Senior Spotlights Commencement 2023

Commencement 2023
Senior Spotlights
June 19, 2023
By Saul Hubbard, University Communications
Profiles produced by Sharon Sherpa and Dagny Kimberly, University Communications

Cheers to the bright futures ahead! As the graduating class of 2023 prepares to fly the nest, we honor the resilience, dedication and achievements of just some of our amazing graduates. In the words of Law School graduate Seth Jaksha, “when you first arrive, it feels like college is going to last forever. But the years end up going by much faster than you could imagine.” With your diplomas in hand, you now embark on a journey of endless opportunities, equipped with knowledge and a spirit that will shape the world. We can’t wait to see the paths you will take.

Jorney Baldwin Chee Class of '23

Jorney Baldwin-Chee

Major: Family Human Services and Public Relations
Hometown: Coos Bay, Oregon

Baldwin-Chee is a PathwayOregon, Home Flight, Diversity Excellence and Jewel Bell scholar. As an enrolled member of the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Indians, she is involved in the Native community both on and off campus. She has been part of the Native American Student Union and interned at the UO's Student Academy to Inspire Learning program and at the Vivian Olum Child Development Center. She has also worked at UO Counseling Services as the Native American Liaison and member of the student advisory board since her sophomore year.

The Native American and Indigenous Studies Academic Residential Community was a resource on campus that shaped her experience at the UO, Baldwin-Chee says. After graduation, she plans to attend the Strategic Communications master’s program through the UO School of Journalism and Communication

What made UO feel like home: “Although transitioning from home to college was more difficult than anticipated, the community potluck dinners at the Many Nations Longhouse reminded me of my family. It made me feel like I had a safe place on campus with people that understood what I was going through.”

Mollie Carney, Class of '23

Mollie Carney

Major: Environmental Studies
Hometown: Wichita, Kansas

Carney, a first-generation, Latinx student, came to UO as transfer student, interested in studying the environment with an emphasis on policy and sustainable design. Her two-year experience at UO was unique because of the inspiring professors in her major, the beautiful campus, the Knight Library (a favorite place of hers) and the entire Duck community.

This summer, she plans to intern at a local community garden that works with Food for Lane County. She is excited about the hands-on learning experience and building a network of people who share a similar passion for environmental studies and agriculture. After graduation, Carney plans to live abroad for six months, traveling across Europe and volunteering for conservation work while she's there. Afterward, she wants to come back to Oregon and pursue a career in conservation or sustainable/regenerative agriculture.

Advice for incoming Ducks: “Utilize all the resources available on campus. From tutoring and office hours to clubs and organizations, there are tons of opportunities intended to help you with anything you’re struggling with, as well as have fun and meet new people.”

Helen Tuttle-2

Helen Ingraham-Tuttle

Major: Folklore and Sociology
Hometown: Portland, Oregon

Ingraham-Tuttle is a Summit Scholar and Robert D. Clark Honors College student. She has been a member of the Substance Abuse Prevention and Education team and has worked as the chair of Connect the Ducks, which organizes free student events, such as an ‘80s roller-skating night and spring carnival. In those roles, she has helped students build community through engaging and entertaining events and by creating and sharing information to prevent and address substance use. She has been immensely grateful to help build a healthy and safe community for all.

Ingraham-Tuttle also worked as a research assistant on the Searching for the Cayuse 5 project through the Clark Honors College. After graduation, she will be continuing her studies at the UO School of Law.

Advice for incoming Ducks: “My biggest advice is to say yes. I believe in the importance of diving into activities and exploring them. I never thought that event planning might speak to me, but I have ended up feeling so connected to the community and building my leadership and outreach skills through that work.”

Ethan Wong, Class of '23

Ethan Wong

Major: Business Administration
Hometown: Beaverton, Oregon

Wong is a Summit scholar. He served as a financial controller supporting UO student government and was a member of the Lundquist College Investment Group. He says that both organizations helped him explore his career interests through hands-on work, developing practical professional and technical skills while building relationships with people who share the same passion and interests.

Wong feels he was able to have a positive impact on his peers, whether helping student organizations put on events that promote diversity on campus or being a mentor to others in the Investment Group and finding ways to make the group more valuable to members.

