Yasmeen Lipprand

A Topeka, Kansas native graduating May 5 from Roosevelt University shares a story about growing up and finding her way as the University’s coveted Student Commencement speaker.

Yasmeen Lipprand, 22, an integrated marketing communications major and 2013 Topeka High School graduate, talks about the struggle to find her way in Chicago, after leaving Kansas against the advice of her parents.

“It was hard for my family and friends to understand why I chose to…move so far away and to study at a private school,” said Lipprand, who became the first in her family to receive a college degree.

Lipprand’s mother, a native of Guyana, expected her daughter to attend a public university near home in the Topeka area. Instead, she followed a boyfriend to Chicago. However, he dropped her during her first year at Roosevelt.

“I wasn’t sure if I could afford to live in Chicago, let alone continue to pay for my education at Roosevelt,” said Lipprand, who received financial help from Roosevelt’s Robert Wieseneck Endowed Scholarship fund.

It was during those years on her own that Lipprand began to grow, making connections with faculty and staff as a peer instructor for a half dozen Roosevelt classes.

“Yasmeen has an open way of talking about her experiences. She’s optimistic and proactive, both of which were helpful during those difficult days after the presidential election in November,” said Priscilla Perkins, an associate professor of English who had Lipprand as a peer instructor for two of her classes.

“She’s positive, reliable and responsive,” said Erin Mackinney, assistant professor of English as a Second Language who also had Yasmeen as a peer instructor for a Language and Culture class.

“Yasmeen helped out a lot with facilitating small group dialogue.  She also gave students feedback for their presentations. She helped set a high bar for students to turn in good, quality assignments on time,” said Mackinney.

At Roosevelt, Lipprand became interested in integrated marketing communications after taking a class with Associate Professor of Integrated Marketing Communications Michael Brazeal.

From there, she took an internship promoting healthy eating and reading with the WTTW Kids Program. Next, she was a marketing intern for the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University.

“She’s really done a great job helping us with our different shows and I could always count on Yasmeen to get the projects done that we needed to get done,” said Lisa Klier, the theatre’s marketing manager. “I’m really excited to see where she goes next with marketing.”

Currently interviewing for jobs in Chicago, Lipprand encourages her fellow graduates to look at the Roosevelt experience as “just the beginning.”

“Go out there, and pave a new way,” she said.

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