From One Hawk to Another

The life of a Hartwick student-athlete can be a demanding, but rewarding experience. Every day presents a new challenge that requires a positive mindset. Here, Stella Giustino '25 captures the experiences of fellow Hartwick Hawks.

Kayla Grassi '24
Hartwick College women's soccer team in huddle

Kayla Grassi ‘24

With the appeal of the women’s soccer program and the scenic campus views, Kayla Grassi ‘24 decided to choose Hartwick College to pursue her interest in becoming a certified public accountant (CPA).

Becoming a new member of the Hartwick community raised a sense of nervousness and uncertainty for Grassi. Fortunately, soccer preseason created an instant family feeling from her fellow teammates. The initial shock of experiencing the difference in level of competition was an adjustment she needed to make; however, the assistance from her teammates and coaches made the transition effortless. She made an immediate impact on the pitch during her under-level years.

As a strong center midfielder, Grassi kept the center of the field organized and helped her teammates read and understand the field better. Her powerful presence and smart decision-making earned her an Empire 8 third-team all-conference selection during her sophomore season. She was also recognized as the team’s “Unsung Hero” — an award typically given to the player whose consistency, impact and attention to detail may be taken for granted.

Unfortunately, due to unforeseen health challenges, Grassi was sidelined during her junior year; however, this did not lessen her influence on the team. Every practice, game and lift, she supported her teammates by offering encouragement and helpful advice to help them improve their abilities and feel more confident as players. These clear leadership qualities made her a great choice to be one of the team’s captains for the upcoming season. She is eager to return to the field and guide her teammates during her senior season.

Not only has Grassi been dedicated to soccer, but she has also made her academics a priority. As a double major in business administration and accounting, she has worked hard in the classroom and got involved in unique opportunities — one of which is Hartwick’s excellent VITA program. She has been a member of VITA since February of 2023. Grassi started as a basic tax preparer and has worked her way up to being highlighted as the strongest quality reviewer this tax season.

In pursuing her hopes of becoming a CPA, Grassi has served as an intern for RBT CPAs in Newburg, New York, since June 2021. She has worked on not-for-profit audits and first-hand client advisory. Grassi is grateful for this opportunity in which she has gained general knowledge of accounting practices and how to collaborate with others. She plans to continue interning with the firm this upcoming year and then move into an associate position after graduating in December of 2024.

Liam Downey '25
Liam Downey '25

Liam Downey ‘25

The unmatched opportunities offered by Hartwick’s academic and athletic departments drove Liam Downey ‘25 to continue his educational and lacrosse career after high school with the support of his family, friends and coaches.

Transitioning from high school to college life was a major adjustment for Downey; however, with the support from his coach and teammates, he was able to get a handle on the new atmosphere. His passion for lacrosse and the instant connections he built through the program led him to grow fond of his new home.

From the start, Downey was active on the field. After quickly seeing the different levels of lacrosse, he learned how to compete as a collegiate athlete. Taking what he observed from the upper-level students, Downey took on a leadership role as captain – a position he has held since his sophomore season, when he guided his teammates through practices, games, lifts, etc. And all to better the team and become a more powerful unit on the field. Over the past three seasons, the team has made the Empire 8 playoffs and he hopes to finish the rest of this 2024 spring season on a similar high note.

Downey is particularly grateful for the ability to balance his academics and athletics. From his very first year, he has soaked up the information provided by his professors. Despite his initial interest in studying business, he found his niche in the education program, with a particular interest in history.

This past J Term during his junior year, Downey had the opportunity to observe a classroom back at home on Long Island. It was a great first-hand experience of what he hopes his future as a teacher will look like and it helped solidify his goals. Alongside his interest in teaching, Downey plans to keep athletics in life and hopes to continue coaching lacrosse. He started getting involved with a travel lacrosse team this past summer and hopes to continue coaching, as it has been a wonderful experience.

Downey has enjoyed his time at Hartwick College, where he is excited to play the sport he loves with his best friends while working towards pursuing his future professional career. The support from his coach has shaped him into a better player and man. As he approaches his senior year, he plans to student-teach and finish the rest of his academic duties while being a strong leader for his team, which has a bright future!

Kaileigh Brandow '24
Kaileigh Brandow '24
Kaileigh Brandow '24

Kaileigh Brandow ‘24

Upon graduating from Eastport South Manor High School, Kaileigh Brandow ‘24 was excited to join a small college community where she could focus on furthering her education and continuing her passion for volleyball. 

From time spent during her overnight visit before becoming an official Hartwick Hawk, Brandow instantly felt a connection in Oneonta and found the volleyball team to be a very welcoming group of girls! Transitioning into college, she experienced her first year in a very unconventional way during the COVID-19 pandemic. This caused her classes to be remote and made volleyball very limited. 