After graduation, Wong will be moving to Redmond, Washington., to work for Microsoft as a financial analyst. This summer, he plans to spend time traveling and with family.

What made UO feel like home: “After experiencing the atmosphere at Autzen Stadium for the first time, I knew UO was where I belonged. And even as a lifelong Oregonian and someone who was somewhat familiar with the Oregon Ducks already, seeing how much fun everyone was having with ‘Coming Home’ and ‘Shout’ showed me how special of a community I was going to be a part for the next four years.”

Seth Jaksha, Class of '23

Seth Jaksha

Major: Juris Doctor, School of Law
Hometown: Butte, Montana

Before coming to UO, Jaksha had never lived outside Montana, and he feels he could not have been successful without the people he met here and who made Eugene feel like home.

Jaksha has been the treasurer of the Student Bar Association and an academic senator in student government. He’s also been involved with the Sports & Entertainment Law Forum, Law of Entrepreneurship Student Association and the Moot Court. Those experiences have taught him how to work with people of different backgrounds and different life stages, Jaksha says, since law school students range in age from mid-20s to early 60s and bring unique perspectives to solving challenges.

After graduation, Jaksha is moving to Boise, Idaho. Upon passing the Idaho Bar Exam, he will begin his legal career as an associate attorney with the corporate division of the Hawley Troxell firm.

Advice for incoming Ducks: “Take advantage of your early years in college to get out and meet new people who come from different backgrounds. This will help you broaden your perspective of the world and help you become a more well-rounded individual.”

Maxwell Ely, Class of '23

Maxwell Ely

Major: Journalism and Public Relations
Hometown: Beaverton, Oregon

Ely launched his undergraduate experience by joining the Media and Social Action ARC, which he says was an incredible way to meet new people. He also got involved early in UO student government, first as a student senator and then as the general chief of staff for the ASUO executive branch.

In the School of Journalism and Communication, Ely worked on a research project with professor David Markowitz that he presented at the International Communication Association conference in Paris, France. He also worked with professor Seth Lewis as a research assistant on projects around ChatGPT and its potential impact on the journalism profession. Ely was selected for the 2023 cohort of SOJC students that attended and reported on the UNESCO World Press Freedom Day at UN Headquarters in New York. He also has had internships for Lane County and Oregon state government, the Polygon Market boutique marketing agency and the U.S. Department of State.

After graduation, Ely plans to find a job as a lab manager/research coordinator at a communications or psychology lab and then eventually pursue a Ph D.

Advice for incoming Ducks: “I would recommend looking into research opportunities on campus. Research doesn't always look like white lab coats in a sterile environment. There are all different types of research out there!”



Nahila Dowell, Class of '23

Nailah Dowell

Major: Family Human Services
Hometown: Huntington Beach, California

During her time at UO, Dowell, a transfer student, received the Centurion Award for being an outstanding student leader.  She has been involved with student government, the National Society of Leadership and Success and the Career Center.  Working with ASUO has been a great steppingstone, Dowell says, as she became the executive director of hiring. She plans to apply the skills she gained with HR processes and recruitment to a future career in human resources. Dowell also worked as a receptionist at the Career Center and in Tykeson College and Career Advising, which gave her the opportunities to help fellow students with their academic and career needs and make new friends.

After graduation, Dowell plans to move back to California and get a full-time job.

What made her UO experience special: “I've had a really strong support system during my time here, which includes my friends, partner and faculty members who I've had the pleasure of working with. They all push me to do my best and are my biggest cheerleaders when I succeed. I don't know what I would've done without them.”

KEvin Neri, Class of '23

Kevin Neri

Major: Journalism
Hometown: Pacifica, California

Neri is a first-generation Latinx Mexican American student. In addition to his studies and work as a photographer, he minored in sports business. During his time at UO, he was involved in the Mecha and Latinx Male Alliance student organizations where he was able to connect with other students with similar cultures and shared experiences.

After graduation, Kevin will be a visual journalist intern at the Sacramento Bee.

