TAMPA, Fla. (April 23, 2019) – The University of South Florida Alumni Association’s Outstanding Graduates for Spring 2019 include a future trauma nurse with a Guinness Record drum beat; an anthropology major with a global interest in tenant and worker rights; and a young immigrant determined to change his family’s fortunes.
One Outstanding Grad represents each regional institution of the USF System – USF, USF St. Petersburg and USF Sarasota-Manatee. The three 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 May 2-6.
Roberto Velasco, BS Nursing, USF Tampa
Roberto set the beat for his USF career upon graduating high school, when he immersed himself in all things Bull spirit to prepare for joining the Herd of Thunder (H.O.T.) Athletic Bands drumline. A recipient of several USF scholarships, he vowed to give back, and did, taking on extra-curricular projects even during the most notoriously rigorous years of nursing school. Roberto, who is graduating in three years with a 3.92 GPA, remains a H.O.T. member. He’s also vice president of the USF Nursing Students’ Association; director of standards for the USF Ambassadors leadership group; student relations officer for USF Tradition Keepers; and a member of the Order of the Golden Brahman. He serves on the USF Health Executive Leadership Board and the Bull Nurse Admissions Team. Roberto plans to pursue a doctorate in nursing – and retain his 2016 Guinness World Record for most drumming “backsticks” (186) executed in one minute.
Lukas Desjardins, BA Anthropology, USF St. Petersburg
An academically focused student with a perfect 4.0 GPA, Lukas pursued challenging honors courses while working demanding on-campus jobs and helping found an advocacy group supporting tenants’ and workers’ rights, the Tampa Bay Solidarity Network. Lukas, who plans to pursue a doctorate in anthropology and is interested in global labor issues, used his study abroad experience to volunteer with a climate-change project, Parque de la Papa, in Peru. His work with the indigenous-led effort resulted in a research presentation at the 2018 Society of Ethnobiology conference. Lukas serves on the USFSP College of Arts and Sciences Student Advisory Committee and works as a student assistant for the USFSP Housing Office, where he resolves residence hall issues and often serving as a front-line information source for prospective students and their families. He also works as an editorial assistant for the fourth edition of anthropology professor Jay Sokolovsky’s award-winning book, “The Cultural Context of Aging.”
Lukas Oest, BS Marketing, USF Sarasota-Manatee
Lukas arrived in the United States as a 16-year-old German native with a dream of ending his family’s cycle of economic hardship. Through a program funded by the U.S. and German governments, he was given a year to live with a host family. Six years later, he is becoming the first in his family to earn a college degree. He does so with a 3.65 GPA and the promise of a job as head of global marketing development for a local citrus company. From the outset, Oest strove to make the most of his U.S. experience, creating a support network that would help him attend college here. At USFSM, he looked for opportunities to contribute while honing professional skills. He served as director of marketing and promotions for Student Government and became a community leader, helping first-year students through the Office of Student Engagement. He served in the USF Ambassadors leadership group, as president of the Adventure Club, and volunteered for charities, including Habitat for Humanity.
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 340,000 USF graduates worldwide. For more information, log on to www.usfalumni.org like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/USFalumni and follow us on Twitter @USFAlumniAssn.