Class of 2017 Mortarboards

We asked 2017 graduates from the Rockland and New York City Campus about why they decorated their mortarboard. Here is what they said.

Caitlyn Thomas – Business 

“I think I am quite ready for another adventure.”

And for me, I’m all about having adventure in my life. College was definitely one. It was a scary, messy, amazing adventure and I just feel that I’m ready to move to the next one now that I’m graduating.


Rachel Parker – Youth and Family Studies

“In waves of change we find our way.”

So first of all, I love the beach/ocean so I wanted my cap to be something along those lines if possible. When I found this idea I loved it! You can ask anyone who knows me and knows that this cap idea is very much me. But I also picked it because no matter what we go through in life, we find our way. You can take that in a Christian way… no matter what Jesus is our way, or you can take that in [the] sense [that] a lot happens in college but in the end we go in the direction that we wanted to from the start. It can be looked at in many ways! But I love it because it reminds me of things I love and what I love to do.

Yahveh N. Calderón – Pastoral Ministry

“Para Ti…” which translated means “For you…”

On the cap, I have images of family and friends who have greatly impacted my life, but sadly [I] was not able to fit everyone. My island of Puerto Rico is also on there to symbolize that I also did it for them!  It means that I did not just do this for myself, but for all of those who have invested in my life in big and small ways. This was for them.


Momoko Black – Interdisciplinary studies in Business and Intercultural Studies       &   Lillie Sakura Van Houten – B.S/M.S childhood special education

Momoko: The image on the cap represents 2 things for me. 1) my love for Dr. Seuss (as I quoted him from “oh the places you’ll go” [during] my senior year in high school and so I found it fitting to do another my last year of college. 2) I had the privilege of graduating alongside my sister who happens to love Dr. Seuss and quoted him also her senior year of high school. So we knew we had to do it again.  We came up with the idea to use Thing 1 & 2 to represent all the things we love about each other and Dr. Seuss.

Lillie: [I’m] graduating with my younger sister and we wanted to do a theme. Dr. Seuss is … our favorite author and we frequently use and live by quotes from his stories.


Conor Halcott –  History

I picked Adventure Time for my cap.

The reason I picked it was because I watched it during stressful points in college and it feels like I’m now going on my own adventure. Plus my amazing girlfriend painted it for me.


Carly Heinbaugh – Interdisciplinary Studies: Bible and ICS

“Great is his faithfulness”

My time at Nyack required the faithfulness of God and it stretched my own. I formed a few incredible friendships, learned from the wisest and experienced a lot of devastation at the same time. In a lot of ways my faith was destroyed and built up, destroyed and built up again. If it weren’t for God’s faithfulness in various ways, I wouldn’t have finished college both encouraged and ready to work. Through best friends and a couple outstanding professors, God exhibited his faithfulness and I’m grateful for it.

Daniel Kiernan (DK) –  Youth and Family Studies

“Loud Mouths” “Dk-47” “Mom & Dad” “Jer 31:3-4” “Ps 138:8”

The first two quotes refer to a huge portion of my friend group, the Loud Mouth Gang, who I get to create alongside under the artist name Dk-47. I love them. The next is just a shout-out to my parents because they’ve always held it down for me throughout my college experience. The verses are two passages that have helped remind my heart of who God is to me and what He’s up to in my life.


Clarissa Orozco – Social Work

“Grace carried me here and by grace I will go”

The moment I stepped out of high school I thought I had it all figured out, until a year into college when I saw my life in shambles. I found Nyack and I knew that was God’s grace upon my life. I didn’t have it all together.  I wasn’t the best student but my heart desired something better. The last 4 years have been filled with endless grace and every time I felt I was undeserving of it it wrapped itself even more. Grace broke the barriers and the fears in my life. It unveiled my worth, who I am and who I belong to. I’m not just another graduate in the world. I’m a graduate with style and grace.


Sara Donado – Music–Instrumental Performance

Sarah Donado (Left) & Clarissa Orozoco (Right)

“The Lord holds my future”

The message on my cap is what I believe defines my life at the moment. I don’t know exactly what my future will look like but I have entrusted it to the Lord and I believe he will lead me always.


Deanna Lindsay – Interdisciplinary Studies: Early Childhood Education & Music

Hi! I’m Deanna Lindsay, I recently graduated with a BS in Interdisciplinary Studies: Early Childhood Education and Music. This leads to the image on my cap! I wanted something that incorporated my passions. I love teaching I have been providing child care for different families since I was 12. Music has also been a part for my life for as long as I can remember. I joined my church’s children’s choir when I was 5! The scripture on the chalkboard on my cap is Isaiah 42 and the beginning of this chapter talks about how God is pleased with (me) his servant. It encourages me not to lose heart or crush the weak ones around me.  It also confirms that I am called to other nations and people groups. It states that distant lands will await my instruction. It goes on to talk about how worthy of praise and worship God is!

