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Office of Development
Mary Cassans '23

ESF junior Mary Cassans '23 fell in love with ESF when she first visited the campus as a high school student.

mary cassans

She liked the academic programs, the small class sizes, the opportunity to participate in activities at Syracuse University and the close connections between students and faculty. And she appreciated the support she received from ESF through her Presidential Scholarship and the Extraordinary Aid Fund (EAF) that was established to support the growing demand for financial aid as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"For many college students and their families, COVID-19 caused an unanticipated financial burden that may affect their ability to complete their education. With the help of donors who supported the EAF, we can make sure that finances do not stand in the way of our students' journeys at ESF," said Brenda Greenfield, ESF assistant vice president for development and executive director of the ESF College Foundation.

Thanks to donors Sam and Carol Nappi, ESF received a special $100,000 matching gift that allowed donations to the EAF through the end of 2020 to have double their impact.

Cassans said the financial support made it easier for her to attend ESF—the only college she applied to.

"It eased my parents' concerns, and my own, about college," Cassans said. "Having that extra scholarship money really helped. I am grateful to those who supported my scholarship since their contribution to my education helped ease the burden and worry about paying for this wonderful school. At ESF I have had access to many opportunities that. I will continue to take advantage of."

During her campus tour, she walked through Baker Laboratory and was impressed by the projects done by students in the Department of Environmental Resources Engineering (ERE). She also researched the department faculty.

"I was able to look up some of the professors and their work was incredible," she said.

Cassans, now majoring in ERE, said one of her favorite academic activities has been the field work for her surveying class. She and her classmates did their work in Oakwood Cemetery, which borders the ESF campus.

Outside class, she is an active member of the ERE club and an undergraduate teaching assistant for general chemistry. She also tutors at the Math Center, helping students in all math classes up to and including Calculus III. Her love of teaching has put a future in academia on her list of possible careers.

"With all the classes I have taken at ESF I have gained a deeper understanding of the world around me. The small class sizes and the more personal connections with professors have helped me learn so much. I have made a wonderful friend group and we always spend time together whether it is studying or just hanging out. ESF gave me the college experience I was looking for."

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