2018 College of Business Senior Spotlights

Johnson & Wales University will award 9 honorary doctorate degrees and a total of 3,138 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees at its 2018 commencement ceremonies, across the university’s 4 campuses. Here are just a few of the 443 undergraduate students graduating this weekend from the Providence Campus' College of Business.

Name: Madison Hernandez '18 
Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona
Major: Advertising & Marketing Communications

Madison Hernandez

“How involved you are on campus can definitely enrich your experience at JWU, so say yes to everything and do as much as you can,” says Madison Hernandez. She certainly took her own advice during her time at JWU by being a part of the women’s tennis team, the ADTEAM, and the AdClub. She was also a resident assistant and wrote for JWU’s student blog.

Her favorite thing about JWU was the “ability to be a part of different organizations and create your own community within them. I have learned how to be a part of something so much bigger than myself."

"Being on JWU's tennis team and the ADTEAM have been the best experiences of my life."

The ADTEAM was also where Hernandez met her favorite faculty member who also serves as one of the team's advisers, Christine Ure, associate professor. “I feel so incredibly grateful to have been taught by her because she has pushed me to do some of my best work, and I’ll miss her advice as I go into the real world.”

For Hernandez, going into the real world includes a Global Marketing internship in New York City with American Express this summer. As she prepares for her future, she shares this advice to future Wildcats: “Soak up every experience this time in your life has to offer - the good and the bad. It will go by so much faster than you anticipate. Stay focused and don’t lose sight of your goals because it’s the work you put in now that will help you later on. Oh, and don’t forget to have fun!”


Name: Alan Boozer ’18
Hometown: West Bloomfield, MI
Major: Accounting & Finance

Alan Boozer

“I believe in any aspect of life, you must be courageous enough to embrace change,” says Alan Boozer. He certainly knows a lot about change, having had numerous internships throughout his time at JWU with companies like LGC&D Accounting and Business Firm, Citrin Cooperman, and Goldman Sachs. In fact, his internship with Goldman Sachs has led him to a job opportunity with the company in New York City after graduation.

Along with his internships off campus, Boozer stayed involved on campus and in the classroom. He served as assistant captain to the men’s ice hockey team and was a member of the Accounting Association and the Finance and Investment Academy. His favorite thing about JWU, however, was the small class sizes. “Students were never treated as a number, but instead, we were able to develop relationships with each professor,” he says. “I feel this really improved the atmosphere and overall learning experience.”

"To the entire finance faculty at JWU, I owe much gratitude as I begin my career in the finance industry."

His favorite professor, Viviana Vilacha, served as a great mentor to him, helping him improve his technical and analytical skill set and prepare for interviews.

As Boozer looks forward to his first day as a Goldman Sachs employee, he encourages current and future Wildcats to take advantage of as many employment opportunities the City of Providence has to offer as a student. “They will allow you to better plan the trajectory of your career while gaining real world experience.”


Name: Alexis Kievning '18
Hometown: West Orange, New Jersey
Major: Business Administration

Alexis Kievning

Alexis Kievning certainly has taken advantage of a lot during her time at Johnson & Wales University. “Whether it’s a job, internship, study abroad experience, club, fraternity/sorority, or even the ability to start your own organization, there are endless possibilities at JWU,” Kievning says.

Having participated in nearly all of these opportunities, she notes a few highlights: president of the National Society of Leadership and Success; secretary of the JWU Football club; member of the Alpha Beta Kappa Honor Society; and student assistant for the College of Business. She also developed a start-up business with classmates and studied abroad in South Africa as part of the International Leadership Experience.

“My peers, professors, employers, advisers, and experiential coordinators were all readily available to direct me to the best path,” she says.

"Everyone is here to help you succeed and progress in your field."

In fact, her favorite thing about JWU was the dedication and help she received from her professors. Paul Gounaris, associate professor, and Paul Zwolenski, assistant professor, both played important roles in her academic career and provided her with the guidance and motivation to succeed.

Zwolenski helped connect her with an internship at the City of Providence Mayor’s Office, which has led to a job for her after graduation. “I accepted a position with Mayor Elorza’s re-election campaign,” Kievning says. “I am also enrolled in JWU’s MBA program in Organizational Leadership through the College of Online Education. I am very excited to see what more is in store for me this year.”


Name:  Olivia Drew ’18
Hometown: Barrington, New Hampshire
Major: Fashion Merchandising & Retail Marketing

Olivia Drew

When asked which pillar of Johnson & Wales University’s Wildcat Way (pride, character, courage and community) she connected most with, Olivia Drew replies, “Courage, because my time at Johnson & Wales has shaped me into a more outgoing, courageous student who is career ready.”

This is certainly true, as Drew was not only outstanding in the classroom as a SHARP program student, but she also stayed involved as a student employee at the bookstore and an executive board member of both Delta Zeta and the Ski & Snowboard Club. She even studied abroad in Florence, Italy.

“My favorite part about JWU was the SHARP program,” Drew says. “By keeping my GPA high, I was allowed to take extra courses and received my bachelor’s degree in 3 years.”

She also commends all of her retail professors for helping her prepare for a career in the fashion retail industry. After graduation, Drew will be moving to Milwaukee, Wisconsin for a position as a merchandise analyst with Kohl’s Corporate.

"My advice for future Wildcats is to get involved on campus as much you can."

“Joining JWU organizations was what made my experience so amazing," Drew says. "I found a home away from home with each group, and I would not trade this experience for anything.”