Seniors Reflect on Their Time at St. Thomas, Give Advice to Future Tommies

As the semester comes to an end, we caught up with some seniors to ask about their time at St. Thomas including favorite memories, what they have learned about themselves, advice for future students, and their post-graduation plans. Here's what they had to say 

Deja Copeland 

Deja Copeland headshot.

Major: International studies (economics)

Most memorable St. Thomas moment: My most memorable moment at St. Thomas is attending Ebony Mic Night my first year; I first fell in love with BESA (Black Empowerment Student Alliance) after attending this event 

What have you learned about yourself while at St. Thomas? While at St. Thomas, I have learned that I love engaging with people from different cultures and that resiliency is one of my best qualities.  

Advice for future St. Thomas students: My advice for future St. Thomas students is to take advantage of every enriching opportunity presented to you and don’t hesitate to get involved in leadership positions. Campus leadership positions can initially appear to be daunting, but you will see immeasurable growth – personally and professionally – on the other side of this discomfort.  

Post-graduation plans: I will be leaving in late September of this year for a teaching position as a language assistant in Madrid, Spain, where I will be teaching English to 2 to 5-year-olds 

 

Rachel Dahl 

Rachel Dahl headshot.

Major: Operations and supply chain management

Most memorable St. Thomas moment: I really enjoyed the Tommie-Johnnie game at Target Field my first year (when St. Thomas won)! I also have had many memorable moments in my three years as a resident advisor. 

What have you learned about yourself while at St. Thomas? I have learned that being involved in many organizations and working with others on a variety of tasks and projects gives me energy and joy. 

Advice for future St. Thomas students: Live in the moment! College goes by fast and you never know what can happen (like a pandemic). 

Post-graduation plans: I will be entering the Technology Leadership Development Program (TLDP) at Travelers in St. Paul, where I have interned for two summers. It is a rotational program, and I am very excited to be able to try different roles to find a good fit as well as continue to develop and utilize my leadership skills. 

 

Derrick Diedrich 

Derrick Diedrich headshot.

Major: Business leadership and management 

Most memorable St. Thomas moment: Studying abroad in Rome my junior year. 

What have you learned about yourself while at St. ThomasIndependence is not very hard but learning how to live a good human life is! 

Advice for future St. Thomas students: Invest in classes! There are many things about college that you can continue after, but your days as a formal student are numbered. So don’t waste them. 

Post-graduation plans: I will be staying in the Twin Cities to start my career. 

 

Matthew Farho 

Matthew Farho headshot.

Major: Vocal music education 

Most memorable St. Thomas moment: Being a part of the Summit Singers is absolutely a highlight of my time at St. Thomas. Before college, I never would have pictured myself as the type of person to join an a cappella group, but walking into rehearsals in O'Shaughnessy Educational Center auditorium and making music with people across all sorts of majors has led to many experiences that I will always treasure.  

What have you learned about yourself while at St. Thomas? I’ve learned how to enjoy being alone. I’ve met so many great friends here, but it has been so important for me to learn how to be OK with going to The View for dinner by myself, or to stay the night (or past year) in my home and watch a movie without feeling like I need another person to be with me. I am finally my own best friend, and I wouldn’t have it any other way! 

Advice for future St. Thomas students: Don’t let the fear of putting yourself out there stop you from meeting your future best friends. Most of my most treasured college memories and friendships wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t force myself to step outside of my comfort zone. 

Post-graduation plans: I plan to get a job as a music teacher in the Twin Cities after graduation. 

 

Shukrani Nangwala   

Shukrani Nangwala headshot.

Major: Marketing management

Most memorable St. Thomas moment: One of the most memorable moments during my years at St. Thomas was being able to work as a student photographer. This job gave me the opportunity to experience and document all the great things St. Thomas has to offer. 

What have you learned about yourself while at St. Thomas? I can move mountains when I choose to believe in myself. 

Advice for future St. Thomas students: No one knows what they are doing. For this reason, you should never be afraid to ask dumb questions. 

Post-graduation plans: Currently, looking for a job or I might return to St. Thomas in the fall for graduate school at Opus of College of Business. 

 

Hunter Santos

Major: Social work 

Most memorable St. Thomas moment: Hands down when I walked into SDIS (Student Diversity and Inclusion Services) for the first time. I remember feeling so happy seeing people in this space that looked like me.  

What have you learned about yourself while at St. Thomas? To trust in my abilities and skills. To have confidence in myself and my work.  

Advice for future St. Thomas students: Experience everything St. Thomas has to offer! This is your time to have fun, attend events, join a few clubs and meet some amazing people. 

Post-graduation plans: This next year I plan to work as a case manager for the city and save up some money. I also plan to take this year to prepare for law school for fall 2022.  

  

Jensen Stanton

Jensen Stanton headshot.

