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From Mentorship to Entrepreneurship, Alumni to be Honored in Special Ceremony

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Wentworth Institute of Technology alumni have a reputation for making great strides in the world and some of the brightest examples will be honored this Saturday. 

The Wentworth Alumni Association (WAA) Awards Ceremony will feature eight alumni honored in a variety of categories, in addition to Class of 2023 students receiving awards for highest grade point average in their respective majors.  

New WAA President Casey Galante, Architecture ’12, will speak, along with Wentworth President Mark A. Thompson.  

The alumni awards are as follows: 

Young Alumni Award – Shy-Lee Ezroni, Applied Mathematics, ’16 

Honoring the talents as well as the personal and professional growth of an individual who has graduated within the past 10 years, who has worked to stay connected to Wentworth and the community, and continues to live in the spirit of the mission of Wentworth. 

Ezroni is a technologist, activist, and artist who is passionate about uplifting communities with leadership and technology. She is a first-generation American and college student of Middle Eastern and Latinx descent. Her work has been recognized by former New York State Senator Anna Kaplan, and she has co-founded two award-winning organizations: Code Like a Girl, a coding club teaching 100+ young girls to use and build technology, and The WIT Project, a nonprofit fellowship program mentoring underserved college-aged women to break into tech. 


Alumni Mentorship Award – Bryan Hermanny, Architectural Engineering Technology, ’01 

Recognizing an individual who has supported the professional development of other Wentworth alumni as they began their careers, strengthening the broader Wentworth community through the generous support of others. 

Hermanny is an associate principal at BR+A Consulting Engineers, where he has worked since graduating from Wentworth. He began his career at BR+A as a co-op student, and after graduation he was promoted to co-op supervisor in the HVAC department. In this role, he taught students how to design HVAC systems for complex life science, academic, and healthcare projects. Many of these students have gone on to become full-time employees at BR+A, and they have had a major positive impact on the firm and the Boston area HVAC industry. Hermanny is also a guest lecturer at Wentworth. 


Alumni Entrepreneurship Award – Josu’e Velney, Building Construction Management, ’21 

Honoring an individual who used their hands-on Wentworth experience to start their own company or who is active in a start-up. 

Velney is the founder and CEO of Velney Development, a local Veteran and minority owned real estate development firm. He served for five years in the United States Marine Corps, with three overseas deployments, before graduating cum laude from Wentworth. A member of Tau Alpha Pi National Honor Society, he credits his business success to the leadership skills he honed during his service and the technical skills he learned in the classroom at Wentworth. 


Alumni Inclusive Excellence Award – Danyson Tavares, Architecture, ’11 

Honoring an individual working in their field or within the Wentworth community to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. 

Tavares is a designer, educator, and project development manager at YouthBuild Boston. In addition to this work, he also teaches courses at Wentworth and Rhode Island School of Design ranging from foundation studios to undergraduate seminars to graduate-level courses. Through his experience in working and teaching in various communities in and around Boston, he continues to explore the intersections between identity and placemaking in marginalized communities. 


Women at Wentworth Award – Jillian Kishfy, Industrial Design, ’14 

Honoring a woman identifying member of the alumni community who is an emerging leader or has established herself as a leader in her field, advocates for the support and advancement of women, and/or contributes to the network and growth of women at Wentworth. 

Kishfy has not only carved a niche for herself as a multidisciplinary designer, she has emerged as a tireless advocate for under-represented groups in the design industry. Her journey, filled with innovation, mentorship, and a commitment to social impact, has made her a revered figure in the design community. As the founder of Soft Start Studios, she actively engages in mentorship and speaking engagements to empower aspiring designers and dedicates her time to mentoring women from institutions such as Wentworth and Rhode Island School of Design. By sharing her knowledge and experiences, she strives to pave the way for a more diverse and inclusive design industry. 


