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  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris


    Andy Maniscalco celebrates on his walk across the stage to receive his diploma during Saturday morning's graduation at Daniel Webster College in Nashua.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris


    Heather Bowman cheers after Daniel Webster College President, Michael Diffily confirmed the class of 2011 at the end of Saturday's graduation ceremony on the school's campus.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris


    Graduates line the walls of the Daniel Webster College gym, Saturday morning, before the commencement ceremonies began.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris


    Christopher Ahearn listens as instructions are given to graduates before the start of Saturday morning's Daniel Webster College graduation.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris


    Graduates walk through the courtyard on their way to the tent where the graduation was held, on campus, Saturday morning.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris


    Bonnie Dwyer cheers for her daughter, SarahMaura (CQ) as she walks across the stage to receive her diploma during Saturday morning's Daniel Webster College graduation.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris


    Ben Watsky hugs his mother, Jackie, Saturday afternoon after Daniel Webster College's graduation ceremony.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris


    Jim Morris points his camera down the line of graduates as he looks for his grandson as graduates walk to the tent where commencement ceremonies took place, Saturday.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris


    SarahMaura Dwyer (CQ) looks around the tent at the beginning of Saturday's graduation ceremony at Daniel Webster College.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris


    US Senator Kelly Ayotte delivers the commencement address at Daniel Webster College last year. She will speak at Nashua Community College this year, May 19.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris


    Yolanda Rivera calls for her son, Victor Rios to come to her for a hug after he crossed the stage and received his diploma, during Saturday morning's Daniel Webster College graduation.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris


    A pair of high heels wait for someone to put them on before the start of Saturday morning's Daniel Webster College graduation.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris


    Colin Bunting
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris


    Carly Butwell
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris


    Eric Burgess
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris


    Johanna Greenwood cheers after moving her tassel over near the end of Saturday morning's Daniel Webster College graduation.
  • Photo by Jodie Andruskevich - Rivier College grads Brittany McNary, Stepanie Dorval, and Alisha Cooper are all smiles as they pose for photo prior to the start of Rivier College's 76th Annual Commencement on Saturday at the Tsongas Center in Lowell, Ma.
  • Photo by Jodie Andruskevich - Kaitlyn Kennedy gives the thumbs up sign to family and friends after recieving her degree in nursing at Rivier College's seventy sixth annual commencement on Saturday at the Tsongas Center in Lowell, Ma.
  • Photo by Jodie Andruskevich - Rivier College Bachelor of Science Nursing graduates, Ashley Butters, left, and Meghan Tracy sport colorful 2011 glasses at the college's 76th commencement ceremonies on Saturday at the Tsongss Center in Lowell.
  • Photo by Jodie Andruskevich - Gary Hirshberg, President and CEO of Stonyfield Farm gives the commencement speech at Rivier College's 76th annual commencement ceremonies on Saturday at the Tsongas Center in Lowell, Ma.
  • Photo by Jodie Andruskevich - Happy Time - Rivier College graduates, from left, Julie Abraham, Sonya Dindo, and Kylie Sullivan let out a cheer at the end of commencement ceremonies on Saturday at the Tsongas Center in Lowell, Ma.
Sunday, May 15, 2011

DWC, Rivier graduates commence

Two words, written in yellow ink, stood out on the top of Heather Bowman’s black mortarboard at the commencement ceremony for Daniel Webster College on Saturday: Hakuna Matata.

The Swahili phrase meaning “No worries,” made popular by Disney’s animated movie “The Lion King,” was a symbol of the optimism and poise that many graduates felt Saturday at ceremonies for the city’s two four-year colleges – in Nashua for Daniel Webster’s graduation and at Tsongas Arena in Lowell, Mass., for Nashua’s Rivier College.

“That’s the motto I have right now,” Bowman said. “It’s a little nerve-wracking but exciting, too.”

Bowman, 21, of Matamoras, Pa., is moving home for the summer without any immediate job prospects but feels confident about her situation.