Despite the difficulty of isolation during her first year, Brandow was still able to grow close to her teammates and was eager to get an actual feel for what Hartwick College had to offer.

Moving forward, she held a powerful presence for the Hartwick volleyball team. Over the past three seasons, she participated in over sixty matches as an outside hitter. Through hard work and unity,  Brandow and her teammates have constantly advanced in the Empire 8 Conference Tournament these past three seasons. Individually, she has been recognized not only for her athletic abilities but for her academic accomplishments as well. Her persistence on the court has earned her the NSCA Strength & Conditioning All-American Award in 2021 and Empire 8 Second Team selection in 2022, and her dedication in the classroom led her to the Philip S. Wilder Jr. Award in 2021 and Academic All-District Team selection in 2022.

Brandow is a sociology major and a member of Hartwick’s education program. She has loved the closeness of the academic community in which she is recognized as a valued member. All the professors have been extremely helpful and being able to learn from her peers, who support one another, has made Brandow’s experience fulfilling. Looking ahead, Brandow will be pursuing a master’s degree in special education from St. Joseph’s on Long Island. From there, she would like to explore future career opportunities in teaching and possibly become a coach one day.

Jeremiah Boateng '26
Jeremiah Boateng '26

Jeremiah Boateng ‘26    

“Consistency is key!” That;s the mindset of current sophomore, Jeremiah Boateng ‘26, as he goes about his daily life as a Hartwick Hawk!

A long way from home in Springfield, Virginia, Boateng found Hartwick College to be a perfect fit to continue with his academic and basketball career. The COVID-19 pandemic proved to be an issue for Boateng when looking at different colleges; however, Hartwick College was one of the very first schools to contact him and stay with him through the entire college decision-making process. 

He quickly transitioned into the world  of collegiate sports, finding that the demands of  being a student-athlete were very intense. Passion and dedication to your sport are simply the way to be able to manage the expectations of being on the team. Boateng was ready and willing to be a part of that atmosphere! The time spent with his teammates, whether at a practice, lift,  meeting, etc; built a sense of closeness as a team. 

Being in this new basketball atmosphere allowed Boateng to broaden his relationship with the sport. He discovered a new connection to basketball that he had never experienced before. No matter the team’s record, Boateng and his team never gave up on themselves and persevered through each game. His hard work paid off as a first year and he earned the Empire8 Rookie of the Week award. 

The academic opportunities have been endless for Boateng. As a graphic design major, he has been able to soak up all the experiences that come with being a part of a small academic program. Many professors have guided his progress as they all share the common belief of wanting the best for their students. Boateng loves the encouragement from all the professors and appreciates their feedback and support. They have all pushed him to express himself in his designs on the computer screen and presented him with opportunities to showcase his work in the student gallery, local gallery and all over Hartwick’s Anderson Center of the Arts building. 

Boateng is eager to continue advancing his artistic capabilities and learning from his professors. He is excited to pursue new occasions to showcase his artwork and develop as an artist. 

Jake Daly '26
Jake Daly '26
Hartwick College men's soccer team in huddle

Jake Daly ‘26

From the start, Hartwick’s good energy and endless academic and athletic opportunities convinced Jake Daly ‘26  that it would be the perfect place to begin his collegiate journey. 

Taking his first steps on campus as a student-athlete at the start of his soccer season, Daly had to quickly adjust to college life. The team welcomed him with open arms and made him feel as if he was home! He was grateful to be involved in the opportunity to rebuild the men’s soccer program as they have transitioned into a competitive Division III team over these past few years. In just two seasons, the Hawks have made consecutive appearances in the Empire 8 semi-finals – a first for the men’s team since entering the Division III level. In his second season, Daly stepped up in the team’s offense, emerging as the second-leading goal-scorer.

Encouragement and assistance from his coaches have allowed him to better himself as a player and as a student. Balancing a business administration major and economics minor, he has flourished in the classroom and has made the Dean’s list every semester. Daly is particularly fond of Hartwick’s  small class sizes and feels fortunate to have a more personal experience when it comes to learning. He genuinely feels recognized and understood by his professors. The close-knit community has also allowed him to connect with alumni and have a support system to guide him to new opportunities and future internship experiences.

As a sophomore, Daly is excited about the future possibilities he can explore with the rest of his time at Hartwick! With hard work – from both himself and his teammates –  and the guidance of their coaches and athletic trainer, he believes they can improve their athleticism and secure an Empire 8 championship. He plans to continue working on his studies to obtain his bachelor’s degree while creating long-lasting friendships. 

