All Roads Lead to the Union: Newsletter
Every year, a new cohort of Union students graduate from the University of Utah. And every year, saying “see you later” to these students never gets easier. Student Employees and Union Programming Council Students invest years of their college career shaping and creating the Union experience for everyone that enters the Union Building. One of the accomplishments of this year’s graduating cohort is slowly bringing activities and joy back to the Union that was halted due to the pandemic. Please join us as we celebrate and recognize our Union Student Graduates. Congratulations class of 2022!
Alex Fierro is graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political science and a minor in Ethnic Studies. Alex first got involved in the Union through the Union Programming Council’s (UPC) Freshman Ambassador Board as a freshman and is the outgoing Associate Director for the Freshmen Ambassador Board. His favorite time/memory in the Union was Crimson nights and being a UPC member. During his time at the University of Utah, Alex was a Diversity Scholar with CESA, University of Utah Ambassador with the Office of Admissions, Union Programming Council’s Freshman Ambassador Board, Hinckley Institute of Politics Intern, Deputy State Director of Youth for the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), and Imaginemos Utah. For Alex, home on campus was the Union, and more specifically the UPC office. That is where he was involved most and where he met some of his closest friends. After graduating, he would like to work in international politics and become an International Human Rights Office for the United Nations or become Secretary of State for the United States.
What Alex has learned from his time at the University of Utah: “The biggest thing I learned is being confident in your skillset and ability as an individual. It’s always important to be your number one fan and having confidence in what you do and how you do it speaks to that. ”
Annie Sanchez is graduating with double majors in Criminology and Sociology. Annie has been a Building manager at the Union for the past year. Her favorite memory at the Union is staffing the Union Scholarship Celebration and Crimson Nights. As a student, Annie was involved with the Solution Scholars, Pre-Law LEAP Scholar, Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP), a Social Justice Advocate, Resident Advisor for Housing and Residential Education, and a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma. For Annie, her home on campus was the Union. The Union is how she found community, and met her closest friends as a freshman. After graduation, Annie plans to attend law school to help create equity and implement restorative practices in the legal field.
What Annie has learned from her time at the University of Utah: “Getting involved and stepping out of your comfort zone is very important. By doing so I was able to better grow as a person, create meaningful relationships and memories, as well as and enjoy my undergrad.”
Aria Fatahian is graduating with double majors in Communications and Criminology. Aria first started working at the Union as a Service Desk employee in 2019 and is currently the Assistant Events Coordinator. For Aria, the Union is where he calls home. He spent a lot of time at the Union studying, hanging out, and working. After graduation, Aria will start working full-time at the Union as the Assistant Events Coordinator. In the near future, Aria would like to work for ESPN and be a basketball analyst. Additionally, he would like to pursue law school to be in service of people.
What Aria has learned from his time at the University of Utah: “Work hard, get to know everyone and be kind to one another.”
Carly Alston is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Speech and Hearing Sciences and minors in Portuguese and Brazilian Studies. Carly worked at the Recreation Desk for four years and is currently the Union Recreation Manager. Carly’s favorite memory at the Union is getting to know the Union Staff and building lots of friendships. During her time at the University of Utah, Carly was involved with the National Student Speech Language and Hearing Association (NSSLHA) and the Brazilian Club. For Carly, the Union was her community on campus because it’s where she spent a lot of her time, met a lot of her friends, and got to know a lot of amazing people. After graduation, Carly will start the Audiology doctorate program at the University of Utah in Fall 2022.
What Carly has learned from her time at the University of Utah: “Hard work can open the door to a lot of wonderful opportunities”
David Leon is graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Recreational Therapy with a minor in psychology. David first started working at the Union as a Campus Information Specialist in the Union and then as the Service Desk Manager for the past 3 ½ years. His favorite memory at the Union is Staff Day and going Go-Karting. While at the University of Utah, David has been involved with the First-Gen Scholars as a mentor for 2 years and then as an instructor for the program where he taught a class, Dream Ambassador for the Dream Center, a Leap Scholar, Freshman Ambassador for the Union Programming Council, Speakers Vice-Chair for ASUU, and as the Secretary for Recreational Therapy Student Association. For David, his home and community on campus were the Union and also the first-gen scholars’ office. After graduation, David plans to pursue a Master’s program In Education Leadership and Policy with an Emphasis in Student Affairs and work in higher education attempting to make it more accessible and equitable for all students
What David has learned from his time at the University of Utah: “One thing I’ve learned at the University of Utah is that you do belong here and there are people on campus that are happy you are here.”
