We normally don't like to brag, but about these students - we just can't help it! The students who won the Sir Peter L. Cardiello Award for Entrepreneurship are just out of this world!
2021 JESSICA VINCELLO
2020 SARTHAK PANDA
2019 ILYA KNEPPELHOUT
2018 KIRSTY HESSIG
2017 AIDAN ALVAREZ & SEAN WALGRATH
2016 CAROLINA SILVA
This year’s winner would certainly have made Peter himself proud. A D1 athlete, International Affairs major with a dual minor in German and Economics, she had her first business cards at 15 and two businesses under her belt by age 19 (three, if you count the lemonade stand). The daughter of Columbian immigrants, both self starters, it’s as if she was bred to be an entrepreneur.
At Wagner, aside from D1 sports, numerous internships in various industries, she was the World News Editor for the Wagnerian, a member of ODK National Leadership honor society, the Political honor society, served as President of the Economics honor society and was directy responsible for planning and teaching two computer courses in Spanish to ESL adults in Port Richmond for Make the Road New York.
Inspired by her experience in Wagner’s Women’s Professional Network, Carolina took the initiative to bring her entrepreneurial spirit to campus and create her school's first professional development organization - Student Professionals Association, a student-to-student mentoring platform. Carolina led her new organization of five executive board members and 15 student mentors to run over fifteen professional development workshops in only one school year. SPA ran individual workshops solely for student athletes, pre-med students, arts administration students, and for the civic engagement community at their annual IMPACT summit. The organization empowered countless students to advance in their respective professional careers and Carolina's efforts in creating it were recognized by Omicron Delta Kappa's Danielle M. King Outstanding College Service Award. SPA was also named Wagner College’s Organization of the Year for 2016.
She is also among the first cohort of 14 young women nationwide to represent Legacy OutLoud, a global initiative guiding young women to think and act entrepreneurially and reverse engineer their career. In November, she attended Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Conference at the United Nations, where she and her Legacy Out Loud peers were the honored guests at the Closing Reception in New York City. It wasn’t until that day at the UN, meeting the other students in Legacy Out Loud and the women entrepreneurs at the conference, that she even realized that she, too, was an entrepreneur and had been all her life.
Inspired by this revelation and her newfound peers, Carolina jumped into the Financial Advisor program at Merrill Lynch. After graduation, she will be working on building her third business (fourth, if you could the lemonade stand) as she’s accepted a position as a wealth manager in training (perhaps the youngest trainee ever) in Merrill’s Proactive Management Development Program.
She’s is absolutely fearless and will certainly continue making Wagner, and the Cardiello family proud embodying Peter’s mantra “what the mind can conceive, the mind can achieve.”
2015 HEATHER WOLF
Class of 2015′s Valedictorian, Heather Wolf, is the perfect example of the phrase “what the mind can conceive, the mind can achieve.” A Business Administration major with a concentration in Marketing no only excelled in the classroom - with a cumulative GPA of 3.97 - but she also left a legacy of leadership at the college. An athlete on the varsity cross country team and track and field team, a resident assistant, member of the Wagner College Community Standards Review Board and a leader in the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority. Heather has been recognized on both the Dean’s List and the NEC High Honor Roll nearly every semester of her college career and was also elected Homecoming Queen. As Valedictorian, the speech she gave at commencement was about preserving and celebrating people’s stories through her creation of @humansofwagner Instagram account. She also won every award under the sun… Could she BE any more perfect?! Check out her Valedictorian speech here, she starts at 2:28:15!
2014 ELLEN HUFFMAN
2014's winner is extra special, because she’s a member of the Caffe Unimatic family! Throughout her internship with Caffe Unimatic, Ellen displayed the qualities of a visionary, a change maker and creative catalyst. This year’s winner is undoubtedly someone that Peter would have been immeasurably proud of. An Accounting major with a perfect 4.0 GPA, a Division 1 athlete and Captain of the Golf team, Ellen was named the 2012-2013 NEC Women's Scholar Athlete of the Year and Valedictorian of the Class of 2014. Her intelligence, work ethic, mindset and strength of character need no introduction among her classmates and it's no surprise that Ellen was to represent her fellow graduates on the podium at commencement. The world needs more people like this year’s class valedictorian and the Cardiello family is delighted to honor her in Peter’s name. Watch her commencement speech here.
2013 KEVIN FERRIERA
Kevin embodies the characteristics of this award. You have already heard about his tremendous contributions in Port Richmond, specifically at El Centro and at New World Prep, where he is the founding Parent Coordinator for this charter school that serves the predominantly undocumented English Language Learner community. Working to develop their parent academy from the ground up, Kevin acts as translator, coach, curriculum developer, and professional development coordinator. In the spring of last year Kevin literally organized the creation of the Port Richmond Student Advisory Board (PRSAB), which has since received national attention from peer institutions because of its radical take on student empowerment. Kevin is not just a student at Wagner, but an agent of change for the campus and someone who will not be forgotten because of his lasting impact on many aspects of the College. He will be studying towards his Ph.D. at Boston College in the fall.
2012 VIOLETA CAPRIC
Violeta is the quintessential Wagner College leader. As the President of SGA, her ability to connect with students and administration alike is truly amazing. She demonstrates an unquenchable thirst for knowledge; she is always looking to learn and grow. Violeta is deeply committed to the Wagner community, and leads in a way which invites students to take ownership and initiative in creating new clubs and organizations. Violeta is well suited for the Cardiello Award because she exudes a passion and a desire to better, not only for herself but for the world around her. She consistently demonstrates a positive attitude, and she has a spirit that is sweet and welcoming to all around her. No matter where Violeta goes and no matter what she does in her life, she will make a difference in the lives of many.
2011 JILLIAN SULLY
Jillian was an Honors Program student majored in sociology with a concentration in family studies and social work and a minor in gender studies. She studied abroad in Rome and was enrolled in the Civic Engagement Certificate Program but the list doesn't stop there. Jillian was a leader in Project Pericles, a national organization that promotes education for social responsibility and participatory citizenship as an essential component of their educational programs. She was also inducted into Lambda Alpha, the sociology honor society, belonged to the Earth Club and worked as a resident assistant. Among her many civic engagement projects, she is quite proud of here work with the Park Hill Housing project. During her tenure, she applied for and won a grant for the organization that allowed her to develop and fund the Home Program for Richmond Senior Services, that offered home rehabilitation to elderly or disabled low-income Staten Islanders so they could continue living in their own homes. In all Sully has done she represents what Cardiello stood for: outstanding leadership, a love of learning, the desire to make a difference and a passion for contributing to others. She graduated cum laude.