Student & Faculty Profiles
Dr. Todd Sodano
Assistant Professor, Media and Communication
A native of New Jersey, Dr. Sodano received his education in Upstate New York and decided to be an educator in Upstate New York, right here at Fisher.
The small classes at Fisher attracted him the most, since that affords him an opportunity to get to know his students and, in turn, they have an opportunity to get to know him.
He teaches in the Media and Communication Department, but takes advantage of (and appreciates) events that happen in the broader Fisher community, including Fisher Players performances and the Teddi Dance for Love.
He summarizes the "Fisher student" as a respectful, hard-working individual who is interested in being active on campus and getting to know his or her professors. He credits two Fisher students who both moved to New York City to work in television after graduation for inspiring him to continue to find opportunities for students who wish to work in the industry he is so passionate about.
Chris Grassmann '17
Fisher appealed to him because of the amazing nursing program. "Every single person I talked to that came to Fisher or knew someone who did said they loved it, there were never any negatives."
In between his class schedule and his time leading campus tours, Chris enjoys the Nutella, fluff, and peanut butter toasted sandwiches at the Ward-Haffey Dining Hall.
His words of wisdom to incoming freshmen are: "Manage your time, have fun, meet new people, and be outgoing."
Emily Donner '16
Emily Donner ’16, a nursing major from Clarence, initially made her choice to come to Fisher because of the nursing school. She later grew to love not only the distance from home, but the small classes and campus atmosphere.
She finds it extremely beneficial to be living in the greater Rochester area because being so close to three great hospitals—Strong Memorial Hospital, Rochester General Hospital, and Highland Hospital—has provided her with many volunteer experiences. Emily is also a runner, so she feels comfortable running outside in the quiet Pittsford and canal area.
Emily advises freshmen not to be afraid to come to Fisher alone. On her first day, she didn't know a single person, but she made a great group of friends so quickly and is thankful that she faced her fears on that first day of freshmen orientation.
Dr. Jason Berman
Professor, Department of Management/Marketing
Dr. Berman came to Fisher in the spring of 1980 as a Visiting Instructor of Management, and has never looked back. Along the way, he discovered a capacity for connecting authentically with students, and he says that has been the culture of the College since he arrived.
He really enjoys watching the developmental transition that happens from freshman to senior year, and says there is "nothing more challenging or rewarding than to be able to promote that process by challenging young people to question and rethink who they really are and who they want to be."
Dr. Berman also believes the College has made an impact on the broader community through its service learning initiatives. But the greater impact of the College's commitment to service has been on the value of a Fisher education.
"Service to others is more than just something to put on your résumé. It is a way of life. Volunteerism adds meaning to your education and makes what you do during and after your college years matter. You learn that the true measure of leadership is not your list of personal accomplishments, but rather what you accomplish on behalf of others."
Emily Jacque '16
Horseheads native Emily Jacque '16 is a Service Scholar majoring in psychology. She has been part of the Orientation Team, Colleges Against Cancer, and the Student Conduct Committee.
Her favorite class is Leadership, a course that is part of the learning community for Service Scholars. She has learned so much about the kind of leader she is and hopes to become after she leaves Fisher. It also allowed her to connect with her fellow Service Scholars.
Her advice: it's better to try out a club or activity and then decide it's not for you than to just not try it at all and have regrets. "This is the time to find out what you are really interested in, so take full advantage of the many opportunities Fisher has to offer."
Briana Macaluso '16
Junior Briana Macaluso, a biology major from Cicero, made sure she took her time to look for small class sizes and relationships with professors when looking at colleges. Low and behold, she found that Fisher was the perfect fit.
Briana is a Student Ambassador, Biology Peer Mentor, and Captain on the Teddi Committee. By getting involved with Teddi, she has had a chance to create some of her most memorable times here at Fisher.
And, living in Rochester plays a big part in Briana’s college experience. She really enjoys checking out the local restaurants and attractions, but is also getting a good sense of the job opportunities here in case she decides to stay close after leaving Fisher.
