One of my favorite things each year is working on a story about our current graduating class.
I’m currently in the process of gathering that information about students graduating in 2020. You may have already read about a few of our outstanding graduates on Longwood’s social media, but the ones I’m sharing with you today are an additional group.
As always, what I am hearing about these amazing students makes me very proud to be a part of the Longwood family.
Hats off not only to the Class of 2020 but also to their parents. You raised these young men and women right, and that’s no small accomplishment.
This year’s seniors have faced the challenges of a final semester unlike any in recent memory and have come out stronger on the other side. They’ve responded with creativity, hard work and a positive outlook.
Members of the Class of 2020 officially receive their degrees on Saturday, May 16. In light of current circumstances, the undergraduate Commencement ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 10, with graduate ceremony the previous day.
As these graduates move to the next chapter of their lives, they’re exploring options and making plans, going off to graduate school or starting careers—all the while giving credit to those who helped them get to this point and cherishing the memories and the friends they have made here.
I found the reflections they shared with me uplifting and heart-warming—and I’m guessing we could all use a little more of that these days.
Here are just a few examples of what our 2020 grads doing after graduation:
- Entering Ph.D. programs in chemistry at Clemson and North Carolina State
- Studying for the CPA exam and working at Ernst & Young
- Working as the communications and marketing manager for the Virginia Manufacturers Association
- Looking into opportunities in cyber security, specifically the fields of ethical hacking and penetration testing
- Starting a dual master’s program in international business and business analytics at the Hult International Business School Dubai campus
- Teaching art at Dinwiddie Middle School
And here’s a little of what they had to say about their experiences at Longwood:
Derek Holmberg, physics major
What’s Next: Ph.D. program in physics at William & Mary
“While all my professors have been amazing and helpful, Dr. Pestka has been my greatest mentor. I’ve learned so much about performing experiments, collecting data, analyzing data and doing error analysis through our work.”
Kelsey Ostrowski, nursing major
What’s Next: R.N. at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital on the Intermediate Vascular Care Unit, where her patients will include those undergoing kidney and pancreas transplants
“At Longwood, we focus on making our communities, nation and world a better place. That is a goal of mine: One action at a time. One day at a time.”
Karyn Keane, English major
What’s Next: Master’s degree program in composition and rhetoric at Miami University in Ohio
“I’m a firm believer that the small class sizes at Longwood played a critical role in my success. I was able to form close relationships with professors who would become my mentors, and I received frequent, individualized feedback on my work.”
Zachary Rector, business administration major
What’s Next: Area manager, Amazon
“The Alternative Break club opened my eyes and gave me a global sense of humanity. Serving in the Student Government Association made me realize that advocating for other’s needs is necessary.”
Trevor Heath, communication studies major
What’s Next: Putting his aviation and marketing skills to work at Dominion Aviation Services in Richmond
“The amazing opportunities I had at Longwood made me realize that I couldn’t just fly for a living. I came up with the idea of moving into a career path of airport management, some professional flying and building a platform for youth to use in aiding their start in the aviation world.”
Megan Bland, biology major
What’s Next: Doctor of Pharmacy program at VCU
“I have had some of the most insightful and brilliant professors who really care about me and my success. There is such a great community here. It has always felt like home!”