Every semester at UCF we send a group of newly-minted Knights into the world to do battle. Like our student body as a whole, our Ambassadors arrive here from very different paths. They have different expectations about what they want from a college experience and different aspirations about where they want to go. The experience of being an Ambassador changes them and gives them a different perspective as they leave us to embrace their next challenge. Before they go, Jennifer and I want to share some observations on the five students that are graduating Friday.
Jordan Less – Both Jennifer and I have seen a great deal of growth with Jordan. Things didn’t always come easy for him as a student but he persevered and has reached his goal of graduating with an Accounting degree. Next semester he starts the MSA program. We have no doubt that he will make a fine CPA. Jordan has a great deal of pride in the Ambassador program and believes in the culture of engagement we have here in the College. He rose to be chair of the group this semester and has served for two years on the committee charge with recruiting the next group of Ambassadors. During new ambassadors interviews this semester, he was asked what he likes most about the program and he said, “it’s fun, I honestly enjoy coming to each meeting and it was never a burden to serve. This group has become my friends”.
Michael Silverman – Most student enjoy the Ambassador program because they want to make an impact. All you really need to know about Micheal, can be summed up in one story Jennifer shared with me: During The Invitational– an event where students meet potential employers, Micheal gave up time to network, so that he could personally escort a blind student around to meet employers. The student received a job and is doing exceptionally well. Michael is going into real estate and would like to be an entrepreneur… There may be few houses to flip as he begins his journey.
Valerie Chidester – Jennifer describes Valerie as her strong and steady ambassador. She stepped outside her comfort zone and rose to every occasion we asked of her. Valerie is accountable, coach-able, hard-working and committed. She will be very valuable to any team. We can’t wait to see where she begins her career, maybe marketing, possibly recruiting.
Jane Tarasionak – Jane took over Ambassador relations and kept the morale up in the group during a challenging semester with lots of different perspectives and points of view. Accountability is important to her and she stayed on track and remained committed to the program. Jane brought a lot of new ideas and was always there to offer recommendations or the student perspective. She is keeping her next move a secret for now, but I’m sure we will know soon.
Geoffrey Amankwah – He made being an international student look easy. He was our most dapper ambassador, who was always well-dressed for any occasion. Geoffrey made himself available to mentor students and be a guide to students who are struggling to make their way at the college. Geoffrey, “Got to the One” with Verizon, after doing an internships there for the past 7 months, he was offered a full time position.
As these students go their separate ways, it is my hope that each of them carry with them the key lessons of being an ambassador–that diversity of perspective and experience in groups is a strength, that leading requires you to get out of your comfort zone, that the hardest thing to do as a leader is to get people to see the value in a future they have yet to experience, that being engaged always matters and that the friends you make in college are an asset you can draw on for the rest of your life. Lastly, don’t forget to come back and visit us. You are, and shall always be, a UCF Knight. Charge On.