Alexander Sausville '18
Standing tall at 6'0", Alex Sausville came to Fisher to be a member of the men's basketball team. The marketing program attracted him as well.
Not only is he a member of the basketball team, but he is also active with the Student-Athlete Mentor Club, which performs a lot of community service and projects throughout the academic year.
His favorite thing about Fisher is that "everyone knows everyone," and not surprisingly, his favorite memory so far has been his first basketball season. You'll find him in the dining hall often, but he's happiest on Taco Tuesdays.
To those thinking about Fisher? Alex says that if you're looking for a good education that you will also enjoy, Fisher's campus atmosphere is perfect for you.
Hilary Wilcox '17
Hilary Wilcox '17 graduated from Hugh C. Williams High School in Canton, NY. She loved Fisher thanks to the combination of great scholarships, the small size, and the beautiful campus.
Hilary wasted no time getting involved by joining Equestrian Club, Teddi Committee, and Investment Club. And she can often be seen - and heard - giving tours on campus.
She has been able to create some of the most memorable experiences meeting all of her friends, which she says now make up her own "Fisher Family!"
Nicole and Karissa Hart '16
Nicole Hart ’16 is a special education and childhood education major. Her twin, Karissa ’16, not only shares the same look but also the same major, with a minor in Spanish.
Natives of Syracuse, both girls are also members of the Fisher lacrosse team, and it’s a sport they have been playing since they started attending school.
The Hart sisters say that their team—like so many of the teams, clubs, and other student groups at Fisher—is just like a family. They also look to Coach Linda Michele as a second mom.
During their freshman year, they were involved with a Special Olympics event that was hosted by the College.
Brent Lindsay '16
Brent Lindsay '16 graduated from Victor High School and came to Fisher with a biology degree in mind. His favorite thing about the College are the small class sizes and small campus. He loves that he gets to meet everyone and say hello to his friends and professors while he travels from class to class.
Brent stays busy by being involved in activities such as Fisher Swingbirds (the College's new jazz band), along with the Fisher Players drama club. He is also involved with the Student Government Association and sits on the senate as a residential senator.
In addition, he has been an Orientation Team Leader, where he helped run events during orientation weekend for incoming freshmen. "Being able to help the freshmen transition into college is something that you can be proud you were a part of and you won't forget!"
Theologia Ladas '16
West Seneca West Senior High School graduate Theologia Ladas '16 chose Fisher for the close-knit community, the small class sizes, and the College's reputable School of Education.
She really enjoys her coursework, in particular, her Research Writing class, because the professor gives the students the freedom to write about topics they are truly passionate about. Theologia is perhaps most happy when she is doing her field work in the city's elementary schools.
"St. John Fisher has great connections with these schools, and when it comes times for me to apply for a job, I will already have the experience of working with many of them."
Chenisvel Nunez '17
Her favorite course is Juvenile Justice, for more than one reason. She enjoys the way her professor speaks so passionately about the topic thanks to her knowledge of how the juvenile justice system works. And everything she learns motivates her to go back to her neighborhood and help the local youth improve their own lives. Chenisvel also enjoys the variation of lectures, working in groups, and watching movies that are both informational and influential, which all make for a fun class.
Chenisvel says living in Rochester has provided her with opportunities beyond her college education. Over the summer, she completed a paid internship with the Urban Fellows Program, where she looked at and addressed many ongoing urban issues in Rochester.
Dr. Whitney Rapp
Associate Professor, School of Education
Dr. Rapp came to Fisher full-time in 2002 after serving as an adjunct instructor in 2001. She was immediately attracted to the collaborative, close-knit community here, and was impressed by how well the faculty and staff across campus knew each other, worked together, and how well they knew the students.
She calls Fisher a "nurturing place to be a faculty member," having found many opportunities to collaborate with colleagues as well as opportunities to continually improve and develop new courses, programs, and teaching methods.