This is my life scripture! I also have a tattoo to represent how important it means to me my tattoo also reminds me of my calling.

Daniel Rivera is also an alumni of Nyack College ’16! He is an amazing artist and brought my vision to life!


Sarah Scheidt –  Social work &  Dailyn Davila – English

Sarah Scheidt (Left) and Dailyn Davila (Right)

Sarah: “Thanks mom and dad.” 

I actually wanted to make my cap funny, and planned to write “oh Scheidt, I graduated.” But then, last minute, I started to get really sentimental and grateful. I wouldn’t have been able to get my degree without my parents and their financial support and love.  So I wanted to thank them. The symbol is a Celtic symbol for eternal love. That’s special to me because I’m Irish and even though my parents got divorced when I was young, they both love me in their own special way a lot, and I think that’s special. It took both of their love and strengths to help make this degree happen … and I’m really grateful for all I’ve learned and all I can become in this world because of this degree.

Dailyn: I chose 1 Peter 1:6 because I wanted scripture that portrayed the JOY AND HAPPINESS that will come out of this transitional season. Although graduating is a SUPER SCARY concept to me, I believe that with God there IS WONDERFUL JOY AHEAD!!! I also threw some flowers on it because WHO DOESNT LIKE FLOWERSSSSS?! I wanted to be the real life Snapchat filter.


Isha Fuentes – Music In Worship

I wanted to incorporate my major onto my cap being that music and worship  is also a huge part of my life. It was a very challenging major but the reward was worth it. I used one of the songs from my jury that I performed and also incorporated it onto my cap. [That way] when I look at it, I’ll always remember my hard work and dedication …  Lastly, it was always my father’s dream to see me graduate from college. He passed away a few weeks after my high school graduation. I used the color red on my cap because it was his favorite color and I wanted to have a part of his memory on my cap.



 Rifka Simmons –  Psychology

“Just Keep Swimmin”

It symbolizes persistence to me and it’s a pun from the movie Finding Dory. I thought it was pretty clever and it’ll serve as a reminder for me when I think of my college experience.



I’m the Teacher, Yet They’re Teaching Me

nyack admissions

“People brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.'” –Matthew 19:13-14

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When you hear people talk about children, it’s not usually in the context of them being responsible, highly accomplished, or wealthy. Usually, people talk about the cute things kids do, or the earnest things they say. Children are known for being honest beings, and I believe that is exactly why Jesus entrusts his kingdom to them.

As I have said before, this summer I have an internship with a youth pastor. Part of my job is to rebuild the youth group worship team that has been falling apart recently. I have been in several worship teams over the years in various capacities, and as I like to tell my students, “I have a lot of worship team wisdom to impart”. Though that is true, I have been learning as much, if not more, from these teens as they have been learning from me.

During the school year, I had a post-it by my door that said “WORSHIP HONESTLY”. This was advice given to me by my pastor, and now boss, Justin. We were having a conversation about feeling God’s presence and being self conscious while worshiping, when he told me that the most important thing was to worship from where you are– worship honestly.

CTA button for Blog UGI have never seen a better example of honest worship than these teens. They all have different talents, backgrounds, and skill levels, yet all have one thing in common: they’re all excited to worship Jesus. I tell them that it’s important to have a true and honest heart while worshiping, because their audience will see that and follow suit. This true and honest worship is no problem for these students. I see them get up on stage, and while it may not be the best musical performance Broadway has ever seen, it’s real, and it’s honest.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I would rather be led in worship by this somewhat rag-tag group of enthusiastic students than a put together church worship team. Because as Jimmy Needham says in his song Clear the Stage, “You can sing all you want to, and still get it wrong. Worship is more than a song.”

The Next Step After College?

Columbia Visit

As the summer before my final year of college goes by, I can’t help but wonder what the next step in my life will hold for me. I am experiencing the same type of excitement and anxiousness that I felt as high school graduation neared, and I’m sure that the rest of the seniors are feeling it as well. This past week my girlfriend and I took a trip to Manhattan to visit graduate schools. She plans on going to law school and I want to go to a seminary after I graduate from college. During our time at the different schools, questions such as “Where will I end up after I graduate?” and “Is graduate school worth it?” arose in my mind.

