Campus & Community

Meet Stevens’ Sweet 16 First in Class for the Class of 2022

Advice, memories and next steps from the 16 students who earned a perfect 4.0

Representing the Schaefer School of Engineering and Science and the School of Business, 16 — yes, 16! — students will graduate with a 4.0 GPA this year, earning the distinction of first in the Stevens Institute of Technology Class of 2022. Each has achieved the highest academic honors but followed their own path to get there, gaining experience and building relationships along the way.

Meet the First in Class students who will receive their degrees at the 150th Commencement ceremonies on May 25. 

VICTORIA AGALIOTIS

Bachelor of Engineering in chemical engineering
Extras: Agaliotis is the past Student Government Association vice president of finance, an undergraduate admissions tour guide and peer leader, is a member of the track and field team and belongs to Sigma Delta Tau. She is also a member of Omega Chi Epsilon chemical engineering honors society and Tau Beta Pi engineering honors society.
What’s Next?: Agaliotis will complete her master’s in engineering management at Stevens in December and then join Merck’s Quality Line Oversight Program.

I LOVE BEING INVOLVED WITH MY SORORITY. Getting both of my littles and guiding the younger students through their time here has been an amazing experience for me. Plus, I’ve learned a thing or two about myself along the way.

THE MOST STEVENS THING ABOUT STEVENS is probably the fact that we have the duck dance and that the duck is our mascot. It’s a vibe.


GIL GERARD GALEON AUSTRIA

Bachelor of Science in computer science with a minor in quantitative finance
Extras: Austria is a Stevens Global Ambassador, peer leader and member of the Honor Board, Kappa Sigma, Alpha Phi Omega and FAST (Filipino Association of Stevens Tech). He is also a Pinnacle Scholar and member of Upsilon Pi Epsilon computer science honor society.
What’s Next?: Austria will complete his master’s degree in machine learning at Stevens and continue to intern at Johnson & Johnson.

THE CO-OP PROGRAM HELPED ME to gain real-life experience about how the things I learned in the classroom would translate to the industry. Not only did I get to exercise my hard skills in computer science at these roles, but I also got to develop my soft skills in collaboration, leadership, communication and presentation.

MY STUDY ABROAD EXPERIENCES helped me grow as a person. Traveling alone in different countries is an experience that I didn’t think I would be able to have so early in life, and immersing myself in different Asian and European cultures was eye-opening and exciting. I want to visit more European countries in the Mediterranean and do a food tour in Asia.


AUDREY AZEEZ

Bachelor of Engineering in biomedical engineering
Extras: Azeez is the past vice president of the American Society for Quality.
What’s Next?: Azeez will continue to work at Acuitive Technologies as a research associate.

I ALWAYS LUCKED OUT and had really great teammates. I shared a lot of feelings of stress, but also pride, with my Senior Design team. Working with them, I know all three of them are destined for amazing things after undergrad.

WORKING IN THE MUSCULOSKELETAL CONTROL AND DYNAMICS LAB when I was a freshman was a wonderful opportunity. Dr. [Antonia] Zaferiou’s research combines biomechanical engineering with sports and the arts in a really fun way.


LAUREN BRANDENSTEIN

Bachelor of Science in quantitative finance and a Master of Science in business intelligence and analytics
Extras: Brandenstein is a Pinnacle Scholar, belongs to Sigma Delta Tau, co-led the Python Club and was involved in Stevens Women in Business.
What’s Next?: After graduation, she will work at IBM as a client engineering data scientist. 

I MET SOME OF MY BEST FRIENDS in my first class at Stevens and they really helped shape who I am today. I think the little things, like eating breakfast in an empty classroom together before class, are what I’ll look back on.

WHILE I’M NOT GOING INTO FINANCE with my undergraduate degree in quantitative finance, the heavy emphasis on developing technical skills in my degrees, as well as providing opportunities for professional development, helped me excel in my previous work experiences.


LAUREN CHEW

Bachelor of Engineering in chemical engineering and Master of Engineering in engineering management
Extras:
Chew is a Pinnacle Scholar, member of the Gear & Triangle Society, Omega Chi Epsilon chemical engineering honor society, Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society, and belongs to Theta Phi Alpha and the Order of Omega Greek honor society. She also was a peer leader and tutor at the Academic Support Center.
What’s Next?:
After graduation, Chew will head to Merck as part of its Technical Operations Rotational Program.

