Employed UT Graduates Yelp with Glee

Published: May 8, 2014
More than 1,100 UT students will become UT alumni at the University’s 138th commencement on May 10 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
More than 1,100 UT students will become UT alumni at the University’s 138th commencement on May 10 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
More than 1,100 UT students will become UT alumni at the University’s 138th commencement on May 10 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. Some are heading to jobs at Blackstone Group, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young and Stonehenge Growth Equity Partners. Some are being commissioned as officers in the U.S. military. Others are volunteering the next two years in the name of international development and friendship.

When Lauren Manke ’14 walks across the stage on Saturday, she’ll be leaving behind a healthy legacy at UT. Manke was a driving force in eliminating the use of all tobacco products on campus except in designated smoking zones, which is one step closer to making UT an entirely smoke-free campus.

Manke was student coordinator for Breathe Easy UT, a Live Well at UT initiative that championed the policy change.

“I’d like to think I’ve made an impact,” said Manke, of Chicago. “I’d love to see campus smoke-free, but I know I’m leaving (the initiative) in good hands.”

Manke, a public health major with minors in exercise science and sociology, was hired by Verizon as a health and wellness fitness consultant. She’ll be based in Tampa teaching group fitness classes and providing health education to the company’s employees.

“It’s bittersweet that I’m graduating, but I’m ready to go,” Manke said. “I’ll miss UT but I have fond memories.”

Managers at Yelp contacted Jonathan Brailsford ’14, of Long Island, NY, after seeing his resume on HireUT, the online career management system offered by Career Services. He sailed through the three interviews because of a case study he researched in Assistant Professor Dean Koutroumanis’ hospitality management class.

Koutroumanis developed the case from research he completed with assistant professors Amy Brownlee and Yun-Oh Whang on creating social media promotional strategies in casual dining restaurants. Brailsford was fascinated by the Groupon concept and the case study, which showed that it isn’t enough to create value with Groupon, but rather, managers need to know how to capture that value.

Brailsford, an entrepreneurship major, was able to parlay his knowledge gained in Koutroumanis’ course during his interviews with Yelp, an online business review website.

“I was able to talk about the experience from the end user perspective but also from the business and sales perspectives,” said Brailsford, who will move to New York City this May to begin his career.

Jessica Gores ’14 will soon move from her Stuart, FL, home to a developing country, destination yet unknown. Gores has been accepted to the Peace Corps and is just awaiting her assignment.

“I love languages, culture and helping others,” said Gores. “I also love to travel.”

Gores hopes to apply her economics major to business development efforts within her Peace Corps assignment.

“I’m also looking forward to learning something new and being in a place long enough to get the feel for the day-to-day life,” Gores said. “I’m ready to be immersed in that life.”

Mariana Herrera ’14 heads to Washington, D.C., after commencement to continue an internship with the Republican National Committee that she held last summer as well, providing event-planning services. Herrera, a government and world affairs major with a minor in French, spent this spring semester interning with Sen. Marco Rubio’s local office.

“I enjoy event planning and analyzing policy,” said Herrera, of Pensacola, FL, who was just last week in D.C. lobbying with other students for Greek life issues. She was the only member of the Delta Zeta sorority nationally chosen to join the Fraternity and Sorority Political Action Committee with the North-American Interfraternity Conference.

The 1,163 graduating students at Saturday’s commencement will include 956 bachelor’s degree candidates and 207 master’s degree candidates. There are six undergraduates graduating summa cum laude (a perfect 4.0 GPA), which is a University record.

Ariel Acosta-Rubio, a member of UT’s class of 1984 and founder and CEO of CHURROMANIA®, will give the address. For more information on commencement, go to www.ut.edu/commencement.


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