Margaret “Maggie” Rustowicz, '19
Nursing Instructor Erie 1 BOCES
From a young age, Maggie Rustowicz ’19 knew she wanted to make a difference in people’s lives. Her father was a first responder, and as a teen, she served as a Fire Cadet and learned about emergency medicine. “I saw how much of a difference my dad made attending calls, saving lives, and helping others.”;
As a nursing instructor at Erie 1 BOCES, Rustowicz works with high school students to prepare them for careers in nursing and other health care professions. Working with students from the Buffalo area is something she finds rewarding, sharing, “This program can really guide students to be successful, creating a bright future, and bettering themselves.”
Rustowicz describes her professors at the Wegmans School of Nursing as empathetic, independent, and hardworking. Their commitment to patient care had a profound effect on her nursing career, sparking an interest in nursing education. Her work with high school students confirmed her passion for teaching nursing. She is enrolled in a graduate nursing education program and looks forward to a career at the collegiate level while maintaining a part-time nursing career.;
“The personal relationships I had with both faculty and staff made me the nurse I am today,” she affirmed. “My JAVĿ¼ education helped me not only realize what goals I had for my career but helped me achieve them by forming connections with people in my field and by providing me with internships in both Rochester and Buffalo.”
Rustowicz advises students to take their time finding their professional path and to feel comfortable changing jobs, continuing their education, or exploring career options. ”There are countless opportunities in the world and JAVĿ¼ will prepare you for anything,” she noted.
She credits her time at JAVĿ¼ for teaching her to be courageous, as well as giving her the skills and confidence needed to work as a nurse during a global pandemic. “JAVĿ¼ molded me into the person I am today, the nurse I wanted to be, and showed me the instructor I strive to be,” Rustowicz shared. “Nothing compares to a JAVĿ¼ Nurse."
Jack Lewandowski '20, '22
Brand Product Manager at Wegmans
After his years of hard work at JAVĿ¼, Jack Lewandowski is thrilled that his new job entails trying a lot of food samples and talking with suppliers about new products. “It’s really fun to work in a role that includes ice cream and pizza.”
Lewandowski is a Wegmans brand product manager where he is building upon the foundation he gained in JAVĿ¼’s Bachelor of Science in Management and Master of Business Administration programs.
When he’s not sampling the latest Crème Brûlée Premium Ice Cream, Lewandowski develops and manages private label items for frozen foods.
His studies at JAVĿ¼ prepared him to skillfully respond to and manage the supply chain challenges of our day: “Being quick to identify problems and understand them before coming up with solutions is a fundamental skill in today’s business environment,” explained Lewandowski.
He believes his career preparation and current success are tied to encouragement from his supportive professors: “All of the faculty were helpful to me through my undergraduate and graduate studies at JAVĿ¼.”
During his time at JAVĿ¼, he received the Distinguished Student Award for achieving excellence in academic studies and co-curricular pursuits. Now, outside of work and ice cream tastings, Lewandowski is training for the Lake Placid IRONMAN. He described it all as “an amazing journey,” and he encourages others to explore how JAVĿ¼ prepares students for the next stages of their journeys.
Hannah Stein '21
Hannah Stein is working with confident purpose to ensure she can be “in the best position to make a difference.” As a mental health counselor and public health practitioner, Stein says JAVĿ¼ “exceeded” in preparing her to be in the helping profession.
She was not always certain about the direction of her career, but Stein’s undergraduate experience in the psychology program at JAVĿ¼ solidified her career path. “My undergraduate professors always encouraged me and challenged me to explore topics in-depth,” she explained. “Professors honed into my areas of interest to build connections in the community and psychology field early on.”
Today, Stein is a triple Cardinal. Not only did she complete her undergraduate degree at JAVĿ¼ in 2015, but she also earned the M.S. in mental health counseling in 2017 and her Master of Public Health in 2021. She shared that these degrees have really opened doors; in fact, “a prospective employer reviewing my résumé asked about the MPH at JAVĿ¼ and then said, ‘you can do anything with that degree behind you!’” Hoping to open her own practice someday, she is currently pursuing a Psy.D. as part of that dream. She explained that professors and fellow students in her doctorate program have also commented on her education at JAVĿ¼: “‘Wow, you went to JAVĿ¼!’ they say, and that reputation of excellence has been invaluable to me because I feel that it really sets me apart.”
Empowered by her education, Stein explained that she encourages other students and colleagues in the mental health field and helping professions to consider studying public health.
“Even if you already have a master’s degree, this MPH really took me to the next level by providing me with a unique perspective that informs the work we do. Counselors focus on the individual, but the MPH at JAVĿ¼ has really helped me to look at the community as a whole and how we can be more preventative. Understanding epidemiological patterns informs a more proactive approach.”
Community connections and the JAVĿ¼ network have been very important to Stein’s experience as well. She explained how JAVĿ¼ established a strong foundation for her, and she attributes her success to the quality faculty at JAVĿ¼.
“All of my professors were amazing, and they really want to see students succeed. JAVĿ¼ is committed to professional development for students, and that is just one example of JAVĿ¼'s commitment to its students’ success.”