Considering Grad School? 5 Questions to Ask Yourself

photo-2Guest Post by Halina Lotyczewski, MSW
Director, Utica College Office of Career Services

Making the decision to attend graduate school is an important one, affecting students academically, professionally, financially, and emotionally.

I know, because I’ve been through it. After completing my sociology degree from SUNY Geneseo, I was accepted into Fordham University’s MSW program. I deferred enrollment for a year to work and save as much money as possible for my graduate school tuition. Fast forward 10 years later, and I’m now helping students decide if graduate school is right for them. I will be facilitating a program as part of Career Services’ Coffee, Cupcakes and Careers Series called Get Me into Graduate School. During this program, I will help students answer these 5 questions:

1. How will a graduate school education and degree affect my short and long term professional goals?

2. Can I make the commitment to attend graduate school, and do I understand how it will impact me financially? Even mentally and emotionally?

3. What criteria should I use in deciding which graduate school/program is right for me?

4. What are the elements of a graduate school application, and what is important to those reviewing my application?

5. What on campus and online resources are available to help me before and during the application process?

While these questions may seem daunting at first, a little introspection and planning goes a long way, and UC Career Services is here to assist. The Coffee, Cupcakes, and Career Series will be held in the DuRoss Dining Room from 2-3pm on Thursday, October 27.unnamed-6

Coffee and cupcakes will be served, and pre-registration is required through UC Career Connect. Please join us!


UC’s Historic Inauguration: A Student’s Perspective

My name is Ann Ciancia, and I’m the president of the UC Student Senate. On Friday, September 23, I was fortunate enough to be a part of the procession at the inauguration of Dr. Laura Casamento, Utica College’s new president. The entire executive board of Student Senate was asked to participate.

Members of UC’s Student Senate prior to Inauguration

Inspiration filled me as the inauguration started on the cloudy (but not rainy) day! At the beginning of the year, during my convocation speech to incoming first year students, I emphasized how President Casamento was breaking the glass ceiling amongst the high leadership positions within college institutions, including our very own. As a female student leader on this campus, this event in our college history speaks to me. It means a lot to me knowing that a woman, like President Casamento, can make such a huge impact. I know she will transform and guide this college into a trailblazing institution as the ninth president.

The words of Professor Gary Leising and Gianna Boone were extraordinary and uplifting. Their poems were both filled with such incredible emotion, creating a distinct atmosphere for this event.

As President Casamento delivered her speech, she focused on the success of this college. During her presidency, she wants to reach out to faculty, staff, and students to make sure their voices are heard. It is important that she cares about the opinions of others. The change in store for Utica College during her presidency will exemplify the future success of this community.

A touching moment during the ceremony was when President Casamento pointed to the students in the crowd. She said her goal was to shake the hands of each student as they walk across the stage during graduation. As students, I know that we can help her reach the institution’s goal.

My final words go out to President Casamento herself: Remember to “Never Stand Still” as you embark on this unforgettable journey! Thank you for instilling the values of being a Proud Pioneer.

President Casamento took a moment to pose with me 

Proud to be a UC Student-Athlete

Being a student-athlete on campus takes the phrase proud to be a Pioneer and gives it a whole new meaning.

When you spend hours on end in the weight room and in the gym, and literally put your blood, sweat and tears into your sport, it makes putting on that navy and orange jersey for game day so rewarding. You aren’t just maggieteamgrinding for yourself, but rather your school and your community. Many students do truly love this school, but being an athlete makes your connection with this school personal. It allows us to give back to this school that has given us the opportunity to continue playing the sport that we love. It amplifies my emotional connection with this institution when I’m walking into the Café and someone stops to tell me I played awesome the night before. Or when I get an email from my advisor saying she heard my name on the news. It’s the little things that make me proud to be a Pioneer.

As an athlete we often get short changed on school breaks because we are expected to be back early for practice, or possibly not go home at all. It’s a choice we made when we committed to being a Pioneer, and a choice we have gracefully accepted. As athletes, we spend more time on this campus than your average student. Being able to walk through this campus when school is not in session and no one but your teammates are around makes you appreciate all this school has to offer. When you spend so much extra time on the UC campus, you can’t help but make this place your second home. Your teammates, coaches, and staff in the athletic department are your family. Having a family here at school thanks to athletics makes me proud to be a Pioneer.

20160422_maggie_tabone_013Seeing your peers come to games and cheer loudly for you just reiterates the fact that this place is home away from home. These are our people. I understand that we are not playing in front of 10,000 fans like some Division I athletes do, but being supported by our fellow students, professors and families is what makes UC sports so amazing. Balancing school work and practice is no easy task. Even when you’re not in season there is lifting and conditioning, but balancing it all and being able to perform on game day makes me proud to be a Pioneer.

The life of a student-athlete is no walk in the park. Some days I question how I even manage it, but being able to play for an amazing school like Utica College makes it all worth it. Seeing my peers, administrators and professors support me reassures me that I wouldn’t want to be spending my time anywhere else.

Thank you to everyone who is involved in some way, shape or form in the athletics world at UC. Adults, students, friends and family, YOUmake me proud to be a Pioneer.