Jade Killikelly '24
Jade Killikelly '24

Jade Killikelly ‘24

With a passion for tennis and public health, Jade Killikelly ‘24 came from Queens, New York, to pursue her collegiate career at Hartwick College.

As a first-year student, Killikelly had an unconventional start to her college experience due to the COVID-19 pandemic. By taking remote classes, she could only lay the foundations of her friendships with her fellow tennis teammates during this non-traditional season. From the jump, her abilities stood out,and she was selected to Empire 8 second team in singles and third team in doubles. Despite not advancing far in the Empire 8 tournament during the 2020 season, Killikelly and her teammates used it as fuel to power them into next season and further improvement.

 Moving into her sophomore season, she was fierce on the court, securing a 10-5 record in singles and an 11-5 record in doubles. Recognized for her abilities, she was selected to Empire 8 first-team singles and first-time doubles. With the support from her teammates and coaching staff, Killikelly continued to grow as a strong competitor during her upper-level years. As a junior, she led the team as one of their captains to Hartwick’s first-ever Empire 8 Championship. She was recognized with the Empire 8 Women’s Tennis Sportswoman of the Year Award and continued her dominance on the court, as demonstrated by her undefeated performance in singles play and a 9-3 record in doubles. In her final season with the Hawks, she was recognized as a member of the Empire 8 Conference 25th Anniversary Team and selected to All-Conference first-teams in both singles and doubles. 

Not only was Killikelly’s success on the tennis court apparent, but her dedication to her academics and Hartwick’s community did not go unnoticed. On the public health pre-med track, she has been on the Dean’s List for multiple semesters and earned the Phillip S. Wilder, Jr. Award. In addition, she received the Dr. James Elting Memorial Scholarship in 2022 and the Significant Contribution to the Quality of Life Award in 2023. Through the close relationships she has built with all the public health professors and her peers, she has excelled in the classroom and taken advantage of the unique opportunities Hartwick has to offer – specifically the study abroad J Term courses. In her junior year, she studied in Senegal and in her senior year, went to Portugal. Both were incredible opportunities to take a class and learn from her professors and immerse herself in each country’s culture.

During this, her final year at Hartwick, Killikelly has focused on her senior thesis, which is centered on the challenges faced by student-athletes of color. With the assistance from her professors, she was able to shape her thesis into work of which she will forever be proud! She was awarded the Emerging Scholar Fellowship from Active Minds, allowing her to further her research.

Showcasing her leadership abilities, she has been a residential assistant (RA) since her sophomore year. Killikelly is a member of the Black Student Union, starting as an active member, then as vice president in her junior year, and finally as president as a senior. Student government has also been another organization she has been involved in, serving in multiple roles – as a senator, on the E-board, and as vice president of fun.

Killikelly has taken part in new experiences at every possible opportunity. She has been a peer health educator, served on the collegiate presidential search committee, enrolled in an EMT course and even started her own food business, selling empanadas with her roommate! She truly represents what it means to get the most out of a college experience. As her time at Hartwick is coming to a close, she plans on pursuing a master’s in public health and is thankful for all the friendships and relationships she has built all around campus. 

Caroline Aspuru
Caroline Aspuru with championship team and banner
Caroline Aspuru with team on sideline

Caroline Aspuru '26

Not all transitions are simple, but Caroline Aspuru has adjusted well to Hartwick’s atmosphere. Coming from Farmingville, New York, where her high school was larger than Hartwick College, she enjoys the new, more personal feeling on Oyaron Hill. Not only was the size very appealing to Aspuru, but she very much wanted to be part of the field hockey program mainly because of the excellent communication she had with her coaches before officially committing to Hartwick.

The field hockey team played a major role in helping Aspuru feel comfortable far away from her hometown. Having a team as close as hers makes her feel supported in everything she does – on and off the field. Her team has become more than just a close group of girls. They have become a loving family. Her coaches have also guided her not only on the field but in the classroom and personal life as well, which has made navigating college life effortless.

With two successful seasons under her belt, Aspuru is thankful to be a Hawk. The team has won the Empire 8 Conference championship in back-to-back seasons – 2022 and 2023 – and has made two appearances in the NCAA tournament, mainly due to the team’s excellent communication skills and close relationships. On a personal note, Aspuru has been recognized as a member of the All-Tournament Empire8 team this past 2023 season.

The small class sizes at Hartwick have been a wonderful opportunity for her, having come into the College as an undeclared major. Connecting with professors and fellow classmates allowed Aspuru to find her niche in psychology and pursue an interest in social work as a minor. Currently in her second year at Hartwick, she is eager to see what is in store for her future as she continues with the field hockey team and sees potential in pursuing a career in social work or as a child life specialist.

