, vibrant city of neighborhoods that promotes cultural, economic and intellectual growth—and Gary’s work has contributed to this evolution. Recognized for his commitment to “good urbanism,” Gary says he “is grateful for the rich education he received from the Suffolk experience, including the small classes, brilliant professors, and thriving culture of learning that characterized [his] days there.”

As the co-founder and CEO of Campus Tap, Remy Carpinito BSBA ’13 has created a social career platform helping students and alumni make meaningful connections and launch successful careers.

As a student studying entrepreneurship and information systems, Remy took advantage of the many resources at the Center for Entrepreneurship—collaborating with peers and bouncing ideas off of faculty and alumni. He also got a boost from Suffolk’s Intellectual Property & Entrepreneurship Clinic, where he received free advice on everything from legal contracts to equity deals. In fact, many of his current lawyers are Suffolk alumni. In addition to raising over $500,000 in support in its seed round of funding, Campus Tap was selected as one of 128 startups (out of 1,600 applicants) to join the 2014 class of MassChallenge, a Boston-based accelerator.

Astou Diop BSBA ’10 believes her education as a finance major at Suffolk “prepared me to be a change agent and a fully rounded professional.” After spending two years in public finance at the World Bank in Washington, D.C., she says she was “proud to have made it back to Africa” and apply her education and experience at home. In 2012, Astou was admitted to the very competitive and challenging Management Associate program at Citigroup. This program selects 10 to 20 people across Africa and trains them for two years in different geographic regions to prepare them for leadership roles throughout the organization. Astou, a management associate at CitiBank, is currently the relationship manager of financial institutions and businesses for west African countries including Senegal, Burkina Faso, Benin, Cape Verde, and Sao Tome and Principe. In addition to her professional accomplishments, Astou along with her family helped to build an elementary school on the outskirts of Dakar, Senegal. Astou’s brothers, Mohamed BFA '17 and Cheikh BA '16 currently attend Suffolk.

A native of Russia, Anush Elbakyan BA ’13 spent much of her time at as a broadcast journalism major involved with Suffolk U News, the student-produced newscast. As an intern at the Boston Globe, she was thrust into the world of professional journalism. Sean Murphy JD ’91, a member of the Boston Globe staff and a senior lecturer at Suffolk, described Anush as “a central player in the Globe’s Pulitzer prize-winning coverage of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings.”After graduating from Suffolk, she joined the Boston Globe full time as a video producer. Just a few months later, in 2014, Anush was promoted to senior managing video editor, where she manages the day-to-day operations and leads the Globe’s video efforts in breaking news, sports, lifestyle, business, and special events coverage. Murphy, who nominated Anush for her 10 Under 10 award, says she is known for her “high-degree of technical competence, her go-get-’em attitude and her pleasant demeanor.”

Ryan Fattman BS ’07’s passion for public service started early. While attending Suffolk, Ryan served on the Board of Selectman of his hometown of Sutton, Massachusetts. While enrolled at graduate school at Tufts University, he was awarded with the Rappaport Institute’s Public Policy Fellowship, and also worked part-time as a policy analyst at MassHousing Finance Agency. In April 2010, Fattman announced his candidacy for state representative. According to his Wikipedia profile, “Down early in the polls by 32 points, Fattman knocked on nearly 8,000 doors throughout the campaign and won all five towns in the district,” defeating an eight-year incumbent, and becoming called “the new standard-bearer for beleaguered Massachusetts Republicans” by the Boston Globe’s Yvonne Abraham. Ryan was elected to the Massachusetts State Senate in 2014. In the same 2014 election period that he won his state senate race, his wife Stephanie, a current Suffolk Law student, won a hard-fought race for Worcester County Register of Probate.

A native of Haverhill, MA, Margaret Hillman BS ’14 came to Suffolk to study psychology. Maggie applied her education, skills, and leadership abilities to Teach for America after college, and is currently serving her second year as a corps member in Kingstree, South Carolina as a teacher of fourth-grade math. The excellence she has displayed as a fourth-grade math teacher earned her the First Year Teacher Award at her school. Maggie’s school district is ranked the worst in the state and is among the poorest in South Carolina, and she has found that the effects of poverty had a direct impact on her classroom. Noting that students and their families struggled to find food to celebrate the holidays, Maggie made a submission to the Capitol One Wish for Others Contest. Her plea “for families not to have to struggle that season” led celebrity chef Rachel Ray and Capital One to recognize her Facebook post and donate $500,000 to Feeding America, the equivalent of 5 million meals to the nation’s largest hunger relief organization. Maggie is celebrated for recognizing the needs of others and the major impact it made, not just for her students, but for millions across the country.

