SJU breeds talent, and when it comes to the Class of 2020 on Queens Campus, several students are #doingbigthings and it’s time to showcase who these driven students are. Keep an eye out this fall semester for these 12 inspiring individuals who are not only setting their foot on campus – but leaving a mark in New York City.
1.) Skyler Pierce
Skyler Pierce is from La Jolla, California and is a Communication Arts major. Currently, she is the Vice President of the Stephen Pierce Foundation and Pro Players. She is also a freelance lifestyle blogger and videographer who shoots videos of her life, travels and events she attends. She is very involved with fashion, which is seen by her being invited to New York Fashion Week to attend shows by designers Angelys Balek and Tommy Hilfiger last year. She’ll be attending shows at New York Fashion Week this fall. Pierce says her father, former NFL football player Stephen Pierce inspires her for #doingbigthings. He always encouraged her to have the mindset of following her dreams and to never quit on something she loves. With her trend-setting outfits, you definitely won’t miss seeing her around campus.
2.) Derek Klingel
Derek is from Bohemia, Long Island and is majoring in Communication Arts with a minor in Business. He is extremely passionate about fitness and aspires to become a personal trainer and pro in Men’s Physique one day. You’ve probably seen him working out at Carnesseca, and if you haven’t – you most certainly will. His fitness posts will make you want to get out of bed and workout. Klingel started #doingbigthings from his sole passion of inspiring others. He wants to show people that being healthy and taking fitness seriously can be achieved while living on a college campus. He hopes to compete in a Men’s Physique Fitness Competition and will have Youtube videos coming out soon. Klingel wants to let people know, “One should always make room for passion in your life, even if it doesn’t make you money because passion is what will keep you happy and feeling alive.”
3.) Deanna London
Deanna is from Fayetteville, North Carolina and majors in Television and Film. She is a self-taught photographer, Youtuber, singer/songwriter, dancer, actress, and model. Her photography was recently featured in Vogue Magazine! London knew from a young age that she was destined for #doingbigthings. She dreams of building a platform for others to express themselves in ways they never thought possible. She aspires to work for Ellie Saab and pitch a reality show to major networks. The show would be based on the lives of the millennial, minority students at St. John’s who are on their own paths to success. She also wants to let SJU students who are looking for a photographer for head-shots, events, or building a portfolio – to feel free to reach out to her.
She wants to be the female Donald Glover. With her amazing skill set, killer determination, and renaissance woman persona – there’s no doubt she’ll be it. Stay tuned for new music, astounding pictures and vlogs from her this fall.
4.) Brian Shaughnessy
Brian is a Public Relations major from Atlanta, Georgia. Currently, he is managing artist, Jay Spice, and is the executive producer for Spice’s new music coming out soon. His role consists of being Spice’s social media coordinator and creative director. He is in charge of booking shows, shoots with photographers, and filming eye-popping music videos. He started #doingbigthings with music when Spice played one of his songs that he made in a makeshift studio in his room. It was in that moment where Shaughnessy saw his future and understood his lifelong connection to music. Shaughnessy hopes to intern at a record label and continue meeting other individuals in the music industry. He hopes to make his own record label, Real Records, the most influential, empowering brand in the industry.
He wants to let anyone know that is starting their journey in music to not get discouraged, and urges no one stray from the reason they started doing something. Brian, along with Spice, want to be an example that two kids from Georgia can do something bigger than what is expected of them. With a spirit and admirable grind, there’s no doubt Shaughnessy will be one of the biggest names in the music industry.
Stay updated with Brian below:
5.) Yves Nyugen
Yves Nguyen is from Las Vegas, Nevada, and majors in Rhetoric and Public Address. She is a contributing writer for SocialNightLife and a member of the startup’s marketing team where she assists with social media content. She writes about nightlife in New York City, which consists of case studies about nightclubs and bars, as well as interviews with hosts, promoters, and performers. She’s been able to meet some pretty dope people, and if you’re looking for something exciting to do in the city – you can most definitely trust her recommendations. In the future, Nguyen hopes to do political or investigative journalism and credits SocialNightLife as being a great experience to further her writing skills. When it comes to #doingbigthings, Nguyen says, “You have to just keep doing things. You just have to keep working, keep doing it to get better and build relationships.”
6.) Jacob Medure
Jacob is from Jacksonville, Florida, and majors in Mass Communications with a double minor in Computer Science and Business. He is focusing on creating the biggest platform to affect the most individuals he can positively, and one way he does this is through his soulful, catchy music. Jacob is developing his style, lyrics, and production and says his music is his most direct channel of communication. It allows him to be real, vulnerable, and convey his message most effectively. Impressively, Medure is also developing a social media and internet marketing company called LIEN Media that specializes in small to mid-size business development. He feels that in order to impact people, one must be #doingbigthings. He is motivated by others and wants to be his own boss, which will undoubtely happen as seen by his strong hustle and work ethic.
Medure is honored and appreciative for those who listen to his music and support him. He says, “If anybody out there is doubting their ability to do something or do a “big” thing per se, life is too short to worry about failure. I hope you follow your heart and do what you’re passionate about. If you’re having doubts, now is the time to execute. You don’t want to say you sat on the sidelines while you watched other people achieve your dreams.”
Stay updated with his social media below. If you haven’t listened to his music yet – trust me, you’ll be listening to it nonstop.