Jake Thorry
Jake Thorry
Jake Thorry

Jake Thorry '25

An admiration for the campus and the town of Oneonta. That’s why Jake Thorry ’25 chose Hartwick College as the place he wanted to further his collegiate academic and football career. He appreciated the small class size of his high school in Sayville, New York, and found the similar atmosphere of Hartwick College to be very appealing, particularly the close-knit relationships between students and professors.

Despite the newness that comes from being a part of a new college community, Thorry jumped in immediately, meeting new people and building connections with people from all areas of his life – his football teammates, classmates, Greek life members, and as many of the College community as crossed his path.

Being a coachable and dedicated player has allowed Thorry to excel on the football field. Initially starting as an outside linebacker, now as an upperclassman, he has found himself in a different role as one of the team’s defensive line players. The off-season has been extremely helpful as it has been the most valuable time for Thorry to work with Hartwick’s athletic staff to train and improve his abilities.

As a member of the education program, Thorry is majoring in mathematics and minoring in philosophy. He feels his success in the classroom is mainly due to the professors’ willingness to work with him in the way that works best for his learning style.

With the encouragement of his coaching staff to branch out and explore opportunities, Thorry has immersed himself in Hartwick’s community. Greek life has been another place for him to build connections and develop leadership skills. He rushed Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) during the spring semester of his first year. From there, he has grown close with his fraternity brothers and appreciated all the opportunities of which he has been a part. Always looking to take on an active role for his fraternity, Thorry was the chapter treasurer during his sophomore year and, currently, as a junior, has become the president of TKE. He has attended numerous leadership events, including the TKE Leadership Academy in Colorado Springs in August 2023 and the TKE regional leadership conference conference in February 2024. These experiences have helped him create a connection with TKE headquarters and better present himself as an overall, well-balanced person. The recruitment process has also been another one of his responsibilities as he focuses on building and bettering TKE.

Grown into a leading figure at Hartwick, Thorry is also a part of the Education Club, the All Greek Council, and the National Mathematics Honorary Society, Kappa Mu Epsilon. As his final year approaches, Thorry plans on working hard to make the most of his final football season and getting a taste of student teaching. After graduation, he wants to explore the options of becoming a teacher or working for TKE.

Amanda Wilbur
Amanda Wilbur with other swimmers in pool
Amanda Wilbur

Amanda Wilbur '25

Sports-orientated high school Watkins Glen in New York shaped Amanda Wilbur as a determined student-athlete. She found Hartwick College to be the perfect place to further her education and continue competing in swimming at a higher level. Currently, in her third year of college, Wilbur has gotten a taste of the different academic areas that Hartwick has to offer and appreciates being able to pave her own path.

Finding Hartwick and all the people that come with it to be very welcoming and supportive, Wilbur has made the most of all her resources to be productive in the classroom. Strong relationships with classmates and professors have assisted her as she has transitioned from the nursing program to the public health department. Professors have guided her through the networking world, allowing her to make connections and start planning for her future professional career.

Coming to Hartwick as a first-year student in 2021 was a big transition from online high school to an in-person college experience, but she was supported by peers and got into the groove of things effortlessly. Wilbur recollects facial masks and social distancing played a big role in the unique experience of easing back into in-person learning after the COVID-19 pandemic!

The swim team, a program Wilbur has loved participating in, is integral to her sense of connection. They are a close-knit team that motivates one another and helps make the rigorous demands of the sport worthwhile. She is a dedicated team member, putting time and effort into her athletic responsibilities, such as lifts, sessions and meets. Wilbur competes in the one fly, two fly and 2 IM. The one and two fly are also known as the butterfly, where she is swimming strokes with both arms moving symmetrically, accompanied by the butterfly kick and the movement of the hips and chest. The 2 IM is her medley event, in which she uses all four competitive strokes: butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle.

Going through an injury was only a temporary setback for Wilbur as she had to take a leave of absence due to a concussion she suffered in her first collegiate season. However, she bounced back better than ever, overcoming the injury just in time for her sophomore season. She then medalled at all her events during the 2023 Empire 8 Conference. As the 2024 season comes to a close, Wilbur is aiming for the 200-medley relay record!

As a public health major, Wilbur is searching for potential internships that will give her more hands-on experience in the field she is eager to pursue after graduation. She also has a minor in business and plans to carry out her studies during these last few semesters. Wilbur is focused on achieving big for her future after graduation as she dreams of going after a public health sector/administrative position and eventually becoming a mayor and getting involved in politics.

