IC Honors Alumni Spotlight: Addie Davis ’12

Meet Addie Davis, a graduate from the Class of 2012 who currently works as a middle school teacher in Los Angeles, CA. During her time at Ithaca College, Addie majored in English and completed minors in both Spanish and Art History.  Learn more about Addie below!



(On the Right)

Current positions:
I completed my Masters in education at Fordham University in 2014. I am currently an instructional coach & teacher at Equitas Academy Middle School in Los Angeles, CA. (where she teachers the 8th grade)

One piece of advice you wish someone had given you in your years at IC:
Never pass up an opportunity to go to the farmers’ market. (Or, in other words, allow yourself to slow down and enjoy yourself.)

Favorite Honors Seminar and why:
Microhistories with Karin Breuer! It was such a compelling and challenging lens through which to see the world. And, of course, it didn’t hurt that Professor Breuer was hilarious and lovely.

One word that sums up your university experience:
It’s cruel of you to limit an English major to one word! My best attempt: inspirational.


We’re always looking for interesting students to highlight in our Spotlight series.

Do you know a really cool first year Honors student? Nominate them here!
Do you know a really cool Honors student? Nominate them here!
Do you know a really cool alum of the Honors program? Nominate them here!

Email ropila@ithaca.edu with any comments, questions, concerns or nominations.

IC Honors Alumni Spotlight: Jason Diaz ’09

Meet Jason Diaz, a special Alumni spotlight! Jason will be speaking at the Senior Banquet next week – he graduated from IC in 2009 with a degree in Biochemistry with a Politics minor, went on to complete his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in 2014 and is currently a post-doctoral fellow at the same university. Learn more about Jason below:

Diaz Profile Photo.jpg

Current position/grad school: “Completed a Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology, with a focus on virology, at the University of Pennsylvania in Dec 2014. My advisor was Dr. Jianxin You.

Am now a post-doctoral fellow, still at Penn, under Dr. Kim Gallagher. I study how proteins move from cell to cell to establish developmental programs in plant roots.”

One piece of advice you wish someone had given you in your years at IC: “Looking back, I don’t think there was anything I wish I had been told – I feel like I had a lot of people offering me sound advice and I ended up having an incredibly fulfilling experience at IC. If I were to give what I felt was the most important advice to students now, I would encourage you all to really immerse yourself. Make strong connections with both your peers and your faculty, get involved with groups that interest you, take classes that ignite your passion or explore something interesting, study abroad and explore Ithaca outside of campus!”

Favorite Honors seminar you took and why: “Picking a favorite one is really hard, so instead I’ll cheat and say which one was the most life changing: Sexing the Gender of War, with Zillah Eisenstein, Spring of 2006. This course introduced me to basic feminist theory, deconstructed concepts of sex and gender, and then tied these fluid concepts to militarization. Zillah has a particular play with language in her writing that really opened my eyes to the power of words. What was particularly life changing about this course was the book Sexing the Body, by Anne Fausto-Sterling. This book opened my eyes to the political structures underlying the research of biology and especially sex, taught me about the incredible variety of sexual development in humans (something not covered in my basic biology class!) and ignited my passion for the intersection of biological science and politics. This personal experience of bridging the humanities and the sciences really exemplified what the Honors Program was designed to do, and fundamentally affected my development as a scholar and a global citizen.”

One word that sums up your university experience: “Immersive.”

We’re always looking for interesting students to highlight in our Student Spotlight series.
Do you know a really cool Honors student? Nominate them to be a Student Spotlight here!
Do you know a really cool alum of the Honors program? Nominate them to be an Alumni Spotlight here!
Email sguter1@ithaca.edu with any comments, questions, concerns or nominations.


IC Honors Alumni Spotlight: Samantha Mosher ’03

Meet Samantha Mosher from the class of 2003! Samantha was an English major with a Speech Communication minor and is currently a Middle School Learning Specialist at the UN International School in NYC as well as an adjunct professor at a few colleges in the city. Learn more about Samantha below!SamanthaMosher_0318

Current positions: “I am currently one of the Middle School Learning Specialists at the United Nations International School in NYC. I work with a student population that is highly mobile (moving every 3-5 years, sometimes sooner, as diplomatic postings changed), multilingual, and multicultural. My job is to work with teachers as an instructional coach to help them choose classroom strategies and methods that will help all students in the class learn, as well as to assess struggling students and interpret the data, and to design and implement intervention plans for students. I spend a lot of time trying to determine the differences between slow academic language acquisition and an actual language-based learning disability. I’m also co-teaching an English class this year, which is exciting.