She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in science for homeland security and aviation management, and plans to pursue jobs in the federal government or in teaching, looking mostly in the Tri-City area near her home in Pennsylvania.

“I’ll figure it out eventually,” she said. “They’ve trained me pretty good. I have a good head on my shoulders.”

Rivier College graduates Hilary Gordon, of East Hartford, Conn., and Kristina Brodeur, of Nashua, celebrated with friends and family after the ceremony at Tsongas Arena. But since neither has a job lined up in their respective field, they both acknowledged there will be little time to reflect on their accomplishment.

Gordon, 22, earned a degree in sociology and hopes to work in athletic administration. But as she has been exploring the opportunities out there, Gordon has found most of the jobs expect applicants to have several years of experience. She’s trying to figure out how she can get the experience she needs to get if no one is willing to hire her.

Brodeur, also 22, has run into the same problem in her search for a job in marketing.

“Everyone is looking for more experience,” said Brodeur, who graduated with a degree in business management. Looking back, Brodeur wished she had started to get more aggressive about her search for a job earlier on.

Graduation came up quick, she said, and she’s hoping to land something before she has to start paying student loans.

The key, Brodeur said, will be to keep her options open and not wait around for the perfect job.

Gordon and Brodeur plan on moving back home to live with their parents, with the hope of being able to save money for their own place.

Daniel Webster College’s Eric Burgess, 22, of Nashua, also said he’s still searching for a job.

“It’s a long process and not everyone’s hiring right now,” he said.

Burgess graduated with associate and bachelor’s degrees in science in aviation operations, aviation management and air traffic management. He has already applied for a job with the Federal Aviation Administration, but he was turned down. He interviewed recently at Alpha Flying Inc., but has yet to hear back.

Even some of those with graduate degrees have had difficulty landing a career position.

Amos Afriyie, 34, earned his master’s degree in business administration from Rivier College on Saturday, seven years after leaving his home in Ghana to come to America. He’s looking for a job in his field but isn’t going to be picky. If there’s a job opportunity that takes him to a new part of the country, so be it, he said.

“I can do any job related to marketing or business analysis,” he said.

Others have already started work, like Carly Butwell from Daniel Webster College.

Butwell, 21, of Newburgh, N.Y., graduated with associate and bachelor’s degrees in science for aviation operations, aviation management and air traffic management. She started her career job already, working in Portsmouth as a service representative at Alpha Flying, Inc.

Butwell said she had former college friends who had jobs with the company and encouraged her to apply. She did, went through several interviews and secured the job. She said it was a sign that the economy and job opportunities are “starting to pick up.”

Her classmate Colin Bunting also won a job in aviation, as an aeronautical engineer for Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. in Stratford, Conn. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in science for aeronautical engineering.

Bunting, 22, of Guilford, Conn., said he had been an intern at Sikorsky Aircraft for the past three years and his experience helped him land a full-time job right out of school.

“It’s still a tough market out there, but I developed a good relationship with them,” he said.

Rivier’s Lindsay Desfosses is another one of the lucky ones.

Desfosses, 23, was able to line up a job at a rehabilitation center in Maine six months before graduating with her bachelor’s degree in nursing. Desfosses said she worked hard to make sure she had something lined up after college, making sure she went after the opportunities that presented themselves.

At least 10 other graduates will enter the real world with jobs, all through the U.S. military with degrees from Daniel Webster College. Eight students were commissioned to the Air Force and one each to the Army and Marine Corps during the ceremony Saturday, including Sen. Kelly Ayotte’s cousin Ben Hedley.

While some graduates have lined up or secured career jobs after school, the feeling among those who haven’t was one of opportunity. The jobless students are focused on what can be done, rather than worry about an uncertain future.

“No worries,” Bowman said, tapping the “Hakuna Matata” phrase atop her cap. “I’m not too scared.”

Cameron Kittle can be reached at 594-6523 or ckittle@nashuatelegraph.com. Michael Brindley can be reached at 594-6426 or mbrindley@nashuatelegraph.com.