Dante Gesamondo '25
Dante Gesamondo '25
Dante Gesamondo '25

Dante Gesamondo '25

Coming from Lynnfield, Massachusetts, Dante Gesamondo wanted to continue his passion for athletics while pursuing his college education. He gravitated towards soccer, initially spending the first two years of his undergraduate career at Medaille University in Buffalo, New York. With the campus’s small size, he was able to easily build strong relationships with his fellow athletes.

Unfortunately, the university was forced to shut down abruptly due to financial troubles. The closure left Gesamondo in a bind, causing him to find a new college to transfer to for his remaining two years. The constant communication with coaches John Scott and Brandon Raynor proved to be the distinguishing factor for him in favor of Hartwick College. Not only did the coaches see his potential as an impactful player but also as a good person. They prioritized his well-being and life outside of soccer. Easing the stress of being an outsider, Gesamondo felt immediately welcomed by all his teammates and quickly realized and appreciated the closeness of the men’s soccer team.

Not only did Hartwick’s soccer program attract Gesamondo, but he also knew his academic needs and interest in business and economics would be met. He has enjoyed the small class sizes and close relationships he has formed with his professors. Being a new student-athlete has felt overwhelming at times. Still, his professors have always been very accommodating by offering a flexible schedule to help him adjust to the newness that came with joining another college community. The transition has gone smoothly for Gesamondo as he feels that, in these past few months, Hartwick has become a great new home for him.

Currently in the middle of his junior year, he has become one of the team’s newest captains for this upcoming spring season and the 2024 fall season. He is eager to continue reshaping the men’s soccer program and improving during the off-season. Unfortunately, this past 2023 season, their team fell short of the Empire 8 Championship, losing to the first-seed Elmira in the semifinals. However, Gesamondo sees the potential in his teammates and himself and wants to use their collective hard work to achieve their goal of winning the championship next season. In 2022, he won the Empire 8 with his former team at Medaille and would love nothing more than to share that moment with his Hartwick family next fall.

Looking to the future, Gesamondo plans to stay on top of his academics and excel in the classroom as he strives to earn his bachelor’s degree in business administration. As for soccer, he is ready to lead his team on and off the field and make the most of his final collegiate season. He earned multiple recognitions in his first season with the Hawks – All-Conference First Team, Empire 8 Goal-Keeper of the Year and Defensive Player of the Week. He was the first Hartwick student-athlete to earn the honor of Empire 8 Defensive Player of the Week this season. Gesamondo hopes to do even better for his team in his final season next year. His team has been moving in the right direction and plans to continue using their unity and work ethic to stay on their path.

Nick Cacciola ‘24 

With dreams of pursuing the certified public accounting (CPA) track and becoming a successful accountant in the future, Nick Cacciola ‘24 felt Hartwick was the perfect place to do it! Having an athletic background from Shoreham-Wading River High School, Cacciola wanted to continue playing lacrosse at the collegiate level while also earning a degree in both accounting and business administration.

Since Cacciola entered Hartwick during the “COVID year” – 2020 – he experienced his first year in the most untraditional way for college students. He was able to come on campus, but all classes were held via zoom. And while he missed out on a real first season for lacrosse, he was still able to meet his teammates and become close friends.

As a sophomore, he was able to have a normalized time with in-person classes and a real lacrosse season. As an underclassman,  he helped his team be competitive and successful in the Empire 8 conference. He earned a spot on the Empire 8 second team all-conference and the all-tournament teams. As a junior, he continued having a powerful presence as a defenseman for the men’s lacrosse team, moving up onto the Empire 8 as a part of the first team all-conference by the end of the season and earning an academic all-district award. 

 

Cacciola and his fellow lacrosse teammates work on being good teammates for one another everyday by pushing each other in practices and games while also being supportive friends. They spend a lot of time together on and off the field as well as being involved in Oneonta’s community. Throughout the years, his team has been involved in helping run concessions and working on the sidelines of Hartwick’s football games. They volunteer with the annual pumpkin carving event at the Oneonta town library, and help clean around the town’s golf grounds and the school’s campus. He found these volunteering opportunities as, “a great way for the team to come together and have a good impact on the community.”

Taking on an upperclassman role, Cacciola has involved himself in academic opportunities while staying on top of his studies. One unique program that he has joined is Hartwick’s IR Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA). This program offers on-hands learning and volunteer opportunities for students who receive their IRS tax preparation certification. They help provide a free tax service to the local community, all overseen by Professor Li Luo. In spring of 2023, Cacciola was a basic preparer for VITA and plans to continue assisting the program during the upcoming spring of 2024 as a quality reviewer. While doing this with his final year, he is ready to have one last lacrosse season and finish up his college education on the CPA track.

