Panthers celebrate graduation day, 3,600 strong

More than 3,600 UWM students celebrated as they received their hard-earned diplomas Sunday and looked forward to a bright future.

Those 3,600 students have 3,600 stories: Some are heading to a long-dreamed career, some off to grad school, some to pursue a bachelor’s degree.

Here are a few of those stories, with links to videos that were shown during Sunday’s commencement ceremonies.

Tre’quan Martin was the first male in his family to graduate from high school. Now he’s advising Milwaukee Public Schools students on how they can succeed. He’s graduating from UWM with a master’s degree in administrative leadership in adult, continuing and higher education to further his career and better help those students.

James Van Eerden liked the dehydrated watermelon he made so much that he decided others might like it too. With help from UWM’s Student Startup Challenge, he and business partner Matt Kemper have turned a hobby into a business.

UWM helped Mercedes Islas juggle raising a newborn with her nursing studies by setting up a virtual classroom. Islas and fellow nursing student Shannon Komar represented UWM and claimed first place in the Shanghai International Nursing Skills Competition last year. Islas hopes to serve as a role model for her two daughters, not only by receiving her bachelor’s degree but also with her plan to continue at UWM and earn a doctoral degree.

Megan Roshak worked at the Solution Center at UWM at Waukesha, then became public relations director for the Student Government Association and a brand ambassador for the Milwaukee Bucks. Now she will be starting two internships, with the Green Bay Blizzard and Midwest Communications.

Born in San Jose, California, Alvaro De León González moved to Mexico when he was 8. He started college there, then transferred to UWM to finish his civil engineering degree. In 2018, De León González landed a full-time position with the City of Milwaukee as an engineering drafting technician.

Ashley Handley completed her first two years of college at UWM at Waukesha, then transferred to UWM’s main campus to complete her finance degree. She was part of the Panther Foundation for Success, which helped her find an internship at Rockwell Automation. Before graduation day, Handley accepted a full-time position there.

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