What made his UO experience special: “Taking J463 Top Track Bureau and having the opportunity to cover track and field all spring term and make lifelong friends. Not only did I learn about Tracktown USA, but I had the chance to cover the Prefontaine Classic, NCAA Division I Track and Field Championships, and World Athletics Championships Oregon22. I'm forever grateful to Professor Lori Shontz for allowing me to be a photojournalist and Dan Morrison for teaching me the ways.”

A Powell Class of '23

Allison Powell

Major: Planning, Public Policy, and Management
Hometown: Aurora, Colorado

Powell served as president of the PPPM Student Community Organization, deepening her connections with fellow students, faculty and alumni. She helped organize monthly community-centric events, deepening a sense of belonging within UO. Through PPPM’s internship program, Powell also became the city management intern for the City of Veneta, earning class credits each term she interned. She says she developed project management, data analysis and communication skills, while building valuable connections with community members, city councilors and city staff.

After graduation, Powell plans to work for a nonprofit or government entity to continue doing what she can to make the world a better, more equitable and sustainable place for everyone.

Advice to incoming students: “Join clubs on campus, intramurals, attend events offered on campus, and seek out awesome resources like the Multicultural Center, Women's Center or Craft Center to find your community. It may not be where you anticipate, so try new things and get comfortable with getting out of your comfort zone. Your best friends are here! Sometimes it just takes some work to find them!”

Ping Wang, Class of '23

Ping Wang

Major: Master’s in Business Administration and Finance
Hometown: Beijing, China

Wang chose to come to UO for graduate school because of the strong reputation of the business programs, distinguished faculty and resources, the inclusive community and the unique opportunities in the Pacific Northwest.

Wang has been a student analyst for the Institute for Policy Research and Engagement and a member of the Master's Investment Group, a group that works closely with faculty to produce a streamlined beginning-to-end investment process. She is also a member of Women of Warsaw, a group in the Warsaw Sports Business Center that discusses sports events, amplifies the diversity of perspectives among professionals and students, enhances collective understanding of the unique challenges women face at work and prepares women for successful careers.

Wang says she’s grateful her program offered students numerous opportunities to travel and gain hands-on experience in their fields of interest. She traveled to Seattle, the Bay Area, Chicago, New York, London and Paris with her cohort, visiting companies and connecting with professionals, giving her “invaluable” practical skills and knowledge for her future life.

What made UO feel like home: “To celebrate the Lunar New Year, we decorated our house with red and gold balloons and shared the foods and cultural traditions of the holiday with some of the MBA and MSF crew. This was the second Lunar New Year that I wasn't able to spend with my family in Beijing, but it still felt like home.”

Rudira Madala, Class of '23

Rudira Madala

Major: Data Science and Mathematics
Hometown: Portland, Oregon

Madala is a Presidential Scholar who has worked for the math and science libraries on campus since her sophomore year. She says those jobs made her more confident when teaching math and talking to other students and coworkers. They also provided her with the opportunity to give back to the math department.

Outside of academics, Madala enjoyed getting involved with intramural sports like volleyball, going to football and basketball games and attending events held by the UO South Asian Cultural Alliance.

After graduation, Madala will be moving to Texas to work for JP Morgan as a data science and AI analyst.

Advice to incoming students: “I have been able to meet so many people with similar interests and backgrounds as me. I definitely recommend getting involved with as much as you can on campus.”

derek evans student

Derek Evans

Major: Sociology
Hometown: Sandy, Oregon

Evans came to UO “dead set” on becoming a lawyer but changed his mind within weeks of enrolling. He would change his majors and minors six times during his time on campus and says he is grateful that UO allowed him to explore so much about himself, both academically and in terms of personal growth, through the support of peers, faculty members and advisors.

Evans worked as a student orientation staffer and campus ambassador, spending every summer helping prospective students learn about the UO. He also credits the Global Engagement ARC he enrolled in for creating really strong connections with fellow students.

After graduation, Evans plans to continue working with Orientation Programs through the summer. He then plans to continue working in higher education until he is ready to start pursuing a graduate degree.

Advice for incoming students: “Embrace the goofiness that is college; there are so many amazing opportunities that present themselves to incoming students, but it’s so common for students to turn them down for the sake of protecting their 'cool card'. Rip that cool card up, let yourself have fun, and the college experience will become infinitely more engaging, enjoyable and transformative.”