“Life After Purchase”

#ThatAwkwardMomentWhen, you realize your school has a whole column, advertised on the front page of their Web site, with the same title as your blog.




#ThatOtherAwkwardMomentWhen you are alerted to this fact by an alumni survey they sent you, that based on the title made you think something was up with your blog.


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Bro, I’ve had this blog since February.  Back off.




Oh bother, here I am again!

This isn’t the first post I’ve written since dropping off the face of the earth, but it is the first one I’ve published. (<<I’ve totally written that before too.)

But sometimes, things that you aren’t getting paid for get lost in the shuffle.  The last interview I did was waaay back on Memorial Day, though was probably the most fun interview I’ve done for this blog.  The alumnus and I sat as a whole parade passed by our coffee shop window without really noticing it, as if we were just catching up.  I do really wish I’d posted a writeup of the interview, but it would seem so dated now, and wouldn’t come close to doing him justice.  But, to pull just a few of the many fantastic quotes from our chat – ladies and gentlemen, Nick Bonanno, Dramatic Writing Class of 2012;

“My oldest brother used to always joke, we could come home with a dead body in our trunk, but if we went to work that day, our mom was fine with it.” Continue reading

8 Questions with Mariel Perez, SUNY Purchase Graphic Design

Mariel Perez, Production Artist at Community Newspaper Group

Mariel Perez, Production Artist at Community Newspaper Group

Mariel Perez is from Queens, NY, and graduated last May with a degree in graphic design.  She is currently a Production Artist at Community Newspaper Group, a network of neighborhood newspapers in that distributes over 250,000 papers each week in Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Manhattan.

What where your first steps post graduation?

After graduation, I was still in “work mode” from senior project. Not too long after receiving all my grades, I started developing my portfolio website and looking for work opportunities. I knew I had to act fast because everyone else in my shoes was my competition. My senior seminar class started me off in a good direction, I already had a solid resume and I was confident with my portfolio pieces. I looked everywhere for work; I used career websites, researched design firms in the city and tried to network. In the end I applied for 115 jobs. Ultimately, a small design firm in Manhattan contacted me. I went in for an interview and was offered a part time internship opportunity. I thought it was what I needed before entering the workplace. I had never had an internship or job outside of school so I was thrilled to receive some real world experience at an actual design firm. A week after that, I was given another opportunity at the newspaper group I am currently working at. I had a journalist friend who used to work for the newspaper company and referred me to the vice president. I eventually got an interview with the art director and the VP and was offered a part time job. For months, I worked at both establishments. In January, the internship ended and I was offered more hours at the newspaper group.

Tell us about your daily grind at CNG.

Living in Queens and traveling to work in Brooklyn takes me an hour and a half on the subway. It’s a bit of a pain knowing that my commute takes three hours in total but it’s become routine now. My days usually consist of designing advertisements for newspapers and magazines, designing web ads for our news and entertainment websites, laying out our weekly papers and prepping them for the editorial department.

For the most part, I work alone in designing and laying out the publications, but I do get feedback from my art director if there are changes each week in page numbers or additional advertisements in the paper. When I am designing the ads, there is a lot of communication between the sales rep and me. The sales reps are in charge of selling ad space, contacting local businesses and persuading them to buy ad space in our publications. After that, the sales reps contact me with what their client’s want in their ads. They inform me on the information they want to display and sometimes give me ideas of what they’re looking for visually. Mostly I am in control of the creativity behind making the ad and it is my job to make the ad look appealing to our readers.

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8 Questions with Ivy Wong, SUNY Purchase Performance Bassist

Ivy Wong, masters student at Juilliard.

Ivy Wong, masters student at Juilliard.

SUNY Purchase Conservatories are still a thing of awe to me, even after being surrounded by them for the last four years.  The people who attain a certain level of success in them have a head start on being successful while chasing their dreams in the real world.

Ivy Wong, 22, is originally from Hong Kong.  She graduated in May of 2012 with Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Classical Bass performance and Arts Management.  See all the amazing things she’s been up to in her Post-Purchase life.

