By: Nick Santangelo

This year’s College of Liberal Arts (CLA) seniors will graduate this Friday! Can you believe it’s time already? Neither can some of our owls getting ready to walk at commencement. Before they don their caps and gowns, a select few of 2018’s many amazing CLA grads took a moment to reflect back on their time at Temple and tell us what’s next for them.


John Felipe Ranjo

Take risks, because doing so may lead you to opportunities and experiences that may transform you as a student and individual.

My favorite class was: Spanish 3160 (From the Calle to the Catwalk: Representations of Struggles in Street Culture and Style).

My favorite Temple memory is: Travelling to Costa Rica as part of the Latin American Studies Semester.

My next stop after graduation is: Graduate School at Temple University to get a master's in secondary education.


Dalton Becker

Do what your heart says. Do not let other people's opinions sway you from your dreams. If you set goals and give them all that you have, you will succeed!

My favorite class was: Intro to Law Enforcement with Professor Alkus. Funniest, and most helpful professor in CLA!

I chose Temple because: I wanted to fulfill a childhood dream and move back to the Philadelphia area from Atlanta.

My next stop after graduation is: I’m serving as a commissioned officer in the PA Army National Guard, and I’m pursuing a career in law enforcement in the Philadelphia region.


Madison Gray

Seize as many opportunities as possible from Temple and CLA. During my time at Temple, I’ve had the opportunity to support refugees in Tokyo, learn French in Paris, write legislation in the State Capitol, take a college course with incarcerated men, learn about U.S. border policy directly underneath the U.S.-Mexico border fence, work at the Democratic National Convention and more. None of these opportunities would have been possible without generous financial support and encouragement from the University and CLA specifically. Read your emails, talk to your professors, attend info sessions about programs that sound interesting and apply to as many of these programs as possible!

My favorite class was: Death & Dying, which was taught as an Inside Out course with Dr. Tricia Way at Graterford Prison.

I chose Temple because: Temple University is fantastically integrated within the City of Philadelphia, which provides students with the opportunity to be more than "just" traditional college students. This integration encourages Temple students to be well-informed and independent. (And it’s also loads of fun!)

Bonus tip: If it were up to me, my list of Incredible Temple Experiences would be even longer, but on several occasions, I applied to amazing, life-changing programs and was not selected. Don't let it get you down. Continue to seize as many opportunities as possible!

My next stop after graduation is: Penn Law


Mike Reardon

Take advantage of the opportunities you’re given while you’re here, because right now everybody wants to help you. There is something at Temple for everybody, but you are the one who has to go out and get involved. Use the resources and opportunities that Temple offers because before you know it your time will be over.

My favorite class was: Civil War

My favorite Temple memory is: Going to the football games. When looking back, some of my best memories were made at Temple football games. The sense of school spirit and passion that these games brought out was amazing, and they always seemed to remind me of why I decided to come to Temple.

My next stop after graduation is: I hope to find a job in an area that interests me and will be the start of a rewarding and prosperous career.


Shali Pai

Successful people aren't successful because they sought out success. They are successful because they just did what made them happy. So don't worry about doing things to look good or because you think it is the right next step, do it because you genuinely want to and that will help you in the long run when finding your next steps.

My favorite class was: A tie between Weight Training I and Health and Reproduction.

I chose Temple because: When I applied to schools I wanted one in the city with big school spirit. I ultimately chose Temple because I realized that I wanted to go somewhere that gave off the vibe of "we're so lucky to have our students" instead of "students should feel lucky to be here."

My next stop after graduation is: I plan on learning how to meal prep and in the fall I'll be starting my Masters of Public Health in Health Policy and Management at Columbia University.


Olufisayo Taiwo

Use all your resources—your professor, advising office and your peers. Don't be afraid of new challenges. They will make you stronger.

My favorite class was: Social Psychology

My Favorite memory at Temple was: Planning Camp TU Spring 2017

My next stop after graduation is: Work then graduate school for a master’s in counseling.


Sarah Levine

Don’t let your major limit you. Temple values a diverse and interdisciplinary student body, and CLA is the centerfold for fostering both. Let your major guide you, but don’t hold yourself back from doing something outside it that you’re passionate about. We’re a kaleidoscope of interests, passions and personalities. Get involved and make a difference in things that speak to the different colors of what makes you, you. Your time in CLA will "fly" by. Seizing every opportunity that interests you will help you learn more about yourself. Find that internship, conduct that research, apply for that scholarship! Just try. If you fail, you will learn. You find what you love doing by exploring, and college is the time to do that. And don't worry, employers like to see this. There are skills to be gained from every experience at Temple. Be sure to go to the career center—they’ll help you articulate those skills.

I chose Temple because: I always wanted to go to college, but it took former President Barack Obama launching the BRAIN initiative my junior year in high school for me to know I wanted to study neuroscience. At the time, few universities besides Ivy Leagues offered undergraduate neuroscience degrees. Those that did were geared towards pre-med, which wasn't the path I wanted to take. I wanted to see if I liked neuroscience and to combine it with other interests like music, therapy, research, policy, etc.

CLA allowed me to study what I wanted and align it to my interests. The day I decided to go to Temple, I walked up to my mom and said I needed to finally decide between my top two school. Could I brainstorm with her? As she was about to answer, my phone rang. "Hello this is such and such from Temple University. I am calling to see if you have any questions or would like to work through any dilemmas you are having?" I laughed, telling my mom my future was calling, and that was that.

My favorite Temple memory is: There are too many Temple memories to choose from. From my service immersion trip to the Lakota rosebud reservation in Mission, SD to learn about Lakota tradition, culture and social injustice, to speaking on Capitol Hill at the first congressional briefing on food insecurity on college campuses, to receiving the Diamond Award, my time at Temple has been full of meaningful experiences.

But I’ll most cherish the official opening of Temple’s first food pantry, the Cherry Pantry, on February 19, 2018. I helped the first student who came in, and to have this unspoken understanding that I was there to help because I had been in their shoes meant the world to me. Knowing I have been a part of bringing life to this resource that will help future owls to come isn't a feeling I will ever forget.My advice to the next generation of Liberal Arts students is:

My next stop after graduation is: Taking a deep breath and knowing I’m ready for what comes next. I’ll be a first-generation college graduate on May 11. I’ve thought and been worried about what comes after graduation since I sent in my deposit freshman year. I have long planned to work for a year or two before entering graduate school. I’ve discovered so much about myself and have many options ahead to sort through. So, I leave Temple with the same thing I came in with: I don't know what to expect, but I’m not going to compare myself with others because I know I’m prepared.

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