Published: April 23, 2024

From the Class of 2024

Read words of wisdom from some of the many talented and innovative students who are graduating and starting their next adventures. These Forever Buffs leave their inspirational legacies—with advice and reflection—for those who follow.

Looking for more inspiration? Keep checking back for more student sentiments.


What will you carry forth?

Ava Barnett

 My time at CU has taught me the importance of leading with kindness, empathy, and integrity—principles I am proud to carry with me into my next chapter.”

Fin, Acct’24
 Leeds Undergraduate Impact Award

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Joe Constancia

 No institution has impacted my life more than CU Boulder. Ten years ago, I came to CU as a recycling collector. Since then, some of my most significant milestones have taken place on this campus. The opportunities and kindness I have received have humbled and inspired me to pay it forward. My confidence and belief in my abilities are at an all-time high, and I am excited to use my skills and education for the betterment of both my community and the world.”


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Sydney Kheng

I will carry my passion for diversity into my next chapter. The unwavering support of the Office of Diversity Affairs at the Leeds School of Business has been instrumental to my personal and professional growth. As I transition to the next phase of my life, I am committed to paying forward this support to uplift and inspire the diverse communities that lie ahead. I am forever grateful for the dedicated staff and amazing friends who have supported me these past four years!”

BusAna, Mktg’24
 Leeds School of Business & Office of Diversity Affairs Visionary Award

Bethany Morton

 As I have learned more about the complexities of the education system and issues of injustice and deficit perspective, my professors not only showed the importance of advocacy but also showed me ways to be an advocate for teachers and students. From improving my capacity to support students—socially, emotionally, and academically—to understanding what truly serves students’ needs, my experiences at CU Boulder have equipped me to be an advocate for students and teachers.”

 Outstanding STEM Education Master’s Graduate

Silvia Ortiz

 The most profound, significant lesson I take away from my time at CU Boulder is this: All of our students come to us with various gifts and talents. It is up to us, educators, to explore such gifts and talents and leverage them to inspire and nurture independent learners and thinkers. By disrupting injustices created by systemic oppression, we give our students opportunities to thrive.”

 Outstanding Education, Bilingualism, and Biliteracy Master’s Graduate

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Shelby Roberts

 I will carry with me the generous, inspiring and collaborative spirit my peers and professors have shown me throughout my time here.”



Doha Shahba

  My time at CU has taught me the importance of learning things outside of my comfort zone—and the perseverance it takes to do so—and having a strong community behind me when facing challenges. I could not have accomplished my goals without the support of my family, friends, faculty and community in the Office of Diversity Affairs at the Leeds School of Business and the Business and Engineering Women in Technology program.”

Acct, Fin, Mgmt’24
 Leeds School of Business & Office of Diversity Affairs Outstanding Senior Award

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Nicolas Tamayo

 I will take with me the connections I’ve been able to make with people from so many corners of life. They’ve taught me lessons that I may never have learned without their friendship and mentorship.”

Fren, Jour’24
 William W. White Outstanding Senior Award; Fulbright awardee
President, CMCI Student Government

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Your best piece of advice

Lisa An

 I learned that keeping your work to yourself because of the fear of not being good enough does no good. If you share your work and receive feedback, you are able to improve your craft and obtain opportunities you otherwise never would have been able to.”

Art, CritMediaSt’24
 William W. White Outstanding Senior Award

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Nikki Bechtold

 Take advantage of all the incredible opportunities that the university has to offer. Look on bulletin boards, read your emails and join as many clubs as you have time for. Some of my best experiences happened from the organizations and clubs I randomly joined.”

 Leeds Office of Diversity Affairs Salesforce Intern; Leeds Welcome Desk Specialist; Leeds P2P Mentor Executive Team Member

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Peyton Biggers

 Take advantage of the many opportunities available at CU. Join clubs, attend sporting events, spend time on campus, and immerse yourself in the community. Challenge yourself to step outside of your comfort zone!”

BusAna, Mktg’24
 Leeds Academic Excellence Award; Marketing Division Outstanding Student Award

Aja Bos

 I would tell future students to keep their minds and options open going into CU Boulder. I changed my career path several times in college, and I think it's important to remember to enter a degree you are passionate about for the sake of your future and not the future others think you should have.”

EBio, Anth’24

Elijah Boykoff

 Your professors are people just like you. Get to know them—if you are able to resonate with your professors on a deeper level, you will be much more enriched by the knowledge they have to share.”

 William W. White Outstanding Senior Award

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Vincent Bursey

 Say yes to new opportunities and environments that have you feeling uncertain about the outcome. Your best friends and support group may be waiting on the other side!”

InfSys, Mgmt’24
 Leeds School of Business & Office of Diversity Affairs Outstanding Senior Award

Eleanor Gentry

 Work hard but rest harder—you won't actually remember anything you do on no sleep or when you're so stressed you can't focus. If you stay on top of resting, then you won't struggle to get things done.”

Phys, WomSt’24

Luke Hatton

 Take advantage of all of the resources available to enrich your experience. There is so much more to benefit from beyond just time in the classroom.”


