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Kelly Twohey '11

Kelly Twohey graduated in 2011 with a bachelor's degree in business administration. She recently started her own jewelry and apparel business, Vana Lynn.

1: What have you been up to since graduation?
After graduation, like many of my fellow alumni, I found myself jumping right into corporate America jobs that looked appealing and fast-paced. After some time, I found myself lacking any motivation to get to work in the morning other than to collect my paycheck at the end of the month. I was working for others with 110% effort but I felt that I wasn’t using my USD degree its full potential. I kept reminding myself that I was working “to pay off my student loans,” but immediately after paying off my final USD loan payment, I decided to take the plunge and work for myself! It was my chance to follow my passion and pursue what I have always dreamed of - opening my own boutique and being my own boss. Since then, I have worked to build my company, Vana Lynn, from the ground up. From harnessing creativity into a viable and desired brand, creating a website, marketing the brand, getting it into boutiques, and managing all aspects of the day to day business; Vana Lynn jewelry and apparel was born.

Vana Lynn is a Hawaiian - inspired jewelry and all of our pieces are handmade in Hawaii by Vana Lynn. The pieces are inspired by Hawaiian sea shells, Oahu sea glass, pukas, semi-precious stones, coral and fine metals. We are in a number of stores in Hawaii, including “Angels By The Sea”, “Flower Child”, “Peggy’s Picks”, “Kailua Beach Walk“, “Island Treasure”, “Clothes Chicks” and several others. We sale wholesale as well as retail. Feel free to check out our website to see or products and learn more about the company: My next goal is to have my own storefront in San Diego by 2014.

2: What is your fondest memory of USD?
I have many memories that I’ll never forget, but my fondest memory was walking across the stage on graduation day. I knew that all my hard work, dedication and sleepless nights had finally paid off and that I had achieved a pivotal life goal. I am a first generation college graduate, so walking across that stage was not only important to me but also to my family.

3. What is your favorite place on campus, and why?
I have so many favorite places on campus. It would take me an entire page to list them all. If I had to pick just one it would be the Garden of the Sea behind the Institute for Peace and Justice. The garden offered a quiet place where I could truly focus on my thoughts, study, read, write and relax. It’s a great place to spend some alone time in-between classes.

4. Who was your favorite USD professor or class?
There were so many professors that touched my heart. In my very first semester, Professor Yin Sun taught a Southeast Asia Class and I quickly became a fan. She inspired me to learn as much as I possibly could about different cultures through traveling. Professor Yin Sun was incredibly impressive – passionate about teaching and always willing to share her knowledge. I knew right away that the level of curriculum that at USD was going to be profound which was exciting, even as a freshman student. Educators like Professor Yin Sun are a part of the reason we are able to find our own life passion. Thank you Professor Yin Sun for all your guidance and for inspiring me to be a better person!

5: How have you remained involved with USD since graduation?
I attend Torero baseball games and fundraising events to support my boyfriend’s little brother who is on the team this year. At the grand opening of Fowler Park I met parents of current players and it was exciting to hear them speak about the principles of faith, integrity, and community that they are experiencing so early on in their relationship with USD. I know that USD is the best of the best which is evidenced by its commitment to a values-based education and, ultimately, in the success of its graduates.

6: If you could offer a current USD student advice, what would it be?
Follow your heart and find your passion. It can take a week, a month or even years until you figure out what it is you want to do, but if you put your everything into it, you can achieve the success you aim for. Don’t feel guilty about taking time to find what that passion is - everyone deserves the opportunity to self-reflect, to find the right path. Remember to “breathe” and maybe go for a walk and then get back to it. I know you all will achieve great things, too!

Feel free to contact me at Thanks!

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