A few days after our trip to the city, I had a conversation with my cousin about what happens once college is over. He told me some alarming stories about friends of his who never found jobs in their field. He knows brilliant law school graduates working as waitresses and college alumni tending bars. He also told me some great success stories; he found a great job in his field as did a number of people he knows. The conversation was both discouraging and encouraging. It seems that there are similar chances of succeeding and failing.

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Once I graduate, the next step that I plan to take is graduate school at a seminary institution. I aim to obtain a masters degree in a biblical or theological field, earn a PhD, and teach at the college level in a Christian school. I feel confident about the path I am choosing to take because it is not a very common career choice, so I will not have as much competition as would a doctor or lawyer.

One of the things about post-college studies that stands out the most to me is the financial aspect of it. My mom often tells horror stories about graduates with unbearable student loans that take decades to pay off; I do not want to end up as the subject of one of those horror stories. From what I have learned from people who have gone through studies after college, the most important things to keep in mind when considering the finances of graduate school are to plan ahead and stay realistic. Know in advance what type of salary you will expect after coming out of graduate school, and make sure your loans do not exceed that amount.

Like me, many seniors are considering graduate studies, but graduate school is not for everyone. For many people, more schooling would mean more time, effort, and money than it is worth. It is important to choose a path that will be satisfying to you in the long run, whether that means continuing your schooling or going directly into the work force.

2013 Graduate Daniel Looks Back

commencement line at nyack college

Daniel Ortiz sat behind the front desk of the Admission’s Office inside Shuman Hall.  Finishing his Nyack College years with a bachelor’s degree in Pastoral Ministry, Daniel looks back at his undergraduate experience on campus.

undergraduate degee

Freshman year was “crazy and unexpected”, he stated.  Everything was a huge learning experience even though Daniel was once just happy to graduate high school.  “I’m the first person [in my family] to graduate from college.”  At first he wanted to go into the military but his sister encouraged him into another direction, toward higher learning and Nyack.

“It felt right.” Daniel said,  tilting in his chair.  Born and raised in New York City, he was glad to transition away from an urban lifestyle to a campus that was beautifully set overlooking the Hudson River.  Leaving home was a difficult decision but in doing so Daniel says that God restored his relationship with his parents.  By leaving, he could appreciate them more.

banner at graduation westchester county center

Like any teenager, he felt his parents were overprotective but as he looks back over the past four years, he’s grown to understand their beliefs and actions.  “Superglad,” he said, describing the stronger bond he feels towards them.

“To see my parents so happy at graduation… It’s meant everything to me.” Daniel, the youngest of six, added and discussed how faith is a verb, an action word.  His time as a Nyack Warrior gave him new perspective as well as opportunities.

the bible

As a front desk coordinator assistant, he likes to work closely with both the director and assistant director of admissions.  They teach him about counseling and behind-the-scenes practices in college enrollment.  But he also said that he is grateful for learning about leadership from them.

At the end of our conversation, I asked Daniel “What has been the highlights of attending Nyack?”

His face is serious as he says without hesitation.

Above all “I understand my relationship with Christ.  As a kid, I was in choir and preached. But here, I learned that I am never alone.  Even when academics and relationships caused trouble, my teachers pointed me back to Christ.”

Second, “meeting my fiancé.  She is a student here too, from Minnesota and one of the biggest factors for my relationship with Christ.”

Third, “Being able to walk across that stage [at graduation].  My high school was a ‘push school.’”  Daniel’s secondary school was a funnel to process students through the grades and rush them through graduation.  One teacher, Daniel said, would finish the lesson and then look at the class, saying “You’re never gonna remember that tomorrow.”

commencement line at nyack college

Daniel shook his head lightly and smirked at me as if saying “Can you believe it?’

Today, Daniel continues working for Nyack College as he and his future wife plan their wedding.  Congratulations, Daniel!

Dorm Rooms at Nyack College

Coming into Nyack as a freshman, one of my biggest questions was what my dorm room would look like. I searched the internet for picture of dorms, but couldn’t wait to move in and just find out what the place I would be living in would look like. Since being here the dorms still fascinate me and I love seeing how different peoples look and how they choose to decorate them. So if there is anyone out there anxiously trying to find out what their new home will look like here are several pictures of some of the rooms I have lived in as well as rooms on my floor in Christie and Simpson Hall. They are all unique and creatively decorated and I hope this gets you excited to move into your new home if you are a new student.

Here are some panoramic shots then some general ones that reflect dorm life. Update: New pictures here for Simpson Hall. Enjoy!





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Are you graduating from high school?  Do you want to go to a Christian college?  Check out the bachelor’s program and start learning about nursing, education, criminal justice, and communications at Nyack College!


