Here today, gown tomorrow
8 graduating seniors talk about their South Carolina experience
By Megan Sexton, firstname.lastname@example.org, 803-777-1421
It happens every semester, but it never gets old. Seniors finish their final exams, turn in their last papers, pull on the cap and gown and walk across the stage as proud graduates of the University of South Carolina. TIMES spoke with eight May graduates about their decision to come to Carolina, the memories they have made here and their plans for the future. We also asked them to send us a picture to mark the occasion.
A family of Gamecocks
Michaela Baker, a visual communications major, comes from a long line of Gamecocks — so many, in fact, that the Irmo, South Carolina, native thought about bucking tradition and going someplace else. Ultimately, though, she stuck with the family and has zero regrets.
Next stop, Seattle
Georgia native Abby Bangs considered the University of Michigan and the University of Georgia, but a campus visit changed her mind. After completing her degree in international business and operations and supply chain management, she heads to a job at Amazon in Seattle.
Viva Las Vegas!
After graduation, Zahria Barber will begin a job at MGM Resorts International in Las Vegas. For the hospitality management major, learning management skills in one of the nation’s biggest tourist meccas is the next step in fulfilling a dream she’s had since high school in Rock Hill, South Carolina.
Simpsonville, South Carolina, native Rayja Fowler chose the University of South Carolina because she wanted to stay in-state. Now the criminal justice and English major is preparing to start law school, if not at Carolina then at Emory or William and Mary.
Striving to empower
Karastin Hughes, who is earning her degree in public health, grew up in Marion, South Carolina. “I am part of the Opportunity Scholars Program for first-generation college students,” she says. “I honestly was not sure how I was going to pay for college. The Gamecock Guarantee made college affordable for me.”
Better living through health care
In high school, Shelby Leya only applied to one school, the University of South Carolina. The Summerville, South Carolina, native’s father had studied engineering here and she wanted to follow in his footsteps, but as a nursing major.
Mr. Mills' class
Elementary education major Tanner Mills recently accepted a job as a sixth-grade teacher in his hometown of Spartanburg, South Carolina. He credits the university’s Teaching Fellows program, which offers tuition assistance to students who serve in the state’s public schools after graduation, with helping make a college education affordable.
Conway, South Carolina, native James Moran majored in criminal justice and sociology and minored in political science. He has been involved in student government since freshman year and envisions a career in government.
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