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New York Institute of Technology 2016 commencement

Graduates enjoying their commencement ceremony from NYIT-Old Westbury,

Graduates enjoying their commencement ceremony from NYIT-Old Westbury, May 22, 2016. Credit: Veronique Louis

New York Institute of Technology held its 55th commencement Sunday at its campus in Old Westbury.

Number of graduates

2,900 graduates

Commencement speaker

New York Institute of Technology president Edward Guiliano

“We are an eclectic assortment of smart minds, bold ideas, and global thinkers — all connected by technology, which unites cultures and bridges nations across digital and geographic divides,” Guiliano said, adding “Here we’ve given you a wonderful canvas to create yourself, have the courage to fail, and confidence to live boldly and bravely as you create the future.”

Student speaker

Ana Robakidze 22, Astoria, computer science.

Robakidze, a native of the Republic of Georgia, said her mother contemplated hiding her identity because she wasn’t giving birth to a son. Men were valued more than women, Robakidze said, adding that studying computers was also considered masculine in her homeland.

“But I could come to NYIT and become a leader in computer science,” she said. “We didn’t get everything that life had to offer. Against all odds we are getting degrees. No one can say we’re not good enough.”

Student reaction

Anthony Devivo, 26, osteopathic medicine

“On July 1, I’m starting a three-year residency at Mt. Sinai St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital,” said Devivo, of Commack, who will specialize in emergency medicine.

Griselda Hernandez, 31, nursing

“I’m relocating to Houston, Texas. I have a job working in an operation room,” said Hernandez, a married mother of three from Central Islip. “That’s been my dream forever and God opened a door of opportunity.”

Tyler Gortakowski, 21, communication arts

“I want to get a master’s degree from the institute” before eventually working as a filmer and videographer at a film studio, said Gortakowski, of Bay Shore. His lifelong goal is to become a film director.

Tracy Cohen, 24, computer science

“I’m going to take a big trip to Colorado, New Mexico and Nashville. Then I’ll be aiming for a job in cyber security,” said Cohen of Massapequa Park. She said she hopes her job will allow her to safeguard websites, computer networks and database systems and allow her to live in New York City or Los Angeles.

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