Commencement 2014 Highlights

Congratulations Class of 2014! Relive the emotions and excitement of commencement with our highlights video. Hear excerpts of commencement speeches from President Pamela Eibeck, Marselus Cayton '14, Edward Whitacre Jr. and Provost Maria Pallavicini.

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University of the Pacific
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Stockton, California 95211
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Meet the Class of 2014

Congratulations to our Class of 2014. Who are they? What brought them to University of the Pacific? And what follows for them after they walk across the commencement stage and enter the next phase of their lives as members of the Pacific community?

Meet just a few of the 2,000 members of Class of 2014 who will graduate in four commencement ceremonies starting May 10. We are proud to introduce you to them.

Know a graduate story you think should be shared? Share your successes with us on Facebook or Twitter or at communications@pacific.edu. Check back often as we tell more stories of our successful graduates.

Hannah Ludwig

Bachelor of Music
Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia

Daniel Da Costa

Doctor of Pharmacy
Fellowship, Rutgers University

Trevor Ferguson

Bachelor's in Business Administration
Clorox

Robin Senger

Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering
ASCO Power Technologies

Erick Tran

Master of Accounting
Deloitte LLP

Veronica Galvan

Diversified Education, Multiple Subject
and Special Education credentials
Special Education Teacher,
Sunnyvale Elementary School District

Sarah Wong

Bachelor’s in biological science and pre-dentistry
PhD in neuroscience and DDS program, UC San Francisco

John Langdon

Bachelor’s in history, minor in gender studies
Fulbright Research Scholar award to India

Joy Clark

Bachelor's in Theatre Arts
MFA, Boston Conservatory

Chad Fraga

Bachelor's in Sociology
AmeriCorps

 

 

 

 

Hannah LudwigHannah Ludwig: Bachelor of Music

Will be attending the prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia

When mezzo soprano Hannah Ludwig visited Pacific from her home in Sacramento as a high school senior, she says everything clicked for her: “The beautiful campus, the classes I visited, the voice lesson I took with Burr Phillips…I knew immediately that I should come here.”

Now the Conservatory of Music graduate is going to the prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia, where in the fall she will begin a four-year stint as a Resident Artist, preparing for a career as an opera and classical music soloist. AVA is one of the premier vocal training programs in the world, and very few of its resident artists are chosen directly from their undergraduate studies, as Hannah has been.

She says the Conservatory prepared her for this opportunity, and not just with musical skills.

“At Pacific I learned how to work in this business,” says Ludwig. “My professors prepared me to be a professional. They taught me that, even after you get a role, you’re auditioning for the next one.”

Ludwig’s experience as a Resident Assistant and, her senior year, as an Assistant Residence Director at Pacific, have also given her job skills she will use in her singing work. “I organized events and networked with other student life groups, developing job skills I can definitely apply to my career,” she says.

Hannah was one of four finalists in the Conservatory’s annual concerto competition, and this summer she will perform in the Napa Valley Music Festival.

Excited for her upcoming performances, Hannah says, “In high school I knew I wanted to study music, but Pacific showed me how to make a career singing this wonderful music.”

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Daniel Da CostaDaniel Da Costa: Doctor of Pharmacy

Fellowship, Rutgers University

Daniel, a Sacramento native, had been aware of University of the Pacific for a long time, but learned more about the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences while working as a pharmacy technician during his undergraduate years. He met several Pacific pharmacy students during their internships and realized it was the school for him.

Now Daniel is off to New York City to take on an exciting post-doctoral fellowship in translational medicine at Rutgers University.

He will conduct clinical trials on new medications designed to treat medical or psychiatric conditions related to the central nervous system. The research program is a collaboration of Rutgers and Roche, one of the world’s leading diagnostic and pharmaceutical healthcare companies.

“The development of new mediations is exactly the kind of work I hope to be doing,” said Daniel. “This post-doc dovetails perfectly with my goals. I’ll get to learn the whole process of how clinical trials are designed through the early phases of testing.”

An elective in biotechnology and product development had sparked his interest in that area of pharmaceutics. So, when it came time for clinical rotations, he decided he wanted to work with Assistant Professor and Regional Coordinator Dr. Sachin Shah because of Shah’s depth of experience in research and the pharmaceutical industry.

“He was my most important mentor,” said Daniel. “He helped me refine my area of interest and guided me all the way through the long and tedious process of applying for fellowships.”

Da Costa worked on several research projects with Dr. Shah, which strengthened his competiveness for the fellowship. They even had a research paper published in the International Journal of Cardiology.

“He helped me learn so much about the medical research process,” said Daniel. “I can’t say enough about Dr. Shah.”

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Trevor Ferguson

Trevor Ferguson: Bachelor's in Business Administration with a concentration in finance and management and human resources

Has accepted a job offer from Clorox, a Fortune 500 company, to work in the firm’s finance department

Trevor transferred to Pacific two years ago from Modesto Junior College because Pacific's class sizes allowed for one-on-one interaction with professors and because of the Eberhardt School of Business’ Student Investment Fund. He was able to participate in the highly successful student-run investment fund for two semesters, an opportunity he believes he might not have had at a larger university. A dedicated faculty helped Trevor get through the rigorous coursework.

