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GPS Finalists’ Panel Presentations Showcase Student Talent

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On Tuesday, May 21, 2019, an awards ceremony took place to honor those students who successfully completed all requirements for AUP’s Global Professional Skills (GPS) Program. This signature AUP program is designed to bring together every aspect of a global explorer’s university experience, helping students develop personal narratives that they can carry forward into the next stages of their professional or academic careers. A successful GPS graduate shows evidence of four core capabilities: adaptable communicators with a global perspective; responsible actors and empowered leaders; independent, creative thinkers; and engaged, lifelong learners.

Throughout their time at AUP, participating undergraduate students complete activities – be they curricular, co-curricular or extracurricular – designed to widen their skill set and help them decide on their future career moves. This year, recorded activities amounted to more than 13,000 hours of work. “That counts for something,” said Kevin Fore, Dean of Student Development, speaking at the GPS awards ceremony. “We’re here tonight to celebrate that.”

Four finalists presented to the President’s panel, which consisted of academic and professional representatives ready to assess the strength of students’ presentations and the cohesiveness of their narratives. President Celeste M. Schenck was joined on the panel by Anne Ditmeyer G’10, an AUP alumna now working as a creative coach and consultant; Assistant Professor Hannah Westley of the Department of Global Communications; Doris Daughney, a member of AUP’s Board of Trustees; and Assistant Professor Maria Bach ’11, an alumna and faculty member in the Department of Economics. Following the presentations, the 32 students graduating from the program received their GPS certificates. The winning presentation, chosen by the judges, will receive a special award at this year’s commencement ceremony.

Darcee Caron, AUP’s Director of Experiential Learning, introduced the finalists. First, Veronica Ayala, majoring in journalism with a minor in political communications, discussed her commitment to becoming a well-rounded journalist and her work with AUP’s student publications. Next, Frances Eby shared with the audience what made her a “badass feminist,” describing her work with AUP for Consent and her internships at the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) and at Children of Prisoners Europe (COPE).

Sarah Sturman, a creative writing major with a minor in classical civilizations, positioned herself at the confluence of three key terms: perspective, personability and editorship. “Blank pages don’t inspire me,” she said, outlining her desire to be a fiction editor. “Full, messy ones definitely do.” Finally, Jean Marie Anselmi – mathematics and computer science – explained her drive to join the US Marine Corps upon graduation: “I want to bring you my story from the perspective of being a bold initiative taker and a leader.”

The students’ presentations were streamed in full on Facebook Live – you can watch the recording below. Congratulations again to all our graduating GPS seniors!