Class of 2022 Speakers

St. Joseph's University, New York (Brooklyn Campus)

Taylor Slakman
Brooklyn Campus Valedictorian

Taylor Slakman was enamored by St. Joseph’s University, New York's Brooklyn Campus from the moment she first stepped foot on the campus in Clinton Hill as a high school student. Her love for the historic campus continued to grow over the years, as she developed relationships with her peers and professors — and discovered passions for literature, creative writing and human rights activism.

An English major and sociology minor, Taylor celebrates her academic achievements this spring, as she proudly leads the Brooklyn Campus as the Class of 2022 valedictorian.

Taylor chose to study at St. Joseph’s largely because of its small class sizes, greatly appreciating the individualized attention she received from her professors. The Rockaway resident remembered that in one of her English courses, she crafted a painting interpretation of something her class was reading, rather than creating a traditional PowerPoint presentation. The unique experience showcased the many ways her professors encouraged her creativity. 

Throughout Taylor’s years at St. Joseph’s, her professors quickly became mentors, profoundly molding her educational journey. Early in her studies, Taylor’s professors guided her as she changed her major from child study to English with a sociology minor. Her “Comparative Authors” seminar (ENG 450) with Associate Professor Thomas B. Grochowski, Ph.D., helped her pick her senior thesis topic, where she researched women writers of the Beat generation.

She used the writing strategies she learned in “An Introduction to Magazine Writing” (ENG 125) outside the classroom, when she started a new social media account to spread awareness about human rights issues she cares about.

This fall, Taylor plans to continue nourishing her love for the written word and enter a creative writing program in graduate school.

St. Joseph's University, New York (Long Island Campus)

Taylor Hanscom
Long Island Campus Valedictorian

Whether it’s in the classroom, leading a club, or serving her community, Taylor Hanscom lives out the St. Joseph’s University, New York motto Esse non videri — “To be, not to seem” every day.

Taylor, a nursing major, stands up as a leader once more this spring, as she represents the Long Island Campus as its Class of 2022 valedictorian. 

Taylor’s commitment to being a socially responsible citizen and serving her community started well before she arrived at St. Joseph’s. At 10 years old, the Patchogue resident held her first lemonade stand fundraiser, benefitting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. In the 12 years since, she has raised nearly $20,000 for the cause. 

As a St. Joseph’s University student, Taylor for four years served as president of Project Sunshine, a student-run, service-based club that aims to bring happiness to pediatric patients across the United States. She expanded the club’s outreach to Cohen Children’s Medical Center (CCMC), Angela’s House, and Good Samaritan Hospital; helped the club earn Club of the Year honors in 2019-20 for her hard work in maintaining the club’s mission while remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic; and spearheaded the club’s effort in sending more than 1,000 Sending Sunshine craft kits to pediatric patients across the United States. 

Taylor’s drive to help others also shines through her nursing accomplishments. She received the Francis Antonawich Memorial Nursing Scholarship, highlighting her compassion during her junior clinical rotations; took part in the prestigious Northwell Health Student Summer Nurse Extern program; and was selected by professors and administrators to receive a Golden Ticket to the Northwell Health Golden Ticket Nursing Showcase in 2021 and 2022.

Taylor plans to pursue a career as a pediatric nurse.