TAMPA, Fla. (Nov. 29, 2017) — The University of South Florida Alumni Association has named three Outstanding Graduates for the Fall 2017 Commencement ceremonies, one for each regional institution of the USF System. Outstanding Graduates embody leadership, school spirit, academic excellence, community involvement and a love for USF.
The following honorees will be recognized at USF Commencement ceremonies at their respective institutions Dec. 8-11.
Alexis Drees, BA International Business/finance concentration, minor in Chinese (Mandarin), USF Tampa
As an intern in the prestigious Sage Corps Fellow Program, Drees worked in Hong Kong last summer helping a tech start-up launch a mobile app. She created a financial model to project the app’s revenue, analyzed the competition and developed marketing media content, and edited the app’s text. The previous summer she spent in Qingdao, China, immersed in an intensive advanced Mandarin course and learning about Chinese cultural mores. Back at USF Tampa, she manages Delta Delta Delta sorority chapter’s $330,000 budget, serves on its executive board, and tutors fellow peers. She’s also a dedicated fundraiser, participating in events to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Additionally, Drees serves on the executive board of USF’s chapter of Project Pengyou, an organization that aims to foster US-China bridge building. And she’s done it all while working part-time at the campus Beef ‘O’ Brady’s! Drees is graduating with a 3.78 overall GPA and has applied to a master’s program in Beijing. Eventually, she plans to work in mergers and acquisitions in China, focusing on renewable energy.
Jared Bolton, BA Psychology, minors in business and entrepreneurship, USF St. Petersburg Honors Program
While excelling in challenging honors courses, Bolton has worked tirelessly on behalf of his fellow students throughout his college career, from planning events to mentoring freshmen to serving as a Student Government senator. As a first-year student, he was hired as director of special events for the school’s Harborside Activities Board and eventually became the board’s vice president. He joined the first class of peer coaches in order to help younger students through personal and academic difficulties, and served as an orientation leader and tour guide for incoming freshmen and prospective students. In 2015, he was crowned USF St. Petersburg’s Homecoming king. This year, he became a USF Ambassador, an elite group of students who represent USF at special functions and serve as a bridge between students and alumni. Bolton maintained a 3.98 GPA. He plans to pursue a doctorate in organizational psychology.
Jaime Hernandez Carranza, BS Biology, USF Sarasota-Manatee
As the first in his family to graduate from high school, Hernandez Carranza faced daunting challenges when it came to college. He had no family or friends who could offer advice. He had a wife and a full-time job. He’d never owned a computer. He enrolled at State College of Florida but struggled; after a year, when his wife became pregnant, he dropped out. Then USF Sarasota-Manatee launched its biology degree program. Not only could that help Hernandez Carranza achieve his dream of becoming a physician, the school was also close to home. This time, despite a full-time night-shift job and, eventually, a second child, Hernandez Carranza became the embodiment of student service, leadership and academic excellence. He served as a Student Government senator, president of the USF Sarasota-Manatee Ambassadors and the Biology Club, and co-founder and president of the school’s Circle K International chapter, the collegiate arm of Kiwanis International. He used vacation time for a school trip to do volunteer work in Atlanta and for retreats and other organizational commitments. Hernandez is graduating with a 3.61 GPA in his major and plans to attend medical school.
About the USF Alumni Association
The USF Alumni Association is a nonprofit organization composed of former students and friends of the University of South Florida. Our mission is to provide meaningful ways for USF Bulls to support, protect and promote their university. There are more than 322,000 USF graduates worldwide. For more information, log on to www.usfalumni.org, like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/USFalumni or follow us on Twitter @USFAlumniAssn.