Staying Productive During Summer Vacation

Nyack College summer breakWarm weather, clean sheets, and home cooked food…Summer vacation is finally here! Now that finals are over, it’s finally time to rest. For most of us, all we want to do is eat, lay down, and watch T.V. It’s fine to do that for a little while, but it can be easy to let relaxing and eating become the extent of your summer activities. Here are a few tips to help you get off of the couch and stay productive during summer vacation:

1. Work! When you want to go to the movies, bowl, eat at a restaurant, or do anything else that isn’t free, having a steady job makes these activities hurt your wallet less. Many employers will take on college students for a few months while they are home from school. Outdoor jobs that are only available during the spring and summer will often look for college students as employees. I have life-guarded for almost five years, and I have always had a job waiting for me when I come home from Nyack College. Even year-round jobs will sometimes hire seasonal workers. Stay persistent and consistent during your job search. My dad always tells me that once you apply somewhere, you should call the place regularly until they give you a definite answer. This may seem like you are being a nuisance, but it is showing the employer that you are persistent and consistent. It never hurts to ask if an employer will take you on for May through August. Even if you get a few “no’s,” keep searching and applying until you find a good job.

2. Volunteer! Find time to give back to your community while you are on break. Soup kitchens, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, and other organizations are usually looking for more volunteers to lend a hand, even if it is only for a few months. Getting active in your community helps to improve the place where you live, and it will be a rewarding experience for you. Plus it looks great on a resume for all those future job hunts!

3. Educate yourself! I know that the burdens of education are the very things that you are trying to escape during summer break, but it is good to keep your mind active even when you are away from school. When there are no tests to study for, no papers to write, and no professors to please, you are at liberty to choose the subject that you want to learn about. Your local library has hundreds of subjects to choose from; you can learn about something without having to worry about getting a bad grade in a class. This summer I plan on reading up on theological topics that I have not learned about in the classroom, but I would also like to take in a few good fictions for fun. You do not have to stick to educational topics; even leisurely reading fiction will give your brain some much-needed exercise.

4. Enjoy friends and family! When it comes time to have fun, have it with your loved ones that you don’t get to see during the school year. Your parents, siblings, and friends from home are available to spend time with and enjoy. There are countless activities that you can do with your family and friends, so take advantage of them. Don’t seclude yourself this summer; be sociable! Getting to relax and have fun with the people you love is the best, most fulfilling part of summer vacation.

The Wall at Nyack College


“I love The Wall because there’s a great view of the entire campus from there. When the sun hits the stone, it gets nice and warm making, it a great place to relax. It’s also a great place to hangout with friends because it’s in a very central area.” -Inez Montgomery


“I love it there because the view is really pretty. When you’re chilling on The Wall, you can see the river, and people on the field, and watch the sports games. It’s one thing the athletic department has that other schools don’t. Also, it’s a little dangerous up there.” -Rebekah Williams


“The Wall is a great spot because it’s close enough to the cafe that you can grab a sandwich and sit there and just enjoy the view.” -Tori Hummel


“It honestly makes me feel nostalgic. And it’s really high up, which is fun.” -Kathryn Stoehr


“I love watching sports games from there. It’s a perfect view of the field.” -Brian Lawrence


“The Wall is a wonderful place to interact with my friends.  It provides a neat, natural environment where I can enjoy watching nature and other students. Also, its central location is ideal for meeting up with people.” -Rachel Kunker


Coffee and College


As finals are quickly approaching, there is one thing, besides Jesus, that will stay with you and help you through all the long nights and studying. That one thing is coffee. College has been changing coffee haters into fanatics for years now and I admit my slight addiction for the stuff. I have truly come to love and appreciate a good cup of Joe. But, just because you’re in college doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy quality coffee drinks that taste like more than bitter sludge. Here are some of the varying ways I have come to enjoy my liquid caffeine


coffee hot

This one is pretty self-explanatory as it is just your run of the mill cup of coffee. Of course you will need a coffee pot, (I purchased mine for six dollars at Wal-Mart) filter, ground coffee, and water.Personally I love trying different coffee from places all over the world. Follow the directions and filter through as usual then drink it out of your favorite cup or travel mug. This is for the coffee purists, but I like to add cream and sugar as well.




coffee iced

The iced coffee option is one I love to make in the cafeteria. You start with a red caf cup and add four creamers and a pack of sugar. Next add a shot of the vanilla flavoring then fill the cup half way with ice. Now it’s time to add the coffee, and once you’ve filled it almost to the top stop and add some additional ice. Give it a good stir and enjoy!







coffee frappe

Frozen coffee is definitely my favorite to drink, but requires the most time and ingredients. Like I said before it is worth it to invest in a coffee pot, but in addition I received a blender this past Christmas and it has really come in handy especially for this recipe. After you’ve made your coffee you can proceed to adding all the ingredients into the blender. Add ½ cup of coffee, 2 cups of milk, 1/3 cup of sugar, 1 ½ cup of ice and blend well. This is a great and cheap alternative also to spending all your money on expensive coffee drinks.

