Torero Leader Spotlight

Meet Lina Wallace

Graduation Date: May 2017
Hometown: East Palo Alto, CA
Major: Sociology

2 Words to describe yourself.

Empathetic and reflective

Why did you choose USD?

I chose USD because of its small class sizes and because it seemed like a place that would offer me countless opportunities to develop meaningful and personal relationships and create a positive impact.

What are you involved in at USD or in your community?

Currently, I am one of the Link Peer Mentoring Program Coordinators at the United Front Multicultural Center. Throughout my time here at USD, I've participated in many events and leadership opportunities such as My Story, Multicultural Night, the Language Matters initiative, and other great programs on campus.

What is your definition of leadership?

Leadership is an ongoing process of growth and discovery. It challenges us to think creatively and critically about the ways in which we interact with our different communities and identities, and urges us to develop empathy, love, and a deep understanding of ourselves and others.

Any advice for first year students?

Share your story and learn to be vulnerable! These two things have really allowed me to create relationships and communities where I feel appreciated and cared for. Opening up about yourself and where you come from is a great way to further that sense of belonging and community.

Lina Wallace

Meet Delanie Dryden

Graduation Date: May 2016
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
Major: Behavioral Neuroscience / Minor: Spanish

2 Words to describe yourself.

Introverted and goofy

Why did you choose USD?

I really wanted a school that was small - one where I would feel comfortable and at home.  I found that at USD.  I love living in San Diego, too.  It is such a fun city to live in with so much to do.

What are you involved in at USD or in your community?

I have been a student Involvement Consultant at the SLIC ever since I got back from studying abroad last year.  I have also been a part of Alpha Chi Omega for 4 years.

What is your definition of leadership?

I think the first step to being a leader is understanding what your unique skills are. Not everyone is comfortable speaking in front of a crowd, but everyone has something that makes them different. Learn what that is and then apply it to everything you want to be a part of.

Any advice for first year students?

Come in with an open mind!  The first few weeks are going to be a little scary, but the best way to meet people is by getting involved.  Go visit an Involvement Consultant to learn about the clubs and organizations that are best for you.

Delanie Dryden

Meet Cassandra Demara

Graduation Date: December 2016
Hometown: San Bernardino, CA
Major: Behavioral Neuroscience

2 words to describe yourself.

Conscientious and resourceful

Why did you choose USD?

I chose USD because of the school size and the overall atmosphere I experienced when I visited the campus my senior year of high school.  Also, you can't beat the location!

What are you involved in at USD or in your community?

I have been involved with Torero Program Board for two years, I am currently the Concerts Coordinator.  I also work in the Mathematics and Computer Science Department as an office assistant and grader.

What is your definition of Leadership?

Leadership to me is being able to empower those around you to grow.  Being able to create an inclusive environment where everyone can work together to achieve the group goal.

Any advice for first year students?

Try different things out. College is the time to experience new things. Coming in as a first year student, I would have never thought of having a leadership role at USD.  However, becoming more involved with my community was one of the best choices I ever made.  Not only did I grow as a person, I created a home.

Cassandra Demara

Meet Puya Nedadahandeh

Graduation Date: May 2017
Hometown: Malmo, Sweden
Major: Business Administration

2 words to describe yourself.

Enthusiastic and inquisitive

Why did you choose USD?

I knew from a young age that I wanted to study in the U.S. I looked for a university in which I could grow both intellectually and socially. Right away, USD felt like a great fit. The attributes that drew my attention were the small class sizes, the beautiful campus and the impressive business school. I could not be more happy to be a Torero!

What are you involved in at USD or in your community?

Currently, I am working with faculty and staff as a Student Technology Assistant. I am also a member of the Student Conduct Hearing Board. It is particularly important for me to help fellow international students feel like they belong at USD. This motivates me to stay active and involved with them. During my freshman year, I was fortunate enough to be a Senator for Maher Hall in the Associated Students' Senate, where I also sat on the Committee for Inclusion & Diversity.

What is your definition of Leadership?

An effective leader is able to both cast vision and pursue it. A leader should be able to delegate tasks while simultaneously inspiring the team to reach their greatest potential. A leader strives to strengthen communication in order to establish an atmosphere of trust and transparency.

Any advice for first year students?

College is a great time to meet new people! Make an effort to engage in conversations with people you have never talked to before, whether it be on the soccer field or someone in your philosophy class. Why shouldn't you talk to someone you don't know? You never know - a stranger today can turn into a great friend later.

Puya Nedadahandeh

Meet Lavanya Sridharan

Graduation Date: May 2016
Hometown: Beaverton, OR
Major: International Relations / Minor: Sociology and International Business

2 words that describe you.

Compassionate and Introspective

Why did you choose USD?

I chose USD because of its small class sizes, amazing faculty and the opportunities within the Honors Program and other campus organizations.

What are you involved in at USD or in your community?

I am on Torero Program Board as the Vice Chair of Special Events, the USD South Asian Student Association E-Board, the Exec Board for the Pi Sigma Alpha, the professional Political Science and International Relations Honors Society, and a Peer Link Mentor through the United Front Multicultural Center.  I have previously served as a Preceptorial Assistant and the Multicultural Programming Coordinator on Torero Program Board.

