Class of 2020 Speakers

SJC Brooklyn

Amarfi Collado
SJC Brooklyn Valedictorian

Defying odds and overcoming challenges is nothing new to Amarfi Collado, the valedictorian of SJC Brooklyn’s 101st graduating class. Since Amarfi moved to New York with her family from the Dominican Republic as a teenager, she has persevered and lived up to the College motto: Esse non videri ─ “To be, not to seem.” 
 
Amarfi is an honors student and the third consecutive Academic Center for English Language Studies (ACES) scholar to earn the honor of valedictorian. She has earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, while minoring in psychology and philosophy. She is also working on a counseling certificate. After graduation, Amarfi hopes to pursue a career in the mental health track of counseling.
 
Amarfi has been involved in all aspects of campus life at SJC Brooklyn. She was president of the Student Government Association for the 2019-20 academic year, is a member of the dance team, step team, dance club, honors society, Student Leadership Experience (SLE), LGBTQA club and Poder Latino. 
 
After finishing high school at Pan American International High School in Elmhurst, Queens — where she was also valedictorian of her class — Amarfi knew she wanted to continue her educational career at a college with small class sizes, similar to what she was used to at her alma mater.
 
Amarfi thrived at St. Joseph’s, traveling to Greece with the Honors program and helping develop the Voices of SJC oral history project, where she helped document the College’s history by interviewing alumni. She also helped advocate for donations from the Alumni Association to turn the Bear Cave into a recreation center for her peers. Amarfi held a busy schedule at St. Joseph’s, but whenever a classmate or a friend needed a helping hand or support at a campus event or fundraiser, she could be counted on to be the first to volunteer her time.

SJC Long Island

John Davis
SJC Long Island Undergraduate Speaker

John Howes Davis ’20, of Mastic Beach, has earned a B.A. in History with a Concentration in Adolescence Education. He graduates Summa Cum Laude with a 3.9 GPA.

A student veteran, Staff Sgt. Davis is originally from Bettendorf, Iowa, and served in the U.S. Army from 2009 to 2017. He was an infantry squad leader and served two combat deployments to Afghanistan. Davis was awarded numerous medals for his service. 

During his time at St. Joseph’s, he has been a member of SJC Long Island’s chapter of Student Veterans of America, Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society of Education, Phi Alpha Theta National History Honor Society, SALUTE Veterans National Honor Society and SJC’s Dean’s List. 

Davis has extensive community service experience with various veterans’ causes and youth outreach initiatives. He was also a participant in the Veterans Affairs work-study program where he provided fellow veterans with mentorship and resources about education benefits. 

Davis is a self-published author and was accepted into Harvard University, where he is expected to major in international education.


Rachel Anne Sullivan
SJC Long Island Undergraduate Speaker

Rachel Anne Sullivan has earned her bachelor’s degree in religious studies and philosophy, as well as psychology with a specialty track in industrial-organizational psychology, graduating with a 4.0 GPA. She minored at SJC Long Island in mindfulness and contemplative living.
 
Throughout her years at St. Joseph’s, Sullivan took to heart the College’s motto: Esse non videri — “To be, not to seem” — demonstrating her understanding of social responsibility through her actions in her everyday life.
 
She was very involved in extracurricular activities at SJC Long Island, having been a part of the Orientation Team for the past two years, as well as its Planning Committee last summer. She was also a member of the Service Circle since her freshman year and the Campus Activities Board. Sullivan participated in such activities as Alternative Winter Break and the Pumpkin Pie Bake-a-thon. Additionally, she was a member of the International Honor Society in Psychology Psi Chi, as well as the honor societies Theta Alpha Kappa, Gamma Tau Delta and Delta Epsilon Sigma.
 
Sullivan, president of SJC Long Island’s chapter of Psi Chi, received the prestigious Psi Chi Grant Award for her senior research on mindfulness and meditation. She participated in a number of conferences, including St. Joseph’s Study Abroad Conference and the Eastern Psychological Association.
 
After graduating this May, Sullivan plans to pursue a graduate degree in industrial-organizational psychology, with the goal of returning to higher education, particularly as a professor — or with a role in student leadership and involvement.


Joyce Ann Sullivan
SJC Long Island Graduate Speaker

Joyce Ann Sullivan has earned her Master of Science degree in Human Services Leadership with a GPA of 4.0. 

In the presentation she has prepared for commencement, Joyce discusses the cherished relationships and bonds nurtured during her journey at St. Joseph’s College. She considers her time in the Human Services Leadership program an experience in teamwork and a source of collective strength.

During her 15 years of service in the Development Disabilities Institute, where she works as a Corporate Compliance Specialist, Sullivan became an active member of the Employee Involvement Committee and has volunteered at many of their fundraising events.

Sullivan also organizes blood drives through the New York Blood Center for DDI three times a year. These successful blood drives have saved many lives.

She has also taken initiative by creating and managing a knitting and crochet group at DDI, where baby hats are made for the American Heart Association’s “Little Hats, Big Hearts” campaign, providing hats for the nurseries in the local area.

Sullivan is an example of living our motto: “To be, not to seem,” making a real difference in her profession and her personal life.