Before coming to USF, Victoria Yang knew she wanted to make a difference and a positive impact during her undergrad. Graduating this May with a Bachelor of Arts in Supply Chain Management, she has found ways to shine in the many positions she has held here at USF.
Since her second semester, Yang has been a member of Alpha Kappa Delta Phi International Sorority, Inc., where she currently serves as vice president of membership. She previously served in a variety of leadership roles in the sorority, including stints as public relations chair, alumnae chair, reveal coordinator, and vice president. In 2019, she was awarded the CAA Candlelight Scholarship for exemplifying the sorority pillar, scholarship.
Yang is also the acting vice president of scholarship and awards for the Delta Sigma Pi. a professional business fraternity that she joined to further develop her professional skills and to be more active in the business school. But her engagement doesn’t stop there. She participates in the Corporate Mentor Program, where she has further developed her professional skills and she was even awarded the Muma Alumni Scholarship by the program for her academic and leadership skills. Yang is also a study skills mentor at the USF Academic Success Center.
Her Greek Life involvement has led to many opportunities give back to the greater community. She has participated in the Bulls For Kids Dance Marathon, where students work together to raise money and donate products to domestic violence victims, as well as service events dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness.
Yang works, too, serving as a buying intern at HSN, a billion-dollar multi-channel retail company.
When Juanita Morales received a U.S. Department of State scholarship to study the Korean language in Seoul, South Korea for an academic year, she not only learned about the language and its people, but she also discovered how gratifying service learning can be. While in South Korea, she conducted research on the nation’s rapid economic development and its impact in Korean society while taking intensive language classes.
Additionally, she helped elderly people with meals and coal-collecting, and taught elementary school children English.
Her eyes were opened to a whole new world – and led the Colombian native to study global business at USF, where she has continued to serve her community while making remarkable academic strides. She has participated in programs such as the Bulls Business Community, an invitation-only living-learning community for high achievers, the Business Honors Program, where she is conducting undergraduate research on corporate social responsibility in developing economies, and the Corporate Mentor Program, which pairs first-generation students with a business professional.
Morales has served as the marketing chair for Phi Chi Theta, a professional business fraternity, as the marketing coordinator for Data Science at USF, and as a member of the marketing team for PorColombia. Moreover, internships at Adapative Immersion Technologies, Digital Success Media have put her nascent digital marketing and social media marketing skills to work. This summer, she will intern with Raymond James Financial.
Morales has juggled all of these service, research and professional development efforts while maintaining a 3.9 grade point average.
Khubaib Farooq is committed to improving the human condition. He came to America from Pakistan when he was 15 years old and says the welcoming and supportive community helped him overcome homesickness or culture shock. He aims to do the same for others because he understands what they are going through. As a result, he’s recognized as a student leader and ambassador for international students.
His additional civic service is impressive: he helped with polio eradication efforts and flood and earthquake disaster relief campaigns that impacted thousands in his home country. Last year, Farooq led a social media campaign with his friends that raised $25,000 for COVID-19 relief efforts in Pakistan, helping 2,500 needy families with food for a month during its lockdown. Additionally, Farooq protested the human rights violations in Kashmir, fighting to raise awareness of the issue at USF. He drafted a resolution passed by USF Student Government. His effort paid off and he was invited to present the resolution at the Pakistan Embassy in Washington D.C. and Consulate in New York.
He previously worked as a data science mentor, helping faculty implement a Data Science Certificate program that infuses data analytics into classes college-wide. He led bootcamps and helped train faculty. Today he is a teaching assistant, facilitating review sessions, offering one-on-one assistance and group help sessions, and helping prepare a new course.
He earned a bachelor’s degree from USF in 2019, magna cum laude, recognized, at 19, as the youngest graduate that semester. After graudating in May, he will join Deloitte as a solutions analyst.
Alyssa England took the opportunities offered by the university and ran with them. England constantly seeks opportunities to better herself. When she graduates in May, she will have three internships and several marketing positions under her belt.
She has worked in various offices across USF’s campus, interning and working in USF Athletics, the Muma College of Business and the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement. She led social media campaigns and helped with outreach and community connections for each office. England aided in the logistics of the Bulls Service Breaks, where students have the opportunity to volunteer during spring break. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, she was able to create alternatives that offer students a fulfilling experience.
Quarantine has allowed her to pursue over 50 online certificates, including the post-crisis leadership, hospitality and tourism management, and the diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace certification programs, all offered by the Muma College of Business. She also received the International Tutor Training Level I certification, giving her the experience and knowledge to effectively mentor and communicate with peers and coworkers. She even landed a remote internship with NBCUniversal Media, LLC, becoming a broadcast operations intern in January.
England says that being the granddaughter of Cuban immigrants, helped her recognize the importance of a high-quality education. England plans to begin coursework in the MS in Marketing program in the fall.
Just 20 years old, Dariana Granados will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in May as the first person in her family to earn a degree in the United States. A native of Colombia, Granados moved to the U.S. at 13 and graduated high school at 16; her first few college classes convinced her to pursue a career in business.
Faculty, her peers, and mentors at USF pushed her to overcome all challenges and she has taken every opportunity at the Muma College of Business to become a well-rounded leader. She volunteered to be the fundraising director for the International Student Association and is a peer leader of the Corporate Mentor Program. She has also served as the chief executive of national reporting for the national accounting honors fraternity Beta Alpha Psi, as president of the Accounting Society at USF and a campus ambassador for the FICPA and Becker.
