UWSP grads look to the future after commencement
By Joe Bachman
STEVENS POINT — Confucius once said “wherever you go, go with all your heart” — and for the hundreds at UW-Stevens Point Commencement on May 19, they will do just that.
Held at the Multi-Activity Center on campus, students were addressed by Chancellor Bernie Patterson, as well as speak guest speaker, Ted Chapin, president and chief executive officer of the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization. From science and fine arts to business majors, — students prepared to carry their aspirations with them well into the future.
“If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere” certainly applies to 21-year-old graduate Jaya White. White graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting and Bachelor of Science in Philosophy, and has her sights set on New York City. After leaving home at 16 to attend Interlochen Fine Arts Camp, her love for theater grew, and she soon decided that she would become an acting major.
“I had no idea that the business was so big. I applied at 12 schools and got into 11, but somehow, out of all the big names (schools) I was “auditioning” for, this was the one that drew me in,” said White. “It’s so small; like a conservatory setting in a public university, and that’s exactly what I got.”
White spent much of her time collaborating with others in art at UWSP, to which she describes as a “hidden gem” of a program. However, there still existed the initial challenges of being away from Savannah, Ga., which she called “home” for most of her life.
“It was hard at times, being so far away from home, and in an area whose people and society and weather are totally different than what I’m used to,” said White. “But I’m thankful for the experiences because it made me a better actor, and a better human.”
White plans to work all summer, and prepare for the coming move to New York City, where she will be auditioning for her biggest roles in hopes that ‘Jaya White’ will one day become a household name.
“My professors here at UWSP, (especially in showcase, our senior capstone class) really have prepared me for what’s to come,” said White. “I also feel that my philosophy degree has made me think incredibly differently. I approach material (be it books to read, plays to dissect, an article on Facebook) with such a different mindset and I thank my professors for that.”
While White seeks to blossom in the entertainment industry, 23-year-old Riley Fichter looks to continue his education, as he has plans to attend an internship at Franconia Sculpture Park in Minnesota this summer. Fichter grew up in Baraboo, and initially had his sights set on graphic design or history, but life soon took him to the art of sculpting, and he graduates with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 3D Emphasis with a minor in Philosophy.
For Fichter, this is just the beginning.
“I plan to continue to apply for exhibitions, assistant-ships, and residencies in the future, and hopefully achieving a Masters in Fine Art in the near future,” said Fichter who is more than ready for what comes ahead. “Graduating is a breath of fresh air for me. I’ve made a lot of memories here, and graduating is allowing me to move on to greener pastures.”
Another Central Wisconsin graduate is 24-year-old Sam Scarpaci, who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a minor in Political Science. Scarpaci plans to jump right into work that compliments his field of education, as he currently works as a care facilitator at Choices for Change in Plover, an at-risk youth home for boys. Scarpaci credits the UWSP faculty, as well as the many friends he has made over his time as a Pointer for his optimistically bright future.
“I’m thankful for all of the faculty, the friends I’ve made, and the knowledge I’ve gained,” said Scarpaci. “It has always felt like the faculty has had my back. The faculty has been amazing and deserves to be recognized.”
While he holds no specific future plans, Scarpaci looks to simply serve his community as much as he possibly can going forward.
“I plan to take the things I have learned and keep serving my community as much as possible, wherever that may be.”
For 21-year-old Plover-born Keaton Schultz, he not only took home a Bachelor in Business Administration with an emphasis on Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate, but also met the love of his life, Ciana Rose, who also happened to be the December 2017 UWSP commencement speaker.
According to Schultz, he seeks to open up a real estate brokerage, and continue to grow his investment portfolio.
“UWSP was an amazing experience for me,” said Schultz. “I am glad that I stayed in town to attend college, as it gave me the opportunity to grow professionally while attending school.”
Schultz also cites strength in the flexibility of his university experience, which allowed him to graduate a year early.
“I was able to graduate a year early with the college coursework I took during my high school years,” said Schultz. “UWSP is a terrific investment and I would do it all over again if given the chance.”