Cruise Ships, China and Company Leadership Lay Ahead for UT Grads

Published: May 7, 2013
On May 11, UT will have 1,172 new alumni to call its own.
On May 11, UT will have 1,172 new alumni to call its own.
Kristen Mathe ’13 will be spending her post-commencement time sailing on a cruise ship coordinating art auctions.
Kristen Mathe ’13 will be spending her post-commencement time sailing on a cruise ship coordinating art auctions.
Juan Pablo Bejarano ’13 hopes to pass the last two of three exams to become a fully licensed financial advisor and continue his work fulltime with a Tampa financial firm.
Juan Pablo Bejarano ’13 hopes to pass the last two of three exams to become a fully licensed financial advisor and continue his work fulltime with a Tampa financial firm.
McKay Ellis ’13 will fly to China to teach English to elementary school students.
McKay Ellis ’13 will fly to China to teach English to elementary school students.
Kristen Mathe ’13 will be spending her post-commencement time sailing on a cruise ship coordinating art auctions. McKay Ellis ’13 will fly to China to teach English to elementary school students. Juan Pablo Bejarano ’13 hopes to pass the last two of three exams to become a fully licensed financial advisor and continue his work fulltime with a Tampa financial firm.

Their paths are varied but their launching point is the same. They’ll join 1,169 other degree candidates on Saturday, May 11, at the Tampa Bay Times Forum for UT’s 134th commencement.

Four years at The University of Tampa have given them each an experience to last a lifetime.

“I absolutely love UT,” said Mathe, of Ellicott City, MD. “I’ve had a lot of opportunities here that I wouldn’t have had elsewhere.”

Opportunities like attending leadership retreats, working as the Annual Fund intern, participating in her sorority and holding a board-level position with Student Productions beginning her sophomore year. Mathe served three years as the Student Productions music chair, booking and bringing in big-name musicians for the annual Party in the Park. “Basically, I found what I love to do.”

Mathe, an art major, enjoys working with artists and agents, and loved seeing the months of her and her team’s planning come to fruition in the happiness of hundreds of students enjoying the spring concert. She’s applied for an internship with the Creative Artist Agency this summer before her job begins with Park West Gallery, an outside contractor that works with cruise ship lines to provide art auction services.

Mathe will be an associate art auctioneer working six-month contracts on different cruise lines, travelling the world.

Ellis, a government and world affairs major, is following up her Fall 2012 internship with the United Nations in Geneva by heading to China for a year to work with Buckland International teaching English and western culture in rural China, while at the same time learning Mandarin Chinese and Asian culture.

Ellis traveled to Thailand last summer on a PEACE alternative break trip, an experience she said really had an impact on her. Her goal is to develop a thesis for graduate school and eventually join the Foreign Service.

“I think I need an experience like China in my life now, coming from my UT bubble,” said Ellis, who spent this spring semester interning in U.S. Representative Kathy Castor’s office. “I feel like it’s going to be amazing.”

Ellis, of Jacksonville, FL, said she is graduating UT with a host of memories, not the least of which is falling down those steep Plant Hall stairs numerous times.

“The school has so much to offer, but you have to put yourself out there,” said Ellis, who loved living on campus. “A lot of my opportunities were awarded to me because of my involvement with extracurricular activities.”

Bejarano, who is originally from Bogota, Colombia, knows about extracurricular activities as well. His first two years he played for UT’s men’s soccer team. He also was involved in the UT Entrepreneurs and recently started his own delivery company, FetchMe.com. Bejarano started at UT as a biology major because he thought he wanted to be a dentist like his mother and two sisters. When he realized late that he enjoyed the business aspect of dentistry rather than the science, he changed paths.

While he graduates with an exercise science degree, Bejarano has spent this past semester working at a local financial firm and studying to become a licensed financial advisor. He hopes to keep growing his business and eventually open a family dental practice in Miami.

“Fetch Me has already taught me a great deal about time management and how to deal appropriately with customers,” Bejarano said. “It has also taught me something that is very valuable in a business and that is how to be a leader and not just a boss. It’s absolutely awesome to be your own boss, even at this small level.”

For more information, go to www.ut.edu/commencement or read this recent press release on Spring 2012 commencement. Tweet about commencement using #utampa.

Commencement by the Numbers:
Total number of graduates (Spring/Summer 2013) = 1,172
Countries represented: 58
Percent of graduates from Florida = 44.7

Undergraduates:
Total Bachelor’s degree candidates = 1,008
Summa cum Laude (GPA 4.0) = 2
Magna cum Laude (GPA 3.75–3.99) = 68
Cum Laude (GPA 3.5–3.74) = 154
Top 3 most popular undergraduate majors = Communication, Psychology, Criminology

Graduate Students:
Total Master’s candidates = 164
With Honors (GPA 3.9–3.99) = 2
With Highest Honors (GPA 4.0) = 5
MBAs awarded = 88