Daniel Purcell ’22
English Teacher, Onondaga Central School District
As a kid, Daniel Purcell admired his parents who were teachers and coaches. This first-hand experience in the classroom and on the sports field influenced his career interests at an early age. Fisher’s inclusive adolescence education program allowed Purcell to receive dual certification in general education and special education.
Today, Purcell is a ninth-grade English teacher at Onondaga Central School District. He also coaches the varsity football and baseball teams. He attributes his effectiveness in these roles to the skills he developed while at Fisher. “Differentiation, equitability, adaptability, and forward-thinking are only a few of the essential concepts that I was taught, and I implement them in my ninth-grade English class every day.”
Purcell appreciated Fisher’s student-centered approach to academics. “I took several rigorous courses, but the small class sizes really helped me build rapport with my professors,” he explained. “I graduated summa cum laude because I was surrounded by a great group of faculty and advisors that created a welcoming environment.”
At Fisher, Purcell found the confidence he needed to succeed. He recommends this program to anyone who loves to learn while empowering others to learn too. “Our world is constantly changing. Teachers need to be curious, excited, and fearless learners ready to experiment, fail, and innovate all the time. Our goal as educators is to cultivate lifelong learners, so we must model that learning ourselves.”
Ashley Flanagan ’17
Content Director, Social Yeah
Two days after graduating from Fisher, Ashley Flanagan started her first job as content creator at Social Yeah, a social media marketing agency in Buffalo. Just eight months later, she was promoted to content manager and today serves as a content director. In her role, she is involved with every aspect of how the agency’s team creates content, from initial strategy to executing the finished product. Each day, she puts to work her broad range of skills, including photography, videography, graphic design, and copywriting, skills she credits Fisher for helping her to hone. Thanks to her marketing and media and communication classes, she gained a competitive edge in having a strategic marketing mind, while simultaneously knowing how to execute it.
As a student, she was the creative director of Fisher Players, president of Fisher Swingbirds, marketing director of the Student Activities Board, and a member of the American Marketing Association and Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society. She also served as a student ambassador and Orientation Team leader. For Ashley, one of the most beneficial experiences she had was as part of the University’s pilot team of executive interns in the Office of Marketing and Communications.
“Fisher prepares you for so much more than an ordinary education. I learned the crucial skills I needed to be able to succeed, I gained the confidence I needed to be a leader, and as much as I was involved, I never stopped enjoying it. Fisher introduced me to the best friends I could’ve ever asked for, so as crazy as the work might’ve gotten, I was constantly having the time of my life.”
Quarnisha White, RN, MS, FNP-C ’11, ’17
Advanced Practice Provider (APP) Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer
Quarnisha White is not ashamed to admit that she enjoys a great debate. She started in a legal studies program with her sights on practicing law until she witnessed a loved one’s struggle in the ICU while recovering from multiple gunshot wounds. She began to envision herself as a fierce advocate in the medical field rather than in the courtroom: “I saw nurses caring in a way with such compassion and empathy that my own career path changed.”
She switched her major to nursing and completed her undergraduate program at Fisher in 2011. “The faculty and staff of Fisher’s nursing programs are dedicated to helping you succeed,” explained White. “The programs set you up for success as a future nurse.” She became a nurse at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) and soon enrolled in Fisher’s graduate program for nursing. She became a board-certified nurse practitioner in 2017 and advanced in her career within URMC within the Division of Colorectal Surgery.
White’s path did not always seem so clear. As she reflected on her journey to nursing leadership, she recalled the challenges of being born into poverty, growing up in the foster care system, and becoming a mother at age 17. Equipped with lessons from her own experiences, she is now on a mission to create an environment where each patient is given the same access and opportunity to engage the health care system. “I strive toward a brighter future for our patients and community.”
In 2021, White became the first Advanced Practice Provider (APP) Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer for URMC. Within this leadership role, she focuses on equitable patient engagement and community outreach for which one area of focus has been within the Black community on colorectal cancer and screening. Her experiences combined with her education have positioned her as the advocate she always envisioned. “Without the education that I received from Fisher, I would not be able to have the platform to promote change that I have today.”
White smiles when she sees Fisher students on the hospital floors. “My expectations are high when I see them, but that’s because Fisher made me that way.”