Equipped to Lead and Succeed

New Graduates Express Gratitude

by Evan Elliot, USF News

At the May 20 commencement ceremony for undergraduates in the School of Management, Irma E. Velasquez ’76, author and educator, shared this guidance with the new alumni:

“Give yourselves some time. Time to rest. Time to stop. Time to reflect on the wisdom that you've been taking in here at USF. Remember this: Attention is the doorway to gratitude, to wonder, to curiosity.” 

Here, seven Class of 2022 graduates reflect on their time at USF.

Sebastian Mendoza

Sebastian Mendoza, BSBA Marketing

“Thank you to my club soccer teammates, to all my friends from freshman year until now, to all my professors. Sweta Thota taught me consumer behavior. Anthony Patino taught me entertainment marketing. Thank you to all my co-workers in the USF admission office. They help each other out. It’s a great family up there."

Khloe Dillard

Khloe Dillard, BSBA International Business

“Thank you to my mother, my father, my grandmother, my grandfather. And thank you to Candice Harrison. She is pretty much the reason I came to USF. I joined the Marshall-Riley Living-Learning Community, and I remember the first time I went to Dr. Harrison’s office hours, in September 2018. She encouraged me to always be outspoken and to take up space.”

David Woodland

David Woodland, BSBA Finance

“I played tennis here for four years. I was a walk-on. Before I came here I emailed every Division I coach in the country and said, ‘Let me walk on to your team.’ Every one of them ignored me or told me no, except for the coach here, Pablo Pires De Almeida. I am eternally grateful to him. He’s probably the nicest human I’ve ever met.”

Alyssa Monzon

Alyssa Monzon, BSBA Marketing

“I’m club president of Hui ’O Hawai’i, and I want to thank all my dancers. And I want to thank my design professor, Carrie Hott (I have a minor in design). I took a web development class with her and she taught us code. Over Zoom. During the pandemic. We learned HTML and CSS and JavaScript over Zoom. It was difficult but she made it easy. She was always there, encouraging us.”

Zoe Curtis

 Zoe Curtis, BSBA Management

“Thank you to Keith Hunter. I took his Professional Power and Influence class as part of my service learning, and in his class I learned about autism at the same time that I was actually teaching children with autism. Just knowing that some people learn a completely different way moved me to change the way that I was teaching. With Keith, one day, we were the students. The next day, we were the teachers. It’s stressful. You have to figure it out as you go. It’s a perfect way to learn. Next step for me? I’ll be doing business development for a biotech investment company called Life Sci. I’ll be based out of New York but I’ll be starting in London.”

Leo Liu

Leo Liu, BSBA Entrepreneurship and Innovation

“Thank you to my music appreciation professor, Pamela Kamatani. This semester she always supported me and gave me good feedback. For my next step I’m applying to MBA schools.”


Giselle Villa

Giselle Villa, BSBA Finance

“Thank you to my parents. I am first-generation, and so this graduation means a lot for my entire family. Just getting through the pandemic and having seven family members in one household was hard, but it all came down to having their support. Thank you, too, to Charlene Soriano. I was a part of the Muscat Scholars Program and she was leading it. Her support meant everything. My next step is to be a business development consultant to small family-run businesses in L.A. I want to give back. My family runs a small business. Business consultants charge a lot and small businesses can’t always afford those services, so I want to figure out how to make consulting more affordable but still create a living for myself.”

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