Elliot Thorp '23 stands with a steel frame of a go-kart.

Class of 2023: Ready for the Future

May 11, 2023

Elliot Thorp ’23 is one of nearly 900 graduates ready to make their distinct mark as Bucknellians. Photo by Emily Paine, Communications

Some Bucknell students begin their college journey with a precise plan for their future. Others arrive feeling less certain, with an open mind that's eager to explore options.

However they arrive, when it's time to leave, Bucknellians enter the world as critical thinkers, creative problem-solvers and innovative leaders who possess the skills and confidence to navigate any path ahead. Through the networks they build during their time on campus, alumni connections and the robust, intentional efforts of the Center for Career Advancement, students find their first steps into the careers they've only just started to define.

Bucknell's 173rd Commencement is an opportunity to recognize the talented, resilient Class of 2023 — for all they've already accomplished (including navigating a pandemic) and for what lies ahead. Here, a few share their post-graduation plans, and how Bucknell helped them find success.

Elliot Thorp '23

Elliot Thorp works on the steel frame of a go-kart

Elliot Thorp '23 will begin his career as a body design engineer at Toyota. Photo by Emily Paine, Communications

Studied: Mechanical engineering

What's Next? "I will assist in designing newly manufactured vehicles as a body design engineer for Toyota. My role includes designing outside body panels, seats, airbags, lights and many other features. I will also create and model new components, build prototypes and test the safety of my designs. There is a push toward electric vehicles and sustainability within engineering, and I wanted to be a part of that. I feel extremely fortunate to start my journey at Toyota, a company that is focused on designing safe cars using sustainable engineering principles."

The Bucknell Advantage: "Ever since deciding that I wanted to become a mechanical engineer, I have maintained two career goals — to work on cutting-edge technology that pushes the boundary on what is possible and using my skills to improve the lives of others. The opportunity to explore my interests outside of the classroom has prepared me for my career at Toyota. While my classes have provided me with a strong foundation, the opportunities and lessons learned through my extracurricular activities have drastically increased the value of my education. In my two separate research projects, I gained an understanding of how to apply my classroom knowledge to solve real-world problems. My work as the executive intern for the College of Engineering expanded my knowledge of how to be an efficient and supportive leader, to work in a collaborative environment and to have confidence in my decision-making."

Adriana Gudiel-Matehu '23

Adriana Gudiel-Matehu poses in front of cherry blossoms.

At TD Cowen Inc., Adriana Gudiel-Matehu '23 will use her psychology background and global perspective to serve corporate and investing clients. Photo by Emily Paine, Communications

Studied: Psychology and French

What's next? "I'll be interacting with corporate and investing clients as a corporate access analyst at TD Cowen Inc. in New York City. I've always been interested in how psychology plays a crucial role in finance — it influences the decision-making processes related to money, investments and financial behavior. In 2021, Bucknell's Center for Career Advancement helped me secure an internship with Koch Communications, which is run by Richard Koch '69. That experience expanded my understanding of financial markets and then led to an internship with TD Cowen, where I participated in a rotational summer program and gained exposure to different divisions."

The Bucknell Advantage: "I chose Bucknell because as a high school student, I didn't know what I wanted to study in college. I consider myself curious, and Bucknell allowed me to explore my options within its liberal arts curriculum. I've been fortunate enough to take different classes in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Freeman College of Management. Majoring in French and having an opportunity to study abroad in Paris helped me grow personally and intellectually. I'm now trilingual. I believe having an understanding of other languages and cultures broadens your view of the world and opens doors."

Jamie Tsao '23

Jamie Tsao in Holmes Hall

Jamie Tsao '23 will put her interdisciplinary interest to work at CitiGroup. Photo by Emily Paine, Communications

Studied: Markets, innovation & design (MIDE)

What's Next? "I am joining CitiGroup in New York City as a personal bank and wealth management analyst. I am entering a two-year program with three rotations that will allow me to explore more departments within personal banking and wealth management. The personal banking department holds many of Citi's marketing teams, so I'm hoping to be placed in one of those for a rotation."