I’m also an adjunct instructor at a few colleges in the city. I teach special education courses at CUNY Hunter and LIU-Brooklyn to students in the NYC Teaching Fellows program. I also teach students in the Reading Specialist program at Teachers College, Columbia.”

One piece of advice you wish someone had given you in your years at IC:Take advantage of everything. Most importantly take courses outside of your major that you’re interested in, especially in areas where you might not be as strong or where you’re afraid you might not get a good grade. Your GPA isn’t as important as you think it is, and college is absolutely the time to discover new passions (or confirm that something isn’t for you).”

Favorite Honors Seminar and why:Chance Concepts with Jim Conklin. I had a really bad experience with Pre-Calc in 11th grade and had declared I would never, ever take a math class again. My advisor, former Honors Program Director Hugh Egan, told me that I should take this course for my math gen ed requirement and my Honors Seminar. He told me we’d figure out the probability of there being a certain number of green M&Ms in a bag and it would be “no big deal.” It was actually a real stats for social science course, but slowed down a bit with more time for investigation and experimentation. Not only did I have a great time in the class, I also rediscovered the love of math I had before 11th grade. The class left me completely prepared for the educational measurement and stats classes I had to take in grad school.”

One word that sums up your university experience:Questions like this are why I never agree to do these things for the school newspaper…

Uncomfortable, but in a good way. I learned how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable–in new situations, with challenging ideas–and that’s how you learn new things.”

IC Honors Alumni Spotlight: Matt Prokosch ’13

Meet Matt Prokosch, a graduate from the class of 2013 who majored in Social Studies education and is now a social studies teacher at Ithaca High School! Learn more about Matt below:


Current positions: “[I am currently a] social studies teacher at Ithaca High School. I teach 9th and 10th grade global history. I did my Master’s at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland (the university where Prince William and Kate Middleton went to). My degree is in Modern European history.”

One piece of advice you wish you had been given at IC: Since I was an internal transfer, I wish I was in the program when I was a Freshman. I would have loved to have been in the Honors housing. Also, purposely take Honors seminars that are different from your major. Being a teacher, I have to have to be knowledgable about a wide array of non-history subjects.”

Favorite Honors Seminar you took and why:Tom’s seminar, Oil, Energy and the Future of Society. This was one of the most beneficial courses I took at Ithaca College because I consistently reference knowledge I gained from that course while teaching. Heck, I even use excerpts from Jared Diamond’s book, Guns, Germs and Steel, in my Global 9 class! Overall, I enjoyed how Tom pushed us to connect the energy crisis to every walk of life. I’ve used this macro to micro analysis in my own teaching.”

One word that sums up your university experience:Eclectic.

We’re always looking for interesting students to highlight in our Student Spotlight series.
Do you know a really cool Honors student? Nominate them to be a Student Spotlight here!
Do you know a really cool alum of the Honors program? Nominate them to be an Alumni Spotlight here!

IC Honors Recap: Alumni Panel

Thank you to everyone who came out to the Alumni Panel yesterday! Hopefully you learned some great stuff and got to connect with our three wonderful panelists. A special thanks to Ella Sciocchetti for her photos and recap below!


DSC00064.JPGThis Friday, three alumni of the honors program returned to IC to share their knowledge and experiences with current students. Our distinguished guests included Melissa Littlefield ’00, Jesse Katen ’05, and Lily Shafer ’08. Here is what they shared with us and hopefully some of these stories will help give you guidance as you navigate your time at college and beyond!

DSC00058.JPGMelissa Littlefield was a member of the first graduating class of the Honors program (which only had 27 students!) and she found a great mentor in Hugh Egan, the first director of the honors program. She fondly remembers having arguments with her professors in class and loves that the honors program gave students the opportunity to have conversations that could have a big impact. She strongly advocates finding a supportive community and network wherever you are. At IC she spent a lot of time getting to know the faculty in the English department and she advises us all to “take advantage of your professors, in a good way.” The honors program gave her an advantage and prepared her well for graduate school because she was willing to try new things and be in new situations.

