Orientation Leaders

Meet the 2022 Orientation Leaders!


Erin Lowenadler

Hometown: Bethel, CT

Major: Secondary Education, English

Campus Involvement: Orientation Leader, PASS Mentor Candidate

School Year: Sophomore

#ichoseWCSU because I wanted a school that was close to my hometown so that I can commute, that also offered a lot of opportunities, especially for commuter students. The small classes and campus population were also particularly pleasing as everybody here feels here I can blossom both academically and personally!

Words of Wisdom: Explore the opportunities that Western Connecticut State University has to offer! There are so many hidden gems that WCSU has both on and off campus, there are so many wonderful people here, it is really easy to find your outlet!

Faythe Thibodeau

Hometown: West Haven, CT

Major: Secondary Education

Campus Involvement: I am a Captain of the WCSU Cheerleading Team and an Orientation Leader

School Year: Senior

#ichoseWCSU because I loved the welcoming community and WCSU had many opportunities for me to get involved on campus!

Words of Wisdom: Get involved on campus any way possible! Joining a club or sport on campus make you feel way more connected to the WCSU community. It gives you more opportunities to meet new people and create amazing college memories!

Amani Owens

Hometown: Hartford, CT

Major: Health Promotion & Exercise Sciences

Campus Involvement: I am a student worker in the Financial Aid Office

School Year: Senior

#ichoseWCSU: because I wanted to stay in Connecticut and attend somewhere that wasn’t too far from home. The teacher to student ratio was also a perfect balance.

Words of Wisdom: Join extracurricular activities and network with others. Attending different events helps with establishing new connections. Coming out of my shell this past school year helped me discover different interests in addition to my studies. Step out of your comfort zone and make college the best experience ever and study hard!

Isaiah Tamdji

Hometown: Queens, NY

Major: Management Information Systems

Campus Involvement: I am the President for The African Caribbean Student association, Vice President for The Black Student Union, Senator for the Student Government Association, Committee Chair of Black Social Worker Association, I am part of the WCSU Men’s Swimming & Diving Team and Men’s Golf Team. I was also a former player for the Men’s Basketball Team.

School Year: Senior

#ichoseWCSU because I wanted to be somewhere outside my town and further experience adulthood. Furthermore, I wanted to be on my own while being a full-time student and a part of other extracurricular activities WCSU has to offer.

Words of Wisdom: Be you! Don’t submit to your comfort zone and never be afraid of changes. The more you step out of your shell, the more comfortable you become on campus and learn more about who you really are. Nonetheless, put school first. It’s much easier to have fun and get involved than to actually sit down and get work done but in the, remember that you’re here for a degree. Get out there, never forget who you are, and Fly High!

Ezaan Khan

Hometown: Brookfield, CT

Major: Biology with minors in Chemistry and Math

Campus Involvement: I am the President of the Muslim Student Association and the Parliamentarian of the Student Government Association

School Year: Sophomore

#ichoseWCSU because WCSU offers a great education with diverse and fun campuses at an affordable tuition. The community is close-knit and accepting of all different kinds of people and cultures.

Words of Wisdom: When you see an opportunity, like a position in an interesting club or taking part in a campus even, jump for it! College is so much more than just going to class and going back to your dorm or home, and the only way to get that full experience is by getting involved and trying something new.

Emily Bustelo

Hometown: Danbury, CT

Major: Elementary Education

School Year: Sophomore

#ichoseWCSU because of it’s safe/welcoming environment, close to home and seeing familiar faces..  

Words of Wisdom: “Sometimes the right path is not the easiest one.”

Destiney Samuel

Hometown: Brooklyn,  NY

Major: Theater Performance

Campus Involvement: SGA VP of Finance, Vice President of the African Caribbean Student Association, Treasurer of the Centers Board, and I work as a building manager of the campus and student centers.

School Year: Senior

#ichoseWCSU because I wanted to go to a school away from home that would help me find my own independence and grow in an unfamiliar environment.

Words of Wisdom: As a freshman, say yes to everything! (Well, not everything– be safe) but this is the perfect time to throw yourself into clubs and opportunities! College is about finding yourself and your interests, so the more you say yes, put yourself out there, and cultivate new experiences, the easier you can check and cross off what you like and don’t like. And hey, if all goes great then you have a defining moment to add to your westconn journey; and if it’s bad- at least you’ll get a good story out of it!

Vince Diesta

Hometown: Brookfield, CT

Major: Financial Accounting

Campus Involvement: I am the Secretary of the Student Government Association, the Treasure of the CLIO History Journal, and the Publicity Chair of the Accounting Society

School Year: Sophomore

#ichoseWCSU because I knew it was a hidden gem among all the Connecticut State Universities with this education and it’s campus life. It’s accredited business school was also a huge bonus, making it the perfect fit for me!

Words of Wisdom: Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there! Starting college is one of the biggest decisions you must make in your life, so you should take full advantage of it. Find a community you belong too and branch out! You never know what opportunities you have available until you ask someone.

Sydney Hansen

Hometown: Sandy Hook, CT

Major: Social Science

Campus Involvement: PAC street team member and Orientation Leader

School Year:  Sophomore (part-time student)

#ichoseWCSU to better my life and I am so happy I did!!!

Words of Wisdom: I would encourage everyone to seek out resources if you need help. The resources are there to be used by you!

Kaitlin Merna

Hometown: Verplanck, NY

Major: Psychology

Campus Involvement: I am a member of the Westconn Dance Team as well as a sister of Kappa Chi Alpha Sorority.

School Year:  Sophomore

#ichoseWCSU because I knew Westconn would give me a home away from home with the endless opportunities and support.

