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Long Island University at Riverhead’s First Valedictorian
Alicia R. Burt represents first cohort of baccalaureate graduates since Long Island University at Riverhead opened in September 2006

Riverhead, N.Y. – After a six-year hiatus in the working world, Alicia R. Burt has finished her bachelor's degree – and made history in the process.

Burt, a native of Center Moriches, N.Y. who now lives in Riverhead, will be the first valedictorian in the history of Long Island University at Riverhead at its Commencement exercises on Tuesday, May 10.

Long Island University at Riverhead opened in September 2006 as an institution offering master's degrees and graduate-level advanced certificates. Its first undergraduate program, an upper division (junior and senior years) Bachelor of Science in childhood education began, in September 2009.

The first cohort of 13 undergrads will don their caps and gowns May 10, and Burt has been selected as their valedictorian.

“Long Island University at Riverhead is amazing, it really is,” Burt said. “The professors are fabulous. They give you the instruction you need in order to be successful. The class size is great – having only a dozen or so students in a class really does help. You get the attention you need, and you build a bond with your classmates.”

Burt graduated with an Associate in Applied Science degree in general studies from Suffolk County Community College in 2003. For the next few years, she worked as a secretary in a doctor's office. “I still wasn't sure that I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up,” she said. “I knew that I wanted to help people in some way, shape or form, but I wasn't sure how.” Several members of her family are teachers, and education began to seem more and more like the right career – especially when she got a flyer in the mail announcing the new undergraduate childhood education program at Long Island University at Riverhead.

“I think I was the eighth one to apply,” she said. “One of the professors I had at Suffolk had gotten her master's from Long Island University, and she said, ‘You really should consider LIU, it really is one of the best schools.’”

Having completed her studies and student-teaching assignments at East Moriches Elementary School, Burt is optimistic about finding employment and proud of her achievement at Long Island University at Riverhead.

“When you're passionate about something, it almost comes naturally to you,” she said. “When you love it so much, you absorb it like a sponge. I don't want to say college is easy, because it's not, but you find that joy and love for it and you want to keep going.”

Posted: May 9, 2011

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