Opportunity Scholars gathered students, family, and mentors for a celebration of their Fall 2021 graduates. The evening started with an official presentation where each graduate was presented with a special stole, lei, and leather folder imprinted with the program logo.
Graduates then spoke of their gratitude to the program and the donors who helped to make their education possible. There was a strong focus on the support, mentorship, and community that the Opportunity Scholars program provides.
“I lived under the fallacy that I was alone in this experience,” said Alvaro Jr. Martinz, Finance BS. “I didn’t think I could talk to people around me, that they wouldn’t understand what I was going through. Opportunity Scholars changed that for me.”
The theme of being open and communicating continued as each graduate offered advice to their fellow students on the best way to complete their education.
“It feels like it was just yesterday that I met with Rich and Latu for the first time. I didn’t understand the sacrifices that [getting my degree] would take, but I found my people with Opportunity Scholars,” said Marianna Iniguez, Accounting BS. “Make the journey your own and enjoy it. Slow down, enjoy, and make time for yourself.”
Many spoke of their gratitude to their families.
“I did this for my parents and for all the other women in my culture who aren’t encouraged to go to school,” shared Tejaswini Gangnrasegowda, Information Systems BS. “You can do it, too. Be vulnerable and open.”
“When things got hard in my journey, I imagined my father coming to a different country where no one talks like you or looks like you,” said Ahmad Hararah, BS Communication. “Opportunity Scholars teaches us to bring our cultures with us and never forget where we come from. I am inspired to one day have an impact on others as you have had on me. One day, I hope to get some of that donor money and come back.”
Aloha leadership is a strong thread in the Opportunity Scholars program and the evening radiated the love that it represents.
“Use love in everything you do — for yourself, your community and family, and in business,” Program Director Rich Kaufusi told students. “It will bring peace to your life.”
Congratulations to our Opportunity Scholars graduates:
- Yamuna Adhikari, Management BS, Information Systems BS
- Rachel Butterfield, Management BS
- Valerie Lynn Doucette, Accounting BS
- Tejaswini Cholapura (Teju) Ganganarasegowda, Information Systems BS
- Ezequiel Garcia, Marketing BS
- Yulissa Garcia, Operations & Supply Chain BS
- Puspa Gautam, Accounting BS
- Ahmad Hararah, Communication BS
- Mariana G Iniguez, Accounting BS
- Alvaro Junior Martinez, Finance BS
- Aaron Alexander Ponce Naranjo, Psychology BS
- Alexis Topacio, Business Administration BS
The goal of the Opportunity Scholars Program at the Eccles School is to support and enhance the educational experience of first-generation business students as they progress toward graduation. For more information, visit Eccles.Link/opportunity-scholars.