By Allison Kamel
For many students on campus, one of our first experiences with SJC was a tour of campus given by a student volunteer. Most likely, that tour was given by Jase Panebianco. He knows everything to know about the campus. He seems to be everywhere and involved in everything.
And now he is graduating.
Panebianco began his journey at SJC after graduating high school in 2013.
“When I came to St. Joe’s,” said Panebianco, “I thought to myself ‘I’ll get a degree in two and a half years and find a grad program.”
Instead of graduating early with a mathematics degree, he stayed for the four full years and graduated with four majors: math, math and computer science, political science and speech communications. The decision to do this came easily as Panebianco loves learning and the SJC community in general.
“I think the reason I got so involved in everything this school had to offer was my love of community,” said Panebianco. “I loved getting together with like-minded club members to volunteer, or debate, or organize and execute events. I enjoyed working with others and feeling like I belonged, and that is what clubs and volunteerism provided for me.”
Panebianco was involved in so much on campus that it’s impossible to list all of them. He was an executive in Honors Association, Secondary Education Club, BASIC, STARS, Political Science Club and the Matrix Club. He was involved in LEAD, Relay for Life and Mission Force. He was an orientation leader and went on Alternative Spring and Winter Break trips.
Even with all of these activities, Panebianco mentioned some opportunities he missed out on.
“I regret not studying abroad for a full semester, not following up with more internships and maybe with not getting elected into SGA,” stated Panebianco.
It’s hard to imagine how he managed to be involved in so much on campus and still get all of his schoolwork done.
“As for how I was able to balance the work, a lot of prayer,” said Panebianco. “Beyond divine intervention, I was also very fortunate that Security allowed me to stay on campus as late as I needed to. There were more than a handful of days where I was in the Business Technology Building until 3 a.m. And of course there were the days where I pulled some all-nighters and made our commuter campus my home for two days.”
When asked about any impactful courses offered on campus, Panebianco offered up one from each of his majors.
“For math, it was Real Analysis with Professor Miller,” said Panebianco, “because it challenged how I viewed mathematics, forcing me to think for myself instead of relying on the work of past mathematicians and scholars. There were no formulas to memorize, just logic and luck, but mostly logic.
“For computer science, It was Advanced Computer Programming since it was an independent study that I had taught myself with the aid of video capture lectures from Professor McAllister.
“From political science, I would have to say Constitutional Law with Professor Mager. This was the class that made me fall in love with law. I found it to be an elegant dance between the purity of an axiomatic system of mathematics and the haphazard chaos of humanity.
“And last, but above all else, SPC 132, Fundamentals of Acting. This was my favorite course out of sheer enjoyment. It was lighthearted, dangerously silly and all around my most fun course here at SJC.”
Panebianco’s plans for the future are just as diverse as his experience at SJC was.
“My future holds possibilities. I’ll be taking an LSAT in September, but I will also work on local political campaigns, I will look into getting involved in non-profit organizations, I plan to get into my local board of election and possibly board of education,” listed Panebianco. “I seize opportunities as they come to me, and so far that has been working out for me.”
Panebianco has an important message for the community he is leaving behind and the future freshmen of SJC.
“The college is changing and I want you guys to fight for what you think is right, to preserve what makes this place great. We have a new president coming in who is going to need to learn how much we all love this place, and why we love it so much,” said Panebianco. “The next time administration tries to take your ottomans away in the second floor lounge, complain like all of us who are graduating. The next time club budgets are cut, fight it, show your passion. If a class isn’t running because of under enrollment, get a group of friends who want to take it together and fight for it to run. You don’t have to accept decisions made for you, you can influence them.”
Panebianco’s experience at SJC has given him a lot.
“I had a fantastic college experience and I can’t really complain about much,” said Panebianco. “I am more happy than I have any right to be and that is because of the love and support of the people I have gotten to know over my four years.”
One final piece of advice:
“Don’t let anyone tell you that you are taking on too much, that you are going to get overwhelmed, only you know your limits. And then when you reach those limits, don’t be afraid to ask for help, because heaven knows I did.”