Brynn Sussman ’15
Administrative Assistant, National Hockey League
Less than six months after receiving her degree in mass communications, four-year standout women's tennis player Brynn Sussman ’15 landed a job with the National Hockey League.
She started the job as lead administrative assistant to the executive vice president of events in January. Duties include day-to-day support to event staff and personnel, event planning and on-site help. Sussman will also maintain her previous position as a production assistant with the New York Giants.
During her time at Oneonta, Sussman excelled in the classroom and on the tennis court. She was a SUNYAC All-Conference performer, two-year team captain, and graduated with 91 singles and doubles victories—more than any other player since 2000.
Academically, Sussman was a SUNYAC All-Academic and Commissioner's List honoree throughout her career and was inducted into Chi Alpha Sigma, the national student athlete honor society. The Athletic Department coaches honored Sussman with the Dr. Joseph Heissan '63 Senior Achievement Award for her overall athletic and academic success and with her leadership and contributions to SUNY Oneonta athletics.
Also notable was Sussman's production of the Athletics Department’s "It's on Us" video to support the national movement to end sexual assault and sexual violence on college campuses. The video was featured on the social media channels of both the National Collegiate Athletic Association and SUNY and included in the NCAA’s monthly "#Why D3 Show."
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Steve Almeida ‘11
Compliance Analyst at Plaid
Steve Almeida has combined a background in economics, communication and law to create an unconventional career path.
After graduating in May 2011 with a degree in business economics (finance concentration) and communication studies, Almeida, an international student from Mumbai, India, took a year to explore his options before beginning law school. “One of my friends had moved to Texas from Oneonta. I visited her for two weeks over spring break and I loved it. A week after graduation, I packed my car and moved to Austin.”
Within three months of graduation, Almeida had landed a job as an offers specialist at Google, working with small- and medium-sized business on customer acquisition and retention strategies. Three months later, he moved into a different position at Google in sales data analysis and operations.
He left Google in July 2012 to pursue a law degree at the University of California. While in law school, he worked with three small startup companies in the San Francisco area. “I realized early on in law school that I didn’t want to go down the traditional route,” he said. “I really like working with small teams and working with startups.”
Almeida passed the California Bar Exam in July 2015 and is now working as a compliance analyst for Plaid, a San Francisco company that provides APIs for software used by the financial services industry. His dream job is to combine all his skills and interests in a start-up of his own. “I’ve sort of contemplated starting my own compliance firm. I have experience in both the legal aspects and the operational aspects. Most lawyers don’t like numbers; I like numbers. But at the same time I can also read regulations. I’ve worked with start-ups. … Ideally, long run, I’d like to either do that at a more established firm or do it just for myself as a consultant.”
Ryan Guay '13
Senior Project Manager, National Energy Partners LLC
Motivated to make a difference in a way that deeply mattered to him, Ryan Guay earned North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners certification as a solar energy technician after graduating from SUNY Oneonta with a degree in adolescence education-social studies.
He started out as a commercial solar PV installer, and went on to bigger roles in field operations and project management at four different renewable energy companies.
“I consider the threat of climate change and widespread environmental destruction to be the greatest challenge that mankind has ever faced,” he said. “Our current fossil fuel-based energy infrastructure is the leading cause of these issues, and I consider the undertaking of transitioning our planet to a clean energy future as my life's work. Solar energy development is my way to contribute in the fight against climate change and truly make a difference for societies across the world.”
Since July 2013, Guay has successfully managed more than 175 solar projects for municipalities, school districts, colleges, businesses and residences. He returned to SUNY Oneonta in spring 2015 to speak to two classes—Geography of Urban Environments and Coastal Zone Management—about his career path and the solar power industry.
Cassie Treen ’09
Manager of Local Events, Chobani Inc.
Whether it’s handing out yogurt at the Utica Boilermaker post-race party or planning the grand opening of a new Little League field, Cassie Treen ’09 is the local face of Chobani Inc.—helping to carry out the company’s missions of giving back to the community and connecting with the fans who are responsible for its runaway success.
As manager of local events at Chobani Inc., Treen plans more than 200 community events within a three-hour radius of the company’s Greek yogurt plant in New Berlin, N.Y., about half an hour from SUNY Oneonta. She also oversees volunteer opportunities for Chobani employees, manage the local events team, and coordinates large community projects funded by the Chobani Foundation.
