Celebrating Excellence: Stony Brook Honors 40 Under Forty Alumni

There is nothing more rewarding than celebrating the accomplishments of our alumni. We have Seawolves at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory studying the habitability of other planets. We have Seawolves who have founded NGOs and are fighting for endangered species in Peru. We have Seawolves who have led US Embassy efforts to combat human trafficking in Ghana;  who are doing groundbreaking research on the cognitive and emotional impacts seen in individuals with opioid use disorder; and who are writing the script of conversational artificial intelligence technologies – these are just a few examples of the incredible work being done by our graduates. Our alumni are chairpersons, presidents, founders, directors, advocates, doctors, authors, scientists, ambassadors, officers, explorers, and so much more. 

On September 13, over 150 alumni and friends joined Stony Brook University President Maurie McInnis, PhD, to celebrate an exceptional group of alumni at this year’s 40 Under Forty celebration at Tribeca Rooftop in New York City.

This year’s honorees have made significant strides early on in their careers, earning recognition for their achievements in healthcare, technology, public service, academia and environmental sciences, among other fields. 

“As Stony Brook has grown, so too has our impact. Now, Seawolves are writing their own history, reaching across industries, institutions, and disciplines to create a brighter world,” said President McInnis. “Every day, you can feel their influence in New York; you can see the fruits of their innovation all over the country, and their creativity and tenacity touch people across the world.”

Ofonime Inokon-Anusionwu ’05

Ofonime Inokon-Anusionwu ’05

And many times, the path they took was untraditional. Take Ofonime Inokon-Anusionwu ‘05, for example. She began pre-med and graduated with a degree in Health Science. She changed her mind and obtained a master’s degree in civil engineering, neither of which are typical degrees for someone who runs an international digital fashion and lifestyle company. In addition to founding Style Rave, she created the nonprofit weCare Initiative for Africa which advocates for schools in marginalized rural sub-Saharan African communities. 

“The work I did in my health sciences writing class at Stony Brook gave me the tools to pursue my passion,” Inokon-Anusionwu said. “Without that class, I never would have had the confidence to begin my blog, which has developed into a media-to-shopping company.”

Marc Anthony Rodriguez’05 with wife Diana L. Rodriguez '11

Marc Anthony Rodriguez’05 with wife Diana L. Rodriguez ’11

Marc Anthony Rodriguez ’05, a philosophy and Latin American and Caribbean studies double major and first-generation college graduate, never dreamed he would co-found New York’s first independent games distribution and development platform, VoxPop Games, or that he would help produce, develop, and market several multi-million dollar franchises. Over his 17-year career, Rodriguez has partnered with indie gaming companies from all over the world and continues to stay true to his altruistic principles with his support of AbleGamers, a foundation that provides accessible video games, equipment, and more for gamers with disabilities. 

“What you dream is never big enough for this world. Stony Brook has taught me that anything is possible with a strong work ethic, grit and determination,” Rodriguez said. 

“Ofonime and Marc exemplify the amazing work being done by all of our honorees,” said Justin Fincher, PhD, vice president for Advancement at Stony Brook University. “It’s gratifying to see how our alumni are making their marks on the world in so many interesting and important ways.”

For more information on Stony Brook University’s 40 Under Forty, visit stonybrook.edu/40underforty.

View the 40 Under Forty Flickr album for additional coverage of the event. 

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