Hats Off To The Class Of 2016

April 19, 2016

By Mary Alice Maloney

The Class of 2016 is just weeks away from graduating, and the seniors are preparing for their bright futures ahead. Big jobs, big moves and big changes are in the works for this graduating class, and The Star asked senior students to share their plans for life after Dominican.

Abel Orizaba, Philosophy and Psychology major

“I will be moving to China where I’ll be teaching English at the college level though a Catholic-based program called the Maryknoll China Teachers Program,” said Orizaba. “I’ll be living there for at least a year, but the program I’m with allows for people to extend their time abroad. I’m excited to graduate. Right now, I have a capstone I’m working really hard on, so I don’t think the reality of leaving Dominican has hit me yet.”

Axel Vargas-Irlanda, Rhetoric & Communication major, Social Media minor

I am applying to several places job wise, but for the summer the only thing that is certain is that I’m going to see my family in Puerto Rico that I haven’t seen since before college,” Vargas-Irlanda said. “My mom said that is what she is getting me for my graduation gift and I’m so excited. Other than that I will be looking for a job and trying to get a job.”

“I’m trying to land a job in event coordinating,” Vargas-Irlanda said. “My dream job would be with music event planning for concerts or festivals. I’m applying for positions at the United Center, Allstate Arena, Red Frog and almost 20 other places around the Chicago-land area.”

Maggie Angel, International Relations and Diplomacy major

I’m planning to move to Washington, D.C. and work on Capitol Hill,” Angel said. “I hope to go to graduate school in DC for my masters in security studies next year. My top two schools are Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service and American University’s School of International Service. I visited them this past spring break and I loved them both.”

“It’s really an emotional roller coaster,” Angel said. “This end of the year is stressful so I just want a break, but I also think of how I only have a couple weeks on campus left and I think of how much I’m going to miss everyone on campus: my friends, classmates, coworkers, professors and staff. It’s scary to be an adult and that the world is ours for the taking but it’s a crazy and beautiful time planning for baccalaureate mass, candle and rose and graduation.”

Justin Wheeler, Neuroscience major, Psychology minor

“There’s a possibility I might be able to get a job at the animal shelter where I’m an intern so that’s good,” Wheeler said. “I’d be the Volunteer Coordinator. I’m also planning on doing more with music once I graduate. I’ll keep on giving guitar lessons and maybe join a band! I’ll see where the wind takes me.”

“I’d say I’m more excited than scared to graduate,” Wheeler said. “I feel like I’m finally ready to go out into the real world!”

Sara Angel, Rhetoric and Communication major

“I don’t have anything super official set up,” Angel said. “I’ve been in a long distance relationship all school year, so now that my commitments on campus will be finished I plan on moving out to the east coast. It’s a change of scenery that I think is much needed and a chance to grow my relationship. Once I’m there I want to continue to pursue my goal of staying in the Walt Disney Company with opportunities available in New York City.”

“I thought I would be more nervous about graduating,” Angel said. “I’ve been very involved in the Dominican community my four years here. Reflecting on my time, I think I’ve learned everything I need to be confident about moving on to the next chapter of my life. If anything I’m in shock that this year went as quickly as it did.”

“I would really love to congratulate all the graduating seniors,” Angel said. “We have been through a lot and worked so hard to get to this point. I hope everyone is as proud of themselves as I am of us as a graduating class.”

Dianna Kes, Nutrition and Dietetics major

“I’ve applied to a few different graduate school nutrition programs, including Loyola University here in Chicago and Florida State University,” Kes said. “My ultimate goal is to be a Registered Dietician and work globally to help communities get the access they need to the food they need. I’d love to get into either program, but I’m excited to move to Florida and live near my family if I get into FSU. If I end up staying in Chicago, I want to get an apartment in the city with a good friend of mine. No matter what happens, I’m excited to graduate (although I’m really sad to leave DU) and start living my life!”

Berto Aguayo

“I’ve been fortunate enough to have received a couple of job offers for after graduation, and I’ve decided upon working with Mikva Challenge, which is an organization that engages youth in the political process and it’s an organization that helped me get to where I’m at today,” Aguayo said. “In working with that organization, I’ll be facilitating a counsel called the College Access and Career Counsel, which basically is a group of students working on removing the barriers that stop people from getting into college. While working with Mikva Challenge, I’ll also be running the Hoops in the Hood program with the Back of the Yards neighborhood counsel. Hoops in the Hood serves over 150 kids over the summer, and it’s a basketball program that brings together a lot of community partners, like the Chicago Park District and Chicago Public Schools.”

“I also received a law school scholarship, so I’m going to be enrolling in 2017,” Aguayo said. “So while I’m working with Mikva Challenge and Hoops in the Hood to empower the youth in my community, I’ll be studying hard for LSAT to make sure that I get into a top law school. I’ll be able to better serve my community if I have a law school background. I’m aiming high as far as law schools go. University of Chicago and Northwestern University are obvious choices, but I’m also thinking about Harvard.”

“I feel like graduation hasn’t actually hit any of us yet,” Aguayo said. “We’re just so busy with trying to wrap up our classes and capstones and papers, we haven’t had the chance to stop and say ‘hey, we’re seniors!’ and enjoy our last weeks as undergrads.”