7.) Alicia Villafana
Alicia is a Business major from West Islip, Long Island. She grew up in a household where giving back and helping to improve the world was always encouraged. She is part of a non-profit charity organization called Thirst Project, which is the the world’s number one leading youth water activism organization. Thirst Project raises funds to build fresh water wells in nations that don’t have access to clean drinking water. In her senior year of high school, she ran the Thirst Project in her hometown alongside her friend Taylor Sorice where they successfully raised $24k. They were awarded “Power of Youth” awards at the 7th Annual Thirst Gala hosted by the Beverly Hilton in California. Villafana also received the opportunity to travel to Swaziland, Africa which she credits as a life-changing, humbling experience. This is where she saw her dedicated efforts come true and a new eye-opening perspective on life.
Villafana wants to let people know that #doingbigthings means being selfless, humble, and most importantly – finding your purpose and living your best life possible. It’s remarkable how strongly Villafana feels about giving back. With such a compassionate soul, there’s no doubt she will keep positively impacting and changing the lives of others. In the future, she hopes to have a career in the business end of a company within the beauty industry, while continuing to help those in need. She will crush the global water crisis, one glass of clean drinking water at a time. She says, “When you give water, you really are giving life.”
Check out Thirst Project below.
8.) Michael Ofili
Michael is a Television and Film major from College Park, Maryland. He creates short skits online, and will be releasing new content on his social media platforms. Michael started #doingbigthings when he recognized himself always looking up to creative and successful people like Kevin Hart and Andrew Bachelor. He hopes to crossover into the Hollywood film industry and catch the eye of a producer or casting director. This will be no problem, as one of his hilarious Vine videos has been played over 30, 031, 565 times.
In the future, he sees himself continuing on creating content with friends on campus and back at home. He is also set on releasing a movie in his name one day. He is persistent and confident this will become a reality, and in the near feature, if you see a movie out with his name involved in the main credits – let’s just say he produced it. When this happens, he will graciously remember and thank everybody who helped him along the way.
He says, “The road to discovery continues! There’s no time to stop now.” You can’t miss Michael’s bubbly presence on campus, and his videos will have you laughing for hours.
Stay updated with his hysterically funny content below.
9.) Gabrielle Ciminera
Gabrielle is a Psychology major from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania who works at St. Vincent De Paul Young Adult Center in Germantown, PA, which she discovered from a service plunge sponsored by the St. John’s Campus Ministry. She has her own blog called Faces of Germantown, with the mission to showcase the stories and talents of the Germantown community in order to break the stigmas surrounding urban poverty. Since March, she has also been a crisis counselor at Crisis Textline, which is a nonprofit company that connects trained counselors with people via text who are experiencing a crisis.
Ciminera says students at SJU are what inspire her for #doingbigthings. She says there are several incredible students working on groundbreaking projects that she sees on campus and on social media. She is in awe of their talent and passion, and there is no doubt everyone will be in awe of Ciminera’s as well. This semester, she will be Vice President of the Student Psychological Association and wants to promote mental health awareness, as well as provide opportunities for psychology/related majors to network. She’s on the Child and Family Research Group through the psychology department and wants to be a clinical psychologist and start her own nonprofit. Her commitment to giving a helping hand is extraordinarily admirable.
Stay tuned for her upcoming articles and SPA’s events this fall. Ciminera welcomes anyone, regardless of their major, to attend.
You can access Crisis Textline by texting HOME to 741 741.
10.) Rob Phraner
Rob is from Walton, New York and is majoring in Television and Film Production. He produces his own music and is working on writing and planning his time in a studio to record vocal tracks and his own instrumentals. Phraner also works at NBC’s Saturday Night Live, and believes it’s a perfect starting place for a career with his major. He considers himself lucky to have such an opportunity and knew to start #doingbigthings when he realized he grew up in a small, isolated town. In the future, he hopes to still be with SNL but also holds interest in working at the FDNY as well.
Phraner has become confident in starting to share his music with everyone, and there’s no reason as to why he shouldn’t be. His work is adept and a must listen. Phraner also creates music with his friend Omari. Phraner wants to encourage more people at this age and even younger to start #doingbigthings. He says, “There’s no reason not to chase your dreams, and no reason to ever be afraid to try new things and have new experiences. Just don’t limit yourself.”
Stay updated with him below.
11.) Chelsea Sinclair
Chelsea is a Communications major from Freeport, New York. She started #doingbigthings when she realized she was not the only one going through something that feels unbearable. Inspired, she wrote an open letter, and an idea was born and started her own non-profit organization called GirlsWorldWide, aimed to help teenage girls between 13-19 going through depression or anything difficult. In January 2018, she will have a seminar including a panel discussion informing people of GirlsWorldWide, depression, self-esteem and relationships. In the future, she hopes to host GirlsWorldWide seminars nationwide and continue expanding her movement. GirlsWorldWide will become monumental, all due to Sinclair’s continued, astounding diligence.
Stay tuned below for upcoming seminars and workshops!
12.) Mark Miller
Mark Miller is a Finance major who recently migrated to New York from Jamaica. He published his first novel titled “The Incarnates”, which is the first in The Incarnates Series. It is available on Amazon and you can check out the book on Facebook here. He is working on multiple chains of unique fashionwear, and hopes to own two cooperations one day. One of these would include an organization to help the less fortunate, as he aspires to make a positive impact on the world someday. His word of advice to everyone – “Whenever you’re in doubt, always rely on your inner voice. Trust in yourself, no matter how difficult it may be because, at the end of the day, only you can achieve your impossible possibilities!” New exciting projects are in the works for Miller. He is talented, and his talent deserves reading!