“But, my journey goes beyond my involvement in school,” she says. “Gaining professional experience to acquire technical skills and develop myself professionally has always been a priority.”
While attending school full time, she landed five internships including an Audit and Assurance internship with PricewaterhouseCoopers and with Goldman Sachs’ Investment Banking Controllers. She is the recipient of several scholarships including the Lynn Pippenger Scholarship, the Ralph J. Poe, CPA Accounting Scholarship and the FICPA Scholarship.
Granados is studying for the Certified Public Accountant exam and will move to New York City this summer, where she will attend New York University’s Master of Science in Accounting program.
When Mischmanna Guerrier’s father created a lawn care business from scratch, she witnessed first-hand the determination and drive it would take to succeed. She attributes this experience to sparking her interest in entrepreneurship and bringing an idea to fruition in the form of a business.
Guerrier knew she needed to pursue higher education to improve her chances at running a successful business. She was the first person in her family to earn a college degree when she earned a Bachelor of Science in Management from USF in 2018 and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in entrepreneurship as well as an MBA. She has had the opportunity to work with a business through the USF Small Business Development Center, where she worked with a team of students to create a plan that could help a local a business expand, first identifying areas that needed to be improved and suggesting marketing tactics. In the end, all suggestions were implemented by the business.
As a graduate assistant in the Collier Student Success Center, Guerrier helped redesign the Bulls Business Community’s mentorship program. She has demonstrated leadership and strategic planning through the detailed reporting system she introduced alongside the curriculum for mentors in the program. This has allowed for the program to succeed through a global pandemic and still produce outstanding results.
Guerrier has used her experience and education she has gained to establish her own company, Guerrier Solutions, LLC. She wants to help others create more sustainable businesses.
Armando Marquez left Venezuela four years ago to pursue his education and to hone his leadership skills with the goal of stepping back into his home country to improve conditions there. He is on track to graduate in May with a Bachelor of Science in Business Analytics and Information Systems with a minor in finance. While here, he earned the USF Director’s Award and several mentions on the dean’s list, all while helping build technologies that change the ways students and campus leadership interact with data in USF IT and Innovative Education.
For Marquez, all this leads to home.
“I promised myself I would work as hard as [his parents] to become part of the prepared generation that will repair the country that was once the powerhouse of Latin America,” Marquez says.
He has embarked on a path towards leadership based on integrity and a desire to give back. Marquez is on the Muma College of Business’ Analytics Team and represented USF in the International Collegiate Programming Contest regionals. He was a founding vice president of internal affairs and chapter president of Phi Chi Theta, where he has harnessed the skills and developed the passions to help empower dozens of students in the Muma College of Business as they pursue their professional goals and build networks.
He currently participates in USF’s ExLabs Internship with Tech Data and serves as president of Data Science at USF, an organization that prepares students in the field that converges machine learning, statistics, and software development.
Madyson Winters has made good use of the resources offered through USF and the Muma College of Business. She was able to accomplish many things she never thought possible and as she finishes the last semester of her junior year, she has built a scholastic record of scholarship, leadership, professional involvement and community service through her accomplishments.
She serves as the first female president of Phi Chi Theta, a business fraternity, where she organizes and executes operations based on philanthropy, social and professional development. She is the first USF student to win Selling with the Bulls Intercollegiate competition where she competed against over 100 students across the country. She also serves as a Muma College of Business student ambassador where she meets prospective business students.
She was chosen to be one of twenty students to represent the Business Honors Program by completing rigorous coursework and engaging in community service. While in the Business Honors Program, Winters helped set up a donation drive to collect items in need for a local domestic abuse shelter. Also, Winters was selected to be a student in the prestigious Zimmerman Advertising Program where she earns a Business Advertising degree and master’s degree in five years.
She has also organized numerous fundraising events to help Tampa Bay organizations such as Feeding Tampa Bay, Relay for Life, and Metropolitan Ministries.
Winters, who has a 4.0 grade point average, will graduate in 2022.
Brendan Fritz grew up around real estate. He spent many summers working at his father’s construction company. Those early experiences led to Fritz’s interest in real estate and the tangible aspects of the home building process. In high school, his internship with a real estate developer introduced him to the commercial side of the industry.
During the summer of 2020, Fritz landed an internship with PricewaterhouseCoopers in its public accounting group, an experience that allowed him to learn about another career option. However, he found himself drawn back to real estate, with an interest in exploring the investing side. Fritz will be interning with Goldman Sachs’ Real Estate Acquisitions team in Dallas, TX in the summer of 2021.
Fritz is the captain and president of the Men’s Lacrosse Club at USF. He also serves as the chair of the USF Sports Club Council, overseeing 40 sports clubs and allocating nearly $300,000 among the clubs. Fritz is also an active member of the Corporate Mentor Program and Delta Sigma Pi. Fritz is the executive vice president of the Student Finance Association, and President of the Real Estate Society. As president of the Real Estate Society, Fritz organizes virtual events and workshops with local real estate companies for the 500 members in the organization. Additionally Fritz coaches youth lacrosse in the Tampa Bay area.
Fritz’s academics speak for themselves, with a 3.88 GPA, Fritz has been on the dean’s list and is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma International Honor Society.
Autumnsarah Foster-Pagett has always wanted to pursue a career in sports and entertainment and now she is fulfilling her dream. Growing up in the inner city of New York, sports has always been her outlet.
