A speech pathology major and Spanish minor, Rebecca Riccardi ’18, from Wantagh, N.Y. (Our Lady of Mercy Academy), is now a graduate assistant, pursuing an MA in Interpersonal Communication Studies at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, La. During her time at Iona, she was an Honors Program student, passionate about exploring a variety of courses in religious studies and foreign languages, which allowed her to uncover a diverse array of topics and perspectives. As an Honors Program student, she held several leadership positions and, most notably, completed an undergraduate thesis under Dr. Nancy Vidal-Finnerty, who introduced her to the research process—skills she says have proven helpful in graduate school.
While in high school, at Our Lady of Mercy Academy, she was encouraged by friends to visit New Rochelle and tour Iona College. After that trip she recalls it being an immediate decision to apply to the College. When it came time to choose a major, Rebecca grappled between the idea of wanting to become a teacher or go into the medical field, but after some research and recognizing her interests in language, culture, and how the two affect social interactions, she decided on speech pathology.
Heavily involved on campus, Rebecca served as an Honors Council student representative, where she worked with faculty and staff on supporting and growing the program as an advocate for her peers. She is proud of also serving as a mentor for an incoming freshmen student, who she helped guide through the program of their shared major. She was also a leader at Kairos, a weekend retreat, held at Blair Lodge, the Archdiocese of New York youth retreat center in Putnam County. This student-led retreat engages students in reflection and promotes personal insight, building a supportive community, and inspiring active involvement and service.
"I am forever grateful to Iona for the relationships built during my time there and I will say that my one of my best college experiences was the feeling of awe as my best friends and I walked through Grand Central Terminal on graduation day. That feeling of accomplishment and gratitude for my college experience was like no other and I will treasure it forever."
Rebecca is drawing from her speech pathology background to focus her graduate studies on interpersonal communication, where she is working on projects that focus on grief and family studies. She hopes to someday pursue a Ph.D. and advises prospective students to, "Never take yourself too seriously. Strive for the best as a student but always remember, we are human above all else. Study hard but don’t forget to enjoy yourself because college is truly the best four years of your life."