Sareena DiCerbo ‘24

Being the family orientated person Sareena DiCerbo ‘24 is, she knew she wanted the next chapter of her life to include the most important fundamentals of her life: excellent academics, quick access to her family, and basketball. And Hartwick fit right in with that vision!

Even before becoming a Hartwick student, DiCerbo knew this was where she wanted to be. During her overnight visit as a high school student, she created meaningful connections and could see the lifelong friendships she was going to have by choosing Hartwick and being a part of the women’s basketball team. “All the teammates I met welcomed me with open arms,” she said. “And I knew this was a good fit for me! I knew I loved being around these people who were as close as a family.”

On and off the court, her basketball teammates share a special bond with one another. Their chemistry builds their success as they work together effortlessly and they are always looking to challenge each other in order to reach their full potential. The importance of their off-the-court friendships does not go unnoticed as they are constantly together around campus. These bonds DiCerbo has formed with each and every one of her teammates is something she will cherish forever and is grateful for Hartwick bringing them all together. 

Majoring in criminal justice with a minor in forensic science has been managed in her balance of academics and athletics. During her time at Hartwick, she earned the Philip S. Wilder, Jr. Award as well as earned spots on both the Dean’s List and President’s List. Making the most of any free time is how DiCerbo gets everything done! Prioritizing the completion of assignments and studying early, then setting time aside at night for basketball practices and lifts. After her daily responsibilities are fulfilled, she makes sure to find time to relax and recover. Being mentally focused keeps her on track as she has continuously worked for her high GPA and met the academic expectations of her coaches. 

DiCerbo is excited to carry out the rest of her time at Hartwick and leave behind an impact with her team and professors. As graduation approaches, she is interested in getting involved in investigative work, applying everything she has experienced and learned towards her future career. 

Action shot of Brianna playing lacrosse
Posed portrait of Brianna with Lacrosse stick
Brianna poses with friend

Brianna Liebro ‘25

Looking for a nearby college to start the next chapter of her life, Brianna Liebro ‘25 chose Hartwick as the place to continue with her education and passion for lacrosse.

Pursuing a double-major degree in business administration and digital marketing in addition to a cybersecurity minor, Liebro is appreciative of Hartwick’s wonderful academic opportunities. As the College is always looking to expand its programs with offerings like digital marketing and cybersecurity. Liebro has been able to take full advantage of these new courses.  

For Liebro, the best feeling at Hartwick is being recognized and valued as a student. Small class sizes allow for students to have close relations with their professors and understand lectures more personally. With this, Liebro has challenged herself with heavy course loads. Hard work and balance keeps her focused on her academics as she plans to have a career in either the digital marketing or cybersecurity world. Academic excellence has been something Liebro has strived for and since being at Hartwick, she has been named to Dean’s Lists and the President’s List and is recipient of the Philip S. Wilder, Jr. Award, which recognizes academic distinction.

Hartwick’s women’s lacrosse team has become Libero’s family away from home. On and off the field her team spends valuable time together. They work hard in practices and games with the goal of coming out on top of the Empire 8 conference and they work hard at being good teammates through team-bonding activities and fun Friday training sessions.

Liebro has been a force to be reckoned with as a defensive player. Earning a third-team All Conference spot in the Empire 8 during the 2023 season, she is eager to continue playing and making an impact on her team as she has two more seasons left in her collegiate career. 

Hartwick has provided Liebro with many opportunities in both academics and athletics. One of those unique experiences was participating in a J Terms. Liebro took a Global Fashion Industry course, which took her to Florence, Italy. Being able to learn about fashion while embracing a different culture gave Liebro a new take on learning as she was able to experience what she was studying first-hand and in-person. The experience was one of her favorite things she has been involved in and would recommend anyone interested getting a global perspective to definitely sign up!

football action shot

Corey Quomony ‘25

Coming from the large school of Bel Air high school in Baltimore, Maryland, Corey Quomony ‘25, wanted to experience college as a student-athlete within a close-knit community. Hartwick was the perfect place for him as he found a spot for himself on both the men’s track and field team and the  football team, while having an interest in the public health academic department. 

Initially, Quomony felt the task of balancing his academic responsibilities with his year-around athletics was overwhelming. Being a student-athlete is definitely a lot to juggle; you have to use time management in order to get through everything, this includes multiple classes a day, practice, games, coaches meetings, etc. Throughout his years here, Quomony has created schedules for himself to keep him organized and stay on top of his academic and athletic duties.