Robert La Trobe

 Be a leader in class and school organizations. It will enrich your school experience, hold you to a higher standard of excellence and ultimately help you land a job you're proud to have earned.”


MarieFaith Lane

 My advice to fellow students is to embrace the interconnectedness of their passions and skills. I encourage others to see themselves as universal musicians, trusting their individual paths and pursuing diverse disciplines that allow them to explore versatile career options. Especially—beyond becoming skilled musicians and broadly based professionals—I urge other students to prioritize developing empathy and kindness in all aspects of life.”

MMus’22; Artist Diploma in Solo Performance ’24
 Graduate Teaching Assistant; Communications Assistant

Samantha Lane

 When you feel overwhelmed or stressed, feel it fully, as these emotions are valid and part of the college experience. It is through these experiences and emotions that you grow the most. So embrace the chaos that is college, and know that every experience and every emotion, whether good or bad, is valid and brings beauty and strength.”

 Outstanding Leadership and Community Engagement Graduate

Milena Pajevic

I would advise other students to make efforts to leave their comfort zones! All of my best experiences in college (including my friends, classes, and adventures) were due to me pushing past my comfort zone and trying new things.”


Bianca Perez

 Every connection I made at internships and with professors, every assignment and application, every interaction with peers in class, and every hour at the library has been in some way meaningful to me. Pay attention to the details because they coalesce together into a bricolage of knowledge.”

Comm, MediaSt’24
 William W. White Outstanding Senior Award

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Andrew Schwartz

 Explore classes outside of your discipline—you will learn more in a class about something new to you than in one you’re already familiar with.”

InfoSci, Phil’24
 William W. White Outstanding Graduate Award

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Victoria Zaugg

 College can be an incredibly chaotic time, and tough, emotional situations are bound to happen; sometimes it's because we aren’t perfect people either. Try to focus on having a growth mindset that allows you to learn, have fun, build self-compassion and recognize that perfection is an unattainable goal.”

Psych, Soc’24
 Learning Assistant for PSYC 3102 Behavioral Genetics; LA Mentor

What graduation means to you

William Solorio Hernandez

 Graduating from college is a monumental achievement that represents all of the hard work my family and I have done to succeed in America. My parents moved to Colorado from Mexico before I was born and never got to pursue a higher education, and yet they were able to make a living in Colorado. Their dedication and grit inspired me to pursue a degree in physics, and I would not have made it this far without their support.”

Math, Phys’24

Emma Hoeschler

 Graduating from CU Boulder represents a long-held dream of becoming an active change-maker in my community. The skills and knowledge I have developed throughout my time at CU have prepared me to be a teacher who empowers her students to think critically about our world and work to advance our communities for the better.”

Edu, Hist’24
 Outstanding Secondary Humanities Undergraduate Teacher Licensure Program Graduate

Er-Hsuan Li

 As a first-generation college graduate, it is certainly a dream come true to earn a doctorate. With the challenges of the pandemic and a year of mandatory military service, I am proud of overcoming all the difficulties with resilience over the past few years. I learned to be a well-rounded musician, prepared to be a confident professional in the field. I will cherish all the connections I made at CU.”

 Dean’s Graduate Student Grant; Nancy Brogden Booker Collaborative Pianist Award; James and Lola Faust Chamber Music Scholarship

Norma Marquez

 Graduating from CU Boulder with a master’s degree further validates all the sacrifices, obstacles and challenges my family and I have faced while trying to make a better life and establish ourselves in this country. This further exemplifies how education is the best way out of generational poverty for our communities. I would not be where I am today in my career had it not been for this program.”

 Program Manager for the Pre-Collegiate Center, CU Denver

Sujei Perla Martinez

 Graduating means carving a path for those in my family where there once wasn’t one. Growing up, I saw my mother work hard jobs to raise my brother and me. Every day, I try my hardest to show my mother that her sacrifice wasn’t in vain. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for my community, and for them I’m grateful.”


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Nataly Diaz Ortega

 Graduating from grad school represents a lot of pride for myself and my family, as I am a first-generation student. Graduating represents the advancement of women in color in graduate school, and feels like an immense pride to reach this accomplishment for the Hispanic community.”


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Yazmine Lynette Patiño

 Graduating from CU Boulder represents sacrifice, growth and possibilities for myself and my family. I’m the first in my family to receive a bachelor’s and now a master’s degree, both of which I could not have accomplished without the unwavering support of my family. Every educational milestone also represents educational possibilities for my younger siblings.”

 Outstanding Educational Foundations, Policy & Practice Master’s Graduate

Dana Ritterbusch

 As a non-traditional student, I came to this campus with a passion for neuroscience and looking for a sense of purpose to match. Not only did I find myself among truly exceptional academic peers, I was warmly welcomed into an inclusive community of driven, compassionate, fearless young adults who have inspired me beyond measure. I leave sad to say goodbye but with complete certainty the world is in hands that are immensely capable, guided by clear minds and open hearts; and I am better for knowing and having been loved by them.”

Neuro, Psych’24

Editor’s note: Quotes may include minimal edits for length and clarity. See a list of degree abbreviations.