“As the first person in my family to pursue a master’s degree, I have continuously put myself in a position to develop professionally, while being sure to leave an impact in all aspects of my work,” she says.
Foster-Pagett will graduate in May with an MBA and master’s degree in sport and entertainment management.
While still in high school, she researched the business side of sport and all that went into talent marketing, developing partnerships and the planning of major events. Consequently, furthering her education at an institution with renowned academics and sports teams was vital in picking her college of choice. From her freshman to senior year at the University of Connecticut, she served as a student manager for the prestigious UConn women’s basketball team, which was an eye-opening experience.
Foster-Pagett has used that experience to propel her at USF, where she served as graduate assistant and interned as the concierge manager at Yacht Village during Super Bowl LV. She has previous internship experience with the Brooklyn Nets — twice, where she helped develop plans to strengthen partnerships through premium events and as a diversity and inclusion assistant. She was also an assistant for the 2020 U.S. Open Tennis Championships. All this experience has strengthened her desire to work in the sport and entertainment industry.
It wasn’t that long ago when Amanda Ortiz joined USF, eager to begin her journey to become a doctor. It would be a beautiful future saving lives. But she soon decided that this was not her dream career. A change was about to happen.
“After two semesters of immersing myself in subjects that I didn’t enjoy, I felt at the end of my first year that something had to change,” she says.
A social, creative and competitive person, Ortiz began looking at business and one of her first courses, Introduction to Marketing, changed her life. She soon switched majors.
She immersed herself in USF’s student life and service opportunities, serving as a first-year orientation leader, a resident assistant and vice president of Delta Gamma. She was inducted into the Order of the Golden Brahman during her junior year, serving in these positions while simultaneously holding four internships, one of which was with Bristol Myers Squibb. On top of her on-campus involvement and internships, Ortiz worked a part-time position off-campus. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a minor in psychology and now is enrolled in the MBA program, from which she expects to graduate in December. She is a participant in the USF Women and Leadership Initiative and participates in the Muma College of Business Corporate Mentor Program.
Ortiz currently works as a marketing account executive at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, where she leads the marketing strategy for three internal departments, and manages adviser recruitment social media, email and direct mail campaigns.
Gabriela Arias Zamora is a sophomore at USF, on track to graduate early. The bilingual honoree, who has a 3.98 grade point average, holds the title of USF Foundation Latino Scholar, 2019 John B. Brannan Legacy Scholar, and Bright Futures Medallion Scholar.
Arias served as an intern for Legacy Wealth Partners after her first year at USF amid the pandemic. Her experience sparked an interest in pursuing the next opportunity. She was admitted to a national conference hosted by JPMorgan Chase, one exclusively for Hispanic students. There, she was able to network and the experience and says the connections made led her to apply to its 2021 internship program. This summer she will work in a full-time as a corporate analyst intern at JPMorgan.
Arias plans to attend law school to become a criminal defense attorney. Her passion to serve the community is a result of the responsibility she has carried from a young age. At just six years old Arias was the only one in her family who knew English enough to serve as a translator for her parents as they opened their first bank account, among various other tasks over the years. Zamora takes the knowledge she learns in classes as a corporate finance major and continues to teach her family financial literacy.
Outside the classroom, Arias is a lead mentor for the invitation-only Bulls Business Community, meeting with ten first-year students regularly. She also has an executive position in Phi Chi Theta professional fraternity.
Katelyn Payne strives to put her best foot forward in everything she does – literally and figuratively. The business advertising and supply chain management double-major has been an Irish dancer for 14 years, a hobby that has helped her in areas where she doesn’t wear her dance shoes.
Payne says that performing as a dancer requires hours of practice, learning new skills, and displaying confidence when on stage. Being a leader at USF requires the same dedication and habits.
She embodies determination as a resident assistant for the Zimmerman Advertising Program Living-Learning Community, a teaching assistant, and a mentor for business living-learning community students. Payne’s role as a community creator on campus inspired her to add a minor in leadership studies. Payne is set to graduate as a King O’Neal Scholar, which recognizes undergraduate students who earn a degree with a 4.0 final grade point average.
In a competition through Ad Club, Payne was tasked with creating a campaign for
Vote.org targeting GenZ, encouraging students to vote by mail. Her team received a
Judges’ Choice award and an Audience Choice award, recognizing their creative and
Payne is also a student in the Business Honors Program, where she led a service
project during her first semester at USF. She and her peers worked with families at Mort
Elementary, a local Title I school, where she additionally tutored students in math and
Pankti Mehta is a senior finance major with a minor in computer science. Her diverse range of skills include research in Neuro-Machine Interaction along with Big Data Analytics and a publication in CSCW ’19 through the Association for Computing Machinery. Along with academic and research success, Mehta has a passion for leadership.
Mehta first discovered her leadership abilities through her role as an International Student Orientation Leader. In that role Mehta led a group of 15 international students from across the world as they made their transition to life at USF. Mehta feels strongly about committing to the community, she volunteers on the Student Government Advisory Board, the Stampede of Service, the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal, Hindu Student Council, JPMorgan Code for Good Hackathon, and Society of Women Engineers – Expo Committee.
Mehta worked in a group of four women to uncover statistics about waste produced in the dining halls on campus and sought out to improve numbers by proposing sustainability initiatives.
