When Ryan Kennedy ’15, returned to Ithaca College’s campus on Feb. 26 to speak to students as part of a “Five Under Five: Looking Back, Moving Forward” panel, he recalled how IC helped him get to where he is today… once he got himself out of his dorm room.
“My first year at Ithaca, I didn’t get involved. I just went to classes, came home at the end of the day and did my homework,” said Kennedy, an elementary school music teacher in Bound Brook, New Jersey. “Then in my sophomore year, I got an on-campus job, and became involved in some student organizations. After that, my college career took flight and I had a ton of opportunities to take advantage of.”
Kennedy, who performed with the well-known New York City Gay Men’s Chorus at Carnegie Hall this past June, was one of five alumni who graduated from the college fewer than five years ago sharing personal stories about their career paths after graduation.
Other speakers included Cayuga Medical Center orthopedic resident Tyler Edwards ’14, DPT ’16; investment and product strategist Elijah Greene ’’18; documentary filmmaker Crystal Kayiza ’’15; and Kassie Moore ’15, communications and events coordinator at Camp Wicosuta, a girls’ camp in New Hampshire.
Many of the panelists spoke highly of how their time at IC helped them once they graduated. Greene recalled how asking a knowledgeable professor for career advice paid dividends down the road.
“This professor had a lot of experience with the field and industry I wanted to go in to, and I wrote down all her suggestions,” he said. “I looked at that list later and applying that advice has benefited me in the long run.”
This year marked the fourth time that Danielle Lee ’19 has attended a Five Under Five panel. She said that she particularly enjoyed this year’s itineration.
“I thought it was great for students who are looking for encouragement to stay in their major and the college,” she said.
The panelists also enjoyed their time back on campus. Moore said that participating in the panel allowed her to give back to a place that has given her so much.
“I think it’s really important as an alum to stay connected to this community,” Moore said. “One of the ways that I was able to learn as a student was from alumni, so being able to share my story — whether or not it aligns with some other people’s views or thoughts — is important for people to be able to see a different perspective.”
The Five Under Five panel was presented as part of the Susan A. DiPace ’74 Speaker Series, an event organized for “I Love IC” Week. “I Love IC” Week is planned and organized by the student organization, Students Today Alumni Tomorrow.