Devan Bolden grew up on the westside of Jacksonville where he often faced adversity. He began working at the age of 14 out of necessity. Schooling was looked down upon among many of his peers and was considered a prison rather than a way out. Despite all those formidable challenges, Bolden escaped the hard streets and was accepted into the University of South Florida.
As a first-year student, Bolden worked three jobs to pay for his education while maintaining diligence in his academic duties. Soon after he began to focus more on developing his desired career in marketing rather than holding multiple steady jobs. Being the recipient of the Florida Academic Scholars Bright Futures scholarship helped defray some of the costs of attending a university.
Since then he has held leadership and marketing roles with USF Ambassadors, Alpha Phi Alpha, Alpha Kappa Psi, the USF Black Students Union and FACES Modeling Troupe. Bolden also served as a marketing intern for GTE Financial where he conducted several extensive marketing projects over the course of eight months. He now is poised to graduate in May 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. He has an overall grade-point average of 3.65.
Bolden is grateful for the career and personal growth opportunities he has had while at USF and looks forward to expanding upon them in the future.
Kelsy Letko is a student and leader who has committed herself to creating a positive impact on her community at USF. She is just as committed to her academics and has been recognized on the Dean’s List each semester for maintaining a 4.0 grade-point average.
As a sophomore in the Bulls Business Community, Letko serves as a peer mentor. In this position she offers advice on professional development, academics and campus involvement to her five mentees and does her part to ensure that these first-year students are as successful as possible.
Letko also volunteers as the graphic designer and community champion for USF’s Relay for Life Committee where she makes efforts to get others in the Tampa Bay community involved with the American Cancer Society’s signature fundraising event.
Letko strives to bring a brighter future through her actions as the director of marketing and public relations for Intellectual Decisions on Environmental Awareness Solutions at USF. Her efforts with IDEAS include a mission to install recycling bins in every dorm room on campus, initiating environmental volunteer opportunities for other students and spreading awareness of environmental issues in her community.
In 2016, Letko was the USF recipient of the GEICO Achievement Award, a prestigious scholarship that recognizes students for academic success and strong community involvement.
Luis Duque’s mother relocated his family from Colombia with the hope of a better life for herself and her son. However, with her consistently changing jobs, it was hard for Duque to be able to call any place his home.
With only temporary friendships and no role models, Duque had little interest in school and it wasn’t until after high school, Duque decided to begin his journey to further his education at Hillsborough Community College. His life-changing moment came when he woke up one morning in his car, homeless. It was then, he formulated the goals that he now is on the verge of achieving.
He received his associate’s degree and transferred to USF, where he was accepted into the USF Corporate Mentor Program. He excelled and will graduate in 2017 with a grade-point average of 3.57.
His involvement with the Information Systems & Decision Sciences Department got him twice selected for a social media analytics research project with Bank of America Merrill Lynch. He now works as a data consultant and a social media analyst for Enterprise Media in the monitoring department. Currently, he helps mentor new ISDS Bank of America interns.
Duque’s hard work and dedication has not only helped him excel at a young age but has also given him the platform to keep succeeding and reaching new goals.
Priscilla Luong has come out her shell since coming to the Muma College of Business, where she expects to graduate in the spring of 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in finance and a minor in economics. She has an overall grade-point average of 3.76, but that’s only part of her story.
She often takes six classes a semester and when she receives her diploma, she will be just 20 years old.
Luong’s involvement in the Corporate Mentor Program was key in her emerging as an academic standout and instilled in her a deep sense of self confidence. She was paired with a T.Rowe Price vice president who encouraged her to step out of her comfort zone and pursue experiences she had been putting off, like studying abroad.
She did just that and found that traveling to foreign lands to study was an extremely rewarding experience, allowing her to initiate conversations with strangers, something she had been reluctant to do, and talking easily with professionals in her field of study. She dedicated her time to excelling in class and working as a teaching assistant, while attending a three-hour GMAT class twice a week. She currently works 25 hours a week as an intern in the retail account management department at T.Rowe Price while carrying a full load of classes. She recently accepted a job offer in Maryland where T.Rowe Price is headquartered, beginning in June.
She began peer-leading an academic foundations class for first-year students transitioning into university life. There, she was able to make connections to students, with whom she continues to stay in touch. She says she is rewarded when she sees her mentees establish themselves by joining organizations and some running for student government.