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Why I Roar: Celebrating graduating Jaguars

We asked graduating IUPUI students what has motivated them to cross the finish line this spring, and they have shared stories of perseverance, determination and passion. In celebration of the class of 2022, here are some of the responses we received.

Bri Youn. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University. Bri Youn. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University.Bri Youn

School: O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs

Degree: Bachelor of Science in public affairs

Hometown: Danville, Pennsylvania

“My daughter has been by far my biggest motivation to not only finish, but also start. I promised myself that when Emma started school, so would I. Oddly enough, we both started on the same day, and even took a ‘first day’ picture together.

“I remember being a nervous wreck walking into my first class, with a spilled coffee and forgotten notebook. I opened my bag and saw a picture she drew of me on campus with a big heart around it, and I haven’t looked back ever since. She has continued to be my biggest cheerleader to this day!”

What’s next after graduation?

“I plan to finish my MPA, concentrating in policy analysis. This would further support my career aspirations of marrying my passion for research and policy with my forever love of education. I ultimately want to make sustainable change in my community for those who are less privileged, but not any less talented. However, first and foremost, I am going to take a ‘last day’ picture with my daughter!”

Genesis Castillo. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University. Genesis Castillo. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University.Genesis Castillo

School: School of Health and Human Sciences

Degree: Bachelor of Science in tourism, events and sports management

Hometown: Indianapolis

“I have always been motivated to get my degree since I was young. Unfortunately, I started out in a major that I wasn’t really passionate about. … I spent six years in that major constantly trying to succeed, only finding that I wasn’t into it at all. So I looked for a path that called to my skills and interest.

“From the very first class, I was intrigued and drawn into the event and tourism world. It has been the best decision I could have made. I’ve learned that I can do literally anything if I work hard enough and am passionate about it. I learned that I wasn’t a failure; I was only in the wrong place.”

What’s next after graduation?

“I currently work at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. I started there in 2020 as an intern and have been able to secure a full-time position after graduation.”

Dylan Nesty. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University. Dylan Nesty. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University.Dylan Nesty

School: IU School of Dentistry

Degree: Doctor of Dental Surgery

Hometown: Brazil, Indiana

“My parents and my wife are my biggest motivators. They constantly push me to take challenges head-on and to be the best person I can be in life, and for my patients as well.”

What’s next after graduation?

“I will be completing a two-year residency in pediatric dentistry at Riley Hospital for Children. I’m super excited to provide great quality care to the amazing kids at Riley!”

Samantha Stettler. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University. Samantha Stettler. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University.Samantha Stettler

School: Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health

Degree: Bachelor of Science in health services management

Hometown: McCordsville, Indiana

“I have had many people who have inspired me to cross the finish line this semester – one of them being my grandma, who was undergoing cancer treatments at the beginning of the semester. She is the main reason I want to graduate, and I want her to be there with me!

“I’m also thankful for my advisor, Kayla, for being so helpful to me this semester. She helped me reach my full potential as a student through the Undergraduate Student Association.”

What’s next after graduation?

“My plans for after graduation would be to work in a hospital or medical practice as a patient service representative.”

Megan Mutnansky. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University. Megan Mutnansky. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University.Megan Mutnansky

School: School of Liberal Arts

Degree: Bachelor of Science in medical humanities and health studies

Hometown: Brownsburg, Indiana

“It was really a lot of self-motivation so I can really push forward to get my career started. I am in the military, so I have had lots of training and was deployed during my time in college as an emergency COVID-19 response. I also really wanted to be a good example for my little sister and brother.”

What’s next after graduation?

“I plan on getting married, moving with my husband to his base (he is also in the military), and then going through the military PA program to become a trauma surgery PA.”

Whitney Grimes. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University. Whitney Grimes. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University.Whitney Grimes

School: Kelley School of Business

Degree: Bachelor of Science in marketing and international business

Hometown: Indianapolis

“I’ve had some wonderful professors in the Kelley School of Business that have motivated me throughout the years, but my main drivers are without a doubt my husband and children. I want to show our kids that when you set out to do something, you finish it. There will be challenges along the way, but nothing worth having comes easy. I want to be a living example of that for the people I love, and even before that, I want to be that for myself, to remind myself that I am resilient and capable of anything I put my mind to with the backing of my faith, family and friends.”

What’s next after graduation?

“I have been incredibly blessed to have already been offered a consulting position at Accenture and will start that role soon after graduation. I will also be pursuing my master’s degree in data analytics at Butler University beginning this summer.”

Brendan Forester. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University. Brendan Forester. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University.Brendan Forester

School: Herron School of Art and Design

Degree: Bachelor of Fine Arts in visual communication

Hometown: Lebanon, Indiana

“I think that my motivation for finishing my degree is to have a physical representation of my abilities. I want people to know that I am capable of more than what they may think. Having the support from my advisor, Adam Siurek, has been really beneficial, especially this last semester. He has always been extremely helpful and willing to answer any questions when I may be uncertain.”

What’s next after graduation?

“At the end of last fall, I was offered the chance to be a part of the Orr Fellowship. I accepted and am excited to grow with this wonderful opportunity. The Orr Fellowship is an amazing organization that offers recent graduates a guaranteed full-time job after graduation, along with many networking opportunities. I have been working part time with gener8tor and will work full time beginning in June. I will be working as a visual and brand designer.”

Julia Cilleruelo Fernandez del Moral. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University. Julia Cilleruelo Fernandez del Moral. Photo by Liz Kaye, Indiana University.Julia Cilleruelo Fernandez del Moral

School: Purdue School of Engineering and Technology

Degree: Bachelor of Science in energy engineering

Hometown: Madrid, Spain

“My family, especially my parents and my sister, has been my biggest motivation. I was the first one in my family to ever study outside of Spain. IUPUI was incredibly helpful, welcoming and giving, which allowed me to come here. I wanted to make them proud and show that you truly can follow your dreams.”

What’s next after graduation?

“I will be joining Cummins’ Indianapolis office as a communication specialist, focused on their environmental strategies, which I am very excited about. I am also hoping to stay involved with IUPUI as a proud alumna.”

Graduation cap. Photo by Chris Meyer, Indiana University.
Story Category: Campus News

From 19 to 79, IUPUI grads look ahead to the future