Not only has he kept himself busy on a sports team during every season, Quomony also finds ways to involve himself in the school’s community. He has been an active member of the Black Student Union and as of fall 2023 was selected as the club’s secretary. This leadership role has allowed him to build connections and participate in activities.

Since his very first day at Hartwick, Quomony has found the athletic community to be very welcoming! Having coaches he can rely on in order to keep him on track as he plans to pursue a career in public health as well as supportive teammates who have made becoming part of a new team easy, he has pushed himself to work hard and perform to the best of his abilities. 

What’s next for Quomony? As a third-year student, he is looking into future opportunities in both academics and athletics, including new courses, internships, and upcoming track and football seasons.  

students pose in swim pool at Hartwick College

Boden Tito ‘27

Ready to advance in his academic career and passion for swimming, Boden Tito ‘27 selected Hartwick as his future home. Emerging from Southington High School in Connecticut, Tito was eager to make the transition from high school to college. Hartwick presented itself as his best option! It offered an excellent variety of academic pathways while also being one of the top competitive swim and dive programs in Division III.

As a current first-year student, Tito has enjoyed his time so far. Being a part of the swim team has brought on many new activities that has helped get him involved in the community, not only on campus, but around Oneonta as well. Volunteering has always been a big focus for his team and they regularly  participate in different events for good causes to help make an impact on others around them. This has included cleaning up local highways in Oneonta and hosting and setting up the annual For-Du Run. The For-Du Run is an event hosted every fall by Dale Rothenberger, the head coach for Hartwick’s swim and dive coach. The run is held in memory of Rothenberger’s son, who had been lost due to addiction, and funds raised support those that are struggling. 

Tito puts much time and effort into this new lifestyle as he prioritizes his studies with his swim team responsibilities. His swim coaches put trust into their student-athlete to get their work done without requiring any extra study hall hours or tutoring; however, these are essential resources that many Hartwick students take full advantage of when needed. 

Fitting in with the upperclassmen teammates has been easy with the swim and dive team. Their collection of well-rounded young men and women have founded Tito with great advice and insight from his upperclassmen. They keep each other accountable in and out of the pool; only wanting to see success for one another.

A long future at Hartwick is in sight for Tito as he still has three and half more years to make the most of his college experience. With the rest of his time here, Tito is determined to excel in the classroom and in the pool. With plans to get involved with different academic courses and potential internships in hopes of finding a major that fits him best and allows him to find a fulfilling career after he graduates.

Cooper Francis ‘25

As Cooper Francis ‘25 finished his time at Chaminade High School, he wanted to make the most of his next upcoming opportunity: being a part of Hartwick’s great business program while continuing with athletics. Not only was he grateful to experience playing basketball at the collegiate level, but his hard work and dedication allowed him to also play on the lacrosse team. Making him a dual sport student-athlete!

It was a challenge that he was most certainly up for. Balancing two sports was nothing new to Francis and had been a crucial piece of his life. Grateful for the opportunities that the coaches and the athletic training staff have provided for him, he wanted to bring this into his college experience and embrace the new environment.

Knowing that first-year students start at the bottom, he was ready to make a name for himself in the classroom and in athletics. And that he did. Immediately. Drawing inspiration from his favorite athlete, Bo Jackson, he had the mindset that if an athlete could manage two professional sports, could he do the same during his time at Hartwick! 

From the jump, Francis was recognized for his work ethic and his sportsmanship through various awards, including the Empire 8 Men’s Basketball Sportsman of the Year, the Tim O’Brien Memorial Award for Most Outstanding Male Freshman Athlete and the Nick Lambros Coaches Award. Not only was Francis excelling in the athletic world, he made sure to keep his priorities in order as he stayed on top of his studies. This being easily identified as he earned the Phillip S. Wilder, Jr. Award for Academic Distinction as well as being named to College Sports Communicators Academic All-District Team and Empire 8 President’s List.

As a person who values the importance of learning, he strived for improvement everyday whether it be in practices, games, or in classroom sessions. Francis set goals for himself in order to stay motivated and have something to accomplish. After making the most of his past two years as an underclassman, he was ready to lead by example and have others learn from his success. 

Francis had stepped into a leadership role as he reached his junior year. Appreciative of all his teammates on both teams, he values the friendships that have come from the experience and the supportive coaching staffs. Becoming a team captain is now the opportunity he is eager to make the most of. Francis sees the importance of having strong, reliable bonds with his teammates, which will enable them to flourish with all their unique goals and passions while being a support system for one another. 

As Francis looks forward to the rest of his time at Hartwick, he wants to continue growing and working towards his goals. Making the most of all his opportunities, he plans to pursue valuable internship experiences that will prepare him for life after graduation as he dreams to leave an impact on wherever he goes in life.