Philip J. Brooks Alumni Leadership Award – Dana DeMatteo, Building Construction Engineering Technology, ’85 

Established in honor past WAA President Philip J. Brooks, this award is presented to an individual who gives back to the university and exhibits leadership characteristics that strengthen the pride and spirit that others feel toward Wentworth. 

DeMatteo has served on the Wentworth Alumni Association Board of Directors and was the President from 2009 to 2011. In addition to the WAA, he was also a member of the Wentworth Corporation and University Advisors. He knew Brooks well and the two attended many Wentworth events, with Black & Gold weekend, which honored graduates celebrating their 50th reunion, being a favorite. 


Distinguished Employer Award – JM Electrical 

Recognizing a company nominated by its employees for being a great place to work for our graduates. 

JM Electrical was established more than 35 years ago by Wentworth alum Paul Guarracino, ’72. Over the years, the company has consistently demonstrated commitment and collaboration with Wentworth, positioning themselves as a stalwart advocate and ally in the university’s journey towards institutional excellence. Their strong partnership with Wentworth includes hosting students through the co-op program, many of whom go on to become employees. Beyond their role as a perennial co-op employer, their influence has extended to scholarship endowments and annual support of the Wentworth Alumni Golf Tournament, and to the development of the Center for Engineering, Innovation, and Sciences (CEIS) among other key projects. 


Gold Leopard Award – Keith Blackey, Electrical Engineering, ’73 

The highest award granted by the WAA, recognizing individuals with a long-term commitment and outstanding loyalty to Wentworth, the community, the state, and the nation, who strive for excellence and achievement. 

After receiving degrees from both Wentworth and Northeastern, Blackey served in the United States Army, achieving the rank of Specialist E62. In recent years he spent much of his time working in international Scouting organizations, most notably in Afghanistan, where he spent more than a year advising the leaders of groups of Scouts in that country. His unwavering dedication and support for the Afghan people was reflected in his daily social media postings, sharing positive news about Afghan society. His efforts to shed light on the struggles, triumphs, and aspirations for the Afghan community left an indelible mark. Through his words and actions, Blackey not only contributed to the creation of a more inclusive world but served as a beacon of hope to countless individuals and will inspire all of us as we strive for a better society. 


WAA board member Kerrie Julian, Architecture ‘93, will present the awards. 

The WAA will also recognize the following Class of 2023 students: 

  • Applied Mathematics (BS) Mai Han Le 

  • Applied Sciences (BS) Zachary Luke Benesh 

  • Biological Engineering (BS) Sonya Welt Katzen 

  • Biomedical Engineering (BS) Gabrielle Louise Wilson 

  • Building Construction Management (AAS) Adarilys Rodriguez Jimenez 

  • Business Management (BS) Guillaume M. Bose 

  • Civil Engineering (BS) Rajvir Singh Pabla 

  • Computer Engineering (BS) Dominic David Ioime Jr. 

  • Computer Information Systems (BS) Jason Guy Sinatra 

  • Computer Networking (BS) Matthew Robert Fairneny 

  • Computer Science (BS) Samuel Hernandez Alvarez 

  • Construction Management (BS) Samuel Jacob Santaniello 

  • Cybersecurity (BS) Nicklas Marin 

  • Electrical Engineering (BS) Daniil Slutskiy 

  • Electromechanical Engineering (BS) Paul Chamberlain Miller 

  • Engineering (BS) Thomas Kiernan Hacker 

  • Engineering Technology (AAS) Cody John Miarecki 

  • Facility Management (BS) Marcelo Da Silva Souza 

  • Industrial Engineering (BS) Liv Eames Mosher 

  • Interior Design (BS) Alicyn Renee Gormley 

  • Mechanical Engineering (BS) Matthew P. Yoder 

  • Project Management (BS) Donald Hamataj 

Among the student awards will be the prestigious Beatty Award. Named for Dr. H. Russell Beatty, president of Wentworth from 1953 to 1971, it is awarded to the undergraduate student with the highest overall academic achievement. This year’s recipient is Matthew Fairneny.