Ithaca College Will Make You Ready
With a vibrant community, professors who inspire, and the hands-on experience you need to dive into your field with confidence.
Before Mike Severo came to Ithaca College, his life was focused mainly on music. As a talented boy soprano, he had performed with stars like Bruce Springsteen and Yo-Yo Ma at Carnegie Hall. When his voice changed, so did his musical direction. He transitioned to piano and percussion and continued to grow his skills.
But when it came time to choose a major, Mike made the big decision to move away from a career in music. At a college with a nationally known music school, he knew he'd have exciting musical opportunities, so he wanted to focus on another area for his profession--he just wasn't sure what it would be.
"One of my friends had told me about the flexibility of the Exploratory Program," Mike explains. "There's an emphasis on growing organically with the school and developing where you think you can derive the most value."
The program gives students up to four semesters to take courses in various areas of study to find the best fit for their career. As a freshman, Mike took a seminar about math and music, and through his passion for music he discovered a strength in math that led him in a whole new direction. His faculty adviser helped him decide what courses to take from there. "The best thing about advisers is that if you have goals, they can help you plan so that you can achieve those goals."
Mike focused his path on finance and accounting, and secured an internship at FBR, a leading investment bank. During his senior year, he led a team of his peers to victory in the Adirondack Cup competition by achieving the greatest return on a hypothetical million-dollar investment portfolio. Ithaca College bested undergraduate and graduate students from 17 other colleges and universities in New England and New York, including Hofstra University, SUNY Plattsburgh, Clarkson University, and SUNY Stony Brook. (You can read more about Mike leading his team to success in the Ithacan.)
Mike is excited about his future in finance as he approaches graduation, and he will continue to enjoy a musical life outside of work. He is confident that the Exploratory Program helped him make the right choices. "Sometimes life pushes you in a direction, and you end up in a place you never thought you'd be--but you find yourself loving it."
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In the early afternoon on Thursday, August 2, 2012, Meghan Musnicki took off on the ride of her life. Eight athletes focused on becoming one, rowing with a combined strength and fluidity that made them seem to fly over the surface of the water. The coxswain set the pace and shouted encouragement from the stern of the shell. Nobody could catch them.
In over two years of training with the U.S. Rowing team, Meghan won a handful of medals, including gold at the 2011 World Rowing Championships. But in the cool waters of Eton Dorney, Meghan’s greatest rowing goal was realized—the U.S. women’s eight had won Olympic gold.
Before joining crew at Ithaca College, Meghan could not have known that rowing would be part of her life after graduation. She transferred to Ithaca as a sophomore psychology major. "They were all very welcoming and friendly. They didn't make me feel like I was an outsider even though I had just transferred in the middle of the year," Meghan recalls.
The camaraderie Meghan felt only grew from there, as she formed lasting friendships with her teammates and coach, Becky Robinson. The team trained hard together and saw competitive success along the way. They won two NCAA titles, and Meghan was a 2005 first-team Division III all-American. It was then that she first saw the possibility of rowing in her future.
After graduation, Meghan decided to pursue a career in nursing. She applied to a number of accelerated nursing programs and was accepted—but the call of the water was strong. She had begun training more regularly and intensely, and put nursing on hold to work toward her Olympic dream. Among the many things she carries with her from her time at Ithaca College is the drive to be the best rower she can be.
"I love to win. I've always had a passion to compete, train, and be fast. It takes a level of commitment, drive, and willingness to push yourself beyond where you think you can go."
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