DSC00051.JPGJesse Katen really loved the honors program because of the friends he made and the learning that occurred. He got over his shyness in his honors seminars and remembers thinking how he, “couldn’t wait until everyone else could shut up so you could say what you wanted to say!” I am sure some of us are familiar with this feeling today! During his college years, sometimes he would get so lost in thought and absorbing new information that he would get confused about reality. A professor enlightened him with this short story, “If you are walking around in Rome and you turn a corner then are suddenly lost, do you panic or say with joy, ‘I’m lost in Rome!’ and keep wandering?” Jesse loved the supreme joy and sublime awe of learning so he continued his education receiving other degrees and then eventually became a professor. He encourages his students to, “have the intellectual fortitude to hold thoughts in your mind for a while and then take the time to decide whether you are going to adopt whole or part into your values.” Our intellectual identity can be thought of as a structure of Legos; it changes from year to year. Jesse finished with a quote from Maya Angelou, “I want you to do it, and I want you to take it. Take it all the way!” and then gave this advice:

  1. Networking is not a verb. Make friends and develop relationships instead.
  2. Distinguish yourself, have a connection, seek out mentors that will be able to give strong personal testimonials.
  3. Be flexible enough to allow for the role of serendipity.

DSC00045.JPGLily Shafer always knew that she wanted to teach but she wasn’t sure exactly where that passion was going to take her. She grew up in Philadelphia and she worked at a pharmacy in high school. Because her community dealt with a lot of addiction, she learned to handle high stress situations and customer interactions. Lily was able to use this experience at IC to get a job at the help desk. Her academics helped determine her calling; as an English major she discovered that she was really good at explaining things. Her advice to English majors was, “You have a skill set you don’t know yet. You can talk and explain.” And for all you math haters out there, she wants you to think of algebra as the grammar of numbers; “Don’t hate math, it’s English in a different form,” she said. Lily spoke a lot about how learning can occur outside the classroom. She had to take on more responsibility when her boss at the help desk was out for months and in her subsequent jobs after college she learned how to manage up (manage your manager, which is like convincing your parents to do something). Lily moved on from these positions because she was unhappy and now has found a job that she loves. She was able to do this by making the most of every experience, looking for the value in everyday life, and having faith in herself.

We are very proud to have these alumni return and share their stories and advice with us. Remember to be open to happy accidents and realize that the jobs we may have in 10 years might not even exist now. Go out and follow your passions, find the people that support you, and when you are feeling down realize that sometimes the most productive moments come from personal difficulties.

IC Honors FYI: Alumni Panel Info!

This Friday, February 26, we are hosting another Honors Alumni Panel at 4pm in Textor 101. This year we have three awesome panelists – Jesse Katen ’05, Melissa Littlefield ’00 and Lily Shafer ’08. Here’s some more information on each of the panelists:

Jesse pic.jpgJesse Katen graduated from Ithaca College in 2005, majoring in Politics. He went on to earn an MA in Philosophy, Interpretation and Culture from Binghamton University in 2007 and also owns The Jesse Katen School of Dance in Windsor, NY, which is in its twelfth season. In addition to teaching ballet, tap, jazz, and acro at his studio, Jesse also teaches English at SUNY Broome Community College, where he serves on the committee that established and oversees the college’s Honors Program. Jesse also travels regularly as a professional dance competition judge, having adjudicated more than fifty competitions across the United States, including several nationals. In 2015, he one of three dance judges nominated for the Dance Gala Award for Outstanding Judge by the Association of Dance Competitions and Conventions.

Jesse serves on the Board of Directors of the Rotary Club of Binghamton and chairs the International Service Committee, having successfully completed international projects including establishing a program to feed malnourished children in the Philippines and helping rebuild schools damaged by the earthquake in Nepal. In 2014, he and his 72-year-old student raised more than $7,000 for charity performing a tap dance challenge. He successfully authored a grant for $18,000 to expand the Planetarium programming at the Roberson Museum and Science Center in Binghamton. Jesse serves as President of the Board of Trustees of the Broome County Public Library and is slated to become President of the Rotary Club of Binghamton in 2017. He was recently the subject of a featured story on WBNG-TV entitled “Tales from the Tiers.” 