“It’s so rewarding,” says Treen, who majored in communication studies and took human ecology courses in event planning. “I love this job because we go out into the community, and it’s a product that people just absolutely love.”
It’s been an amazing journey for a girl who grew up on a dairy farm less than six miles from the Chobani plant. The daughter of a farmer and a school teacher, Treen graduated from Edmeston Central School in 2005—the same year Chobani founder, President and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya purchased an abandoned Kraft plant on a whim and launched his dream of introducing the American public to great-tasting, affordable yogurt made with only natural ingredients.
After two years of general studies at Mohawk Valley Community College, Cassie transferred to SUNY Oneonta with her own dream: “I wanted to be an event planner. I knew that that’s what I wanted to do.”
Kyle Beckley ‘08
Digital Media Coordinator, Broadway Dance Company
When Kyle Beckley graduated in 2008 with a degree in theatre, he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do next. And that was just fine with him.
“I had zero plan,” he recalls. “And since that day everything just evolved naturally.”
After graduation, Beckley worked for SUNY Oneonta’s Office of Alumni Affairs for a while, and then got a job in New York City as coordinator of alumni relations and university advancement for SUNY. But he missed the arts and in November 2011, left his office job to see where the theatre industry might take him.
Since then, he has worked as an actor, stage manager, production assistant for the Broadway musical “Once,” and coordinating producer for the highly successful theatrical web series “Submissions Only.” He now juggles a full-time job as digital media coordinator for Broadway Dance Center with his own growing business, Beckley Productions LLC. In 2014, he joined the National Guard, something he had wanted to do since he was a freshman in college.
Beckley said he looks back on Oneonta as “the best of all worlds.” “Not only is it affordable, it also has a great academic and a social set of opportunities for students. I think both are important. Yes, you’re going to college to get a degree – but you’re also going to college to grow as a person.”
Joe Oster '08
Disney cruise ship actor
“I’m almost 30 and my job is putting on a loincloth and dreadlocks,” says 2008 Oneonta grad Joe Oster. But not every day, he adds. Some days he gets to spend his time with a hook on his hand.
For the last few years, Oster has been playing Tarzan in a stage show on the Disney ship Dream, where he portrays a range of characters, including Captain Hook. For the past two years, Oster has returned to SUNY Oneonta to dance the Arabian number in “The Nutcracker,” which is produced each December on the Goodrich Theatre stage by the Decker School of Ballet and the Fokine Dance Company.
Oster’s SUNY Oneonta degree is in Mass Communications, but during his junior and senior years, the Terpsichorean Dance Company became his focus. After graduation, he was pushed into musical theater by Carleigh Bettiol '08, another Terps alum who is currently in "Hamilton" on Broadway. At her encouragement, Oster went to the Disney audition that won him the cruise ship gig.
Rie Yamakawa ’00
Executive Assistant at Casio America Inc.
As executive assistant to the chairman/CEO at Casio America Inc. in New Jersey, Rie Yamakawa translates documents between Japanese and English in executing business requirements, and serves as an interpreter for visitors from the electronics company’s main office in Tokyo.
Yamakawa came to SUNY Oneonta as an international student from Japan. She was seeking a medium-size school where she could develop relationships with the faculty and staff, and have many options for a course of study. “When I visited the campus, I immediately felt people’s friendliness,” she recalled. “I sensed that I could be surrounded by good people who are lighthearted and positive.”
At first she wasn’t sure which discipline she wanted to focus on, but after several meetings with her academic adviser, she decided to major in interdisciplinary studies with minors in business communication and speech communication.
Looking back on her time at Oneonta, Yamakawa said a career preparation class she took during her senior year was a key factor in planning for her future. “In fact, I had seamless transition by having a new career before my graduation,” she said. “I worked for a major Japanese chemical company as a human resources supervisor for eight years, and my former employer sponsored my H1B working visa to legally work in the U.S.”
Sixteen years after graduation, she still remembers her favorite class, Conflict Management with Art Dauria. She also can’t forget the many fun experiences she had as a member of the International Student Organization. “I met my lifetime friends from all over the world and spent wonderful time with local host families. I truly enjoyed the diverse atmosphere while I was focusing on my studies.”