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ESF to Celebrate Class of 2024

Commencement exercises to be held at The Amp

Syracuse, N.Y. – May 10, 2024 – The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) will award 409 degrees, including 55 master’s degrees and 16 Doctor of Philosophy degrees, during the 2024 May Commencement at 2 p.m. May 11 at the Empower FCU Amphitheater at Lakeview.

An Honorary Degree will be presented to Camille Dungy, an award-winning author and editor who has worked tirelessly to expand the realm of nature literature and environmental studies by bringing African-American voices into the canon.

ESF is celebrating graduates with several events throughout the week.

Student Speaker: Meghan O’Brien

Meghan O’Brien (Centerport, N.Y.) is an Environmental Health major. At  ESF, O’Brien served as vice president of the Environmental Health Club and was a competitive powerlifter with the Syracuse Barbell Club. Her studies focused on the science and art of soil regeneration, recognizing its crucial link to food quality and overall health. Following graduation, she aims to pursue a career as a soil scientist.

Student Marshals: Nicole Byrnes and Jenifer Lemus Sagastume

Nicole Byrnes (Brewster, N.Y.) is a Chemical Engineering and Paper Engineering major. She served as president of the SUSChemE Club and was on the 2021 yearbook staff. She received numerous scholarships, including the Syracuse Pulp and Paper Foundation and Asimov scholarships. She volunteers for clean-up initiatives and a cost-free fishing event for children. 

Jenifer Lemus Sagastume (East Meadow, N.Y.) is an Environmental Studies major with a concentration in Natural Systems Applications. As the vice president and co-founder of the Latin American Student Organization, she orchestrated several community-building events. She was on the President’s List and earned the Class of 1951 Scholarship. Lemus Sagastume engages in the Teach For America Ignite Fellowship and internships at Brookhaven National Laboratory. She volunteers with Pets4Luv and informal local clean-up initiatives.

SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence Recipients: Lynzee Morris and Jade Nguyen

Lynzee Morris (Washington, Pa.) is a Biochemistry major who has contributed to research in organic and theoretical atmospheric chemistry labs, served as a teaching assistant for first-year chemistry students, and received the Outstanding Junior in Chemistry Award and the Chemistry Departmental Citizen Award. They are a member of the ESF Honor Society (AXS), a math tutor for a local fourth grader,  and a volunteer at a local dog shelter. They were involved with The Alchemist Society, the Sexuality and Gender Alliance, the Crypt Keepers, and worked in the Financial Aid Office. Post-graduation Morris plans to enter the workforce and pursue a master’s degree.

Jade Nguyen (Center Line, Mich.) is a December graduate who majored in Environmental Studies. At ESF, she held executive positions in the Environmental Studies Student Organization and The Baobab Society, tutored in the Public Speaking Lab, contributed to the Syracuse Urban Food Forest Project, worked at the Syracuse Cooperative Market, and earned President’s List recognition for six of her seven semesters. She received the Robin Hood Oak Award for Student Advocacy and spoke at ESF’s Inclusive Excellence Graduation Reception and December Soiree. Her next endeavor is as a planner at the Syracuse Metropolitan Transportation Council.

Norman R. McConney Jr. Award Recipient: Amanda Castelan 

Amanda Castelan (Bronx, N.Y.)  is a Biotechnology major. Castelan served as an EOP Mentor for three years and participated in the 2023 SUNY EOP Student Leadership Conference. She is an artist and designed the 2024 ESF Earth Week T-shirt. She is a member of a Black Pre-Medical Society and participates in Impact Movement, a Bible study for people of color. She volunteers at BnR Bunkhouse, an animal shelter. Her post-graduation plans include nursing school, with a focus on psychiatric health.

Coordinator of Graduation Activities: Shirley Chen

Shirley Chen (Cleveland, Ohio) is an Environmental Studies major with a concentration in Environment, Communication, and Society. She held roles within the Green Campus Initiative and Break Free from Plastics Committee and was the Student Sustainability Research Assistant. Chen earned the Student Employee of the Year Award. At SU, she led initiatives as the Political Education Chair for Asian Students in America, focusing on the environmental justice committee. Chen is the i-Tree video consultant for Davey Tree Expert Company, advocating for tree equity. She will pursue environmental communication and TV production, focusing on educating children about science and sustainability.

