CLASS OF 2018 - Valedictorian and Salutatorian

Veronica Lizarov

Acing Academics

Veronika Lizarov, Valedictorian
Major: Forensic Psychology.
Minors: Music and Africana Studies.
Hometown: Brooklyn, New York

When Veronika Lizarov got the phone call that she was the 2018 John Jay Valedictorian, her family was excited, but not totally surprised. "My family was really happy, but they kind of expected it. They laughed and said, 'We knew you had a GPA of 4.0!'" says Lizarov. Then her mom marked the occasion with a special cake. Lizarov actually attributes much of her academic success to her family. Her twin sister, Anna, graduated from John Jay last year with a Forensic Psychology major and a Mathematics minor. And her parents, originally from the Ukraine, both have higher education degrees. Her mother has a master's degree in Forensic Psychology, and her father has a mechanical engineering degree. "Having a good support system at home was the key to my academic success. My parents inspired me to become successful. They inspired me to have a love of learning, a love of reading and even a love for financial success," says Lizarov. "My sister would proofread my papers at 2:00 A.M. in the morning. And, when she was at John Jay, we took some of the same classes, so we were able to study together, quiz each other, and even split the costs for textbooks." Lizarov also acknowledges her John Jay professors for her academic achievement. "Every single one of my professors helped me grow as a person. John Jay's faculty takes a real interest in their students," says Lizarov. "And, they're really passionate about their subjects — which in my opinion is the most important thing." She praises all of her professors for helping her develop her passions. "One of my favorite memories at John Jay is simply playing the piano in the practice rooms," says Lizarov. "I had that joy because of my professors and this amazing institution."

Scott Miller

Express to Excellence

Scott Miller
Major: Criminal Justice and Public Administration
Hometown: Williston Park, Nassau County

Scott Miller was overwhelmed when he was named salutatorian, not only because it signified a major accomplishment in his life. It was also a way of honoring his grandfather, who was once named salutatorian too. "My grandfather was the salutatorian of his high school, but because it was the Depression era, he couldn't afford to go to college and there was no financial aid," says Miller. "So this means a lot for my parents and grandparents." Miller is the first in his immediate family to graduate with a college degree, and he attributes his academic success to the support of his parents. "I always put my full energy into everything I do, and that comes from my parents," he says. But working hard wasn't the only thing his parents passed down. Both Miller's father and mother work in the railroad industry, which is how they first met, and their passion for transportation has long been instilled in Miller, who now plans to follow in their footsteps. "I've known I've wanted to work in transportation even before high school," he says. "Working in mass transportation is one way of serving the public good." Miller also loves playing music, another hobby he gets from his father and grandmother, and he's been playing drums since he was a child, and took up piano five years ago. "It helps me de-stress," he says. Having taking advantage of all John Jay has to offer, including becoming involved with Adelante and the National Society of Leadership and Success, Miller says he looks forward to graduating and figuring out his next steps. "I feel John Jay has prepared me for the future very well," he says.