What is your definition of Leadership/A Changemaker?

A Changemaker is someone who strives to think beyond themselves, humbly serve the community with their talents and actively question the status quo to make the world a more compassionate, interconnected and informed global society.

Any adivce for first year students:

Don't be afraid to try something new, make friends outside of your comfort-zone and give yourself time to discover what you are passionate about.

Lavanya Sridharan

Meet Katie Coutermarsh

Graduation Date: May 2016
Hometown: San Jose, CA
Major: Business-Marketing

2 Words that describe you.

Extroverted and enthusiastic

Why did you pick USD?

I chose USD because of the school size and location. I don't think you can beat living in San Diego as a college student. We have a little bit of everything (downtown, culture and a lot of beach). As far as size, I enjoy the opportunity to get to know people. Ironically, large schools have so many students but less opportunity for personal relationships.

USD Involvement and benefits:

Currently, I am the President of Associated Students. So far, I have loved every minute of this position because everything I have the privilege of working on is centered around students.

What I love about USD is the people here, so there is no better way to spend my time than with those on campus.

I am also a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma; I help with the role of Social Chair. This is fun for me because I get to coordinate the logistics behind social events. To do so, I get to work with other Fraternities to cross program and collaborate. This is very rewarding because the effort into the event is make worthwhile when everyone enjoys themselves at an event.

I am also in the professional fraternity, Delta Sigma Pi. Professionally, DSP brings together like minded business students to develop personally and in the business world. It is a great resource when navigating professional life as a young adult.

Florence Second-Year Experience, SLIC Goes Global, Prague Semester Study Abroad - All three of these trips allowed me to see that the USD community is not limited to the geographical boundaries of San Diego. Wherever I was, I was reminded of what makes USD home - the people.

What does leadership or being a "changemaker" mean to you?

Most importantly, being a changemaker is a process. For me, it means constantly challenging myself to think outside the status quo. Really, it comes down to not allowing boundaries to stand as boundaries, but as more of a perch to hop over. A main component of Changemaking is thinking beyond yourself, to allow for others to be the intention behind your work.

Any advice for first year students?

Do what you are passionate about. Coming to college, a lot of the conversation turns from "what are you dreams" to "what are you going to do when you graduate". That kind of focus can really narrow your perspective. Keep note of that and don't stop striving for the dream. In the meantime, get involved on campus and find ways to express your passions.

Katie Coutermarsh

Meet Trent Saiget

Graduation Date: December 2016
Hometown: Reston, VA
Major: Communication Studies

2 Words to describe yourself.

Boisterous and easy-going

Why did you pick USD?

USD really wants their students to be successful and they will work with the students to be as successful as they want to be.  Also, USD is big enough where you meet new people every single day but it's small enough where you see the people that you want to see every single day.

USD Involvement and benefits:

Getting involved is the best thing you can do on campus. Right now, I am a student intern in Undergraduate Admissions. I am also the Social Chair of my fraternity, Beta Theta Pi. I was co-instructor for Emerging Leader and was a Residential Assistant last year. I have also lead Search Retreat. Other organizations that I have been a part of are: University Ministry, SURE Scholars, National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Lambda Pi Eta Honor Society, USD Jazz Ensemble, and USD Intramural.

What does leadership or "changemaker" mean to you?

Being a changemaker means you are provided with the tools to make your own decisions, take initiative and change the world you see into the world you want to live in. I personally believe that we all have a moral obligation to help those that we can and that you are not really living unless you are contributing to the betterment of others.

Any advice for first year students?

Go introduce yourself to every single person and meet as many people as you can. Some of my best friends are people that I randomly introduced myself to at the start of my freshman year. You find that everyone has a story and you never know what that story is until you hear it.

Trent Saiget

Meet Phillip Juarez

Graduation Date:  May 2016
Hometown: Arcadia, CA
Major: Business Administration

2 Words that describe you.

Passionate and driven

Why did you pick USD?

Plain and simple, it's paradise. USD is a community that allows one to promote their well being and develop themselves as a leader, student and individual. It was obvious to me that USD provides an environment for every type of person to flourish and create memories that will last a lifetime. Also being 15 minutes away from the beach and the best burritos you've ever tasted isn't too bad of a deal.

USD involvement and benefits:

Ambassador's Club (freshman and sophomore year)

Tour Guide

Sigma Phi Epsilon

Interfraternity Council (2014 VP of Communications and 2015 President)

What does leadership or being a "changemaker" mean to you?

It means that I have the opportunity and privilege to create a better tomorrow. My job is not to create followers but to help develop leaders that will go forth and positively impact their communities and the world around them.

Any advice for first year students?

Say "yes" to as much as you can because at the end of the day, four years will fly by and you're going to create some fun memories with awesome people to look back on. Work hard in school but understand that your experience here will be determined by far more than a book or a test. Lastly, get out of your comfort zone because that is where you will truly find yourself and realize talents and abilities you never knew you had. Best of luck!

Philip Juarez