As their time at Union comes to a close, take a look back at the Class of 2020 and their impact on the College. Here are just a few of their many accomplishments.
The class made history for applications to Union – topping 6,000 for the first time in the College’s history. More than 6,500 high school students applied to the Class of 2020 with the incoming class being one of the most diverse and strongest academically, with two-thirds of the students ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school class.
Total graduates: 481, representing 27 states and the District of Columbia and 19 countries
Bachelor of Arts degrees: 210
Bachelor of Science degrees: 271
Awards, fellowships and accolades:
It was a busy year for Fulbright honorees at Union. Six members of the Class of 2020 were selected for Fulbright student awards. Hayden Paneth and Cameron Bechtold were both awarded research/study awards, while Alexandra Baldwin, Sophia Foster, Savannah Jelks and Meghan Reilly received Fulbright Student English Teaching Assistantships. The College was again named a top producer of Fulbright students.
Jillian Guthrie, a physics and mathematics double major from Templeton, Mass., was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. She also received a Goldwater Scholarship during her time at Union.
Cameron Bechtold and Danielle Pinney were the latest Union students to receive the prestigious Thomas J. Watson Fellowships. The two were among 46 students selected as finalists from private liberal arts colleges and universities in the U.S. Bechtold also won a Goldwater Scholarship in his time at Union.
Samuel Fogarty and Harjot “Shaun” Uppal were the winners of the College Distinction Awards at Union’s annual Prize Day celebration. Many other members of the Class of 2020 were honored on Prize Day as well.
Nathan Gillespie, Marina DeLuca, Ha An Nguyen and J.P. Elmblad were named University Innovation Fellows, a highly selective program designed to help foster entrepreneurship and innovation among students nationwide.
In 2019, Union’s chapter of My Brother’s Keeper was recognized by the Schenectady County Human Rights Commission. Student mentors from the Class of 2020 include Rashawn Baldwin-White, Richard Boakye, Romario Duncan and Stevie Tchako-Tchokonassi.
Kira Wilson received a 2018 Presidential Green Grant for her project: "Recycling Bins in First-Year Dorms/Reusable Bags Giveaway." She also led the College's team for the 2019 National RecycleMania Competition where Union was a national winner.
Carlos Piedad received a 2019 Presidential Green Grant for a reusable bags giveaway. He was also selected for the New York City Urban Fellows Program, a highly selective fellowship that places participants from all over the U.S. in New York City Mayoral offices and city agencies.
Molly Goodman was awarded a 2019 Green Fee award for the eco-renovation of Ozone House.
Hana Brown was selected for the highly competitive Japan Exchange and Teaching Program as an Assistant Language Teacher. She will help teach English in a Japanese school.
Academics and research:
Of the 481 graduates, 291 took a term abroad, meaning about 60 percent of the graduating class completed a term or mini-term away from campus, both domestic and international.
Works by Kaitlynn Blow ’20 were displayed in the Wikoff Student Gallery. Her show, “An Incomplete Narrative,” confronted the ghosts of violence against women. It was one of several exhibitions focusing on female empowerment in celebration of the 50th year of co-education at Union.
Robert Harrington participated in the final round of the NBA’s 2019 Hackathon, a data analytics competition for undergraduate and graduate students who qualify through a two-stage application process.
Students in the Class of 2020 presented at numerous professional conferences and annual meetings. Some of them include: Meghan Reilly and Trevor Atkins presented work at the New York Conference in Asian Studies at the State University of New York at New Paltz. Alaina Chormann and Stephen Camarra presented research at the Geological Society of America’s annual meeting.
Steinmetz Symposium Day was held virtually this year and many seniors presented their research. View the presentations here.
This academic year, members of the Class of 2020 stepped up one last time to provide several memorable performances while leaving many lasting legacies both in competition and in the classroom.
Katelynn Russ ’20 completed a superlative career with the women’s hockey team this spring and then immediately jumped into the professional ranks. She led the Dutchwomen in goals for the third straight year and finished her career third in goals and fourth in points in program history. She then signed a professional contract with the NWHL’s Connecticut Whale and made an immediate splash, leading the team with two goals and an assist in two postseason games.
Kerry Kelly ’20 capped off her decorated career in the pool with a third straight Liberty League title in the 400 individual medley this year. A two-time Liberty League Swimmer of the Year and a three-time CSCAA All-American, Kelly earned six Liberty League titles and 12 All-Conference honors during her four years at Union.
Several student-athletes had potentially historic seasons curtailed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Sean Cullen ’20 of the baseball team had his career prematurely ended just one hit shy of the program career record, and the two-time All-Region honoree also was poised to break the school record for career runs scored and runs batted in as well. Kerry Lyne ’20 of the men’s lacrosse team was named an Inside Lacrosse Media All-American after getting off to a torrid start in his final year, ranking 14th in Division III in scoring.
Molly Wiener ’20 of the women’s golf team managed to rewrite the record books. The owner of three of the five lowest single-round scoring averages in school history, Wiener is first all-time in career scoring average at Union and tied the school single-round record with a 78 at St. Lawrence earlier this year. Off the course, Wiener served as president of Union’s senior class.