STEVENS HAS GIVEN ME SO MANY OPPORTUNITIES to develop personally and professionally, through my classes, clubs, research, study abroad and more. I’ve gained knowledge and skills to apply in my career but, equally important, I’ve gained a better understanding of myself and confidence in who I am and my ability.

I’M EXCITED EO EXPLORE MY CAREER OPTIONS! I’m still not dead set on what really interests me, so I’m looking forward to exploring different areas and finding what I’m passionate about.


ELIZABETH CHU

Bachelor of Science in chemical biology with a minor in marketing
Extras:
Chu was captain of the women’s volleyball team, belongs to Phi Sigma Sigma and is a member of the Alpha Epsilon Delta national health preprofessional honor society.
What’s Next?:
Chu will serve as a medical scribe during a gap year while she applies to medical school.

THE VOLLEYBALL TEAM MADE IT TO THE NCAA SWEET 16 my sophomore year. That was one of the best trips and some of the best volleyball we played that year and it really paid off.

I’M EXCITED TO BE IMMERSED in the medical field and finally be able to help others when they are in need. I’m looking forward to making a change in healthcare and a difference in my community.  


JULIA DWIGHT

Bachelor of Science in business and technology with concentrations in marketing and information systems
Extras:
Dwight is a Pinnacle Scholar and belongs to Alpha Phi. She served on the School of Business Dean’s Undergraduate Student Advisory Council and Entertainment Committee.
What’s Next?:
Dwight plans to work in the marketing and technology spaces and explore her creative outlets.

THIS PAST FOUNDER’S DAY BALL was so much fun! I’ve been a member of the Entertainment Committee and involved in the planning of the FDB since I was a freshman so after more than a year online, it was amazing to get back to in-person events.

I WENT TO AN ARTS-FOCUSED HIGH SCHOOL, so I’m interested to see how I can combine that background with what Stevens has taught me. I’ve been taking some extra time to focus on my hobbies and find new ones this year and look forward to continuing that in the future.


KAYLEE GARDNER

Bachelor of Science in business and technology with concentrations in marketing and information systems
Extras:
Gardner is a member of the Stevens School of Business Undergraduate Student Advisory Council and a School of Business student ambassador and peer mentor. She is a general body member of the Entertainment Committee and a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma business honor society.
What’s Next?:
Gardner will complete her MBA at Stevens in December.

I FEEL SO MUCH SURER ABOUT WHO I AM as a person, professional and student. The people I’ve met, the work I’ve done and the hardships I’ve experienced during my time at Stevens have all been important to getting me where I am today and making me comfortable and excited for what’s next.

WORKING HARD IS IMPORTANT, but focusing on what makes us happy, and making sure we’re checking in on our friends, is important, too.


CHRISTOPHER MUSANTE

Bachelor of Engineering in civil engineering
Extras:
Musante is a member of the Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society, Chi Epsilon civil engineering honor society and a student member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. He also belongs to Beta Theta Pi.
What’s Next?:
Musante will start his career at Stantec as a civil designer and will work toward becoming a licensed professional engineer.

MY FONDEST MEMORIES AT STEVENS include the close friends I’ve made along the way, including my freshman roommates, my girlfriend, Cassie, who I met on the first day of freshman orientation, the brothers of Beta Theta Pi and my senior design group.

I BECAME A CIVIL ENGINEER because it is one of the most practical ways to change the world. Especially with recent trends toward sustainable development, I am eager to join the collective group of engineers in improving our infrastructure.


KYLE NEVILLE

Bachelor of Science in accounting and analytics
Extras:
Neville served as president of the Computer and Console Gaming Society.
What’s Next?:
Neville will join KPMG as an associate in Technology Assurance Audit.

IT WAS FRESHMAN ORIENTATION WEEKEND and I was hesitant but chose to attend the Computer and Console Gaming Society (C2GS) event that weekend. It was refreshing to find a community on campus with peers that shared my interests, and it’s the place where I found myself most at home. This is also the club where I first connected with my close friends.

NEVER MISS THE OPPORTUNITY to go on a good hike!


MARCO POLIMENI

Bachelor of Science in computer science
Extras:
Polimeni is a Pinnacle Scholar, served as president of the Stevens Computer Science Club and belongs to Sigma Phi Epsilon. He is a peer leader, co-founder of [email protected] and member of the Philosophy Salon.
What’s Next?:
Polimeni will intern with Amazon this summer and then return to Stevens to complete his master’s degree in computer science.