The Bucknell Advantage: "Being a student-athlete on the women's lacrosse team helped me with time management and organization. Along with this, MIDE 300 and MGMT 101 have been great classes to practice teamwork in a professional setting and allowed me to gain real-world experience with stakeholders. In my role as a teaching assistant and tutor, I was able to multitask and wear the hats of many roles — similar to how I might juggle projects in the future. As a MIDE major and psychology minor, I've always wanted to pursue something marketing related or related to people. The combination of these programs gives me an even larger scope of understanding for consumer behavior and how marketing influences us psychologically. I also really enjoy working with numbers and data as a math tutor. This rotational program will allow me to experience working in both the consumer advertising and data analytics fields."

Christian Melgar '23

Christian Melgar '23 points to a whiteboard in front of a room of students.

Christian Melgar '23 will pursue his master's in education at Harvard. Photo by Emily Paine, Communications

Studied: English and education

What's Next? "I have been admitted to the Harvard Graduate School of Education's Teaching and Teacher Leadership (TTL) program. Through this program, I will be a teacher-resident while pursuing a master's in education. My dedication and passion for the education field stem from my own experience in the U.S. K-12 public education system. There was one specific teacher who taught me that success is not defined by others but by ourselves. I aim to provide my future students with a similar message."

The Bucknell Advantage: "The secondary certification teacher preparation program at Bucknell enabled me to pursue my interests early on. As a first-year student, I was already in the classroom observing and taking notes from tenured teachers in their own specific discipline. Bucknell allowed me to get my hands dirty and gave me the opportunity to engage in self-discovery. Through the positive relationships with professors to the endless support from Karl Voss [Douglas K. Candland Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences], I was able to dive deeper into my passion for equity and curriculum. I served as president of the Pennsylvania Student Education Association, a position through which I was able to lead conversations surrounding policy and systematic change and dive deeper into discovering avenues to dismantle and abolish oppressive systems. My passion for education equity enabled me to land an internship with the Montgomery County Board of Education, where I worked on the anti-racist systems audit as a legislative intern and evaluated school policies and immersion school programs."

Isabella DiGiulio '23

Isabell DiGiulio poses in front of cherry blossoms

Isabella DiGiulio '23 will add to the sustainability efforts of aviation giant Boeing. Photo by Emily Paine, Communications

Studied: Chemical engineering

What's Next? "I've been hired by Boeing in Seattle. I will be part of the materials and sustainability team, which falls under product development. The team looks at new sustainability projects for Boeing's commercial division. I'll be completing research, developing and executing testing plans, and managing budgets and schedules related to new sustainability initiatives."

The Bucknell Advantage: "My chemical engineering classes at Bucknell have been very teamwork focused, which provided me with experience that helped me secure my role at Boeing. Through the Presidential Fellows program, I was able to complete hands-on research, including an honors thesis, during all four years of my Bucknell education. My time as co-president of the Society of Women Engineers at Bucknell allowed me to gain valuable leadership experience. Finally, attending the national Society of Women Engineers conference in 2022 connected me with Boeing, and it was through that conference I secured my full-time position."

James Andradas '23

James Andradas '23 poses in front of cherry blossoms

A diverse set of skills acquired at Bucknell will contribute to James Andradas '23 work in analytics with Deloitte. Photo by Emily Paine, Communications

Studied: Business analytics

What's Next? "As a member of Deloitte's Risk & Financial Advisory division, I will provide risk consulting services to clients in various industries, identify and analyze potential risks that could affect a client's business, and develop strategies to mitigate those risks. My job will include checking a company's finances and operations, making sure they follow rules and standards, and helping them make plans to reduce risks. In addition, I will collaborate with other Deloitte professionals across various service lines to provide integrated solutions to potential clients."

The Bucknell Advantage: "Bucknell has made it easy for me to take advantage of opportunities, receive one-on-one help from instructors and find my friends. My internship with Deloitte's Risk & Financial Advisory division provided me with valuable experience in analytics, data sourcing strategies and project management. Moreover, my positions as a research assistant and teaching assistant have improved my technical and communication skills, which are crucial in the field of analytics. Additionally, my work as a residential advisor and dean's office assistant developed my interpersonal and problem-solving abilities, which will be helpful in any career path. Overall, my Bucknell experience has equipped me with a diverse range of skills that will help me succeed in my career in analytics."