While studying political science and American history at Suffolk, Jibran Malek BS ’14 was inducted into the Political Science and History Honor Society. After graduation, he joined MassChallenge, an annual global startup competition and accelerator program that launches entrepreneurs and their projects, where he currently serves as marketing manager. Jibran led a content campaign for the MassChallenge Awards Ceremony that reached 6.5 million social accounts and trended in the United States on Twitter, playing a key role in application recruitment. Over 2,300 startups applied to MassChallenge 2015 from all over the globe. Jibran initiated key content partnerships to increase diversity within the MassChallenge startup class, in which 44% of the 128 Boston finalists had at least one female co-founder. Jibran was nominated by Rachel Cobb, chair and associate professor of government, who noted his entrepreneurial spirit, his provocative social media presence, and the good work he does to help startup businesses thrive in Massachusetts.

After she earned her degree in information systems, Boitshoko Phalatse BSBA ’08 returned to her home in South Africa, where she completed her master’s degree in information technology from the University of Pretoria. Today, she is a certified project manager, overseeing flagship projects for leading organizations in South Africa’s telecommunication and financial sector. Boitshoko is also the founder and executive director of Tsosoloso Educational Programme, a not-for-profit organization aimed at providing educational resources to improve literacy, encourage a reading culture, enable social growth, and reduce poverty in underdeveloped communities in South Africa. She has co-authored two bilingual storybooks depicting the rich cultural heritage of South Africa as part of this initiative. Boitshoko reflected that “most of the courses in my major contributed to the success of my career both in corporate and social entrepreneurship environments.”

Double Ram Gabriella Priest BS ’06, MSCJ ’09 studied sociology, criminology, and Spanish as an undergraduate, then completed her master of science degree in criminal justice while working full-time at Suffolk’s Career Development Center. During her time at Suffolk, she was an Archer Fellow Honors scholar as well as a member of the Suffolk University Hispanic Association and the National Sociology and Criminology Honor Societies, and was involved with several public service organizations. For the past six years, Gabriella has worked at Community Resources for Justice (CRJ), a Boston-based criminal justice and human services nonprofit. She was connected to CRJ through Suffolk adjunct professor Liz Curtin, who is a director of one of CRJ’s three divisions. Gabriella works on a number of policy and implementation projects across the country, focusing on prison and juvenile justice reform to reduce mass incarceration. Gabriella has served as the quality assurance manager for youth services, then moved to CRJ’s Crime and Justice Institute division as a research assistant, where she has been promoted twice and is now a senior associate. Gabriella volunteers as a member of Suffolk’s Graduates of the Last Decade (GOLD) Council and chairs the Career Development Committee, helping to plan events for Suffolk students and alumni. She returns to Suffolk more than once a month speaking on panels, in classes, and to parents and alumni. She also volunteers in her community for her neighborhood association and has served on its public safety subcommittee. For the past 5 years, she has been a volunteer mentor through the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston.

Born in Hong Kong and raised in Houston, Rosana Yin-Ting Wan BA ’11 served as a sergeant in the Army National Guard, and attended the University of Houston-Downtown. With the encouragement of her best friend and professors, she packed her few belongings and treasures, including a copy of David McCullough’s book John Adams, and transferred to Suffolk University as a junior. The Suffolk community became her family. Rosana is passionate about history, and the History Department recognized her with the first John C. Cavanagh Prize in History the year she graduated. She has reenacted colonial history with the Charlestown Militia Company, worked as a park ranger at the Adams National Historical Park, and presented in history classes at her alma mater, where she is also active in admissions and alumni engagement. Rosana’s “day job” is as a docent at Boston’s Paul Revere House Museum, but she is also an author. Her first book, The Culinary Lives of John & Abigail Adams: A Cookbook, was published in 2014, and she recently published an article about the Boston-born painter John Singleton Copley.