FROM THE TV SHOW TWIN PEAKS: “Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don’t plan it, don’t wait for it, just let it happen.” As you get adjusted to life, I think it’s a great idea to always give yourself something to look forward to.

DURING MY TIME AT STEVENS, I have learned to further understand my own values and become a better leader through all the opportunities afforded to me. This gives me confidence in my decision making for the future.


ROCCO POLIMENI

Bachelor of Science in computer science
Extras: Polimeni is a Pinnacle Scholar, vice president of the Stevens Computer Science Club, peer leader and member of the Upsilon Pi Epsilon honor society for the computing and information disciplines. He helped found [email protected] and is also a member of the Running Club, Philosophy Salon, Computer Science Student Advisory Council and belongs to Sigma Phi Epsilon and the Order of Omega Greek honor society.  
What’s Next?: Polimeni will intern with Amazon over the summer and then return to Stevens to complete his master’s degree in machine learning.

I’LL NEVER FORGET OUR RETURN TO CAMPUS in Fall 2021 after having been virtual for the larger portion of my time as a Stevens student. I was a peer leader and the energy on campus reminded me of all the good times I’ve had here, and the potential for all the great new memories yet to come.

I HAVE BEEN A COURSE ASSISTANT every semester since Fall 2020. This is by far my favorite involvement as it allows me to directly help my peers in understanding challenging yet fascinating topics.


JENNA PRALAT

Bachelor of Science in chemical biology
Extras:
Pralat is a Pinnacle Scholar, member of the American Chemical Society, belongs to Theta Phi Alpha and served as president and vice president of Stevens Habitat for Humanity.
What’s Next?:
After graduation, Pralat will complete her master’s degree in chemical biology at Stevens in December and then pursue her Ph.D.

I HAD THE OPPORTUNITY to get research experience as early as my sophomore year. I’ve been able to explore my interests and develop skills that will serve me as I continue my education and move into the work force.

THIS IS THE FIRST TIME where the path in front of me does not feel set in stone. I am ready to explore the different opportunities available and make the most out of them.


KAITLYN SHARO

Bachelor of Science in cybersecurity and Master of Science in computer science (August 2022)
Extras:
Sharo is an A. James Clark Scholar, member of the Stevens Christian Fellowship and was a resident of the Lore-El Center for Women’s Leadership.
What’s Next?:
After graduation, she will complete her master’s degree in computer science at Stevens before joining CACI as a junior software engineer.

MY PROFESSORS AT STEVENS have given me more than knowledge to be memorized for a test and then forgotten — they’ve taught me how to think like a programmer and that is a skill I will never lose.

MY FAITH IS VERY IMPORTANT TO ME so I knew I wanted to find a Christian community at Stevens. I joined the Stevens Christian Fellowship and have only missed a few weeks during my four years here, even during the pandemic.


GRANT J. SIMMONS

Bachelor of Engineering in computer engineering with a concentration in computer architecture
Extras:
Simmons is a member of the Stevens Climbing Club, Stevens Alpine Ski Club, a co-op mentor and principal bassist in the Stevens Orchestra. He is also a member of IEEE-Eta Kappa Nu, the IEEE honor society.
What’s Next?:
After graduation, Simmons plans to set off with his kayak and tent to enjoy the summer in nature. Afterward, he’ll join AMD as a silicon design engineer.

IN THE WORDS OF MY INGENIOUS MENTOR: “Be in the critical path." Whether it's fixing a production-breaking bug or rearchitecting an entire project, find the real problems — the real headaches for the people around you — and insist on fixing them. His advice helped me find meaning in my work, and it may help you find meaning in yours.

I WILL UNDOUBTEDLY MISS all the things that are uniquely Stevens: the all-night LAN parties in Babbio, the view of the Manhattan skyline from Castle Point and the wind tunnel outside the Howe Center. But most of all, I’ll miss all the amazing people I met during my time here.


BORIS TZANKOV

Bachelor of Science in pure and applied mathematics with a minor in computer science
Extras:
Tzankov participated in the Poker Club and Computer and Console Gaming Society.
What’s Next?:
After graduation, Tzankov will continue to pursue his master’s degree in applied mathematics at Stevens.

I HAVE GAINED good work experience during my time here and have made connections that I hope will last far into the next phase of my life.

LIVING IN HOBOKEN is something I really enjoyed. It’s a nice place to walk around with good views and good food. I will miss it.