What made you choose SUNY Purchase, originally?

I realized that having been born and raised in a tiny place like Hong Kong, I really wanted to live in a place that’s drastically different and immerse in another culture.  I heard from my good friend, Santino Lo, who graduated from Purchase in 2011, that his school has great faculty and a new arts management program, so I applied immediately.  Purchase College was actually the only school that I applied to because the decision to go abroad was so sudden, but their admissions office and conservatory of music were really flexible and supportive so everything worked out smoothly.  The idea of being able to major in both the practical aspect of my art and learning to be a leader/ marketer in the field was very attractive to me.  I got into both classical piano and double bass programs, but chose to major in bass because I think I’m more of a chamber musician than a soloist and I feel like most pianists in the conservatory spend majority of their time on solo music.  I like playing with other people, so orchestra and chamber piano on the side is perfect for me.  Also, the bass professor, Timothy Cobb, is the Principal Bass of the Metropolitan Opera.  So, it didn’t really take me long to make a decision to come to Purchase.

So what are you up to now?

I’m currently getting my masters from the Juilliard School.  It’s in Lincoln Center in NYC – what they call the cultural hub of New York.  The school is known for being Continue reading

Cody Spice, a different kind of Drama Studies student

Truth be told, not everybody totally loved their time at Purchase.  But everybody did love something about their time in the 914.  Twenty-three-year-old drama studies major Cody “Spice” Hoffmann said, “Some of my best friends who I’m gonna have for the rest of my life I met at purchase, so I can’t hate it too much!”

Cody Spice, drama studies grad of May 2012

Cody Spice, drama studies grad of May 2012

And while some will sing the praises of Purchase in their post-grad lives, many students can certainly relate to Spice’s sentiments of neutrality.  “[Purchase] didn’t help or hurt me, it was just kind of part of my life that’s over.”  Spice references his investment at Purch with a laugh, saying, “I spent thousands of dollars on a degree I’m never gonna use.”

Spice is back where he grew up, in Westchester, currently working on his goal of striking out on his own, “I would like to end up in fashion, sooner rather than later.”  Spice is making his moves as a Visual Associate at the J. Crew in White Plains and a bellhop at the Ritz Carlton.

Though Purchase may not be the driving force behind Spice’s motivations, his fondest memories are of a junior year spent hula hooping and jump roping outdoors with friends.  Of his major, Spice says,

“I learned how to lie when I was really young, and was happy about getting away with things I didn’t need to get away with,” says Spice.  “I could totally act, I can lie my ass off,” and he claims the major definitely fit his personality. IMG_4629

With the help of advisor Kathleen Tolan, for Spice’s senior project he wrote a semi-autobiographical play about adolescent transitions, which he chose not to produce.  “It would probably be at my fifth year at purchase if not for Kathleen.”

Though Spice says the night he graduated was, “the best advice ever,” he offers some sound advice to the Purchase students he leaves behind.

“Know who your friends are, and don’t act crazy, cause it’s a small motherf*cking school.”

Emily Bishop, SUNY Purchase Sociology & Latin American Studies Major

Emily Bishop, Organizer at New Yorkers Against Fracking, and intern for the Syracuse Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign, and Pharmacy Technician to boot!

Emily Bishop, Pharmacy Technician, Organizer at New Yorkers Against Fracking, and intern for the Syracuse Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign

Emily Bishop graduated as a double major last August, and it’s hard to believe all that she’s accomplished in the short amount of time since her Purchase days.  Listen below to hear about her political exploits in Argentina and Ecuador, and her current work with the indigenous Haudenosaunee peoples, and the Onondaga Nation (don’t try and pronounce those on your own, let Emily do it.)

If you want to learn more about any of the amazing causes Emily mentioned,

check out these links!

Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign 

New Yorkers Against Fracking

Dacia Torchia, SUNY Purchase Acting Conservatory

Dacia Torchia, teaching artist at Lincoln Center Institute

Dacia Torchia, teaching artist at Lincoln Center Institute

Dacia Torchia, originally Dacia Washington, graduated from the Conservatory of Acting in 1987, enrolling when the conservatory program was mentor-ship  based.  Recruited by Joan Potter, Torchia’s class intended to study under Potter for the next four years, but when the mentor-ship structure was abolished after their freshman year, the students’ academic careers took a turn.

Take a listen as Torchia tells stories of her time at Purchase, her myriad of successful endeavors after graduation, and how her post-Purchase path led her to meet her husband.  Side note!  Dacia’s son Dillon Torchia is currently a senior at SUNY Purchase, studying political science!


Josh Hernandez, SUNY Purchase Drama Studies

I know I’ve previously interviewed a drama studies major, but Josh Hernandez currently works on Purchase campus as the Performance Manager at the PAC.  This quick little interview with him offers a momentary glimpse into an event at the Performing Arts Center, which is used for a slew of different kinds of events.  This past Wednesday, it was a New York School Safety Symposium.

Danielle Villano, SUNY Purchase Creative Writer

Danielle Villano, editorial intern at Worth Publishers

Danielle Villano, editorial intern at Worth Publishers

Danielle Villano graduated just this past semester, so she hasn’t been out of school for too long.

But she’s already taking big steps in her post-Purchase life after her experience in the creative writing program.

Listen below to Danielle talk about her job, her goals, and her time at Purchase.

And if you have some time, check out her book review blog, The Reader’s Commute, or her Photo-A-Day project on Blipfoto, where’s she’s already well into her fourth year.  So much to do!  She’s a busy alumna!

Alyson Lopez & Ethan Whitehead

A few days late, I’m doing a Valentine’s Day inspired post.  While at Purchase, two of the very best friends I made were Alyson Lopez and Ethan Whitehead (we are not related, I really really promise.)

Ethan Whitehead and Alyson LopezPhoto Credit: Shirely Lo

Ethan Whitehead and Alyson Lopez
Photo Credit: Shirely Lo

They have been dating since 2010 when they met as sophomores, graduated last May, and are absolutely incredible people.  Unrelated to the post really, they came to visit their alma mater (and me,) this past weekend.  So I gave them both a questionnaire about Purchase that they answered separately, and the similarities, as well as the differences in their answers are interesting and extremely funny, just like them.


Where are you from originally?

Ethan: My mother’s womb.*

*Ethan is from Queens, just so you know.

What was your major?

A: Biology

E: Drama Studies

Why did you choose it?
A: I was bred to believe I wanted to be a doctor.

E: I was undeclared my freshmen year. While I always liked theatre I never really had an “in” to it. Then I was introduced to the class of 2011. They were all really cool and made me super comfortable and I decided to declare.

What was your favorite part about the major?
A: Labs, hands down. Science is the coolest subject when you get to work with your hands.

E: Being able to work with so many different people on so many different projects.

What was your least favorite part?
A: Power points and monotonous lectures.

E: Going to mandatory plays in the city. 

What would you have added or subtracted from your experience at Purchase? What were your favorite and least favorite things about our school?
A: Added? More hammocks. They never should have taken out the original hammocks from my freshman year (08′-’09). Subtracted? Drama. Favorite:  That I wore whatever I wanted and felt comfortable walking around campus; can’t do that in Brooklyn. Least favorite: at first it was the lack of sororities, but now I think it’s a lack of unity, and school spirit. Also that people spell the New as “The Neu,” which is inexhaustibly incorrect. The Commons was given the nickname The New because it was literally newer than The Olde. The Neu is a shortened version of The Neuberger Museum. Come on people. Get it together.

E: I would have added more diverse electives to my schedule. While taking all my theater requirements, I filled all my extras and electives with easy/ laid back classes. Looking back on it, I wish I would have added more business or other classes that had more overall usefulness. I think my favorite thing about our school was the number of things going on at any different time. There were always dances, art shows, performance pieces – so much culture going on in such a small campus.

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