Commencement 2019

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Why did you choose your area of study?
I knew from the beginning I wanted exposure to the evolving and innovative field of information technology (IT). That being said, I never expected I would grow so passionate about the intersection of technology and business – and specifically leveraging technology through business initiatives to promote social good. I grew intrigued by project management, business analytics, and opportunities to utilize corporate citizenship to make a difference in this world. This led me to pursue a women’s, gender, and sexuality studies minor, and my coursework in this domain provided me with newfound, fascinating ways of thinking and a deeper understanding of societal trends.

Who is your favorite professor and why?
I have had a number of fabulous professors, but I would have to say the most impactful for me has been management information systems program director and professor Jonathan Moore. I have had Professor Moore for a number of courses, and I have always appreciated how he treats his students as fellow colleagues. By fostering a forum for open discussion, he promotes team collaboration and personal and professional development. My favorite class at UConn was his Business Case Competitions course. Although it was time-consuming, his constructive criticism and genuine faith in each student’s ability to develop his or her presentation skills allowed me to grow professionally and experience a deep sense of fulfillment. This ultimately culminated in competing alongside fellow classmates in the University of Minnesota’s International Management Information Systems Case Competition.

What do you plan to do after graduation?
I’ll first be heading to Europe with my roommates to take advantage of our last few weeks without limited vacation days! But after that, I will be starting my career with Travelers Insurance in their three-year Information Technology Leadership Development Program. I am excited to start my first real job, but I also look forward to future learning opportunities. I hope to one day receive my Ph.D.

How has UConn shaped you as a person?
Coming from a largely homogeneous hometown and comparatively small high school graduating class, I believe UConn has fundamentally shaped me as a person by displaying the power of assimilating in an enormous body of students from diverse backgrounds. Without such a large and diverse group of students, faculty, and staff, UConn would not provide the sheer number of opportunities, the divergent ways of thinking, that open the door for riveting debates and understanding, or the large number of student organizations that exist on this campus.

If you could summarize your experience at UConn in three words, what would they be?
Dare to Dream. In thinking about selecting just three words to summarize four years of experiences, I was reminded of one of my lifelong passions: soccer. As a kid, I religiously followed the U.S. Women’s National Team, and “Dare to Dream, Hannah” was the inspiring phrase that center-midfielder Julie Foudy wrote on the autograph I received from her. These three words have stuck with me over the years, and they resonate with me now.

What advice would you give a student just starting out?
It’s difficult to come up with one overarching piece of advice. I can, however, think of a few pieces of insight I have picked up along the way.

For one, it’s okay if it takes you a long time to adjust to college or choose your major, your extracurriculars, or your friends. Don’t rush anything. Be introspective about what you’re passionate about, explore at least one extracurricular you never explored in high school, and surround yourself with people who want the best and help bring out the best in you.

Even though I used it, I also think the word “passion” is romanticized, overused, and discourages students who never find their passion in college or through academia at all. It’s okay if you don’t major in something you absolutely love; you’ll find your way if you remain open-minded and optimistic.

Further, pursue resume-builders like leadership positions, student jobs, and internships, but be sure the title itself is not the only reason you’re doing something. Don’t take everything too seriously – but do start things early. Put your head down and work hard, but don’t forget the power of networking. Focus on your grades but make sure you value time with friends, too. Remember, professors want to get to know you! And make sure you think about what you’ll regret not doing in college – like studying abroad – and then aggressively pursue it. And lastly, don’t forget to go home every so often to visit your family if you’re able to. Sometimes home is all you need!