Jaxon White '23

Jaxon White poses in front of a wall of newspaper clippings

Jaxon White '23 will carry his experience as editor in chief of the Bucknellian into his new role with LancasterOnline. Photo by Emily Paine, Communications

Studied: Political science and English — creative writing

What's Next? "I will be the statehouse reporter for LancasterOnline, a newspaper owned by LNP Media Group based in Lancaster, Pa. I'll be responsible for writing news stories about the daily events of state government by attending committee meetings, following proposed bills, listening to the General Assembly's deliberations and interviewing state officials. I'll also be writing investigative stories for The Caucus, a watchdog publication."

The Bucknell Advantage: "I knew coming into Bucknell that I was interested in writing and government and policy, but I wasn't certain what I wanted to do specifically. Bucknell's liberal arts education gave me the foundation I needed to work out a plan. After an internship in local government, I knew working in that world wasn't for me. As I got more involved in the student newspaper The Bucknellian, I realized how much I enjoy journalism. Bucknell's Center for Career Advancement helped me look around for journalism internships and apply to one in Pittsburgh, which kickstarted my career. Journalism a job that lets me use my natural curiosity to tell meaningful stories. Bucknell has really shaped me as a person. The professors here have always been supportive in fostering my interests."

April Hurlock '23

April Hurlock '23 uses lab equipment

April Hurlock '23 built a powerful research foundation at Bucknell. Photo by Emily Paine, Communications

Studied: Chemistry

What's next? "I will be conducting research in the neurology department at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia under the direction of Wesley Baker '05. Dr. Baker's lab works to develop advanced tools and techniques to study oxygen and blood flow in the brain. It's an important area of research that can help inform treatment for children who suffer from brain injuries or babies who are born needing life support. My role will entail helping with data acquisition, conducting routine clinical studies and pursuing independent research. I eventually plan to attend graduate school and become a physician-scientist at an academic research institution, so this lab is a great fit for me."

The Bucknell Advantage: "I didn't have to wait until the start of my first academic semester to get hands-on research experience. I was accepted into Bucknell's STEM Scholars program, which helps first-generation students, like myself, get an early start on college. I was paired with a research mentor, Professor Douglas Collins [chemistry], and the work I began that summer evolved into a four-year research experience. Professor Collins encouraged me to launch an investigation to study the chemical makeup of thirdhand smoke — pollutant remnants left on surfaces following exposure to a lit cigarette. It was really daunting at first, but it became my research focus for the next four years. Bucknell taught me how to be a scientist."

Matthew Vallely '23

Matthew Vallely '23 poses in front of cherry blossoms.

Matthew Vallely '23 is prepared to step into leadership role in the brewing industry. Photo by Emily Paine, Communications

Studied: Chemical engineering

What's Next? "I will be working in Newburgh, N.Y., as part of Anheuser-Busch's Metal Container Corporation trainee program. I will begin as a shift superintendent and will lead a crew of 35 technicians and be responsible for planning, directing, and controlling daily operations in the production facility."

The Bucknell Advantage: "Before I came to college, I never truly understood the importance of going to a university with a teamwork-heavy curriculum or with a low student-to-faculty ratio. I now understand the deep value that those connections add to my degree. My undergraduate research experience with Professor Kenny Mineart [chemical engineering] and my design-based courses with Professor Michael Prince [chemical engineering] were some of the most influential classes I have taken as they pushed me toward proficiency in critical thinking, technical communication and complex problem-solving. Professors in the chemical engineering department make sure students know what resources are available, and I used some of those tools — like the Center for Career Advancement resume workshops and Handshake — to secure an internship that eventually led to my full-time job offer. I came into Bucknell uncertain about my ability to communicate via technical papers and presentations, but focused on them in my classes so much that I am leaving with the tools under my belt to excel at technical and professional communication, which will be a major part of my job."


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