Campus Life

Meet Eight New Graduates

They look back — and look forward

by Evan Elliot, USF News

In the first commencement ceremony held on campus since 2019, 950 new alumni collected their diplomas in St. Ignatius Church. Here, eight of them thank their supporters, reflect on their time at USF, and say what's next.


Rajneet Sohota

Rajneet Sahota, BSBA Marketing

“In August I start at UC Hastings School of Law: master’s in legal studies. Thank you to my parents, the staff at USF, my professors — especially Professor Sonja Poole for all her help. Love her!” 


Thomas Ostrowski

Thomas Ostrowski, BSBA International Business

“Thanks to my mom, and to my father who passed away a few years ago. Special thank you to the late John Durham, professor of marketing. He chose me to be an intern at his branding agency, Catalyst SF. His support and his contacts put me on a path to a career here in the Bay Area.”


Melanie Velasquez

 Melanie Velasquez, BA Media Studies

“Thank you to my parents. They’re immigrants, so they really value education. And Professors Teresa Moore and Tim Redmond. Tim Redmond is a journalist I look up to. I’m applying now to graduate schools in journalism.”



Evelia Zarate

Evelia Zarate, BSBA Management

“My parents gave everything in order for me to be here. I plan to work in education. I want to support first-generation students like me to achieve their dreams.”

Angelena Harris

Angelena Harris, BA Sociology

“Thank you to everyone in the sociology department who showed me so much love and support, especially Professors Sears and Professor Rodriguez — I wouldn’t be here with you. You go above and beyond.”

Jacob Sidaros

Jacob Sidaros, BSBA Finance

“Thank you to the admissions team — I’m a university ambassador — and Phi Delt fraternity for creating such a family atmosphere here at USF.”

Erikah Walton

Erikah Walton, BA Fine Arts

“Professor Jenifer Wofford really helped me to figure out graphic design. She’s artistic and wonderful, and she’s there to help. In one class that we had my junior year, she made sure that all of us knew each other’s names, and one day we all dressed up for Halloween and another day we all wore denim. We became a better class because of it.”

Xiomara Magallon

Xiomara Magallon, BSBA Accounting

“Thank you to Carol Graham, professor of accounting. She helped me with my resume, cover letters, interviews. I have a job lined up in October. And thank you to my parents. As a first-generation student it feels amazing that they can celebrate graduation vicariously through me. And I’m an example to my three siblings who are following in my footsteps.”