USC Aiken graduates step into life's next journey

Dec. 9—Amazing and fantastic.

These were just some of the words that USC Aiken students used to describe their time at the school during the winter graduation Thursday night.

For Isha Pawar, who received a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science, said she plans to find a job and work for a bit before going back to get a master's in communications and computer science. As for her years spent at USCA, she was it was "amazing."

"It was one of the toughest challenges, but it was fun," Pawar said.

Paris Long, who graduated with a degree is psychology, said she has plans to return to school for a master's in psychology, but isn't sure where. When it came to describing her years at USCA, she agreed with Pawar and called the time spent at the university "amazing."

Taylor Averette was graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. She and her fellow nurse graduates were all excited about graduating and what the future would bring. For Averette, she described her time at USCA as "fantastic." She plans to go into ER nursing and currently has no plan to go back for another degree anytime soon.

Ja'Von York graduated with a communications degree and plans to move to Greenville to find a job in human resources and marketing. As for his years spent at USCA, he said they were good.

"My time at USC Aiken was pretty eventful, normal if you would say," York said.

USCA Chancellor Dr. Daniel Heimmerman spoke to the graduates about their future and how they are all on different paths. After tonight, the students will start down these new paths, which could include heading to professional careers, furthering their education or joining a service organization.

"No matter your individual paths, we are deeply proud of your current and future accomplishments. Students, tonight we celebrate you," Heimmermann said. "You've accomplished milestones at USC Aiken that have required new knowledge and skills, not just academic skills, but intellectual, technical and soft skills as well. These abilities will be beneficial not just to you, but to your friends, your family, your colleagues, your community and in many cases your country. Use your abilities to make the world a better place."

The convocation speaker was Lisa Tharp-Bernard, the vice president of human resources for Amentum and an USCA alumna. She spoke about how she was a non-traditional student and offered words of advice to the new graduates that she has learned over the years.

"What you have learned and accomplished during your college education is the key to your future. But also remember it's just the start of your learning experience," Tharp-Bernard said. "My top five, bring who you were into who you are, look for those open doors and go in them, seek out the helpers, lean into resilience, and build your emotional intelligence muscle."

The December 2022 outstanding senior student, Bailey Gray, was recognized during the ceremony.