I hope you enjoy these recipes and have a chance to test them out. Being at Nyack College has truly opened my eyes to the wonderful world of coffee! These are great to try for yourself or even share it with your roommate or a friend. I have learned here at college that coffee will keeps you awake and can bring people together.

Finish What You’ve Started! Get to Graduation.

StudyingI have seen too many people leave college and never go back to finish their degrees. Some of my close friends were unable to come back to school after one year or less because of finances or grades. Leaving a degree unfinished negates all of the hard work and money that a student has put into school before leaving, and it makes the months or years spent at Nyack a waste of time. Friends and fun are a great part of the college experience, but they are not the most important things to have. In order to make these years worth the while, you need to make it to graduation. To all those pursuing a degree at Nyack College, and to everyone considering entering college, be sure to finish what you’ve started!

Not being able to keep up with the payments seems to be the most common reason that people drop out. Money may suddenly become scarce, or loans may become harder to come by; continuing to pay the school bills is not always easy. What  students needs to keep in mind is that the time that they have already spent in school has already cost them thousands of dollars, and not earning their degrees means that the money that they have already spent has been wasted. To make the expense worth it, make sure to always keep school in the center of your mind when making any financial decisions so that you can make the payments and stay at Nyack College. Other than the necessities, paying for school should be on the top of your list of priorities.

Bad grades can also ruin a student’s college career. Skipping class, not doing assignments, and not studying for tests are detrimental to a student’s chances of finishing school. When you do not have your priorities in order, having fun can rise above maintaining good grades in importance. Procrastination is also fatal to your grade point average. Waiting until the last minute to start your assignments yields rushed, low quality work. When your grades fall below a certain point, you run the risk of not being allowed to return to school. To avoid that, remember that school is more important than having fun, and start your work early.

College is an enormous commitment, but no matter how bleak the situation seems, it is not impossible to finish school. Stay strong and persevere, because the rewards are worth it. Make good financial decisions, and be focused and consistent with you schoolwork. Don’t waste your time or you money; finish what you’ve started!

Are all Business Majors in it for the Money?

006There’s a running joke at Nyack that Business majors are Business majors for the money. I don’t know if it’s the same way at other schools, but when you ask a business major why they chose that field of study, I’ve found that it’s not uncommon for that person to run their thumb and fingers together and jokingly reply, “for the money”.

When you get beneath the surface of these students, however, you usually find a different answer. Personally, I am a Business Marketing student with a double minor in Bible and Youth and Family Studies. When I first decided to be a business major, I wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to go in. But soon enough, my time at Nyack College influenced me in such a way that I didn’t want to do marketing for something that didn’t matter. With my degree, I hope to work in the Marketing Department of a non-profit organization that helps troubled teens. In talking with a fellow business major, Gio Sanchez, I realized that I’m not this only one with this mind set. When I asked Gio what he was looking to do with his business degree, he replied, “I want to be a director of a kids camp in which the finance can be worked in such a way that even the poorest of inter-city kids go go for at least a week in the summer”.

Not all Business majors go in this direction, however. Many, including Honors Student Emily Wellman, shoot for the big business stars and succeed. Emily has worked in several internship positions including a Gucci Group Bottega Venetta Finance internship where she worked in forecasting and reporting annual budgets. She has also found work in personal finance consulting, and in the pharmaceutical recruiting business as an associate. Within five years of her graduation, Emily hopes to have a CPA certification, and work for Deloitte (Big Four Company); and within ten years, she hopes to do International Business work in Brazil.

Emily, Gio, and I are perfect examples of the far reaching Business program here at Nyack College. Business can take students in so many directions, and the administration here at Nyack encourages students to take hold of that and dream big. I get really excited when I think about my future beyond Nyack. I’m thankful to be educated both in how to be successful in the business world while still reaching out to people for Christ. I can’t wait to use my skills in the marketing field to further the purpose of an organization whose mission I really believe in. And that’s how it is in the Business Department here at Nyack College; we’re not just in it for the money, we’re in it because we want to work for a cause we believe in whether it be troubled teens, kids from low-income families, or International Business in South America.

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