Departmental Scholars

Chemical Engineering:  Adrian Wilson 

Wilson (Oswego, N.Y.) is originally from Manitoba, Canada, and worked in construction before pursuing his engineering degree at ESF. Balancing a young family and academics, Wilson served as president of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers student chapter at ESF. Last summer, he interned as a plant optimization engineer for Packaging Corporation of America and will return to a full-time management position following graduation.

Chemistry: Terry Morgan Eggleston

Eggleston (Redfield, N.Y.) has a concentration in natural products and has conducted various research projects in organic chemistry, physical chemistry, and environmental health. He credits ESF faculty and staff for creating a wonderful environment for rising scientists.

Environmental Biology: River Kai Soderholm

Soderholm (Milford, Conn.) attended Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport, Conn., and graduated with an associate degree in biology in 2022, receiving recognition for a 4.0 GPA and their volunteer work with the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. Soderholm was involved with ESF’s Entomology Club, Herpetology Club, Friends of Oakwood Cemetery, Music Society, and Photography Club. Soderholm enjoys drawing, songwriting, and being outdoors. After graduation, they will begin an internship at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Environmental Resources Engineering: Jack Murtagh

Murtagh (Garden City, N.Y.) worked as an office assistant in the Environmental Resources Engineering office. He served as president of ESF’s New York Water Environment Association student chapter where he mentored younger students in career preparation and networking. He competed in the 2023 Water Environment Federation student design competition in Chicago and led his team to a third-place victory. Murtagh will be working as a water resources engineer for Barton & Loguidice in Syracuse, N.Y. 

Environmental Science: Clare Baryluk

Minor: Water Resources 

Baryluk (Columbus, Ohio) served as an undergraduate teaching assistant (TA) and peer tutor. As a sophomore, she was chosen to be a Biology I Laboratory TA and a peer tutor and student grader for Calculus I and II. In addition to her academic pursuits which include a minor in water resources, Baryluk had multiple internships in the environmental field including ones with the Camden Group and Heidelberg Materials.

Environmental Studies: Sophia Lawrence  

Lawrence (Buffalo, N.Y.) worked as the program assistant for Outdoor Recreation at the Barnes Center at the Arch at Syracuse University where she helped build the backpacking program and co-created the school’s first wilderness-based pre-orientation program. She was a tutor at ESF’s Writing Resource Center where she assisted with the Environmental Storytelling Series. Lawrence is heading to Alaska to work at the Wrangell Mountains Center and then to Maine to apprentice at a farm.

Landscape Architecture: McKenzie Dombroski 

Dombroski (Chittenango, N.Y.) has a minor in Recreation Resource and Protected Area Management and served as president of the Landscape Club. She was vice president of Sigma Lambda Alpha, the LA honor society. Dombroski was captain of ESF’s cross country and track teams, setting school records and helping the team win two USCAA national championships. After graduation, Dombroski will work as a landscape designer at The LA Group in Saratoga Springs.

Open Academy: Elizabeth Ringhoff

Major: Sustainability Management

Ringhoff (Rochester, N.Y.) graduated high school in 2005 and entered the workforce shortly after. She returned to school in 2019 to pursue a bachelor’s degree. Initially unsure about which major to choose, she took an introductory elective course on ecology and sustainability, which led her to sustainability management. Ringhoff will complete her degree with a LEED Green Associate certification.

Sustainable Resources Management: Hannah Babcock 

Babcock (Sackets Harbor, N.Y.) minored in Economics and Management and was a member of Alpha Xi Sigma Honor Society, the Sustainable Energy Club, and the Syracuse University Dynamic Sustainability Lab. Babcock received the John V. Berglund Memorial Forestry Scholarship and consistently placed on the President’s and Dean’s lists. Following graduation, Babcock will work as an energy coordinator with Frontier Energy.


The SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) is dedicated to the study of the environment, developing renewable technologies, and building a sustainable and resilient future through design, policy, and management of the environment and natural resources. Members of the College community share a passion for protecting the health of the planet and a deep commitment to the rigorous application of science to improve the way humans interact with the world. The College offers academic programs ranging from the associate of applied science to the Doctor of Philosophy. ESF students live, study and do research on the main campus in Syracuse, N.Y., and on 25,000 acres of field stations in a variety of ecosystems across the state.