Despite the time commitment that these extra-curriculars require, Mehta has managed to maintain an impressive GPA as a member of the USF Honors College, as well as receiving a Global Citizen Award, Peace Corps Prep Award, Computing Research Association- Women Grace Hopper Celebration Research Scholar, Florida Bright Futures Academic Scholarship, and the USF Directors Award.
Mehta has accepted a full-time offer to serve as a corporate analyst from JPMorgan, a job that includes opportunities to participant in a two-year rotational program that will prepare her for a management position.
For Robert Schuster, every day is game day. That’s because the alumnus, who is also a student in the Vinik Sport & Entertainment Management program earning an MBA and an MS in Sport and Entertainment, has been preparing himself for a business career in the sports industry.
His first step into the proverbial arena came with a marketing internship at NuBoard Media Group, where he helps with sponsorship sales and fan-centric promotions for professional, college, and minor league sports teams, including the Miami Dolphins, Cleveland Cavaliers and Tampa Bay Lightning. During breaks, Schuster served as a GameDay Operations Assistant for Football University, a program that helps showcase young talent. And when the SuperBowl was held in Tampa this year, Schuster served as a captain for the community ambassador committee.
Now, as a graduate student, Schuster works part-time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, staffing the organization’s Ford F-150 Hall of Fame Club and supporting the member relations team. He also works part-time at OrangeTheory Fitness, serving in a sales and member relations role.
On campus, he is president of the Sports and Entertainment Management Association. His current activities are impressive but being involved in many organizations, often in leadership roles, is not new to Schuster. As an undergraduate student, Schuster served as an sports marketing intern for USF Athletics, handling a myriad of gameday promotions and fan-interaction tasks. He was also a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon social fraternity. He was named Mentor of the Year for the Bulls Business Community in 2017.
Lukas Oest came from Germany when he was 16 years old and learned quickly what it is like to change cultures. Over the past eight years – the majority of which he has spent at USF as an undergraduate and now a master’s degree in marketing candidate – Oest came to understand the importance of relationships and serving the institution that gives him the opportunity for an education.
“Sometimes,” he says, “we as individuals are impacted for decades through the relationships we develop, the resources we expose ourselves to, the causes we decide to invest our energy in, and the organizations that help us frame our ambitions.”
Now a graduate student, Oest earned a USF bachelor’s degree in marketing, graduating cum laude, in May 2019. Oest was named the spring 2019 Outstanding Graduate on the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus, where the then-undergraduate student was recognized in the 2019 Believe in Bulls publication.
Today, Oest is pursuing a master’s degree in marketing, focusing on digital marketing analytics. He serves as a graduate assistant but that is not his first job.
He worked in the marketing department at Florida Worldwide Citrus in Bradenton between 2019 and 2020, supporting the company’s marketing efforts and developing a branding strategy. There, he assisted in establishing business relationships with Germany, a key target market.
As a grad student, Oest remains involved on campus. He is a member of the Order of the Golden Brahman, the USF American Marketing Association and he participates in the Graduate Mentorship Program.
Ines Montano came to USF from Guatemala to major in finance with minors in marketing and Italian studies.
Montano was selected to join the Zimmerman Advertising Program as a freshman, and she later served as a mentor for the group. She has also served as the vice president of the Advertising Club for the past two years. As vice president, Montano played an essential role in hosting the first career fair in the Zimmerman School of Mass Communications and Advertising. When the pandemic hit, the fair was initially canceled. Montano took the initiative to try again, this time in a virtual format.
In addition to her participation in clubs, Montano holds two part-time jobs on campus. She works as the marketing director for the Center for Student Involvement as well as working as a tutor for student-athletes. Montano is a Certified Peer tutor and is constantly looking to expand her professional skills by attending workshops and training. In her role as marketing director, Montano launched a project that would allow the Center for Student Involvement to analyze the USF student body and use the information to create strategic marketing strategies. Montano was also heavily involved in implementing a marketing campaign that increased student engagement on social media by 52 percent.
Montano will graduate in the fall of 2021 with hopes to continue her education with a master’s degree in Italy. Montano speaks English, Spanish, and Italian and is also a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society.
Jeffery Arama dreamed about going to school in the United States since he was 15 years old. He is an international student from Cannes, located in Southeast France, one who will have an American finance degree in just a few weeks.
Arama is an active member of the Corporate Mentorship Program, the Student Investment Club, and the Finance Club. Arama has also worked as a Teaching Assistant under Professor Stephen Lappano.
Arama has participate in internship or other development programs with JPMorgan, Société General (Paris), and Citi Group and has been the recipient of scholarships including the Simone and Raymond Miklos Endowed Scholarship, the James R. Longstreet Endowed Memorial Scholarship in Finance, and the USF Accounting Honors Award.
In addition to his involvement at USF, Arama volunteers as a financial advisor and coordinator for the Huntsman Cancer Institute. That role includes assisting in organizing private events to raise money along with developing financial projects.
After graduation in May, Arama, who speaks English, French, Spanish, and some Portuguese, he will spend the summer in Chile working as a financial equity analyst for Singular, a Hedge Fund focused on Asset Management.
Arama won’t be there long as he plans to return to USF to earn a master’s degre in finance and he has already secured a graduate teaching assistant position. Along with his coursework and teaching roles, Arama will be preparing for the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA I) certification. Arama plans to pursue a career in investment banking after that.
When Mackenzie Lamm first arrived at USF, she made a vow to herself: to grow as a business professional and make a meaningful impact.
