Class of 2016 Looks Toward the Future
Class of 2016 Looks Toward the Future

by Dave Cranshaw
UNH Today Editor

Jean-Philip Precourt '16 only started learning English during his freshman year in high school. Because of that, he said his SAT scores were lower than he would have liked, and he wasn’t sure if he would be accepted to UNH. But the day he was admitted, he said, “changed my life.”

Over the last four years, he has visited Italy, Spain, Belgium, Greece, Croatia, Morocco and South Korea, and he interned with the major crime unit of the Connecticut State Police.

He is just days from graduating magna cum laude with a degree in criminal justice. And the Quebec native says his next step after graduation is becoming a U.S. citizen.

Jean-Philip Precourt '16

“UNH opened their doors, and I took the opportunity,” he said.

Precourt is among more than 1,200 students who will accept their undergraduate and graduate degrees during two ceremonies on Sunday, May 15.

Samantha Higgins, another member of the Class of 2016, will enroll at William James College in the fall to pursue a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling. “The activities, opportunities to network and my internships have given me the skills to feel comfortable graduating and becoming a professional,” she said.

As a student, she studied in Italy, served as assistant editor of the Charger Bulletin, and spent a summer volunteering at Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services in New Haven through the University’s President’s Public Service Fellowship program.

“This was my dream school, and I will miss it so much, but my time here helped me know that I will definitely succeed,” she said.

Khadija Alqarni, a dental hygiene major, will return to her hometown of Yanbu, Saudi Arabi, where she says she will be the city’s first dental hygienist. She is planning to stay in touch with her faculty by sharing information from some of her cases.

“I am so glad with what I have achieved in the clinic, with learning a second language and completing the Board exam,” said Alqarni, who plans to return to the States in the future to pursue a master’s degree in public health or dental hygiene. “I have the skills I need to help the people in my country.”

Sean Alicea, a forensic science major, plans to pursue a career in a biotechnology, biochemistry or genetics lab. He said that beyond the education he received in the classroom, he is most proud of what he learned about himself as a person.

“My time here helped me believe that I have more potential and ability than I gave myself credit for when I first came to UNH,” he said. “UNH has helped me determine the life I want to lead, which I believe is just as important as the knowledge I learned in the classroom.”

Kayla Socaras will receive her master’s degree in cellular and molecular biology. She has co-authored several publications though her work with the University’s Lyme disease research group that continues to work to better understand the bacteria that cause the disease and how to treat it. In the fall, she will begin pursuing a Ph.D. in microbiology at Drexel University.  

“I am truly happy and thankful for all of the opportunities granted to me at UNH,” she said.

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