My Favorite Places to Eat in Utica!

If you are not from the area, Utica is very well known for it’s restaurants and food! It is home to the tomato pie, half moon cookies, chicken piggies and Utica Greens! Some of my favorite places to eat are as follows (in no particular order):

  1. Swifty’s: I love the laid-back atmosphere and wings here! A great hang out for my friends and I.
  2. Aqua Vino: Classy and by the water!
  3. O’scugnizzo Pizzeria: home of the tomato pie and one of the first pizzerias in Utica!
  4. Symeons: Tasty Greek restaurant!
  5. Delmonico Steak House: I am a carnivore and therefore this place is heavenly! It is the place to get a great steak!
  6. Dippin Donuts: Need a coffee to get you through class? There are so many flavors, it is amazing!
  7. Nicky Doodles: This is my favorite ice cream place in the world! The sundaes are to die for, my favorite is the Fluffernutter Sundae!
  8. Tom Cavallos’s: On Moday’s there are is an endless pasta deal where you can get endless pasta for $2!!! It is really good and on a college student’s budget!
  9. Georgio’s Village Cafe: I love the chicken piggies here, so delicious!
  10. Voss: I brought my parents here for the milkshakes and great BBQ! Check it out this summer!



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Chilling During Finals Week

IMG_4432The last couple weeks of classes are probably the most chaotic. There are finals coming up, students graduating and end of the year banquets going on. Utica College and the many organizations within it have been putting on de-stress events which have helped my roommates and I a lot! Some of the events that have been put on had the following activities:

  1. Punching bag balloons: my roommates have had a blast with these! They are durable balloons we blew up and they have a rubber band attached so you can punch your stress away!
  2. Make your own stress ball: pour some sand into a balloon and you have your own stress ball!
  3. Calming oils: at one of the events we went to, there were calming oils we put onto a sponge and then placed them in our windows for a calming presence!
  4. Play-Doh: we were able to take a free container of Play-Doh and it really is stress relieving when studying
  5. Massages: There were free massages going on in Streble lounge along with an acoustic singer!
  6. Therapy dogs: On several occasions, therapy dogs have been brought onto campus for students to cuddle and play with. This is my favorite event!
  7. Of course you can always go to the zoo like my roommates and I did to de-stress! We went to the Syracuse Zoo, which was awesome! Don’t forget the Utica Zoo right down the road from the college, though!IMG_4444

Good luck on your finals Utica College, may the odds be ever in your favor!


All You Need Are Friends!

Yes, we are all here for an education, but honestly, all you need are friends. You need the educational background to further your own life, but really, you just need friends who will set you straight when you stray from your norm.

When entering a new place or new beginning for the first time, I have to find some sort of friendship to guide me through it. When I first stepped onto the Utica College campus, I began befriending people who were in the same major as me. We went to meetings together, dinner together, and even ended up in the majority of the same classes our very first semester. I got lucky. It doesn’t always end up that way, but it was definitely nice that it did. Sometimes making major changes are necessary, but it’s nice when you have friends to help you through it.Blog Post 4 - All You Need Are Friends! Pic 2 Blog Post 4 - All You Need Are Friends! Pic 1

Personally, I’ve made some major changes this semester alone, including moving off campus and completely changing my schedule. Those two things caused me more stress than I ever thought possible, but I’m finally happy with where I am at. Luckily, I did it with the help of great friends! I moved in with two of my good friends. Though it was a major change, it was a pretty smooth transition with their help.

Thus far, we’ve celebrated birthdays, made dinner together, sat down and did our homework together, and we even watch tv together. So, when you’re going through changes, just do as I did and find happiness in friendship because it will make things much, much less stressful.


A New, Innovative Way to Study

Recently, I have discovered a new app for my iPhone that allows me to combine my study habits and my use of technology; StudyBlue. StudyBlue is an application, available for iOS and Android that allows you, as a student, to make flashcards, study guides, and even practice quizzes from the flashcards to input! Crazy, huh?!

Luckily, for you, StudyBlue is 100% FREE for the most general user! Of course, you can pay for a subscription in which you get “premium” benefits such as unlimited shareable flashcards that you personally make or borrow from others! Not being able to send and borrow unlimited flashcards has been the only downfall to the free version that I have found thus far and I have been using the app for a few months now!


UntitledAbove are a few pictures that I have from my “blood” flashcards within the app. My “blood” flashcards contain information from some of my Biology 102 lectures in which I have linked the cards to Utica College within the app as well as my professor. By linking the cards to the school and professor, others are able to search for Biology 102, or Utica College, or a professor’s name and find cards that others have created for that specific class. From the cards, you can then create practice quizzes and study guides!

Likewise, you can also search my name in which you will end up in what StudyBlue calls my “backpack.” My backpack contains class notes that I have uploaded, multiple virtual decks of flashcards and a few practice quizzes that I have generated from certain cards. By finding my “backpack” within the app, you are enabled to use my materials to a certain extent with the free version. You will only be able to see some of my cards, a few of my notes, and some of my quizzes unless I personally share them with you or you sign up for the paid version.