She entered USF as a member of the invitation-only Bulls Business Community, sharing both living and classroom spaces with other first-year business students. The program enhanced professionalism and networking through etiquette dinners and corporate tours. Through this initiative, she found her voice and today, is involved in HerCampus, an organization for women, by women. She is the junior editor for a team of 20 women and has written seven articles herself.
Lamm has grown her sales skills through internships and involvement in the USF Professional Sales Club. As a business development intern at BlueGrace Logistics, she generates prospective clients and maintains about 200 interactions through cold calling and emailing. As one of 20 students selected for KnowBe4’s Sales Career Accelerator Program, Lamm was the overall winner of the objection handling competition and her dedication to coachability has secured her a sales internship over the summer. In addition, through the USF Sales Club, she was the overall winner of the Selling with the Bulls competition and is joining its E-Board as chief marketing officer.
In her work-study job at the USF Office of Veterans Success, she has approved roughly 150 veterans and dependents to receive financial benefits for schooling. She says this role is rewarding to help those who have made sacrifices for this country.
Lamm will graduate in 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing with a concentration in sales and a minor in mass communications.
Mary Williams is a builder but she isn’t in the construction business. The finance major is building an alumni network via the USF Alumni Association – even before she graduates in May.
In 2020, Williams was selected to be part of the Order of the Golden Brahman, which aims to engage top students with alumni. The group needed a leader and she soon found herself creating a new mentorship program and fostering collaborations with groups such as the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement, USF’s Counseling Center, and the Bulls2Bulls Financial Education Center. She established a Roundtable Discussion Series, too.
Williams has been involved in student-facing groups, too. She is a Tampa Campus Council member for USF Student Government, has served as a resident assistant, been the treasurer of the Society of Women Engineers, and helped with a number of activities in the Judy Genshaft Honors College.
Williams considers communication and relationship building skills as essential parts in her professional toolbox, along with hands-on learning outside the classroom. She is an intern at Spring By Citi Institutional Clients Group at Citibank, helping smaller clients often overlooked by other banks. She previously interned with JPMorgan’s Corporate Analyst Department, working in the onboarding program. She interned with Crawfish Swim School, too, handling marketing and HR projects. She also worked as an activities assistant at the Pinellas Association for Retarded Citizens.
All of these skills and experiences will help her as she returns to CitiFinance as she has a full-time offer in its Financial Analyst Rotational Program.
Destiny Patterson credits mentors at the Muma College of Business’ Corporate Mentor Program with shaping her life after arriving at USF. Set to graduate in May 2021 with bachelor’s degrees in management and criminology with a GPA of 3.85, Patterson hopes to continue her education in law school. She exemplifies what it means to go beyond the classroom and on-campus activities.
Over her undergraduate years at USF, she worked with three different classes of eighth-grade students at Academy Prep, focusing on topics such as identifying personal strengths, money management, goal setting and time management. She served as the student assistant in the Corporate Mentor Program, allowing her to help other students. She joined Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay in her first year at USF and was paired with a 6-year-old “little sister” facing adversity, eventually forming a strong relationship with the child. When her charge moved out of state, Patterson got involved with the Guardian ad Litem program, where she advocates for children who are victims of abuse, abandonment or neglect. She still mentors children in that program today.
Closer to campus, Patterson is a member of Collegiate Leadership Tampa Bay, a selective program comprised of exceptional students from USF, the University of Tampa and St. Leo University and serves as community service chair of the National Council of Negro Women. She is the former vice president of the Pi Sigma Phi honor fraternity and served as a student member of The Washington Center, selected through a competitive interview process.
Meghana Nelluri came to USF to join the Judy Genshaft Honors College and pursue an accounting degree. It would be easy to make a joke about accounting, adding and multiplying when introducing Nelluri to a crowd because she seems to add to every goal she sets her eyes upon. And she seems to achieve her goals in less time than most.
Because of her love of learning, she decided to add a second degree to her goals. And then a minor. And then a second minor. Today, Nelluri is on track to graduate as a King O’Neal scholar (recognizing a 4.0 final undergraduate grade point average) with two bachelor’s degrees (accounting and business analytics with a concentration in cybersecurity) and two minors (economics and professional writing, rhetoric and technology). She will earn these degrees in three years to graduate as a Provost’s Scholar in 2022, at just 20 years old.
Though she is only a junior, Nelluri has already secured an internship with Deloitte, joining the Audit and Assurance group this summer.
Many might assume that this level of academic commitment would mean she has no time for leadership development or extracurricular activities. That’s not the case. Nelluri has served as a resident assistant, co-chaired the events committee for the Judy Genshaft Honors College Student Council and will continue as vice-president next year. She acted as student liaison in the Provost’s Scholars Program and volunteers at three non-profits: the Humane Society, Resilience, Inc. and Allen’s Home of Hope. She is also a mentor in organizations on and off campus.
A USF administrator called Spencer McCloskey an unselfishly reliable servant leader, lauding McCloskey for his work as a Student Government leader. Another praised the business analytics and information systems major for his negotiation skills as well as his critical thinking skills, his work ethic and his overall dedication to the university. One even rated McCloskey among the top students she has worked with – ever. That’s high praise.
Much of McCloskey’s service began with Student Government. He has served as a Tampa Campus Governor and he chaired the Campus Allocation Funding Committee, which allocates almost $18 million to student organizations campuswide. He was part of a team that developed a Diversity Council for SG as well as a team that worked to improve transparency and communications inside and outside of SG. But his service doesn’t stop there. McCloskey is a member of the USF Alumni Association’s Order of the Golden Brahman and serves as USF Ambassador. In 2019, he served as an Orientation Team Leader.
