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Graduating students thank faculty for their impact, advice, guidance, knowledge of musicals

Annemarie Sullivan, Associate Director, Health Science and soon-to-be graduate Melissa Giblin studying health science, pose for a portrait on May 1, 2018. Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Commencement is a time of year that invites students, faculty, and staff to reflect on the year gone by. For graduating seniors in particular, it’s a time to reflect on the people and experiences that have wrought the greatest impact during their time at Northeastern. We asked a handful of graduating seniors and other soon-to-be-graduates which faculty they’d like to thank. Their answers, which include everything from making musicals to exploring the marine world, illustrate the depth of Northeastern’s faculty both in and out of the classroom.

Tavish Fenbert, E’18

Allen Feinstein, teaching professor, director of bands; Music Department head advisor

Allen Feinstein has had a wonderful impact on my Northeastern experience. In addition to being the enthusiastic conductor of the Northeastern Wind Ensemble, in which I played trombone for eight semesters, he teaches a class called “The Making of a Musical” where students study famous shows and as a final project write their own 20-minute musicals. I took Allen’s class during my freshman year and it sparked my interest in pursuing a theatre minor.

In class and in band rehearsals, Allen is joyful, caring, and never hesitates to tell a funny story. He is also very generous with his time; he taught me the basics of conducting this spring after I expressed interest in the subject. Allen has been a welcome presence in my life on campus and I look forward to applying the knowledge I have learned from him in my future musical endeavors.

Melissa Giblin, BHS’18

Annemarie Sullivan, associate director of the Health Sciences Program, and clinical instructor

As graduation approaches, I feel so fortunate to have been positively influenced by so many faculty members during my time at Northeastern. Specifically in Bouvé, I have found numerous supportive professors and staff that have been invaluable to my undergraduate journey. If I have to pick just one, I would like to highlight Annemarie Sullivan. I met Annemarie as a freshman, had her as a professor my second year, and was lucky enough to have her again for three different courses in my fifth year. She has been a consistently understanding, supportive, and influential presence throughout my Northeastern journey. She constantly recognizes and shows excitement for my accomplishments both in and out of the classroom, and has assisted me in reaching my educational goals. When I need guidance or support, I know that I can meet with her or send her an email, and this has been so helpful over the past five years. I am thankful to have had her as an impactful mentor and supportive presence during my time at Northeastern, and know she will continue to positively impact students like me within Bouvé.

Suma Hussien, AMD’18

Douglass Scott, senior lecturer of design

I have known Doug for the past two years and have taken four of his classes in his capacity as my design professor. Every semester during my time in the College of Art, Media and Design, it was my objective to make sure I had at least one or even two classes (if I was lucky) with him.

I can attribute my love and appreciation for design directly to Doug’s passionate and incredibly insightful teaching. It is rare to find someone who lives every single day with such an authentic passion for design. This passion is a constant for Doug and it is contagious as you sit in one of his classrooms. Even during the bright and early 8 a.m. classes, Doug has high energy, and is eager to instill all that he knows about design to the next generation. As a student, I left his classes feeling more and more like a designer every day. Furthermore, Doug creates a community in his classroom where students do not just feel like competitors against each other but rather fellow collaborators in producing intentional, sleek design that I valued greatly.

Michele Kinama, DMSB’19

Lloyd Tanlu, assistant professor of accounting

One faculty member who has had a tremendous impact on me during my time at Northeastern is Lloyd Tanlu. He was my “Managerial Accounting” professor during my second year and he is truly someone who goes above and beyond his required duties. Not only did he make learning about accounting fun—which was something that I never thought was possible—but he also really cares about his students.

When I was applying to Northeastern, I chose to pursue a major in international business, not because I was passionate about it, but because I knew that I liked money and I wanted a career that would send me all over the world. However, Professor Tanlu helped me see that even though I may have chosen my major for the wrong reasons, there was a lot of good that I could do in the world with the career options that it provided me.

In addition, he has also given me some of the best career advice I have ever received, because he gives it from the heart. Professor Tanlu gives advice based on who you are as an individual—your strengths, your weaknesses and your personality. It is because of his help and dedication to his students that I now know the career path that I want to pursue after graduation and I am extremely grateful to him for that.

Benjamin Moran, S’18

Mark Patterson, professor of marine and environmental sciences

First, I’d say that picking one professor who had the most impact on me is nearly impossible; I’ve had many faculty members change my life through their advice and effort, and I’d gladly list all of them.

That being said, Professor Mark Patterson has had a huge impact in my time here. His oceanography classes were some of my favorite at Northeastern, and spending time with him on field trips was a riot. As my faculty advisor, he was a much-needed sounding board as I thought through the big picture of my future, and he always focused on what was best for me. I would’ve missed out on many research and work opportunities without his support, whether through letters, editing, or just general advice. I think that the foundation of all these roles, though, was the excitement about the marine world. Whatever new interest I brought to him, he met it with enthusiasm, and reciprocated with his own perspective on it. That was a special gift, and I hope to pass on that sort of warmth in my own career—I aim to be a professor myself.

Daniel Russotto, CIS’18

Rory Smead, associate professor of philosophy; Ronald L. and Linda A. Rossetti Professor for the Humanities

Bonnie TuSmith, professor emeritus

I have taken several classes with professor Rory Smead both because he teaches the material extremely well and because of his obvious passion for the topics he teaches. His passion inspired my own interest in them as well. I particularly enjoyed studying the intersections between contemporary science and philosophy—how scientific inquiry can enlighten philosophical standpoints and vice versa. I loved how the learning in his classes broke down the boundaries between academic fields, and now I always look for opportunities to combine diverse areas of study in new ways.

I always loved reading and analyzing literature, but taking classes with Professor Bonnie TuSmith helped me appreciate its capacity to capture diverse experiences. Reading authors such as Toni Cade Bambara, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Alison Bechdel, among many others, in her classes allowed me to engage with and understand various perspectives and issues. Learning from Professor TuSmith compelled me to take further English classes that would enable me to broaden my horizons and immerse myself in the literature of diverse authors.

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