In their own words, graduating seniors talk about their most memorable moments during their time at the university.
With the 2019 Commencement weeks away, GW Today has asked members of the Class of 2019 to reflect on their time at the George Washington University.
Here is the first group of seniors sharing moments that mattered to them:
Hometown: Las Vegas
Degree: B.A. in political science (minor in journalism/mass communication)
Post-graduation: Continue working full-time as an associate at the Klein/Johnson Group, a bipartisan lobbying and consultant group
While my time at GW has been filled with many “only-at-GW” moments in and out of the classroom, the one that I will remember most was listening to The Washington Post’s Jason Rezaian during my freshman year. Rezaian, The Washington Post journalist who had been held hostage in Iran for 544 days, spoke in Professor Patricia Phalen’s “Media in a Free Society” course. At the time Rezaian was an SMPA Terker fellow.
Listening to him honestly speak about his experience and the power of a free press was inspiring. I will never forget how he was so positive and upbeat despite the horrific experience that he had been through just one year earlier.
I’ve been lucky to listen to, interact with and work for many people in D.C. while being a GW student. Listening to Rezaian tell his story is a moment I will never forget. His experience will always remind me that there are real-world, human impacts to journalism and public policy.
Hometown: Melbourne, Florida
Degree: B.S. in computer science
Post-graduation: Travel the country visiting diners this summer—“kind of like Guy Fieri but cooler”—and search for full-time positions as a data or software engineer
One of the coolest GW memories was probably the first men’s basketball game I went to here as a freshman. We played the University of Virginia, and that was the year we won. All the other times we’ve played UVA, we’ve gotten completely smashed, but we won by five points. It was tight the entire way, and then the last two minutes were just crazy.
It was nice because I’m really into basketball, and it was a whiteout. I’m a Miami Heat fan and they do whiteouts, so it was cool to be at a college game doing the same thing. The crowd was really into it.
It was fun to be with the few friends that I had made at that point and just enjoy everybody’s company. I had only been at school for a few weeks, and it was one of those things that really felt like—OK, I’m at college, and this is a community.
I’ve gone to a lot of basketball games since that one, but that one was hands down the best.
Hometown: Eden Prairie, Minn.
Degree: B.S. in systems engineering with minors in computer science and political science
Post-graduation: Working for Deloitte in Rosslyn doing federal sector strategy operations
I helped bring back the GW Robotics Team, which was a lot of fun. The team went to the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) competition that first year and designed an underwater vehicle. They made a mini submarine that went around and picked things up. We pulled everything together in just a few months and had to buy parts and equipment, so we didn’t have enough funding for everyone to go. I stayed behind.
The competition didn’t go as well as we had hoped, but we won a design excellence award, which was so fulfilling. We were all freshmen, except for one senior who was just trying to help us out—we had no idea what we were doing.
Having the team come back and show me a trophy that we actually won was the coolest thing. Now as graduation approaches, we’re tapering out and letting the next generation start to lead, but now I’m still like ‘there’s our trophy’ every time I walk by it.
That trophy means a lot— it took a lot of work to get to where the team is now, and I’m so proud of how far we’ve come.
Hometown: Queens, N.Y.
Degree: B.B.A. with a dual concentration in sport management and marketing
Post-graduation: Graduate assistant for St. John’s University women’s basketball
Being a student-athlete at GW for four years has given me countless memories that I will never forget. I was pretty successful here, but I feel like it would be too cliché to say my favorite memory was winning a championship.
The summer of 2018, I get a text from [my friend] Anna Savino:
“I know this is your senior year but do you mind if I walk on?”
After reading that I’m going bananas. One of the best managers, human beings and a great friend wants to be a member of the team. I immediately texted her back and told her that I’d want nothing more than to finish my career with her by my side.
Fast forward to our first game against JMU. It was difficult. Pre-game jitters, unfamiliar with each other, coach getting on us. We were just a mess. Coach needs to make a sub for the guards and without hesitation she screams Anna’s name. Anna was so shocked she didn’t even move, it was almost like she saw her life flash before her eyes. Media timeout happened right away, and I go up to her, wrap my arm around her neck and say—and I remember this exactly—“Anna, you got this. I know you got this. You’re in for a reason.”
Turns out, Anna Savino was a manager-turned-walk-on and soon enough a scholarship player. She started almost every game for the rest of the season but most importantly became one of my best friends and teammates during my last collegiate basketball season.
Nothing against the rings but that, hands down, is my favorite GW memory.
Hometown: Long Island, N.Y.
Degree: B.A. in international affairs
Post-graduation: “To enjoy life as much as possible”
My favorite GW moment is actually just being at the Multicultural Student Services Center. Since I was a freshman, I have been coming to this building since I've always participated in events here. So, my freshman year, I was actually living on the Mount Vernon Campus, and I took naps here in between classes. Since I arrived to GW, I have been part of the Organization of Latino American Students and all of the meetings have taken place here. It's just like a family vibe that I come here, and I feel welcomed.
My favorite part of the MSSC is Erin [Flanagan], because she is just so welcoming, so warm and she just gives me the best vibes. Before an interview, or before I have to do anything, I come to talk to her, and she gives me that support. She's always there to help, not only me but also other students. I think that's pretty awesome. Overall, I thank her for everything.
It's the building, but it's also the people who are here, who work here, it's the receptionist and Mr. [Michael] Tapscott, George, Krystal. I think it's just the people and the vibe and that community sense of belonging.”
Hometown: Washington, D.C.
Degree: B.A., international affairs with a concentration in security policy
During the fall semester, I had the privilege of working as a peer mentor to a small section of first-year students in the Elliott School’s new first-year student experience course. The students were fun and lively. Throughout the term, a small group of those students would come to my weekly office hours to just chat and hang out. It seemed like they had all been lifelong friends despite having never met prior to attending GW.
It was incredibly rewarding to see how their friendships developed and how they adjusted to college life. When the class changed in the spring semester, I suspected those students had gone their separate ways. However, during the first week with my new class, the group from the previous semester showed up in the doorway of the advising office and asked, “Is this still Duncan’s office hours?”
That was humbling.