McCloskey is preparing to serve his country, too, as he is part of USF’s Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps. He is preparing for a career in the Air Force. Aside from his ROTC work, McCloskey taken advantage of business programs that will help advance his USAF career. The business analytics and information systems major is pursuing a minor in cybersecurity and has earned a Tableau Citizen Data Scientist certificate as well as an edX Certificate for SQL for Data Science.
A faculty member called Paula Souto Stefani detail-oriented, intelligent and ambitious when writing a reference letter for the dual major with a 3.9 GPA. Those adjectives could describe many students, the faculty member said, but what stands out is that Souto Stefani approached her management professor asking to conduct a research inquiry that looked at workplace wellness. Souto Stefani completed a literature review and sought to understand the role of leadership support and its impact on COVID-19 front-line healthcare workers. After that initial research, she networked with other faculty in the USF Taneja College of Pharmacy and soon submitted a $25,000 grant to continue the research. While the grant was not warded, she will present her initial findings at USF’s Undergraduate Research Conference. She envisions sharing findings with hospital administrators, too, to guide their actions related to employee care and well-being.
That curiosity, combined with her helpful and driven attitude, is part of what makes this international student stand out. Souto Stefani is also a volunteer for Feeding Tampa Bay, where she serves as a student ambassador and she helps with hands-on packing/sorting. Souto Stefani volunteers for the Hillsborough Education Foundation, helping in a teachers-only. Her resume also includes service as a fundraiser for A Seed Changes the World Project in her native Brazil and as a baker whose bake sale raised money for Doctors Without Borders.
Souto Stefani is part of a trio of students who are working on a startup, ShopSmart, as part of the USF Student Incubator Program. They are developing an app to help support sustainable businesses while addressing health concerns
Growing up in Belize, international student Sujie Chen knew it would be challenging to build a career with the lack of refined employment laws in her country. She believes that Belize has the potential to grow, especially with its future leaders, but lacks the support to develop its human resources. She wants to become a competitive asset in the workforce, so she moved abroad to pursue her degrees at USF.
When she first arrived at USF, she quickly became a research assistant and an undergraduate lab manager working with faculty within the same year. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 2018 and began working with JPMorgan Chase and Co. There, she was quickly acknowledged for her work ethics and performance. Chen is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Management at USF with a 4.0 GPA. She joined USF’s Graduate Mentorship Program where she proactively networked with leadership and global management Consulting professionals. She is often praised for being coachable, organized, and an eager learner – which she is currently exploring and completing a Data Analytics Certification by IBM. She is now working as the student director at the Student Innovation Incubator at USF Connect, where she mentors students in entrepreneurship and business development.
In addition to her professional and educational achievements, Chen is passionate about service in her community – whether it be home in Belize or locally in Tampa. It was a no-brainer for her to continue that service while at USF. She’s done cleanups, donation drives, even volunteering her time to spend with the elders in the Tampa Bay community. Chen has joined JPMorgan Chase’s GoodWorks Program to access even more volunteer opportunities. Her favorite volunteer experiences have been at the American Cancer Society.
Being both a first-generation American as well as first-generation college student, Francesca Arrigoni knows what it means to be self-sufficient. Understanding that she was limited in her initial resources, she decided she was going to investigate almost every professional development program offered by USF and the Muma College of Business. Through her grit and hard work, Arrigoni took advantage of every opportunity presented to her, one of the first ones being in the Corporate Mentor Program, where she was paired with a regional business leader and learned what it takes to be successful — beyond the technical skills.
Arrigoni has held numerous leadership roles in the American Marketing Association. From director of social impact to vice president of technology to treasurer, she continues to show growth. In these roles she helped facilitate the organization’s ranking as a Top 20 International Collegiate Chapter and obtainment of the Collegiate Website Award at the 2018 international conference.
With a craving to learn and a willingness to take on new challenges, Arrigoni sought out and was accepted into a study abroad internship in Italy as well as one in Switzerland. As an intern at the U.S. Embassy in Bern, Switzerland, she was involved in the Embassy’s everyday affairs, interacted with Swiss businesses interested in foreign investments, and acted as a direct representative of the United States when arranging visits with political officials.
As one of only nine students selected for the rigorous two-semester Applied Securities Analysis course, Arrigoni oversaw the $600,000 USF Student Managed Investment Fund, allowing her to showcase her skills by pitching stock analysis and projections to a panel of 25 professional investors.
William Atterbury knows that determination and hard work leads to future choices and opportunities.
Determination led him to obtain an undergraduate degree in finance followed by a pursuit of a master’s degree in entrepreneurship, all while serving in a leadership role with USF’s football team.The offensive guard was three-year starter for the Bulls and eventually served as team captain. Balancing a 40-plus-hour practice schedule with a loaded academic schedule takes dedication and strict time-management skills. Even with this schedule, Atterbury frequently travels to elementary schools and attends events hosted by USF Athletics to promote athletics to kids. He also meets with high school football teams to talk about his experience and challenges in pursuing football in college.
Hard work led Atterbury to two exceptional internships. He interned alongside a financial advisor at Westshore Financial, where he learned about the financial planning industry, sat in on client meetings and attended job training seminars. Atterbury later served as an intern with Dais Analytic Corporation. There, he worked with both the finance department and the research and development department. He conducted in-depth research into a new product line and organized a marketing strategy for the product line. With his exceptional communication skills, Atterbury also created a marketing pitch for various manufacturers, proving that he has a willingness to take on new challenges and succeed in doing so.