Words of Wisdom: Getting involved on campus is worth it. A part of college is about making memories and experiences that you will remember for the rest of your life. Westconn has something for everyone, you will be able to find whatever interests you. Additionally, work towards your dreams and don’t let anyone get in your way. You are here for you, so do what makes you the happiest.

Abigail Green

Hometown: Bethel CT

Major: Biology Major with an ecological focus

Campus Involvement: Kappa Chi Alpha as the treasurer, DEI Director, Recruitment Director. I am also now Involved in the Fraternity, Sorority Life Council (FSL) as the Vice President of Finance.

School Year: I am a transfer student working on my junior year

#ichoseWCSU because it is a local school that will give me the personal one on one learning opportunities that larger schools can’t provide.

Words of Wisdom: Your mental health is the most important thing. If you are feeling alone or overwhelmed there are so many different resources on campus. WCSU wants to see all if the students thrive and succeed!

Patrick Moody

Hometown: Bethlehem, CT

Major: Marketing, Digital & Interactive

Campus Involvement: I am currently the President of the Western Marketing Association, the Treasurer of the Western Adventure Club, and training to be the Gameshows and Competitions Chair for the Program Activity Council. I have previously taken on leadership positions in the Student Government Association.

School Year: Senior

#ichoseWCSU because I wanted to go to a university that possessed both a quality marketing program and had leadership opportunities. Having a place that I could commute to and still receive the college experience is important to me, and this was the perfect place to do that.

Words of Wisdom: Getting involved in student run organizations has made my whole college experience. I have learned many skills from different opportunities presented by these groups, that I believe have made me a better person academically, socially, and professionally. Saying yes and taking on challenges outside of the classroom is important to succeed.

Raissa Karim

Hometown: Stratford, CT

Major: Theatre Performance, Communications

Campus Involvement: I am President of the Fourth Wall and Vice President of the Western Improv Group.

School Year: Senior

#ichoseWCSU because I liked how small the campus size was so I knew make a close community here. The classes aren’t extremely large so I get a more in-depth education.

Words of Wisdom: Try new things! Even if it sounds scary. Break out of your comfort zone because now is the time to do it! Make new friends and talk to new people. Take up as much space as possible! You could really find something you’re passionate about.

Adam-Gabriel Tobierre

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Major: JLA

Campus Involvement: Vice President of Black Social Worker’s Association and I work for the Choices department

School Year: Senior

#ichoseWCSU because I wanted to be away from home and with a small university it is much easier to grow relationships with peers, professors, and other staff.

Words of Wisdom: Don’t be afraid to go out and get involved. Grow relationships with people and explore the school as much as you can. There are so many resources out there that you find.

Jaezmyne Pheanious-Browne

Hometown: New Haven, Connecticut

Major: Music Performance

Campus Involvement: I have been in organizations such as SGA, ACSA, WXCI and I work in the Office of Alumni Relations. I will also be joining Housing and Residence Life as a Resident Assistant for the 22-23 school year.

School Year: Senior

#ichoseWCSU because I knew as a performer that WCSU has one of the best Visual and Performing Arts centers in the state. I also wanted to be close enough to home to travel at ease, but still get the off-campus experience.

Words of Wisdom: Connect with as many people as possible while you are here, both inside and outside of your major. The most growth happens when you push yourself outside of your comfort zone!

Ihairy Castillo-Acevedo

Hometown: New Milford, CT

Major: Communications

Campus Involvement: President of Fraternity and Sorority Life Council, Vice President of Membership Development in Alpha Delta Pi

School Year: Senior

#ichoseWCSU because even as a transfer student I knew WCSU had something special to offer and it definitely delivered. It wasn’t too far away from home where commuting was a pain but far away enough where I could meet new people from all different ways of life. The classroom size is also a major plus, at WCSU you aren’t just a number of professors who genuinely care and want the best for every student.

Words of Wisdom: Make sure you get involved! I know it can be scary but trust me it’ll change your college experience for the better. As a commuter, it was harder than the rest to make friends but as soon as I got involved, I made lifelong friends and WCSU started to feel like a home away from home.

Erika Yunga

Hometown: Danbury, CT

Major: Accounting

Campus Involvement: I am Treasurer for LASO and I work at the Center for Student Involvement.

School Year: Junior

#ichoseWCSU because I wanted to stay close to home but also enjoy all the benefits of the school. I wanted to choose a school where I could grow academically in which WCSU has allowed me to do so as they have a good business program!

Words of Wisdom: Don’t be afraid to ask for help and expand within the school. The professors are very helpful and can give you resources if anyone is struggling. By expanding or getting involved within the school, you’ll make new friends and learn of different opportunities or events we may have.

Zanaya Ritter

Hometown: Garfield, New Jersey

Major: Psychology

Campus Involvement: President Of The Black Student Union

School Year: Senior

#ichoseWCSU because I felt a connection with the school and campus. I truly enjoyed the atmosphere and it had everything I felt that I needed. I had awesome student orientation leaders and met some great staff members.

Words of Wisdom: Be the best version of yourself. Be the you, that your younger self would be proud of. Keep pushing and striving for better, but give yourself grace and know when it’s time to take a break!

DJ Barry

Hometown: Danbury, CT

Major: Justice and Law Administration

Campus Involvement: Ea2p program, member of the Football team and the Criminal Justice Program

School Year: Junior

#ichoseWCSU because of the nice dynamic the university has, as well as it being close to home and such a great football community.

Words of Wisdom: Get involved and go to every event you can cause that’s where you meet the people and have the experiences that make your time at college worth it.