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Unanue Latino Institute Celebrates Class of 2021  

Graduation CapThe Joseph A. Unanue Latino Institute proudly celebrates the accomplishments of its 2021 graduating scholarship class. The Unanue Scholars represent the mission of the Unanue Institute, which aims to advance, educate and transform students into the next generation of servant leaders. The Institute encourages its students to be active members of their community, obtain on-campus leadership roles and embrace Latin America's rich culture and history. Throughout their undergraduate studies, each student has been involved with the Institute through its scholarship program, virtual campus events and professional development workshops.

The Institute team congratulates and thanks these dedicated scholars and looks forward to their future triumphs: Mariam Elmiligi, Mark Francis Mabalatan, Nicholas Hernandez, Kelsey Harris, Vanessa Fiscal, Jaylen Henderson-Pena, Melissa Velasco, Carina Castagna, Brittney Segura, Milencia Saintus, Jimmy Bedoya, Yessica Leonardo, Essence Williams, Melanie Pacheco, Selam Woldegerima, Feven Kebede, Kristel Domingo and Michael Pacheco.

The following profiles highlights select students of "Clase del 2021" and reflects their academic and professional accomplishments during their time at Seton Hall University:

michael 2021 320Michael Pacheco

Major: Public Relations
Minor: Graphic Design & Advertising
Academic achievements: Dean's List every semester, Patrick M. and Mary Ann Pfaff Murray Merit-Based Scholarship, Joseph and Carmen Ana Unanue Scholarship, Lider Award
What's next? Plan on accepting a position in the Media Relations Department at the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.
Advice for incoming freshmen: Take advantage of it! As a Latino it is important that we take care of each other and network with each other! We are one big family and I recommend any Latino to join because we are slowly turning into the majority.

mariam 2021 320Mariam Elmiligi

Major: Elementary/Special Education and Liberal Studies
Minor: Spanish
Academic achievements: Dean's list (all semesters), Magna Cum Laude, Chrysiliou /Van Norman Scholarship, Spagnolia Scholarship, Helen and Harold Lerner Endowed Marketing Scholarship
What's next? Applying for jobs!
Advice for incoming freshmen: Latino Institute offers a great variety of events, and you should take advantage of everything that is offered! Aside from learning, you will make so many new connections with your peers, and the awesome guest speakers they bring!

mark 2021 320Mark Francis Mabalatan

Major: Business Management, Political Science
Academic achievements: Seton Hall University Honors Program, Alpha Sigma Omega Management Honor Society
What's next? Master of Science in Community and Regional Planning at the University of Texas at Austin
Advice for incoming freshmen: Immerse yourself in the community of the Latino Institute and make sure you carve time out to engage with your fellow scholars and community members!

Vanessa Fiscal

Major: DVSL/ Elementary/Special Ed/ SOBS
Academic achievements: Dean's List, KDP
What's next? Graduate school Advice for incoming freshmen: Join as soon as you can!

Jaylen Henderson-Pena headshotJaylen Henderson-Pena

Major: Elementary/Special Education and Liberal Studies
Minor: Spanish
Academic achievements: 2019-2020 Kappa Delta Pi International Distinguished Chapter Officer Award; 2020 Experiential Education Award; 2020 J. Jay Hostetler Scholarship; Anthony P. Infante, Jr. Memorial Scholarship; Jerome D. Greco Scholarship; Ruth Cornfield Scholarship; Dean's List (All Semesters); Magna Cum Laude
What's next? Accepting Job Offer in Elementary Education
Advice for incoming freshmen: Take advantage of the programming that The Institute offers so that you can reflect on your own Latinidad or learn more about the different Hispanic and Latino cultures that exist within the University.

carina 2021 320Carina Castagna

Major: Communication, double major Catholic Studies, with a certificate of business
Academic achievements: Dean's list (all semesters), Lider awardee 2x recipient, set to graduate "magna cum laude", 3.7 GPA/ Scholar of EOP/ Also member of honor societies: national scholastic collegiate scholars (NSCS), Lambda Pi Eta (LPE), delta epsilon sigma, Theta Alpha Kappa. /Scholarships: Joseph-Carmen Ana Unanue Scholarship, FWA Mentoring Scholarship, Barbara-Robert Ley Scholarship, Catholic Studies Program Scholarship, Jay Roczynski Memorial Fund
What's next? Grad school at SHU, MPA 3+2 program, concentration in Non-profit management (will graduate May 2022)
Advice for incoming freshmen: Be open to opportunities. Do things outside of your comfort zone, and be purposeful with where you spend/invest your time.

milencia 2021 320Milencia Saintus

Major: International Relation and Diplomacy
Minors: Philosophy, Economics, Arabic
Academic achievements: University Scholarship, Joseph and Carmen Unanue Scholarship, Lider Award Scholarship, Ronald McDonald House Charities African American Future Achievers Scholarship
What's next? I will be attending grad school at Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz College. I will be pursuing a Master of Science in Public Policy & Management (MSPPM).
Advice for incoming freshmen: I have to say your time at the Latino Institute will be what you make of it. You should really take your time to go to the events and make friends with other students from the Institute.