All of the cards shown in my “backpack” currently revolve around my Biology 102 lecture and lab. Believe it or not, these have actually helped me to earn much better grades this semester through memorizing the information from my flashcards. You can select right or wrong once you flip the card and when you reach the end, it will even tell you the percentage you got right. From there, the app will also allow you to re-study the entire deck or just the ones that you got wrong. It makes memorizing, in an organized way, very, very simple and helpful.

For many classes, memorization is key. This app has definitely seemed to help me out with Biology this semester and I don’t know as if I will ever go back to regular flashcards after this. I love the features it has and most of all, I really like that it’s completely FREE!


Senior Feels

Hey Folks,


This semester has flown by and I still have so much to do! I have been very busy with school work and with all of the activities going on, on campus (you can check it out on my last blog post). I will be graduating this semester with my Bachelor’s degree in Health Studies and I will be continuing in the Occupational Therapy graduate program for another year at Utica College. Although I have another year on campus, it is still pretty emotional being a senior! I will be on campus for the Fall 2016 semester and for a couple weeks in the Spring 2017 semester (for most of the spring semester I will be at home on fieldwork!). Technically, this is my last real spring semester on campus!

I have many friends on campus in different majors and in different years on campus (Junior year, senior year, ect.) but some of my best friends from my first year, will be graduating and going home to their first real jobs. I met my roommate for freshman year at an Open House and we have been together ever since! We were on a tour of the school and we started talking and found a common love of horses. In the meantime, our families were talking on their “parent” tour and hit it off. When the students and families came back together it was completely ironic that our families hit it off and so did we. We exchanged numbers and talked over the summer, planning out what we were bringing and when we were moving in. We became best friends and we stuck together the full four years of college! We are constantly asked if we are sisters and we have just started telling people “yes”. We went through the awkward first week of college getting to know everyone and making friends, figuring out how to get to classes, eating ice cream for every meal, trying out clubs and going to different activities on campus and getting to know the Utica area together. It will be odd in the fall when she is not here, but I know I have other friends to hang out with on campus. Although she will be graduating and going on her internship, I know we will remain best friends and that we will return as Alumni someday! This is just one of the great friendships I have made at Utica College and I am so grateful for it! Good luck Seniors and thank you for all of the memories!

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So Many Activities!

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(2016 Senior Class Best Friends!)

I apologize for my absence, the past few weeks have been crazy! The end of the semester is getting chaotic with projects, senior events and events in general! I have been trying to attend as many events as possible with my friends because although I will be on campus another year for my Master’s degree, my friends will not be.

Etiquette Dinner:

Every year the office of Career Services holds an Etiquette Dinner where student’s are invited (for free) to participate in a guided five course meal by a professional dining expert. Utica College Alumni of different majors are also invited to sit at tables with students to discuss professionalism. It was a great experience and I learned a lot! The dinner was amazing and the professional dining expert gave us a lot of feedback on how to act professionally while at dinner.

Relay for Life:

This year the Relay for Life was held in the new Dome! It was a lot of fun and for a great cause! Almost all of the clubs and organizations on Utica College campus participated and all of the proceeds go to the American Cancer Society. There were bake sales going on, games like Kan Jam and even life sized Hungry Hungry Hippos!IMG_4314IMG_4299IMG_4300

Escape- The Final Chapter:

For the past four years of my college experience, there has been an event called Escape, which is a rave put on by Utica College students who enjoy dj-ing! It is an event for 18 and up and it is held within the community of Utica. It is a great event for students to have fun at off campus!

Senior Networking Night and Happy Hour:

Career Services held a networking night for seniors to meet with UC Alumni and career services faculty to go over any last minute senior questions! There were free cocktails for seniors 21 and up and appetizers! It was a lot fo fun and I got to see a lot of my friends who are also seniors.


My favorite event on campus! Holi is a spring celebration that the Asian Student Union holds every year in the quad. This year the colors were more vibrant than ever! My friends and I had a lot of fun at our last Holi!IMG_4365FullSizeRender-2



Bored this weekend? Airband 2016.

Let’s face it: It’s the weekend before the last week of classes and, more than likely, you’re going to be bored from being studious and such… right?! Well, there’s plenty of fun to be had Saturday night in the Athletic Center.


Airband 2016


Chi Beta Sigma is hosting their annual event – Airband. It’s one of the longest-standing events on this campus, and it’s tons of fun every year! I mean, who doesn’t enjoy comedic singing, dancing and acting by students? It’s hilarious!

Airband is a lip-syncing competition featuring a number of acts, including Chi Beta Sigma. Each group lip-syncs to a chosen song in attempt to steal the show and “wow” the audience! Whoever does it best, according to the judges, wins! The top 3 acts will win prizes, provided by the sorority.

Don’t forget, if you attend, to bring a few bucks with you! Chi Beta will be hosting their annual “Hundred Dollar Minute” during intermission. This small event at intermission is meant to collect money from the audience that will then be donated to a local charity.

So, if you’re bored this weekend, DON’T BE! Get to the Clark Athletic Center at 7pm on Saturday for a hilarious show that NOBODY on this campus wants to miss!