A. Ray Olpin University Union

The University of Utah

A photo of the Union in fall.

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    Union Graduating Class 2021

    It is difficult to talk about the graduating Class of 2021 without the coronavirus pandemic. However, only discussing the pandemic is a disservice to our graduating students. Aside from their resilience during tough times, every member of the Class of 2021 is an outstanding student and leader who has made an impact on campus for the better. In recognition of their achievements and contributions to the Union, please help us celebrate our own Union student graduates. Congratulations Class of 2021!

    Arielle Lupo

    Arielle Lupo is graduating with a Bachelor’s in Biomedical Engineering with a minor in marketing. Arielle has been involved in the the Union through the Union Programming Council (UPC) and the Associated Students of University of Utah (ASUU). She is the outoging Freshmen Ambassadors Board Associate Director for UPC and has been the Marketing Director for ASUU for three years. Arielle’s favorite college memory was organizing the homecoming concert two years ago and interacting with the artists backstage. After graduation, Arielle plans to be on the frontlines of research and development in technology and engineering to positively impact human lives.

    Arielle’s advice to incoming students: College is MORE than classes. Get involved and put yourself out there. Most importantly don’t be afraid to fail, this is a safe space to learn

    Asante Creek-McWane

    Asante Creek-McWane is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Throughout her undergraduate career, Asante was involved with the Bennion Center, Housing and Residential Education, Writing Center, and the Union Programming Council. As an out of state student living on campus, Asante considers all of campus her home and the friends she has made through her involvements as her family. Asante’s next career move is pursuing a Masters in Early Childhood Special Education to make the world a safer, more inclusive, more thoughtful place for those younger than her.

    Asante’s advice to incoming students: Change is hard and difficult, but with change comes growth and growth is beautiful. We aren’t meant to know everything and make the right move every time. You are young, you are learning, and you are exactly where you need to be at this point in time. Try everything once, even if you don’t think it’s for you. And finally: please eat more vegetables!

    Ben jones

    Ben Jones will be graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Sociology. Ben started working at the Union three years ago as a Building Manager, and he is currently the Administrative Assistant for Whit Hollis. For Ben, the Union is his home and where he enjoys spending his time and where he met his current best friend and girlfriend, Sophia. After graduation, Ben would like to meet Post Malone.

    Ben’s advice to incoming students: Utilize the student success advocate services. They are amazing and helped me with a lot.

    Branden Dalley

    Branden Dalley is graduating with a PhD in Education Leadership and Policy. Branden started working at the Union as an Associate Director for Operations 15 years ago, and has also added the responsibility of Director of Development to his plate six years ago. His favorite memory at the Union was the very first Union Scholarships fundraising event 11 years ago. Although it snowed very much, Brande says every single person who RSVP’d showed up and asked immediately when the next one would be. At the University of Utah, Branden cherishes being a mentor and manager to students he works with. As a doctor now, Branden plans to continue working in the Union to build community on campus and improve campus for future students. He would like to continue his research on how financial literacy impacts different college populations and ameliorate the associated issues.

    Branden’s advice to incoming students: Don’t take shortcuts, respect and enjoy the process of earning a degree. Never again will you engage in this type of intense and intentional learning. The learning and self-growth that can be achieved throughout this process has the potential to positively impact your paradigm for the rest of your life. It will change you for the better and that is invaluable.

    Emily Huang

    Emily Huang is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. Emily has been involved in leadership positions at the Union since her freshman year. Her involvements in the Union include Feed U Pantry Director, multiple leadership roles with the Bennion Center, and as a Board Member of ASUU Campus Relations. Her most impactful involvements were the Arts and Recreation Issue Area Coordinator with the Bennion Center, which has instilled in her the importance of community engagement and advocacy work. Additionally, as a Fourth street clinic site leader, she learned firsthand about the healthcare inequalities experienced by the medically underserved population. Emily’s favorite memory at the Union is volunteering for Crimson Nights and seeing so many students having fun together. Emily will be attending medical school after graduation and hopes to be an advocate for more equitable healthcare access as a physician.

    Emily’s advice to incoming students: Branch out and try things you would have never thought of doing! The U is an amazing place to meet new people, find new hobbies, and develop your interests.

    Ezri Staheli

    Ezri Staheli is graduating with a dual Bachelor of Science in Parks, Rec, and Tourism and a Bachelor of Science in Communications. Ezri has been working for the Union since July 2018, where she first started as a Services Desk Information specialist. Currently, Ezri is the Assistant Marketing Specialist, which she has been doing for the last two years. In her time at the U, she has been involved in Student Media, the One Love Ski and Snowboarding Club, the ASUU Campus Events Board, Recreation and Parks Society, as an Orientation Leader in the Office of Orientation & Transition, and the University of Utah Athletics. Ezri found her home and community on campus at the University of Utah Athletics, where she interned in the Marketing Department for the past few years, After graduation, Ezri will be a Graduate Assistant in the Marketing Department at Boise State University Athletics working towards her Master’s Degree in Athletic Leadership!