Hunter Smart is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. Hunter has been a Union Building Manager since September 2020. During his time at the University of Utah, Hunter has been involved with the US Air Force ROTC program and the Labs for Liberty service dog training program. For Hunter, he called home the old Annex building where he had a lot of great memories and where he has had several major life events, such as being awarded a scholarship and enlisting in the Air Force. After graduation, Hunter would like to continue on into the Air Force, see the world, and make a positive difference.
What Hunter has learned from his time at the University of Utah: “It pays to make friends with the parking people.”
Joseph Nelson is graduating with a Bachelor’s of Science in Finance. Joseph became connected to the Union through the Union Programming Council. He has been involved all four years of college in the Union Programming Council. For Joseph, his favorite memory is the Union Scholarship Celebration. That was when he first realized how much impact the Union has on all University of Utah students one way or another. As a student, Joseph was involved with the Union Programming Council, University of Utah Ambassador, Business Scholars Eccles Ambassador, Student Investment Fund, Teacher’s Assistant for Business Law, and a part of Greek Life in the Beta Theta Pi Fraternity. On campus, Joseph’s home was the Union Programming Council. He credits UPC for some of his closest college friends and for who he is today. After graduation, Joseph would like to make a positive impact on people’s experiences through work. He hopes to create a scholarship someday to help students attend their dream schools out-of-state, similar to how he was able to attend the U of U as an out-of-state student.
What Joseph has learned from his time at the University of Utah: “I’ve learned that you can explore every aspect of your identity and passions; you never have to put yourself in one category and stay there, you have the time and ability to explore everything that interests you- whether that’s a hobby, a career, a sport, or just a pastime.”
Kelly Mai is graduating with a Bachelor’s in Kinesiology and minors in Nutrition and Psychology. Kelly started working at the Union as a Building Manager and then became a Lead Building Manager. Throughout her time at the University of Utah, Kelly has been involved with the Associated Students of University of Utah (ASUU), Vietnamese American Student Association (VASA), Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA), Science in the Parks (SITP). For Kelly, at first, she called the Marriot Library her home. As she started working at the Union, her go to place on campus became the Union and Gardner Commons. These places allowed her to explore many events and it is where she gained closer connections to her coworkers. After graduation, Kelly would like to explore, travel the world, and continue to grow with her friends and family
What Kelly has learned from her time at the University of Utah: “You can say no to tolerating subpar people, experiences, opportunities, etc. if they’re not serving you.”
Mariana Sablan is graduating with double majors in Political Science and in Economics with an Emphasis in Statistical Analysis. Mariana is connected to the Union through the Union Programming Council. Over the past four years, she was a member of the Freshman Ambassador Board, then became an Associate Director for the Community Service and Freshman Ambassador Board, and spent this past year as the outgoing Director of Arts and Special Events. With COVID restrictions easing, Mariana is happy to see life and joy back in the Union this past semester. As a student, Mariana was involved with the Union Programming Council, University Ambassador, Orientation Leader, Delta Gamma Member, Pasifika Mellon Fellow, Campus Life Mentor, and Honors Peer Mentor. Mariana credits the Union as her home. The Union and the UPC office have been her safe, happy place on campus and she is very grateful for that. After graduation, Mariana hopes to continue working with and in service of other people.
What Mariana has learned from her time at the University of Utah: “See free things, take free things. You always have room for free pizza”
Sara Cave is graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminology with Integrated Human Biology and Cognitive Sciences. Sara started at the Union with the Union Programming Council. She was a Freshman Ambassador and is currently the outgoing Director of Development. Sara’s favorite memory in the Union is the Union Scholarship Celebration. To her, each year it is a night to remember and this past year she had the honor of announcing the new Feed U Pantry Scholarship. Sara’s most impactful involvements were with the Union Programming Council and being a Case Manager at Valley Behavioral Health. After graduation, Sara would like to continue serving diverse communities wherever she ends up professionally.What Sara has learned from her time at the University of Utah: “The one thing I learned is that we really are all in this together!”