Meet St. John’s Class of 2024

May 26, 2020

While their first days as undergraduates are still months away, the newest members of the St. John’s community—the Class of 2024—are eagerly anticipating the start of classes this fall. For each student, the story behind his or her decision to attend the University is as unique as the path each will take once their St. John’s journey officially begins.  

“We are delighted to welcome St. John’s Class of 2024 to the University,” said Jorge L. Rodriguez, Vice Provost and Chief Enrollment Officer. 

“This class is an impressive one and includes top students from a diverse mix of public, Catholic, and private high schools. Choosing a college is a difficult and important decision, and we are pleased that so many high school seniors have decided to become a part of the growing St. John’s University family.”  

A diverse group of learners who proudly represent the future of the University, the Class of 2024 shared insight about why they chose St. John’s, as well as what they hope to accomplish as Johnnies. 

Christopher Bhola
St. Francis Preparatory School
Actuarial Science 

When Chris Bhola chose to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Actuarial Science at St. John’s, he did so for a number of reasons. Among them were the program’s outstanding reputation, St. John’s alumni network of more than 190,000, and affordability

Above all, however, was the fact that the University’s Queens, NY, campus is just a short drive from his family’s home in Flushing. “By attending St. John’s, I will stay close to my family,” he said. “That was probably the most important factor for me in choosing a school.” 

Chris’s parents are both proud alumni, and his brother is currently a student at St. John’s.

While many first-year students are unsure about which major to choose in college, Chris was steadfast in his decision to study actuarial science. “It is a major that I have researched extensively, and I am passionate about the field,” he said. “I look forward to learning more about actuarial science and all of its applications in the business world.”

Like most high school seniors, Chris is eager to start classes in the fall. “I cannot wait to meet new people from different parts of the country and the world,” he said. “I know St. John’s will prepare me for my future endeavors.”

Matthew Espinosa
East Meadow High School

Matthew joins a long line of family members who have attended St. John’s over the years; however, it is not the primary reason he decided to become a part of the University community.

“I chose St. John’s because of what the school has to offer,” he explained. “For photography majors, many schools offer the ‘same old program.’ What really stood out about St. John’s is the work that photography majors can do in Manhattan during their junior year.”

He explained, “Being able to travel into Manhattan for photography is an amazing opportunity that no other school offered. Plus, the networking opportunities provided by St. John’s are unmatched by any school. Networking is very important in my chosen field.”

In October, Matthew attended the University’s Open House, along with more than 1,100 high school students. “That experience really helped me make my decision,” he said. “I was truly impressed with the tour of the art department. My tour guide did an excellent job keeping everyone engaged and offered us some of her personal experiences at St. John’s.”

He also attended the Virtual Accepted Student Day in April and took advantage of the opportunity to participate in live, online chats with current students and meet future Johnnies. 

“I look forward to learning as much as I can from my professors and meeting new people who are also interested in photography,” he said. “Ultimately, my goal is to find a career that I will enjoy for the rest of my life. I am confident that with the help of St. John’s, I can achieve that goal.”

Gabriella Lugo
Archbishop Molloy High School

A soon-to-be-graduate of Archbishop Molloy High Schoolin Queens, NY, Gabriella will be the third woman in her family to attend St. John’s. It is not surprising that choosing the University was based on faith, family, and the Doctor of Pharmacy program’s stellar reputation.

“Both my mother and my aunt attended St. John’s,” said Gabriella, who is proud to join her family’s growing roster of Johnnies. “However, the two primary reasons why I chose St. John’s are the University’s Catholic tradition and academics.”

Gabriella will be a member of the University’s Catholic Scholars program when she begins classes in the fall semester. Catholic Scholars join professors and campus ministers in monthly meetings, lectures, retreats, courses, and prayer experiences that integrate faith, reason, and service.

“The Catholic Scholars program will allow me to study in an environment that integrates academics with service and community involvement,” she said. “At the same time, I will be enrolled in the highly regarded pharmacy program, which will prepare me for a career as a pharmacist.”

Looking ahead, Gabriella is excited to begin the first year of the six-year pharmacy program at St. John’s. “I know that it will be very challenging,” she said. “That is why I am eager to engage with my professors and other students and seamlessly transition from high school to college.”

Julia Mulroy
St. Anthony’s High School 
Risk Management and Insurance  

Faith has always been an important part of Julia Mulroy’s life, so when it came time to select a college, the choice was clear. “I knew St. John’s was the right school for me,” said the West Islip, NY, resident. “Continuing my education in the Catholic tradition was an important factor in my decision to enroll.”

As a high school student, Julia visited St. John’s Queens, NY, campus a number of times, along with her twin brother, Thomas, who also enrolled at the University. “My first time seeing the campus I immediately fell in love,” she said. “I also attended an overnight shadowing event, where I was placed with the nicest girls who answered all of my questions. They went above and beyond to make sure that I had a great time.”

While her decision to attend St. John’s came easily, choosing a major was more of a challenge. “At the beginning of my senior year, I was still unsure of which major to pursue,” she recalled. “However, after taking a business class at St. Anthony’s, I started researching the many majors within The Peter J. Tobin College of Business.”

Julia quickly found a major that suited her well: Risk Management and Insurance. “I read about it on St. John’s website and knew that this was exactly what I wanted to pursue,” she said. “Being a risk management major, I would also have the opportunity to attend the Maurice R. Greenberg School of Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science during my junior and senior years.”

Looking ahead, Julia is excited to begin life as a Johnny. “I am eager to make new friends at St. John’s,” she said, indicating that she is interested in studying abroad, participating in Greek life, and attending Tobin’s The Alumni Insider’s View…Day on Wall Street program, in which juniors and seniors visit major financial institutions in the Wall Street area, such as Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC, Bank of America Corporation, and the New York Stock Exchange. “I cannot wait to start!”

Sydney Nocera
Division Avenue High School
Government and Politics

“I chose St. John’s for its sense of community; I know I will receive the best education in a wonderful environment,” explained Sydney Nocera, who will major in Government and Politics. “St. John’s has multiple opportunities for me to make the most of my major and prepare for my future.”

Location also played a substantial role in Sydney’s decision to attend St. John’s, as her family has deep roots in Queens, NY. “I grew up in Levittown, NY, but I was born in Queens,” she said. “My mother attended St. John’s for graduate school, and her first job was just down the street. My father works only a few blocks away from the Queens campus, too.”

“Everyone affiliated with St. John’s has been incredibly warm and welcoming, from the person who conducted my on-site interview, to the Student Ambassador who gave me a tour of the campus,” she said. “The community of students and staff I met felt like a family, and after taking a tour, I really knew I was coming home.”

While the start of her first year of college is still months away, Sydney is already charting a course for success on campus. “I hope to get involved and take advantage of everything the University has to offer,” she said. “I look forward to making new friends this fall, and I will hit the ground running.”