    Ezri’s advice to incoming students: Make the MOST of every opportunity you’re given and find the one or two that you’re really passionate about. Internships are super helpful once you’ve figured out what that passion is and are one of the best ways to learn and grow – or at least that’s what I’ve seen over the span of my career at the U.

    Ian Durupt

    Ian Durupt is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Finance. Ian first started working at the Union as a Service Desk Information Specialist in July 2018, and he later became a Building Manager in August 2020. The Union is where Ian describes as home on campus; a place he enjoys spending his time and taking advantage of all the resources it has to offer. During his time as an undergrad, Ian was involved with Business Scholars, Sigma Chi, and It’s on Us Utah. His involvement in Business Scholars at the David Eccles School of Business has had a great positive impact on his academic career. The program helped him learn how to effectively take on academic challenges and opened his eyes to different career routes. His membership in Sigma Chi has also had a positive impact on him, which has allowed him to build lifelong friendships. After graduation, Ian plans to obtain his Juris Doctor (JD) degree at Texas A&M University School of Law and make a positive impact on the world through legal practice.

    Ian’s advice to incoming students: Get involved immediately. The one regret I have about college is not doing more my freshman year, I understand it is daunting to branch out when you’re surrounded by what seems like all adults on campus but the faster you get involved, the more fun you will have.

    Makena Chatlin

    Makena Chatlin is graduating with a Bachelor’s in Marketing and a minor in Art Technology. Makena has worked as a Services Desk Information Specialist for the past three years. As a college student, Makena was involved with Business Scholars, CEA Study Abroad, a writer for Her Campus, and Social Media Chair for Choice Humanitarian Salt Lake City. After graduation, Makens wants to take time to travel and learn as much as she can about what makes her feel happy and fulfilled.

    Michael Judson

    Michael Judson is graduating with a dual Bachelor’s in Political Science and Film & Media Arts. Michael has been involved with the Union Programming Council for the past three years. His first involvement was on the Freshmen Ambassador Board, he was the Marketing Associate Director last year, and is currently the Director of Marketing. Michael’s favorite memory at the Union was the Roaring 20’s themed Crimson Nights. He recalls everything from the decorations to the activities to the food and drinks was perfect and on theme, and it was such a fun event to be a part of. For Michael, his home on campus was the Union Programming Council where he met some of his best friends. After graduation, Michael wants to find a career that will allow him to help people and to advocate for social justice issues that will bring meaningful change to people’s lives.

    Michael’s advice to incoming students: GET INVOLVED! Getting involved on campus has so many benefits. Not only will you be meeting new friends and networking, but you will also be gaining valuable leadership experience and skills that you can take to a future profession.

    Paige Martinez

    Paige Martinez will be graduating with her Bachelor’s in Health Promotion and Education with a minor in nutrition. Paige has been volunteering at the Feed U Food Pantry since her freshman year, and is currently the Associate Director of the Feed U Food Pantry. He favorite memory at the Union was when Emily, Jackie, and herself had to compost the humorous amount of iceberg lettuce taking over the pantry fridge. It was a fun bonding experience with her board sharing many laughs! For Paige, her time at the Feed U Pantry was really valuable and helped her discover her passion for fighting food insecurity and hunger. Additionally, Paige was involved with the UUCCN. The program helped her develop my communication skills and gave her opportunities to teach high schoolers about nutrition and behavior change. After graduation, Paige plans to attend the Coordinated Master’s Program in Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Utah. In two years, her dream of becoming a registered dietitian will become a reality! As an RD, she hopes to empower future clients and address food insecurity in her community.

    Paige’s advice to incoming students: Put yourselves out there. Go out of your way to meet new people and make new connections. Personally, some of the highlights of my college experience have been the lifelong friendships I have fostered at the U. I met my best friend Cam in biology class simply by asking her when the homework was due. College gives you so many opportunities to meet amazing people, so take advantage of them!

    Sonia Seghal

    Sonia Sehgal is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Cell and Molecular Biology and a minor in Chemistry and Business. Sonia started in her involvement with the Union Programming Council four years ago as a Freshman Ambassador, and then proceeded to become a Crimson Nights Associate Director, then the Freshman Ambassador Board Director, and is currently the Community Service Director. Her favorite time at the Union is seeing Family Fright Fest because all of the children of nontraditional students and faculty stop by dressed in their adorable Halloween costumes. Due to all these involvements at the Union, Sonia describes the UPC office as her home and community on campus. The office is where she met the people that have quickly become her family and her support system. Sonia’s next career move is attending the University of Utah School of Medicine this coming Fall. Her plans are to make health care more accessible to marginalized communities.

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