In January, before the start of spring semester, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to travel to San Francisco, California with some of Paul College’s best and brightest students. Selected by Dean Deborah Merrill-Sands, twelve students traveled as representatives of the University of New Hampshire to explore business and innovation in Silicon Valley.
Each day brought along new ideas, perspectives, and experiences. While there, we networked with UNH alumni and also visited Silicon Valley Bank, Google, Bridge Bank, Sailingstone Capital Partners, GoPro, and an assortment of wineries. My experience was, among many things, eye-opening. Some common themes that were discussed over the week included the stark differences between East and West Coast business, how to build a network, venture capital activity, work/life balance, and so much more. The captivating idea that business can be explorative and experimental is something that we have not grown accustomed to here, but is a frequent sentiment expressed all across Silicon Valley.
In addition to learning a tremendous amount about the culture of Silicon Valley, the importance of networking, and a variety of business concepts, I was most happy to see the success stories of thriving UNH graduates. These individuals were heads of their departments, vice presidents, managers, investors, and entrepreneurs. There was something to learn everywhere that we went, and above all, this trip made me proud to be a UNH student. Before, I had never really thought about the impact that UNH had past New England, but it was inspiring to see how far our UNH community spans across the country.
As students of the University of New Hampshire, it is our responsibility to spread awareness for our school. One of the best pieces of advice that I was given over these few days was to “wave your UNH flag.” As a UNH campus tour guide, this is something I love to do on a regular basis. When trying to educate someone about UNH, I believe nothing is more powerful than using the student experience. I always enjoy being vocal about all of the advantages UNH has to offer. If there is one thing that this trip proves, it is that UNH students are a strong force of elite individuals. The opportunities that our school provides give us the skills that we need to prosper. UNH graduates are dynamic, creative, and innovative. They have the ability to critically think, solve problems, communicate, and form an opinion. These traits make them competitive in the workplace and successful in their positions. When we graduate, it is up to us to honor this reputation and show the world just how phenomenal UNH really is.
In May, when I graduate, I will be leaving my home for the past four years, but I will be joining a network of thousands of other UNH alumni. I am privileged to have attended a school that granted me opportunities such as this trip, and many other enriching experiences.
About Julianne Calef ’17:
Julianne Calef is senior Paul College student studying Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting. Julianne is a peer advisor for the FIRE Program, Dean’s Ambassador for Paul College, a Principal for the Mel Rines Angel Investment Fund and the Public Relations Chair of Campus Activities Board (CAB).