Now, a full two months before graduation, Atterbury has a choice to make. He has been offered a full-time position with Fortune 500 insurance firm Western & Southern, pending 215 licensure. Two football teams have also reached out to him to talk about potential opportunities in the NFL.
Struggle doesn’t define a person; triumph does. Brittanie Bakken took her hardships and turned them into lessons, using them to strengthen her character. Growing up in a financially insecure household, she knew that attending college wasn’t going to be easy. Nevertheless, her perseverance and dedication to her goals allowed her to triumph.
She participated in a dual-enrollment program in high school and earned an associate’s degree in leadership development from Valencia Community College. She was the first dual-enrollment student to have ever been accepted into the school’s Seneff Honors College, paving the way for future high school students. In this program, Bakken was frequently on the dean’s list and was quickly accepted into Phi Beta Kappa, all while accumulating around 200 hours of volunteer service.
At USF, Bakken has jumped right into student life. She has been involved in a variety of campus organizations, including Women in Business Society, the American Marketing Association, USF Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals student roundtable, Sigma Alpha Lambda Honors Society, the National Society of Leadership and Success and Phi Sigma Theta National Honors Society. Due to her strong work ethic and professional growth, Bakken was awarded both the Francis Elvidge Memorial Scholarship and the Joel Reedy Memorial Scholarship. This aid helped her to become the first college graduate in her family to graduate debt-free.
Bakken is in her final semester of graduate school. She serves as the senior marketing chair for the USF Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals student roundtable. She also works as graduate teaching assistant for Principles of Management. She will earn an MBA in May.
At age five, he got his first tennis racket. At age ten, he won his first national championship. As an international student athlete, Igor Bampa Schattan followed his love for tennis to the United States to pursue a degree in finance with a concentration in asset management.
His undergraduate career began at Lee University, a small liberal arts campus located in Cleveland, Tennessee. At LU, Schattan helped organize and run a tennis summer camp for 200 children with disabilities, a role that put on full display the lack of opportunities for children who are disabled. This challenged him to find innovative ways to teach the game to enthusiastic young athletes.
After two years at LU, Schattan transferred to USF. Soon, he found himself teaching his peers about business and professional development through the game of tennis. As a Corporate Mentor Program participant, he met with his program coordinator and USF’s director of tennis to propose a tennis workshop for fellow students in the program. With nearly 20 attendees in the fall, he is excited to expand the project in the spring semester.
The networking that the Corporate Mentor Program provided led him to an internship opportunity at Franklin Templeton and the mentoring helped him become a more well-rounded business student.
Schattan was one of the students in the Student Managed Investment Fund in fall 2019. Through the program, he learned to make smart investment decisions and gained hands-on experience that will help him achieve his goals of working in investment banking or private wealth management.
While Raymond Cordova knew he wanted to go to college, he had no idea what he wanted to be or what major to declare. He started out in USF’s Zimmerman Advertising Program, though family members suggested he study accounting since he had an aptitude with numbers. Neither was a fit.
Fortunately, Cordova discovered the U.S. Air Force ROTC. Though Cordova had no military background, the program appealed to him. He liked the leadership training concept. He liked the idea of service. He liked the idea of rising to meet challenges. Cordova says that field training was physically and intellectually challenging. It was overwhelming and stressful and it tested one’s ability to lead in demanding training scenarios.
It was a whole new world. Cordova was all in.
Cordova received the Commander’s Leadership Scholarship, a full scholarship awarded to two cadets in his first year (with the understanding of military service upon graduation). He moved into the ROTC living-learning community and served as a resident assistant for two years, planning events, dealing with crises, enabling student success.
Cordova was awarded the George Washington Purple Heart Leadership medal (a national leadership award given annually for displaying exemplary leadership). He received the AFROTC achievement award and the AFROTC academic honors award. Cordova also received a Military Order of the World Wars bronze medal, which recognizes those who embody the characteristics of an honorable cadet.
Now a deputy operations commander, Cordova says he discovered that the skills needed for success in the ROTC program are the same skills marketing sales leaders need. His immediate career goal is to obtain a commission as a second lieutenant. He was selected to fly remotely piloted aircraft.
Google Emily Dachs’ name and a few things become apparent: She is passionate about the Tampa Bay Lightning, she loves USF and she has been preparing herself for a career with the National Hockey League since, well, forever.
Before enrolling in the Vinik Sport & Entertainment Management Program, Dachs earned two USF undergraduate degrees, one in mass communications with a public relations concentration and one in marketing with an emphasis on sport and entertainment management. She had six internships under her belt before graduation, including stints as a PR/communications intern for the Hillsborough County Bar Association, as a marketing director for the HOT band (where she also played the baritone) and as a communications intern for the business school.
Additionally, Dachs worked for the USF Ice Bulls hockey team, handling social media and graphic design, and held a job in digital marketing with Color Clutch, a local small business. That company was sold and her supervisor moved on to a new role at Hanlon Acoustical Ceilings. She brought Dachs along with her to the fast-growing company, tasking Dachs with marketing strategy. Few things speak louder about a supervisor’s trust in one’s abilities.