IMG_0865 (1).JPGMelissa Littlefield is an Associate Professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where she teaches classes on Science Fiction, Feminist Science Studies, Body Studies, and Literature and Science. After graduating from Ithaca College in 2000, she earned her dual PhD in English and Women’s Studies from Penn State University. In 2011, she published her first book, The Lying Brain, Lie Detection in Science and Science Fiction; in 2012, she co-edited a second book with Jenell Johnson titled, The Neuroscientific Turn: Transdisciplinarity in the Age of the Brain. Melissa is currently writing a book about novel EEG technologies in popular culture, tentatively titled, Instrumental Intimacies: Measuring and Modifying the Brain Through Mobile EEG. She also co-edits Configurations, A Journal of Literature, Science and Technology. Basically, she loves finding interesting connections between science and culture. 

Originally from Ithaca, Melissa loves coming back to NY to visit family and spend summers in the small house she built with her husband a few years ago. When she’s not thinking about brains, you can find her knitting and spinning various woolen fibers in Illinois or playing board games with her 11 yr old son. 

IMG_0296.JPGLily Shafer discovered a love for technology and learning at Ithaca College in the Finger Lakes region of New York. Her ability to translate technical jargon and computing concepts to students and faculty made her an extremely effective student help desk technician at IC. As a self-confessed technology geek and a English major, Lily believes anyone can and should be able to learn to use a technology effectively and should never be made to feel foolish about their inexperience. This belief compelled her to pursue a MS degree in Information Science: an interdisciplinary field straddling the line between technologies and the people who use them. Lily’s work there inspired her to pursue a career in instructional design to provide the best learning environments for a new generation of teachers and learners in our interconnected age. She began working at The College of Saint Rose in February 2014 and has quickly earned the respect of members of the faculty with whom she has collaborated as an instructional designer, with the goal of providing the best learning environments for a new generation of teachers and learners in our interconnected age.

Outside of work, Lily is still a voracious reader and video game geek, and plays D&D with the most well-dressed group of professionals she’s ever known (who said adults ever had to grow up?). She is also a fiber artist, who dyes, spins, knits, weaves and sews all sorts of works. All of this is done in the company of her two dogs, who are too smart for her own good (and conspire to steal her peanut butter sandwiches). 

Come meet them all on Friday at our Alumni Panel!

IC Honors Alumni Spotlight: Logan Tracey ’03

Meet Logan, a member of the class of 2003! Logan was a B.A. Drama major with minors in dance and the Honors program, and moved directly to NYC after graduation. She now works as the Business Development Coordinator at Alston & Bird LLP. Learn more about Logan below!
LT Current Photo
Current position(s): “Business Development Coordinator at Alston & Bird LLP. Living and working in NYC since graduation from Ithaca College, I pursued a career in film, television and theatre until 2012 when I was lured into the intriguing world of legal marketing. Now at Alston & Bird, I work with the large and talented business development team as the lead on events and special projects in NYC and as support to all practice groups in NY regarding pitches, RFP’s, and research. My primary practice group responsibilities fall to our Real Estate group, as I support the practice firm wide.”
One piece of advice you wish someone had given you in your time at IC: “I wish someone told me to take more business and communications classes. They will always be useful and serve you well in no matter what career you end up pursuing.”
Favorite Honors Seminar and why: “I took a class called Trauma in the 20th Century my senior year that was one of the most challenging of my academic career. It was troubling and deep and one of the classes that made the biggest impact on my life. It increased my own awareness of human trauma, both major and mundane, in all people’s lives and it widened my scope of empathy. It was amazing.”
One word that sums up your university experience: Life-changing
We’re always looking for interesting alumni to highlight in our Alumni Spotlight series.
Do you know a really cool Honors student? Nominate them to be a Student Spotlight here!
Do you know a really cool alum of the Honors program? Nominate them to be an Alumni Spotlight here!
Email sguter1@ithaca.edu with any comments, questions, concerns or nominations.