2021 Legacy Students

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The University of Connecticut is proud to present its 2021 Legacy Students. Individually and collectively, they represent a rich diversity of leadership experiences, personal accomplishments, and academic excellence. Through their actions, these Legacy Students have personified character, integrity, maturity, and the potential that lies in every University of Connecticut student.

Thomas Alvarez web

Thomas "Tommy" Alvarez

Area of Study: English and History 
Hometown: Stamford, Connecticut
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Leigh Fine, Honors Program
Alumni Mentor: Rich Twilley (’96, ’04), Athorus, PLLC

Thomas is an English and History double major with a minor in Film Studies. On campus, Tommy is involved with the Daily Campus, Honors GPS, Honors Across State Borders, and is a member of the 15th IDEA Grant cohort. In 2018 and 2019 he worked as a summer intern and legal assistant in a local law office, and after completing his undergraduate studies, he plans to pursue a joint J.D./Ph.D to work in academia, engaging in research and teaching.

Darlene Burckson web

Darlene Burckson

Area of Study: Biological Sciences 
Hometown: South Windsor, Connecticut
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Rebecca Colby, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Alumni Mentor: Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis (‘06), Classes 4 Classes

Darlene, a Biological Sciences major and HDFS minor on a pre-med track, has been involved in WiMSE, UConn Health Leaders (UCHL), Bold Women’s Leadership Network, and the African Student Association. Through her involvement with UCHL, Darlene has worked on the Opioid Task Force at UConn Health and completed contact tracing for the CT Department of Public Health. After graduation, Darlene plans to pursue an M.D. before going back to her parents’ country of Ghana to build clinics which will provide healthcare for those without access.

Noah Frank web

Noah Frank

Area of Study: Political Science and Economics 
Hometown: South Windsor, Connecticut
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Ronald Schurin, Political Science
Alumni Mentor: Rich Twilley (’96, ’04), Athorus, PLLC

Noah, a Political Science and Economics double major, has been involved as President of Pi Sigma Alpha Honors Society, Future Leaders in Politics, and a UConn Week of Welcome Leader. Noah is also a member of UConn Conn-Men, an all-male a-capella group on campus. He has also had a variety of internship experiences, including working as a campaign manager for Jeff Currey for State Representative. In the future, Noah hopes to work in policymaking for the state of Connecticut. 

Reinier Gonzalez web

Reinier González

Area of Study: Molecular and Cell Biology 
Hometown: Rocky Hill, Connecticut
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Michael Petro, Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP)
Alumni Mentor: Patrick Adams (’85), Foundation Medicine 

A Molecular and Cell Biology Major with a minor in Global Studies, Reinier has served as the program coordinator for volunteer programs at UConn Health and has been involved with cancer immunotherapy research in UConn’s Pharmacy Department. He is also the Executive Director of STEM Scholars in Honors and a Leadership Council Member of LSAMP. In the future, Reinier hopes to work with an organization such as Doctors Without Borders because of his previous experience working alongside medical personnel to respond to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

Sheryl John web

Sheryl John

Area of Study: Physiology & Neurobiology and Psychology
Hometown: Trumbull, Connecticut
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Keat Sanford, Pre-Medical and Pre-Dental Advising Office
Alumni Mentor: Nancy Dupont ('85, '10), UConn Health & John Dempsey Hospital

Sheryl is a Physiology & Neurobiology and Psychology double major with a minor in Neuroscience and has served as a research assistant in the Department of Psychology. Additionally, Sheryl has been involved with UConn Health Leaders and has served as a Connecticut Contact Tracer. In Spring 2021, Sheryl is taking part in the Haley Petit Injury and Violence Prevention Fellowship. After completing her undergraduate studies, Sheryl plans to pursue an MD/MPH and eventually travel back to her native to country of India to open a clinic or hospital for individuals who can’t afford proper health treatment.

Prabhas KC web

Prabhas KC

Area of Study: Economics and Consumer Behavior 
Hometown: Mansfield Center, Connecticut 
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Micah Heumann, ACES
Alumni Mentor: Nick Roy (’06), Somnio Financial Group, LLC

Prabhas, an Economics and Consumer Behavior double major with a minor in Analytics has served as an Innovative Wellness Intern at UConn and a Marketing Intern with UConn Extension and Motivate MD. Prabhas is also involved with the Mansfield Downtown Partnership Board of Directors and has been a volunteer with Camp Kesem in various capacities. In the future, Prabhas aims to work in the strategy consulting industry, venture capital, or digital marketing. He also plans to continue his work with nonprofits.