Having had many students stay in her mind through the years, she recalls one student in particular who questioned things in a way that no student had questioned her before. Those questions challenged her to articulate her own experiences and the evolution of her dedication to full inclusion of all students.
"My job was not to change his mind or tell him my way was right, but to offer him a new perspective to consider. He was open to that new perspective and considered it deeply. We are both better teachers for it."
Rapp is continually awed by the endeavors and accomplishments of the education students, noting that Fisher is a place for students to get involved, be challenged, and grow.
Marissa Small '16
As a student ambassador, resident assistant, Writing Center tutor, and member of both the Student Nurses Association and the National Residence Hall Honorary, it's hard to believe that Marissa Small has any time leftover for her studies. But, she does.
The nursing major came to Fisher after graduating from Colonie Central High School in Albany, and found that Fisher truly has a "Fisher family." The strong nursing program, along with the opportunities in the School's Simulation Center, attracted her to Fisher.
And she's glad she is in Rochester, thanks to the strong connections that she has been able to build with contacts at local hospitals and other organizations that she says she will benefit from professionally and personally for years to come.
She tells incoming freshmen to stay open-minded and embrace new opportunities once they are at Fisher because the school works to make their transition to college a positive one which will set them up for a successful four years.
Isabel Hansen '18
Isabel Hansen, from Cropseyville, a suburb of Albany, first came to Fisher for an overnight visit during her senior year. It was then when she fell in love with the campus and knew that it was the right fit.
The College’s School of Business reputation helped her set her sights on studying management, and she is enjoying the small class sizes as they allow her to really get to know her professors and participate more in class.
So far, the Great Beginnings program is her best memory because it was when she met a lot of her classmates, which was important since she isn't from Rochester.
What are some of her other favorites? Taco Tuesday in the dining hall and the writing course she took in her Learning Community.
Isabel would tell anyone considering Fisher to take advantage of the overnight visit to get a first-hand look at what life as a Fisher student would really be like.
Ashley Johnson '16
Ashley Johnson '16 came to Fisher from the Rochester area, where she attended Our Lady of Mercy High School. She is a Service Scholar, a member of the Teddi Committee, and is involved with the Student Activities Board.
Being a member of the Teddi Committee and attending the Teddi Dance for Love is one of Ashley's most memorable experiences here at Fisher. The biology major admits that her favorite class is any course that has to do with life sciences.
Ashley wants to tell incoming freshmen to step outside of their comfort zone. "Fisher is a new experience that has many opportunities. Don't be afraid to try something new, whether you join an organization on campus or take a class that interests you."
Alex Ormond '18
Alex Ormond '18 is a media management major from Kennedy, NY. As a freshman, she immediately embraced Fisher's diverse choices of clubs and got involved by joining the Marketing Club, PRIMA (a student-run public relations/advertising firm), and Dance Club.
Alex's favorite course is Introduction to Public Relations because she is given the opportunity to apply what she learns in class to the business environment.
She was attracted to Fisher for its smaller size and location, and she loves the wonderful sense of community on campus. "When they say the 'Fisher Family,' they mean it! My roommates all became my best friends almost instantly."
Her one piece of advice to prospective students is to get involved and take advantage of every opportunity Fisher offers.
Chris Bonomo '18
Long Island native Chris Bonomo is a Service Scholar and a member of the men's rowing team. He was drawn to Fisher for several reasons including the size, the friendly people he met early on, the solid academic programs, and the Service Scholar Program. The beautiful campus helped him make his decision as well.
He said he has gotten to know a lot of good people really well since he started, and the small size also makes it easier for him to connect with his professors.
So far, his favorite memory was attending the football season opener. His favorite course is his Research-Based Writing class where he feels like he has a lot of freedom to explore writing topics and cover what he's interested in.
His advice to anyone thinking about a small school experience is to visit Fisher to see why it would be a perfect choice for them.