james 2021 320James Bedoya

Major: Business Marketing and IT
Academic achievements: Spring 2017 Dean's List, Spring 2018 Dean's List, Spring 2019 Dean's List, Joseph-Carmen Unanue Scholarship, Richard Powell Scholarship, Stack Memorial Scholarship, University Academic Scholarship, Alpha Phi Alpha 2019 College Brother of the Year
What's next? I am planning to work full-time but I am in the midst of still applying for jobs.
Advice for incoming freshmen: Make sure you become leaders and trail blazers on campus. Set the example for future generations to come so that they can see what it means to be a Unanue scholar.

yessica 2021 320Yessica Leonardo

Major: Diplomacy and International Relations
Minor: Arabic and Middle Eastern History
Academic achievements: Joseph Unanue Latino Institute Scholar, Kean Foundation Scholar, Dean's list Fall 2017-Fall 2020, Educational Opportunity Program Scholar, Sigma Iota Rho National Honor Society
What's next? Currently Interviewing for Jobs within the Immigration field. Advice for incoming freshmen: To the new school Latino Institute Scholars, I would say to take advantage of the unique network the Latino Institute has to offer. I would also advise incoming freshman to go to all the events as they are a great way to unwind and get some yummy Hispanic food!

melanie 2021 320Melanie Pacheco

Major: Diplomacy and International Relations
Minor: French, Legal Studies in Business
Academic achievements: Seton Hall University Honors Program, Joseph A. Unanue Latino Institute Scholar, Seton Hall University Generation 1 Program Scholar, Sigma Kappa Rho International Studies Honor Society, Seton Hall University Strack Scholar
What's next? Graduate school- Master's in Divinity and/or law school
Advice for incoming freshmen: The Latino Institute, like many other experiences at SHU, will be what you make of it. Take full advantage of all of the events, the volunteer/networking opportunities, and even being able to use the office as a workspace. I say this because I wish I would have done so myself during my time here. I can say with confidence that you find yourself in a good place where you can find community and even a refuge if you need.

selam 2021 320Selam Woldegerima

Major: Physics
Minor: Medical Humanities
Academic achievements: Deans list all semesters, Martin Luther King Scholarship Association Scholar, Lider Award at the Joseph A. Unanue Latino Institute
What's next? Grad school, MSc. in Global Health Sciences and Epidemiology at the University of Oxford
Advice for incoming freshmen: Definitely take advantage of every opportunity the Institute has to offer. This includes networking, social, and academic events.

feven 2021 320Feven Kebede

Major: Nursing
Academic achievements: Academic University Scholarship, Joseph A. Unanue Latino Institute Scholarship (Lider Award)
What's next? Graduate School (Global Health)
Advice for incoming freshmen: The Latino Institute at Seton Hall is such a great center and an amazing resource for all students. It creates a safe space and empowers all students from diverse backgrounds.

kristel 2021 320Kristel Domingo

Major: Nursing and Philosophy Double Major
Academic achievements: Honors Clinical Immersion (1 of 3 students selected for oncology), Phi Sigma Tau (Philosophy Honors Society), completion of the University Honors Program
What's next? Soon to be working as a Registered Nurse within NJ (once I pass my NCLEX!)
Advice for incoming freshmen: Attend the events because you will learn a lot from and be inspired by the amazing speakers!

brittney 2021 320Brittney Segura

Major: Diplomacy and International Relations
Minors: Latin American and Latino/Latina Studies and Economics
Academic Achievements: Dean's List 2017-2021, Greg T. Delassio Memorial Scholarship 2020-2021
What's Next: Graduate School, Master's in International Economics
Advice for incoming freshmen: Don't be afraid to try anything. You will be surprised what you will end up loving.

melissa 2021 320Melissa Velasco

Majors: Political Science and English
Academic Achievements: Minority Pre-Law Organization Founding Member and President, Deans List, completion of the University's Honors Program, EOP Scholar, Awarded Most Outstanding Student in Seton Hall Law School's Pre-Legal Program, Joseph- Carmen Ana Unanue Scholarship, Vincent Lizzi Scholarship, Carmen Liuzza, Jr. Esq. Memorial Scholarship
What's Next: This summer I will be participating in the Sonia & Celina Sotomayor Judicial internship Program, in partnership with the Ron Brown Prep Program at St. John's Law. After that, next stop is law school!
Advice for incoming freshmen: This program offers you opportunities of a lifetime! During my time in the Latino Institute, I had the opportunity of being a co-panelist for the honorable Judge Victoria Pratt—an opportunity I would not have been able to get elsewhere. The Latino Institute is much more than just professional development and academic success. This program embodies what it means to be family. I met some of the most admirable people in this program —some of whom are now friends for a lifetime!

nicholas 2021 320Nicholas Hernandez

Majors: B.A. in Journalism & Visual and Sound Media with a Television Production concentration
Academic Accomplishments: Martin Luther King Scholarship Association Scholar, Dean's List (every semester), Summa Cum Laude, Pirate Press Club; inductees are journalism majors who achieved academic excellence while holding a leadership position in student journalism.
What's next? Will be attending The Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY to pursue my master's degree in journalism with a concentration in urban reporting.
Advice for Incoming Freshmen: Be open to stepping out of your comfort zone. Do not be afraid to take risks and challenge yourself because it will help you grow as a student and person! Plus, get involved! Seton Hall will be your home for the next four years, so be sure to make it a comfortable place by surrounding yourself with people that will be there for you during your highs and lows.

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For more information, please contact:

  • Elizabeth Rodriguez
  • (973) 761-9422