Major: Data analytics (American politics domain) 

Most memorable St. Thomas moment: My most memorable moment at St. Thomas was being able to perform with the string orchestra at Orchestra Hall for three years as a part of the St. Thomas Christmas concert. It was such a blessing to be surrounded by so many amazing student musicians doing what we love and performing for a national audience!  

What have you learned about yourself while at St. Thomas? I've learned that I can be an effective leader and I've learned more about what kind of leader I am. I've been a club president, a resident advisor, and a lead tutor and have had the privilege to learn from so many that came before me to create my own unique leadership style. 

Advice for future St. Thomas students: Ask questions ... lots of questions! Even if it's something small, it could lead to an amazing learning opportunity. Reach out to your professors, your professional acquaintances, on-campus resources, potential jobs, anything to receive the answers that can empower you with the knowledge to make the best decision possible.  

Post-graduation plans: I will be working as a data analytics/business intelligence consulting associate at RSM in Minneapolis. I actually got this job through a connection I made in one of the clubs I'm in! Great things happen in really weird ways sometimes.  

  

Michael Sullivan 

Michael Sullivan headshot.

Major: Business administration with a marketing concentration

Most memorable St. Thomas moment: Marching through the Arches, fall 2017! 

What have you learned about yourself while at St. Thomas? It’s a big world out there and grow where you are planted. 

Advice for future St. Thomas students: Don’t graduate with any “what ifs,” take every chance you get and be kind to yourself and others. 

Post-graduation plans: I will be moving to Dallas, Texas, to start as an associate consultant for Infor, a cloud-based technology company.  

 

Dylan Thorson 

Dylan Thorson headshot.

Major: Political science 

Most memorable St. Thomas moment: The competitions and practices with my mock trial teamSpecifically, our trip to Philadelphia for the national tournament! 

What have you learned about yourself while at St. Thomas? I learned the importance of community and the fact that, wherever I go after this, I can find the right people to make a strong home.  

Advice for future St. Thomas students:  Join every club that interests you; make more and more friends. You can always step back in the future, but you’ll never know what you’ll miss if you never take that step forward. 

Post-graduation plans: I will be attending the University of St. Thomas School of Law this fall. 

 

Sophia Hernandez Tragesser 

Major: History 

Senior Sophia Hernandez TragesserMost memorable St. Thomas moment: There are so many great moments from St. Thomas, so I will share two. The first was on campus, attending a guest lecture. Many students and faculty from my department came. Before the talk, we socialized and got to know one another on a more personal level. After the talk, we had interesting conversations and debates about the lecture. That is the first moment I took ownership of my department and felt fully at ease in a community of friends and learners.  

Second is studying abroad in a J-Term class. Every day had a memorable moment, and it was an incredible blessing to live, learn and explore the world with fellow Tommies 

What have you learned about yourself while at St. ThomasI learned that I need to be involved in a community that is social, intellectual and truly cares about each other. I built my community through engaging rigorously with faculty and students in my department, attending academic conferences with students across the country, and involving myself with St. Thomas clubs and organizations. Through these groups I built personal relationships with so many and tried to make every encounter uplifting for those around me. 

Advice for future St. Thomas students: Dive deep into the academic, spiritual and social offerings of the school. We have world-class faculty who want to help you achieve great things. Get to know them, appreciate them, work with them. You will only take with you what you leave behind. Remember every day that it is a blessing to be at university; how will you make the most of your blessings today? Also, be friendly and take care of each other. When you pass someone in the hall or on the sidewalk, say good morning,” give them a smile or introduce yourself. If we want a robust community who values every person, that starts with smiles, greetings and learning each other's names. 

Post-graduation plans: I start law school at the University of Virginia this fall. My goal is to become a district attorney in Washington, D.C. 

  

Kathryn Van Sistine 

Kathryn Van Sistine headshot.

Major: Legal studies in business 

Most memorable St. Thomas moment: I loved the March Through the Arches and I am so excited to march out of the Arches for graduation! 

Advice for future St. Thomas students: The St. Thomas community is absolutely incredible, and I would recommend taking advantage of every opportunity to get involved, learn and meet new people. 

Post-graduation plans: I will be attending the Loyola University Chicago School of Law in the fall.  

 

Emmie Wiedemann

Emmie Wiedemann headshot.

Major: Business administration – leadership management 

Most memorable St. Thomas moment: Tommie-Johnnie in 2019 was one of the most fun days, but overall experiences would be being an orientation leader after my first year. I learned so much about myself and it really pushed me to get involved on campus! 

What have you learned about yourself while at St. Thomas? am capable of doing hard things. I had so much personal growth and exploration, and the process of getting there wasn’t always easy, but it makes me so proud knowing who I am and what I can do. 

Advice for future St. Thomas students: Get involved and get your name known with other students, staff, professors, administration, everyone. You never know when or how you might need connections and the network at St. Thomas is amazing. 

Post-graduation plans: I am staying in the Twin Cities working for Lockton Re as a broker in the reinsurance industry.