“This place feels like the right fit”

August 9, 2022

Three new Explorers share why they chose La Salle—and where their education can take them

At La Salle University, students turn their dreams into reality.

For the Class of 2026, the journey is just beginning. This fall, students across all three colleges will begin to build the foundation for their careers—no matter what their course of study or aspirant career path.

Meet three students from La Salle’s incoming class of new students, who explain why they knew La Salle was right for them.

Carissa Gabriel, ’26

Wanting to follow in her mother’s footsteps into a career in nursing, Carissa Gabriel was looking for a university that would provide her with the best academic and practical training. She started her college search looking at a variety of institutions. Quickly, La Salle became the frontrunner.

Choosing La Salle—with intimate class sizes, clinicals beginning in a student’s second year, and a high NCLEX first-time pass rate—was an easy decision.

“This place feels like the right fit,” she said.

Gabriel, who will commute from her home in Philadelphia, received a Community Service Scholarship. She views it as a lifesaver for her and her single mother, Marie. Gabriel said the La Salle admissions team and the Department of Nursing faculty assisted her through the entire admissions process, making it easy.

Gabriel intends to use her degree as the first step toward becoming a women’s health nurse practitioner and midwife.

“After graduating from La Salle, I plan to work as a nurse in a Philadelphia hospital,” she said. “I would like to specialize in mother and baby, labor and delivery, or even trauma. And as a Community Service Scholar at La Salle, I plan to use some of my resources to aid in public health and reduce the disparities in low-income communities like Philadelphia. I also hope to spend some time as a travel nurse before going back to school to become a nurse practitioner.”

John “Jake” Hallinan, ’26

For Jake Hallinan, electing to major in accounting was a family prophecy— the Downingtown native’s parents work in the field. He made the decision to pursue a degree at La Salle due to its hands-on faculty.

“When touring different schools, I was really drawn to the values and the strong sense of community at La Salle,” he added. “I plan to get involved in campus activities and recreational sports during my time here. I am really looking forward to being a part of the La Salle community.”

On a visit to campus, Hallinan was able to sit in on a class taught by C. Andrew “Andy” Lafond, DBA, CPA, associate professor of accounting. After speaking with Lafond following the class, Hallinan felt this was the right place for him.

Hallinan will pursue the four-year dual Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Master of Business Administration (BS/MBA) program. He said the opportunity to receive two degrees in four years acted as a major draw to the program—along with La Salle’s reputation for helping students land high-quality internships and job placements in Philadelphia and beyond.

“I liked the small interactive classes, and how engaging the instruction was when I shadowed for a day,” he said. “My goals are to make the most of both the classroom education and the internship opportunities over the next four years so I am well prepared with the strong accounting and technical knowledge, as well as communication and leadership skills needed to be successful in this profession.”

Karianie Burgos, ’26

Continuing her education close to home was a priority for Karianie Burgos. A Philadelphia native, Burgos is the caretaker for her father, Arrian, as he battles muscular dystrophy. She also assists with taking care of her younger sister. La Salle stood out during her college search because of its programs and location.

Burgos will major in criminal justice and will also be a part of the Academic Discovery Program (ADP), an admissions program that provides free support services for students who could benefit from academic assistance and meet a certain criterion of financial need.

“The ADP Program helped me so much,” she said.

Burgos said the program not only helped make college affordable but will provide additional resources to help her succeed academically. Burgos was drawn to La Salle’s criminal justice program as she has dreams of working in law enforcement and, ultimately, becoming a federal agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). She said a friend recommended La Salle’s program to her, as they previously had completed it.

Upon visiting, Burgos was immediately drawn to the campus community and to the criminal justice major had a lot to offer versus other universities.

“I liked La Salle’s program way more,” she said.

—Meg Ryan