Now a first-year graduate student in USF’s dual-degree MBA and MS in the Vinik Sport & Entertainment Management Program, Dachs still works part-time at the ceiling company. She is a member of Women in Sport & Entertainment Tampa Bay, a group that focuses on the professional development of women in the male-dominated industry. And she is still working toward her dream of a corporate career with the NHL.
Derisma joined the U.S. Army as a high school senior. There, he spent four years in an infantry unit learning about land reconnaissance, battlefield communication and teamwork in times of exceptional stress. Despite the rigorous physical training and demanding schedule, Derisma started his college career at about the same time, completing two years of college while on active duty. He slept less than four hours a night for two years but says his diligence paid off as his grades never slipped during that time. He currently has a 3.43 GPA.
He says his motivation for excellence comes from being raised in an immigrant family. He also says the military taught him lessons he is now using as co-president of the USF Real Estate Society, a student organization with 400 members. Derisma helped arrange corporate tours, brought in guest speakers and led meetings. He believes real estate is critical to the overall economy, and also complex – which coupled with what he calls a “low-yield economic environment” for fixed-income investors – can lead to an oversupply in the property markets as investors search for higher yield. He says students need to learn as much as they can from their classes while also gleaning insight from experienced professionals.
Though Derisma is no longer an infantryman, he is still working while attending school. He is a commercial real estate development analyst, working full-time and learning different methodologies regarding the real estate investment process, municipality regulatory process, financial modeling,
Derisma plans to pursue a master’s degree next. He has already been accepted into schools such as Georgetown University, New York University and the University of California, Berkeley.
Timothy Ernest is a servant leader who is an honor student in two colleges, a student researcher, a teaching assistant and an active community volunteer. He aspires to be a physician, so he became a Certified Nursing Assistant while pursuing a degree in biomedical sciences, conducting research and shadowing doctors. He believes that doctors must also understand business, so he decided to pursue a second degree in marketing.
As an undergraduate research assistant in the Natural Products Discovery Lab, Ernest worked for a team dedicated to lead generation for new medicines. He worked alongside faculty on several biomedical research projects. He has submitted a handful of papers for publication in the Permanente Journal.
Ernest also served as a research assistant at Shriners Hospital for Children, scientific research conducting scientific research related to quality improvement. He was able to present his findings related to service barriers to the hospital’s leadership team and will present his work with pediatric outpatient clinic appointments at the Academy of Health’s conference in June.
On campus, Ernest landed a spot on a student advisory board for College of Arts & Sciences, serves as a GloBull Ambassador and has served as the campus president for Relay for Life, a fundraising event that honors cancer survivors and provides an avenue to remember loved ones who died from cancer.
An Eagle Scout who calls community service “cherished opportunities,” Ernest has volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge, the Humane Society and Moffitt Cancer Center. The cancer center named him its Student Volunteer of the Year in 2019. Ernest says that such service helped him see what effective, compassionate medicine looks like.
For many, immigrating to the United States to start a new life and attend college in the United States is a remarkable dream. Maria Lorena Morales Ferrebus has made it a reality.
She had to learn English first. She did. Challenging herself through dual enrollment and AP courses during her senior year after moving to America just two years prior, she graduated high school with straight As. Proving dreams come true with discipline, courage and determination, Morales received several USF and community scholarships.
A resident assistant, Columbia Restaurant flamenco dancer, Corporate Mentor Program participant and climate activist, Morales will soon graduate with a degree in business analytics and information systems and a minor in environmental policy.
Morales’ devotion to the environment began after witnessing the effects of oil spills on her hometown, Maracaibo, Venezuela. At USF, she has found her passion and learned how she can make a difference advocating for the planet while encouraging people to take climate action. In the past year, she has traveled to Washington, D.C. and Tallahassee to lobby for environmental concerns. She has also attended conferences addressing sustainability, carbon pricing, climate action and climate policy. Notably, she has been an invited panel speaker for two conferences.
One of her proudest accomplishments at USF is her founding of the Climate Action Coalition, a student organization with 88 active members that has hosted lobbying trips, professional speaker series and environmental awareness campaigns. Ultimately, Morales’ objectives is the building of sustainable, resilient grids for communities with the capability of reducing CO2 emissions and increasing quality of life.
A senior majoring in finance with a minor in economics, Cristiano Fernandes Filho is a tutor at the USF Academic Success Center, helping others succeed in often-dreaded economics, finance and statistics courses. He says the chance to help his peers was challenging and rewarding.
That experience gave Fernandes a taste of service and student involvement. He wanted more.
Fernandes joined the USF Brazilian Student Association aiming to connect with fellow Brazilian students and help others excel academically and grow professionally. In his first semester with the association, Fernandes helped plan and organize the first Brazil-Florida Student Conference, an event that joined students from Florida universities with guest speakers to discuss the importance of entrepreneurship, health, and professional development. His important contributions to the conference were such that, just one month later, Fernandes was elected the president of the largest Brazilian student organization in the country.
The following summer, Fernandes completed an internship with Citi on its financial planning and analysis team. This fast-paced, dynamic environment demanded critical thinking and excellent communication skills, qualities he perfected with the Brazilian Student Association. After his internship, Fernandes joined the USF Student Managed Investment Fund. As one of nine student analysts co-managing the fund, he has pitched stocks to Raymond James portfolio managers, USF leaders and board members from the USF Foundation. Fernandes has discovered a cornucopia of resources to give back to his community while developing academic and professional skills. He will graduate as one of a handful of students to receive the CFA Program Student Scholarship. Fernandes will sit for the CFA Level I exam in June.