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Graduates in the Spotlight : 2019 Graduates in the Spotlight

Victor Namer

image of Victor NamerHOMETOWN: Danbury, Connecticut

MAJOR: Psychology and Political Science

MINOR: Conflict Resolution

WCSU DEGREE: Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Bachelor of Arts in Political Science

ACTIVITIES: Honors Students of Compassion (president since May 2018; vice president, Sept. 2016 to May 2018; secretary, Sept. 2015 to Sept. 2016); Community Warming Center volunteer since Dec. 2018; WCSU Center for Compassion, Creativity and Innovation Board honors student representative since Sept. 2017;  International Student Exchange Program student ambassador since Aug. 2017; “Fundamentals of Conflict Resolution” course teaching assistant, fall 2018; Honors introductory course “The Nature of Inquiry” teaching assistant, fall 2016; Campus and Student Centers Board vice president, Jan. to May 2015; Play It By Ear a cappella group member, Oct. 2014 to May 2015;  Student Government Association commuter food service representative, Nov. 2014 to March 2015; currently works part-time at CityCenter Danbury as a project coordinator for special projects and community events

INTERNSHIPS: CityCenter Danbury, fall 2018, Events and Planning Intern. Coordinated and executed planning for community events; secured sponsorships and other revenue sources for the organization; created a streamlined process for event logistics, including debrief documents and the start of a downtown district database; participated in community outreach and general development in downtown Danbury; attended relevant staff and committee meetings to engage with ongoing projects and the multifaceted nature of the organization. Also served as a legislative intern for the Connecticut General Assembly, working with State Rep. Christopher Rosario from the 128th district, spring 2018. Engaged in bill tracking and analysis for prospective policy; drafted news releases, public statements and letters to other legislators for Rep. Rosario; acted as a liaison between my representative and various committees, legislators and constituents; oversaw constituent casework and managed the electronic “constituent management system;” completed policy research for past, current and upcoming bills affecting constituents; managed email and mail accounts for Rep. Rosario and responded on his behalf. Additionally completed requirements for the highly selective Hancock Student Leadership Program including 150-hour leadership-shadowing field experience with Deputy Superintendent of Danbury Public Schools, administrators from each department, principals from each level, special education, pupil services, ESL; participated in five leadership seminars to grow personal leadership style; showcased leadership placement by presenting during a public forum; received $1,500 award and three academic credits for completion of this program.

HONORS AND AWARDS: 3.91 GPA; consistently on Dean’s List; Barnard Distinguished Student Award, 2019; Rosa Parks Award for Global Citizenship, Department of Social Sciences, spring 2018; Ruth A. Haas Scholarship, Office of Institutional Advancement, fall 2018; member, Psi Chi, International Psychology Honors Society, spring 2016; John Tamas Emerging Student Leader Award, Office of Student Affairs, May 2015; member, Kathwari Honors Program, fall 2014; Presidential Merit Scholarship, Office of Admissions, fall 2014

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Sometimes something as simple as attending a college open house can influence the course of a student’s educational path and future career. That was the case for Victor Namer of Danbury.

“When it came time to decide which university I would attend, my father was pushing me to attend a ‘name brand’ school and WCSU was but one of many schools on my radar,” Namer says. “That all changed when I came to one of WCSU’s open houses, and met Dr. Chistopher Kukk, the director of the Kathwari Honors Program. He shared stories of WCSU students going on to become Fulbright scholars, going to Ivy league schools such as Harvard and Yale, and working at the United Nations. More so, he shared all the opportunities WCSU had to offer, but for a fraction of the cost of private institutions. After that first talk, my father and I were convinced that WCSU had a plethora of opportunities that I could take advantage of, and best help me compete in the global marketplace.”

Namer says he originally majored in psychology, “because I wanted to better understand people. Human behavior has always been a point of interest for me, and I wanted to study that. In particular, I was drawn to the neuroscientific literature surrounding how we perceived the world, and I wanted to become field researcher. However, after my study-abroad programs, my heart was pulled in a different direction. I was drawn to working with the homeless after getting to see it up close through my travels, and I needed to understand how injustices such as homelessness existed. Through that, I declared a second major in political science, to better understand the systems in place that were able to combat homelessness and poverty.”

The dual majors combined with the Conflict Resolution minor have resulted in a five-year program of studies for Namer. In addition to the many clubs and organizations in which he participated, as well as his internship experiences, Namer will be graduating with a role model whose guidance has helped him define his future endeavors. “During my last few years at WCSU, Dr. Averell Manes became a precious mentor to me. I met Dr. Manes through the Hancock Student Leadership Program, and she ultimately ended up showing me the joys of the political science field, which influenced me to declare my second major in political science. Over the proceeding two years, I took a few conflict resolution courses with her, and ultimately became her teaching assistant. Throughout this time, I grew to admire her for what she stood for. Her will was strong, she was fierce in the face of injustice, and she was unafraid to teach her students how to love each other through difficult times. Most of all, she taught me to live my values through my actions. Quite honestly, I want to be like her when I grow up, and I am glad to have established such an admirable mentorship with her.”

Asked what he will remember most about his WCSU experience, Namer says, “My time in WCSU’s study-abroad program has been a defining experience. Through our International Student Exchange Program, I had the pleasure of studying abroad in Thailand and Spain. Each of these cultural exchanges played a key role in defining who I became. Thailand opened me up to my passion working with those less fortunate, after first-hand experiencing the suffering of the local homeless population. Spain helped me to live out my values on a day-to-day basis by becoming a pescatarian (now vegetarian), joining protest rallies against unfair labor practices impacting the local residents, and donating to the local homeless population. Each of these two spots helped open my heart to live my values more fully, and I will always look back fondly on these experiences.”

After graduation, Namer says, “I plan to start my career in the fields of social work, homelessness, mental health and/or local or state politics, while considering my post-graduate degree options.”

His advice to new students entering WCSU is: “Look around at what WCSU has to offer you early on, and use that time to plan. In my view, WCSU’s defining characteristic is how many opportunities it has to offer students. Within many major program sheets, students have an opportunity to double major, get a minor, study abroad and complete an internship. The trick to it is planning ahead, and it makes all the difference for your experience here.”