The Class of 2021: #ICInThisTogether

By Kyle Hornyak, May 20, 2021
More than 1,300 students join the Ithaca College alumni community.

While the last 18 months of the Class of 2021’s IC experience looked far different from when students first arrived on South Hill, these soon-to-be-alumni demonstrated the characteristic Bomber resilience that distinguishes an IC graduate by digging deep to finish strong in the face of uncertainty. Here are just a few standout students from Ithaca College’s Class of 2021.

Clara Montague and Eva Kirie 

In 2018, Clara Montague’s and Eva Kirie’s short film “The Library” won the Coca-Cola and Regal Films “Refreshing Film” contest and screened in cinemas nationwide. This was an impressive accomplishment by any measure, yet as former Roy H. Park School of Communications Dean Diane Gayeski ’74 noted,  “To win this contest is a huge honor for Eva and Clara — but to win it as first-year students in competition with top graduate film programs just sums up what makes the Park School great. We treat our students as young professionals and they rise to the occasion — with much encouragement and coaching to back them up.” 

“I cannot stress enough that this was a team effort and we could not have done this without their help and support.”

Eva Kirie ’21 on collaborating with Park Production and the Park Media Lab

“The Library” was chosen by a Red Ribbon panel comprising representatives from Coca-Cola, Regal, EFILM Digital Laboratories and others in the entertainment industry based on the creativity, creative fit and entertainment value of the film. The winners of the competition were announced at the CinemaCon film convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, where Kirie and Montague were in attendance.  “I couldn’t even believe it,” said Kirie. “It’s a dream come true. It means so much to us as aspiring filmmakers.” 

Yetunde Smalls 

Politics major and IC Board of Trustees student trustee Yetunde Smalls was named a 2020 Newman Civic Fellow for her dedication to the IC community and commitment to advocacy work. Through the fellowship, students are provided with training and resources to help them develop strategies for social change. 

 “I hope that as a recipient, I can inspire my peers to follow after their desires and create initiatives that impact their communities.”

Yetunde Smalls ’21, on earning a Newman Civic Fellowship 

That’s something Smalls has been advocating for since she came to Ithaca College as a Martin Luther King Scholar. Smalls says that through her experiences as an MLK Scholar, she has gained an in-depth understanding of how war, poverty and racism impact inequality in a community. Serving as Community Council President of her residential cluster as part of the college’s First-Year Residential Experience heightened her awareness of inclusive programming and inspired her to create similar initiatives on campus, including “Embrace,” a digital and print magazine that curates authentic narratives of students. 

Julia Cohen

 Julia Cohen ’21, a speech-language pathology and audiology major, interned with Mariellen VanDyke Brown ’05 at Ithaca.Community, a website that helps individuals and families find resources and activities that meet their needs in the local community. 

“One of my greatest desires is to have a meaningful impact in the work that I do. Ithaca.Community opened me up to important conversations with local residents and an opportunity to give back and provide resources based on their feedback.” 

Julia Cohen ‘21 

As part of her internship, Cohen explored the issue of affordable childcare in Ithaca and the benefits of providing free and low-cost childcare to employees and community members. Cohen conducted research, writing, graphic design, and editing for the website. She also produced a number of marketing pieces including a blog post, PDF toolkit, social media images and a slideshow video. While interning with Ithaca.Community, Cohen simultaneously worked on a research project to improve adolescent adherence to asthma preventer medication funded by the National Health Service in the United Kingdom. 

Carolina Jeronimo 

As a member of BOLD Trilogy, the third cohort of students in Ithaca College’s BOLD Scholar Program, Business Administration major Carolina Jeronimo ’21 and her BOLD Scholar peers implemented a year-long transformation project titled “BOLD Trilogy: Empower.” 

“Our hope is to uplift the Black community, Black folks, Black businesses, and honestly to support all communities of color in whatever way we can. We want to help and connect as many people as we can through this program and educate ourselves and others on the Black Lives Matter movement.” 

Caroline Jeronimo ’21 on Bold Trilogy: Empower 

student posing for photo

Carolina Jeronimo ’21 is part of the college's third BOLD cohort.

Following the murder of George Floyd and the protests that took place shortly after the conclusion of the cohort’s junior year, members leaned on each other for support and to help process the tragedy. During this time, they decided that their senior-year campus transformation project would be centered on educating the IC community on racial justice issues while uplifting Black individuals and the Black Lives Matter movement.  

Founded collaboratively by Ithaca College’s president, Shirley M. Collado, and the Pussycat Foundation, the BOLD Women’s Leadership Network is an innovative leadership initiative across six institutions of higher education led by women presidents who have demonstrated their commitment to collaboration, innovation, diversity and inclusion. 

Jacob Graham  

Each spring, the IC and Ithaca communities have the opportunity to enjoy a Commencement Eve Concert courtesy of the School of Music. This year’s concert, to be held Thursday, May 20 , will include an arrangement of Bill Withers’ classic “Lovely Day,” performed by the IC Jazz Ensemble and arranged by Performance and Music Education major Jacob Graham ’21. This performance promises to be especially poignant, as Bill Withers passed away in March 2020.  

The Commencement Concert will air Thursday, May 20 at 8 p.m. and can be viewed on ICTV – local Spectrum cable channel 16 – and online as a YouTube Premiere at: Commencement Concert YouTube Premiere. The concert will also be available to view on the Commencement website after the premiere has aired.