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Student Speaker Sabrina Istrope

Sabrina Istrope portrait

As student speaker at the Rockland Community College Commencement ceremonies on May 23, Sabrina Istrope encourages her fellow graduates to push boundaries and explore each opportunity to the fullest.

“Enjoy and embrace each stage that comes your way,” she said. “There are stages when you will cry, stages when you will be content, stages when you will be in distress. Embrace all these stages. They make us who we are and create us into the person we are meant to be.”

As the product of a working-class family from Spring Valley, NY, Istrope understands the value of a hard-earned dollar and appreciates the bargain that RCC offers for students, including those of limited means.

“It made the financial hardship way less,” said Istrope, a Ramapo High School alumna who plans to transfer to Baruch College, a CUNY school, for her bachelor's in business administration. “You're able to go to school for two years, get an amazing education, meet amazing people, develop amazing relationships, all at a quarter of the price you would pay for a four-year school.”

Istrope has made the most of her experience at RCC, earning membership in the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and posting a cumulative 3.8 GPA.

As a business administration major with intentions of becoming an accountant, Istrope welcomed the guidance of instructors who gave her personal attention and served as role models for her aspirations in the accounting field. She hopes to go into the field of financial advisement and increase individuals' financial literacy, especially young people who are typically unschooled in managing their financial affairs.

“I want to help them know the difference between assets and liabilities, to be able to assess their financial situation and learn about their best possible options,” she said. “I want them to know what to do with the money they work hard for.”

Istrope credited the mentorship of Rachel Golland, assistant professor of English. Golland's passion for her subject matter and conveyance of life lessons inspired Istrope to devote her future to improving people's day-to-day lives.

“Life has so much to offer,” she said. “I can still do anything I put my mind to. Once I understood that, once I stepped over that hurdle, I began to blossom as a person.”