Maria Kelley web

Maria Kelley

Area of Study: Law, Social Justice and the Family
Hometown: Deltona, FL 
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Alex Katz, Center for Academic Programs
Alumni Mentor: Steven Hoffler (’95), Southern Connecticut State University

Maria, a Law, Social Justice, and the Family individualized major, is a member of the Human Rights & Action Learning Community, the president of Creating Caring Communities, and a mentor with the METAS program. Maria also worked as a summer 2020 intern with the Office of Civil and Human rights. Maria is passionate about children and women’s rights, and hopes to pursue a J.D. in the future to eventually seek out a career in advocacy work. 

Lucas Knight-Vezina web

Lucas Knight-Vezina 

Area of Study: English and English Education
Hometown: Tolland, Connecticut
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Andrew Oravecz, Community Outreach
Alumni Mentor: Kaitlin Roig-DeBellis (‘06), Classes 4 Classes

Lucas is an English and English Education major with a minor in Human Rights. While at UConn, Lucas has been involved with Community Outreach, working with the Alternative Breaks program as both a participant and trip director. He has also volunteered at local elementary and high schools. After graduation, Lucas plans to be a high school English teacher in New England while also promoting legislation that requires human rights education in all public schools.

Mitsuko Koyama web

Mitsuko Koyama

Area of Study: Accounting
Hometown: Acton, Massachusetts 
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Angela Rola, Asian American Cultural Center
Alumni Mentor: Brooke Zelesnick (‘98), UBS AG

As an Accounting major with minors in Data Analytics and Spanish, Mitsuko serves as the president of the Accounting Society, President of the Japanese Student Association, and Fundraising Chair for the Pan Asian Council. She is also a member of The National Society of Collegiate Scholars as well as Alpha Lambda Delta Honors Society. After graduating, Mitsuko intends to take the CPA exam and work for one of the “Big 4” accounting firms in Boston. Down the road, she aspires to work for an investment bank and the United Nations in New York.

Neal Krishna web

Neal Krishna

Area of Study: English and Physiology & Neurobiology 
Hometown: Winchester, Massachussetts 
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Regina Barreca, English
Alumni Mentor: Patrick Adams (’85), Foundation Medicine 

Neal is an English and Physiology & Neurobiology double major with minors in Mathematics and Astrophysics. On campus, he is involved in Nutmeg Publishing as the Editor in Chief, the CLAS Student Leadership Board, and University Senate as a member of the General Education Oversight Committee. Neal has also served as a Reservist in the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary and does music therapy at nursing homes. In the future, Neal plans to become a physician-scientist and be a leader in medical innovation.

Katie Krocheski web

Kathryn "Katie" Krocheski 

Area of Study: Art History 
Hometown: West Simsbury, Connecticut
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Elizabeth Athens, Art and Art History
Alumni Mentor: Jen Ryley-Welsh (’90), Mitchell College 

Kathryn, an Art History major with a minor in studio art, is co-founder and vice president of the Art and Art History Club. Kathryn has held internships at the New Britain Museum of American Art as a Special Collections Intern and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art as a Library and Archives Intern. After completing her undergraduate studies, she hopes to attend graduate school and eventually pursue a Ph.D. Kathryn hopes to continue her research and share her passion for art history with others.

Irene Soteriou web

Irene Soteriou 

Area of Study: Statistics and Cognitive Science 
Hometown: Middletown, Connecticut
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Glenn Mitoma, Dodd Human Rights Impact
Alumni Mentor: Jeff Ment (’89), The Ment Law Group 

Irene is a Statistics and Cognitive Science double major with a minor in Communication. She has held a variety of internships and co-ops including with the U.S. Department of State, UConn PIRG, and Genocide Watch, where she is now currently employed. Irene is founder and president of UConn Human Rights Symposium, and founder and CEO of The Student Coalition for Human Rights. Irene plans to pursue a career in international law, where she will have the opportunity to defend victims of international conflict.

Sena Wazer web

Sena Wazer

Area of Study: Environmental Studies
Hometown: Storrs, Connecticut
Faculty/Staff Mentor: Vincent Moscardelli, Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships
Alumni Mentor: Jeff Ment (’89), The Ment Law Group 

As an Environmental Studies major, Sena is co-director of Sunrise-CT, a youth led organization dedicated to stopping climate change and creating a multitude of jobs in the process. Over the summer, Sena also volunteered to chair the Governor's Council on Climate Change Equity and Environmental Justice Working Group Mitigation Subcommittee. In the future, she hopes to continue advocating for climate and social justice initiatives by running for political office.