“The professors being so approachable and being around for office hours, and even after hours, was great,” said Trevor.

He also praised staff members such as Margaret Roberts, director of Graduate Career Services, and Breanne Beseda, assistant director, for their help with career resources such as resume writing and interview skills.

As a result, an Eberhardt School of Business alumnus, David Green ’82, recruited Trevor to join a Clorox finance team that includes other Eberhardt alumni.

“It’s really cool to have that connection,” said Trevor.

Trevor will be working in the Clorox finance department, likely in Pleasanton, for the first year or so. Afterward, he will be able to develop a career path within the company. That flexibility in his first employment opportunity right out of Pacific was one of the things that he found most attractive about the job offer.

As for his family— as Trevor is not only the first to attend college but is graduating with a job secured at a Fortune 500 company— they are simply “ecstatic.”

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Robin Senger

Robin Senger: Bachelor's in Electrical Engineering, outstanding Electrical Engineering graduate award

Has accepted a job offer with ASCO Power Technologies in Stockton, a world-leader in emergency and standby power transfer solutions

Robin had been an electrician while serving in the U.S. Navy. When it came time to finish her degree after leaving the military, she looked to Pacific because she could be closer to family in the area. The quality and reputation of the engineering program and that “the campus was gorgeous” helped seal the deal for Robin, a mother of four children.

In the two years since she started, Robin has completed a seven-month co-op with ASCO Power, which offered her a job as assistant manager of the test department by the end of the internship. As a supervisor in the test department, she will have the opportunity to work with new products and software. She’ll gain experience on the management side and also on the technician side.

And while she had professional experience before coming to Pacific, she’s found that she “learned an immense amount” from her engineering professors. She’s also experienced firsthand the benefit of having professors who take an interest in their students. Case in point: Just before finals last semester, her appendix ruptured and she was hospitalized for several weeks. But she was able to complete the program on schedule because of the flexibility of the professors who supported her and worked with her.

“My instructors were wonderful about it. Everyone’s so understanding and helpful.”

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Erick TranErick Tran: Master's in Accounting; Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with concentration in accounting

Has accepted a job offer with Deloitte LLP, an audit, tax, consulting and financial advisory services firm regularly ranked by Fortune as one of the best companies to work for in the United States.

Among the reasons that Erick decided to come to Pacific, he found the campus was beautiful and had “an East Coast vibe” and he wanted to be part of the Eberhardt School of Business’ highly successful student-run investment fund.

“That was the defining factor,” Erick said of Pacific's Student Investment Fund, which boasts industry-trumping returns. The youngest child in his family, a first-generation college student, and the first in his family to earn a master’s degree, Erick spent two semesters in SIF. During the second, he was the portfolio manager.

In another first for Erick, he is in the first class of students graduating with Master of Accounting degrees designed to prepare graduates for licensure as certified public accountants in California. He said Cynthia Eakin, associate professor of accounting and the associate dean for Graduate Programs at Eberhardt, was “passionate” about accounting and making sure that students were prepared.

Once he decided to go into accounting, Erick knew he wanted to work for the prestigious Deloitte firm. He will begin as a staff external auditor, working with other Eberhardt School of Business alumni.

“I really do think that the professors here put you in a position to succeed,” he said. “They really do know your name. They know you and always have their door open to you. I liked that.”

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Veronica Galvan

Veronica Galvan: Diversified Education, with Multiple Subject and Special Education credentials

Special Education Teacher, grades 3-5, San Miguel Elementary, Sunnyvale Elementary School District

Veronica remembers as a young child seeing her mother, who had emigrated from Mexico, taking adult education classes. “I realized the impact a good education can have on a person’s life,” said the first-generation college student.

She came to Pacific because the small community it offered felt like it could be home. Her experience was, as she describes it, “a blessing from the start.” She was lucky to attend with a full scholarship and most importantly found an on-campus family in Alpha Phi Omega, a community service-based, co-ed fraternity.

She also had many experiences at Pacific that reinforced she had chosen the right career. She was able to gain an internship with the California Conservation Corps as a tutor and career mentor to remedial high school students ages 18-23. She worked as a reading tutor at Lincoln Elementary School and on the Pacific campus, she was an individual tutor at the Center for Community Involvement. These experiences were all in addition to the multiple fieldwork experiences already embedded in her coursework.

On May 10, Veronica will graduate with a job that will allow her to work with students who have high needs in a school that offers lots of resources. It fulfills something she was looking for in a position: "I wanted to serve kids who were like me. I wanted to give them those resources.”

“I’m completely happy. It’s still a little bit unreal.”

