Arielle Rubinstein, a double major in communication disorders and linguistics, has been named the class of 2014 valedictorian at the State University of New York at New Paltz. As the top student in her class, Rubinstein will give a speech to her fellow graduates at the Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony at 10 a.m. Sunday, May 18, at the Old Main Quadrangle on the New Paltz campus.
“I knew I wanted to do speech pathology as a senior in high school,” said Rubinstein, originally from Robbinsville, N.J. “I looked at schools that had that major, and New Paltz was one of the schools. I really liked the area, the feel of the school, and what it had to offer.”
Rubinstein also noted that it was more affordable for her to pay out-of-state tuition at New Paltz than in-state tuition at a New Jersey public university. She was also attracted to the small size of the college.
“I liked the fact that I wouldn’t be in a large lecture hall, and I would have the chance to get to know my professors,” says Rubinstein. “It just felt really safe to me, and really comfortable, too.”
In addition to her studies, Rubinstein works at the Children’s Center of New Paltz and completed an internship in her hometown at the Joseph F. Capello School for developmentally disabled children, which solidified her desire to work in the field.
Rubinstein also runs the New Paltz chapter of the National Student Speech Language and Hearing Association (NSSLHA), the only official national student association recognized by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. The chapter participates in various community service activities and hosts fundraising events each year to support chapter-hosted programming, including inviting nationally recognized speakers to campus.
Rubinstein will be staying at New Paltz to earn her master’s degree, which is required in order to pursue her chosen career path as a speech pathologist. She’s been accepted to the Master of Science in Communication Disorders program, which she hopes to complete in two years. After graduate school, she must also complete a clinical fellowship before she can receive her full credentials.
“I’m glad to be staying here,” said Rubinstein. “I like the fact that I know most of the professors, so when I’m going through the process of getting new clients, I’ll feel like I have that relationship with them.”
Kaitlin Camporese of Yorktown Heights, N.Y., an accounting major, has been named as the salutatorian for the class of 2014. Similar to Rubinstein, Camporese found the small size of the school appealing as she was trying to decide which SUNY school to attend.
“When I came here to visit, I thought it was really beautiful – it was one of the nicest looking schools that I saw,” said Camporese. “After going on the tours and seeing that the class sizes were small, I was really drawn to it. … It’s more personal with your teachers, when they get to know you. It’s just an easier environment to learn in.”
Camporese said she’s always been good at mathematics, but wasn’t sure which field of study to pursue in college. She was considering engineering, “but when I took physics my senior year (of high school), I kind of hated it,” she said. Seeking to integrate math into her career while not solely focusing on it, she became an accounting major.
“Once I came here (to New Paltz), and I started taking classes like financial accounting – the first accounting class I took – I really loved it, and knew that was what I wanted to do,” said Camporese. “A lot of people think it’s really boring … but I like it a lot, and I’m glad I picked it.
Camporese plans to attend graduate school after New Paltz, and has applied to a few universities. Her goal is to earn her Certified Public Accountant license and become a professional accountant for a corporation.