Brown-Weinstock, Sarshar to Lead Class of 2017 as Senior Class Marshals
Rachel Brown-Weinstock and Nedda Sarshar were named the senior class marshals for the Class of 2017 by the Division of Student Affairs, which oversees the selection process. Brown-Weinstock and Sarshar will carry the Class of 2017 banner to open Syracuse University’s 163rd Commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 14, 2017.
Junior José Marrero-Rosado was selected as the senior class marshal alternate. He is a student in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, majoring in biochemistry and anthropology.
The prestigious honor of senior class marshal is a distinction with deep roots at Syracuse University, and is conferred on graduating seniors of singular accomplishments.
As senior class marshals, Brown-Weinstock and Sarshar will help select the 2017 Commencement speaker, serve as student body representatives at University events, meet with senior-level administrators to share their student experiences and offer insights, and lead their class procession at the Commencement ceremony.
“The senior class marshals exemplify the academic excellence, campus and community commitment and Orange spirit of their entire class,” says Colleen O’Connor Bench, associate vice president for student affairs. “This year’s candidate pool was one of the largest we have ever had, making this year’s decision very difficult for the selection committee. Rachel and Nedda have truly embraced the whole student experience through scholarship, involvement and service, and we are pleased to name them our senior class marshals.”
Brown-Weinstock, a native of Gloversville, N.Y., is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs majoring in sociology, policy studies, and citizenship and civic engagement. She is in the Renée Crown University Honors Program and a Coronat Scholarship recipient. In addition to earning dean’s list honors each semester, Brown-Weinstock is also a member of the Alpha Kappa Delta International Sociology Honor Society and Phi Sigma Pi Honor Fraternity.
One of Brown-Weinstock’s proudest achievements at Syracuse University is her involvement and co-president leadership with Making Expression and Scholarship Heard (M.E.S.H.). M.E.S.H. is a recognized student organization connecting SU students with students in the Syracuse city school district to promote art and writing. This collaboration results in the publication of a biannual literary magazine, performing poetry on campus and conducting weekly workshops. Brown-Weinstock and M.E.S.H. have worked with schools and nonprofits to expand after-school programs, triple membership and develop the poetry and creative writing skills of more than 70 students each week.
Brown-Weinstock is also co-president and co-founder of the Syracuse Youth Development Council, a networking organization for student-run service programs that aims to raise awareness about issues that affect Syracuse youth. She is the education director for the Roosevelt Institute, which also published her work in its 10 Ideas for Education journal. She also chairs social science research review for the Syracuse Undergraduate Research Journal. Her experience has also included serving in various capacities with the Residence Hall Association, Good Life Philanthropic Youth Foundation, Planned Parenthood and Practice Makes Perfect.
Brown-Weinstock has immersed herself in research opportunities, including her Honors Program capstone project in sociology titled, “It’s Bittersweet: Examining the Potential for Class-Unique Typologies of Community Attachment;” mixed-methods sociological research; quantitative research for local nonprofits; and community research for the Gloversville Recreation Commission. While studying abroad in Grahamstown, South Africa, Brown-Weinstock served as a research assistant, and will return to continue research focusing on community attachment typologies for rural South African youth. This experience inspired her to launch a cultural exchange pen pal program connecting South African youth with Syracuse youth through poems and letters.
In addition to her research pursuits here on campus, Brown-Weinstock has a strong commitment to her hometown and acknowledges the importance of giving back to the community that gave her so much. To support high school students in her hometown, Brown-Weinstock founded Glove to Glove, an alumni career exploration program that connects current Gloversville Enlarged School District students with Gloversville alumni mentors from across the country.
Brown-Weinstock’s academic pursuits, community involvement and Orange spirit all stem from her long history with Syracuse University. When she was a child, her mom, who was pursuing a Ph.D. at SU, would bring Brown-Weinstock to classes with her, and her dad opened and managed the Bruegger’s bagel shop on campus. Her hometown is also home of the Schine family, who have contributed generously to Syracuse University. Because of her long-time connection to the University and her experiences as a student here, Brown-Weinstock is especially honored to have her undergraduate experience culminate in this way.
“My roots truly grew and are continuing to grow from Syracuse University,” says Brown-Weinstock. “I knew when applying that being a class marshal would mean that I get to honor these roots—my parents for teaching me the palpable power of perseverance, kindness and commitment; my hometown for helping me discover my passion for service; and our University for giving me the inspiration and resources to confidently pursue my dreams. Before I go off and zealously work to change my part of the world, being a class marshal is a bold ‘thank you’ to Syracuse for helping me realize that I am indeed limitless.”
Sarshar, hailing from Toronto, Canada, is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, majoring in writing and rhetoric, policy studies, and citizenship and civic engagement. She is in the Renée Crown University Honors Program, pursuing a capstone project on undergraduate education and the role of universities in creating successful citizenry. Sarshar, who has earned dean’s list honors each semester, is also a member of Phi Beta Delta International Honors Fraternity, an honor society recognizing scholarly achievement in international education and intercultural engagement in the community, and an inductee to the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.
Her studies have led to a number of research and professional experiences, including serving as a research consultant for The Gingerbread House, a preschool and childcare center in Syracuse. Sarshar also spent time as an intern with the CNY chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union, where she reviewed and summarized case studies, researched pertinent issues and facilitated interviews with clients. Her academic and research experience was also important to her appointment as a teaching assistant for the Department of Public Affairs, as well as her research project as a fellow in the NASPA Undergraduate Fellows Program housed in the Office of Multicultural Affairs. Sarshar has also interned with the Internal Medicine Community Project and the College of Arts and Sciences.
Throughout her time here, Sarshar has fully embraced the many opportunities to serve as a representative of the student body, including her experience as one of two undergraduate student representatives to the Board of Trustees, a senator in the University Senate, vice chair of Student Association’s Academic Affairs Committee and a member of the Student Affairs Advisory Board. In addition to these leadership roles, Sarshar also serves as the president of the Residence Hall Association (RHA), the governing body of all residence halls on campus.
Sarshar served as RHA’s director of civic engagement, in which she coordinated fundraising and engagement efforts with the Boys and Girls Club, as well as implemented the week-long community service initiative, Impact Week. Her involvement in the community extends to her membership with Alpha Phi Omega Fraternity, where she helped coordinate a volunteer project with the Samaritan Center, a local nonprofit that provides hot and nutritious meals 365 days a year for those in need in the community. This was more than a one-time commitment for Sarshar who volunteers to serve food every Tuesday and Thursday morning.
Working with youth from the Syracuse community is also incredibly important to Sarshar, and some of her most memorable experiences have been with the students she works with. She serves as a tutor at the North Side Learning Center and a volunteer teaching assistant with Hughes Elementary School. Sarshar also served as a writer and mentor with Merging Expression and Scholarship Heard (M.E.S.H.). Her dedicated involvement in the community earned Sarshar the Shaw Center Award for Community and Public Service, as well as the Pledge Service Award from Alpha Phi Omega. Sarshar’s commitment to make positive change for the University and the Syracuse community is what drives her to be involved, and it is a message she hopes to leave with all students as a senior class marshal.
“The senior class marshals are chosen to represent the graduating class at Syracuse University. We represent the Class of 2017—all their accomplishments, their stories, their incredible ambitions and their enormous potential,” says Sarshar of the honor of serving as a senior class marshal. “I cannot think of a greater compliment to receive.”
“In many ways, I feel as though I have dedicated my undergraduate career to improving Syracuse University, and being a class marshal is the perfect way to wrap it up,” adds Sarshar.
For more information on senior class marshals, contact the Division of Student Affairs at 315-443-9153.