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Sarah WongSarah Wong: Bachelor’s in biological science and pre-dentistry

PhD in neuroscience and DDS program, UC San Francisco

Sarah Wong ’14 has always been a motivated student. During her senior year of high school, Sarah was accepted at Stanford, UCLA and Berkeley, among other institutions, but chose to come to Pacific. Chief among her reasons: It possessed all the best qualities of being a small institution while maintaining an array of academic and research possibilities.

And with the opportunity to be one of the select Powell Scholars—Pacific’s premier academic merit scholarship— Sarah knew that her time at Pacific would be one of growth and impact. “I knew the Powell Scholarship would provide me with unexpected opportunities. However, it was impossible for me to predict all that it has given me,” she said.

While Sarah continued to excel academically– she received a prestigious Goldwater Award for her scientific work and was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi and Phi Beta Kappa, two of the nation’s oldest and most venerable honor societies – the lessons she learned outside of the classroom also resonate deeply with her. She will take all of that with her as she leaves for a highly selective dual PhD in neuroscience and DDS program at UC San Francisco.

“I knew there was going to be so much for me to experience at Pacific, and I didn’t want to miss any of it,” said Sarah, who opted to complete her degree in four years instead of choosing an accelerated track.

Indeed, her time at Pacific has had an indelible impact on her life, from leading small group Bible-study session with international exchange students to conducting undergraduate research in neuroscience with Dr. Katerina Venderova.

“Dr. Venderova has been the greatest academic mentor I could ever have had,” Sarah said. “I could not imagine being accepted to my graduate program without her support and guidance. I’m excited for the future, but leaving Pacific is going to be really hard.”

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Jack LangdonJohn Langdon: Bachelor’s in history, minor in gender studies

Fulbright Research Scholar award to India

John Langdon brought an eclectic background with him when he came to University of the Pacific: stints as a professional musician and film scorer, travels through Europe and India, a stretch of work on a progressive AM radio station. And it quickly emerged that these wide-ranging adventures prepared him perfectly for the personal and academic journey awaiting him in Stockton.

“Coming to Pacific was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” said John. “Pacific has been a perfect match, and the faculty and staff here have been so supportive.”

With graduation at hand, John is preparing for the next adventure on his horizon: returning to India as a Fulbright Research Scholar. A program of the United States Department of State, the Fulbright Research Scholar award is a highly competitive honor that will allow John to pursue his studies of jazz in 20th century India for nine months.
Read more about John’s Fulbright research and upcoming journey.

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Joy Clark

Joy Clark: Bachelor's in Theatre Arts

Will be pursuing an MFA in Musical Theatre at the Boston Conservatory, one of the nation’s oldest and most respected performing arts schools

While Joy Clark was growing up in Stockton, the bright lights of Broadway were constantly on her mind. She didn’t see Pacific fitting into her future, though she knew from experience that it was an excellent school in the heart of her hometown. It wasn’t until a quirk of timing brought her to campus as a freshman that she realized what a Pacific education could offer her.

“I could not be more grateful that I ended up at Pacific,” Joy said. “It gave me exactly the college experience that I never knew I wanted, and the education I need to succeed in my chosen field. It’s going to be really hard to leave.”

Joy appeared in numerous productions on campus and with local and regional theatre companies. A scholarship winner for the Open Jar Institute's Broadway Actor Intensive for Musical Theatre, Joy was recognized for her scene work with fellow graduate Ryan Gonzales ’14 at the 2014 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival.

With this impressive resume in hand, Joy will head to Boston for an intensive MFA program in musical theatre, but she has one more California performance waiting for her: an acting apprenticeship at the Livermore Shakespeare Festival. And she hopes that current and future students realize what waits for them as well at Pacific.

“Take advantage of every opportunity— there is so much at Pacific, from activities and resources to unforgettable experiences. Pacific lets you excel and have that ideal ‘college experience.’”

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Chad Fraga

Chad Fraga: Bachelor's in Sociology

Will spend a year in Sacramento as part of “City Year,” a program administered by AmeriCorps that selects some of the best and brightest graduates from across the nation to help students overcome challenges they face in and out of school

Chad Fraga knew from a very young age that he wanted to make a difference in his community, and immediately upon graduating from Pacific, he’ll be doing just that. Chad will head to Sacramento for City Year, an innovative program run through AmeriCorps that aims to reduce the high school dropout rate by partnering with school districts to provide one-on-one support and resources to at-risk students.

“City Year’s goals and mission really fit in with what I want to do with my life,” Chad said. “We have to ask ourselves, do we want to build more prisons, or build minds? I’m not taking a year off after college; I’m taking a year on.”

And Chad knows that his experiences at Pacific – his time as a Pacific Ambassador in which he mentored new students, his work with the Resolution Project, where his “Tigers Give Back” campaign mentored at-risk youth in Stockton and took him to present his work at the Clinton Global Institute– have prepared him for the challenging and rewarding road ahead.

“At Pacific, you come for academic excellence, but you learn inside and outside of the classroom,” he said. “Pacific isn’t just a place to get a degree – it’s a place where learning is fostered in every part of campus.”

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