Phoebe Olson ‘26

Moving away from home may be frightening for some high school graduates, but not Phoebe Olson ‘26. Upon her graduation from Jamestown High School in North Dakota, she was ready to begin her journey here at Hartwick.

Olson jumped into the fast-paced college experience right away as a student-athlete starting her tennis preseason. Feeling excited, she wanted to make an impact on the team. As both: a single player and doubles partner, she fought hard to bring success to the Hartwick Women’s Tennis Team. Dominating on the court as she excelled in the transition from high school to collegiate athletics, Olson earned the title Empire 8 Rookie of the Year. 

Balance is a concept done well as she manages to stay on top of her academics as a double major in biochemistry and mathematics, while also being involved in Hartwick’s community, not only in athletics but in Greek Life as well. 

Gamma Phi Delta has become a second family for Olson. It is not common for student-athletes to be involved in Greek Life; however, Olson is not just an ordinary student-athlete. Forming strong bonds with her sisters of Gamma Phi Delta while she has upheld the prestige expectations of sisterhood. The tight-knit relations with professors and classmates has been what Olson has appreciated most. 

As she sought a college that would bring in many different opportunities. Hartwick was the place for her to be! Olson has been dedicated to getting the most of her college experience and plans to continue looking for new engaging moments all around campus. Internships and higher education are in the plans for her in hopes of one day becoming a surgeon and making an impact in the medical world.

Noah Hurt ‘24

As Noah Hurt ‘24 wrapped up his high school experience, he could’ve never predicted how involved he would get in the Hartwick community. Growing up playing sports his whole life, he knew he wanted to continue his love of football and make an impact not only on his chosen sport, but the College as a whole. 

Hurt embarked on his journey in a very untraditional way as the Covid-19 pandemic was still in full effect. Feeling isolated and disjointed from his teammates and peers, he tried making every effort to meet people and be active around campus.

As things started to return to normal, Hurt began to pave his path. He found a passion for mentoring when he took on the role of a resident advisor. He learned how to manage people and resolve conflicts not only with his Hilltop residents, but also with his football teammates. On the field, he tried out different positions on both the offensive and defensive lines, finding his calling as an offensive lineman during his upperclassmen year as well as leading the Hartwick Hawks as their captain. 

Continuing with his growing interest in leadership, he went after political positions at Hartwick in order to make change happen. Not only was he nominated as a Faculty Scholar, but he was also honored with the John Christopher Hartwick award. Making him the first student athlete to become president of the Student Government Association.

With the help of great facility members and staff, Hurt, a criminal justice and political science double-major, wants to make the most of his final year in order to better the Hartwick community. He has taken advantage of every opportunity available at Hartwick as this has been the place that has allowed him to grow into a better person and help him visualize a future career where he can continue to make a difference in the world around him. 

Abigail McCleary enjoys a campus event.

Abigail McCleary ‘24

Some may say that three years isn’t enough to have the whole college experience. But that does not apply to Abigail McCleary ‘24. Three years was just enough to make a name for herself at Hartwick. Coming from the large high school of Monroe Woodbury in New York, McCleary was seeking a close-knit college community where she could connect with her professors and peers, while also continuing with the student-athlete lifestyle. Hartwick was it.

Tackling the transition to college, McCleary dealt with the common struggle: homesickness. However soccer was a true outlet for her to find a support system and build her confidence as a leader, even as an underclassman. Finding opportunities to engage in the Hartwick community, she had a voice as president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee where she wanted to make change in the athletic community and help speak on behalf of her fellow student-athletes.

Immediately taking charge in improving the nutrition on campus, she worked with the dining hall committee. McCleary was also committed to her studies as a psychology and business double major. She is an active member of the honors program and as a teaching assistant for Psychology 101, helps students who share her passion for psychology.

The future is bright for McCleary as she wraps up her college experience. As a recipient of Hartwick’s Baker-Simpson fellowship, she took advantage of a valuable summer internship shadowing a clinical social worker. Not only has Hartwick provided McCleary with wonderful academic and athletic opportunities, it has brought her lifelong friendships and helped her find her true calling for the future: opening a clinical psychology practice where she can continue to help others and bring change.

October 5, 2023

Learn More About Hartwick

Hartwick Institute of Public Service Leadership Council Members Announced

The Institute of Public Leadership Council will draw on their areas of expertise to strengthen and bring greater visibility to the institute’s 2024-25 programming.

Prestigious John Christopher Hartwick Scholarships Awarded to Six Outstanding Students, Honoring Tradition of Excellence and Leadership

Each receives a substantial tuition grant and an honored place among those who stand for the very best of Hartwick College.