Thoughts from valedictorian Eva Jazbec, commencement speaker Li Han Chan, and the Class of 2019.

Voices from Commencement 2019

The Speakers

Valedictorian Eva Jazbec

“Less than four years ago, we all embarked on this journey together. . . Look at us all here, graduating today. I’m sure there’s been days when some of us doubted our academic potential for a second.

I walked into Andy Rost’s office (he was my advisor) at the beginning of this semester, looking for help and ideas on my senior research project. Do you want to know what he told me? He said: “I’m sorry, I can’t talk right now. But you’re smart, I’m not worried about you. I’m sure you’ll figure it out.” And it fired me up! If he believed I could do it, then why shouldn’t I believe also? Four months later, I presented my project at the National Institute of Health conference and I won the People’s Choice award at the Senior Research Symposium here at SNC.”

“I am proud to say, that Sierra Nevada College has provided us with the tools we need to succeed. We didn’t only see the world outside the classroom, we’ve experienced it. We were taught to question what goes on in everyday life. The interdisciplinary curriculum we received may not have always made sense, but it made us prepared to face all aspects of life and to overcome our fears.

We leave this place today as well-rounded people, who have the confidence to touch the lives of people around us. Class of 2019, let’s turn on our brightest light, and show the world what it means to be an Eagle!”

Commencement Speaker Li Han Chan

“Let me borrow a story from David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech, which he actually borrowed from an old Buddhist monk. Two young fish are swimming along, and they pass by an older fish swimming in the opposite direction. The older fish says, “morning boys, how’s the water?” The younger fish smile, swim on for a bit, and then finally, one turns to the other and asks, “what the hell is water?” I take this story to mean that sometimes, the most important realities of life, those right in front of us, are the hardest to see and the easiest to miss. Sometimes we run so fast, on autopilot, we don’t even know where we’re going, or why we’re running. Have you ever had this experience? It’s kind of an unconsciousness that can no longer feel joy, because life becomes a pursuit of temporary refuges, like power and money and status. It is a kind of unconsciousness that Annie Dillard called “an itty bitty life” – a kind of respectable adult life, but one that is dead, or at best asleep. I have had to snap myself out of this stupor quite a few times.”

“The real value of an SNC Tahoe liberal arts education is not just this next job or this next step in your career. Important as these things are, the real value is that we have been trained to see more clearly, to question the normal way of doing things, and to think critically, and to approach life in an entrepreneurial, sustainable, and really thoughtful way. So I still run, to go back to the little fish I still swim, but I swim differently. Because now I know, this is water.”


Photo credits: Nina Miller | ninaphototahoe.com | 530.412.0819


The Graduates

Kimberly Barnett-Burton
This program has been such a blessing. I would have never been able to get my four-year degree without this program. I am so thankful to SNC and LTCC! Thank you to all my classmates for being there for me – Kim Riddle! And, most of all, thank you my beautiful son for giving me the motivation I needed to get my degree!

Kaitlin Cabral
SNC has given me the opportunity to create professional relationships within my major. I’ve been able to work alongside like-minded individuals while enjoying the beauty of Tahoe!

Kacey Carolan
SNC offered everything I needed to complete my degree and prepare me for my career! I couldn’t have done it without the help and continuous support of my amazing professors and, of course, my parents. Thank you so much!

Jakob Castro
Though out my college experience, I was constantly reminded by the staff, peers, and locals that there really isn’t a better place I could have chosen to move to for school. This was the best decision I ever made!

Troy Cohee
Troy will be heading to China Peak to work management under his father, Tim.

Jaime Edwards
This school has helped me develop a passion for learning by allowing me to integrate all the things I love into my studies. Without the support of Katie Zanto and Jim Scripps, I would not have grown as much as I did in such a short time. More than that, without the love and encouragement from my mom, dad, sister, and best friend, I would not be where I am today. Love you Shari Steve-o, Jess, and Car! I made, it I think?

Andrew Eells
Huge thanks to J Flame and B Nasty! I would not have accomplished half as much as I have without my brother and his creativity. Cannot wait to live in a van!

Andre Delagnes
SNC prepared me for the real world. In many ways, I feel ready to appreciate the lessons and people I’ve had the pleasure to grow with. From the access to bike equipment, welcoming communities are here to prepare you for worthwhile living.

Mindy Graves
Mind’s road to her degree was difficult and emotional. She was supported along the way by her soon to be husband, her three children, and her mother; whom, unfortunately, passed away a year ago. She dedicates her accomplishments to her mother, whose dying wish was that she stay in school and become the brilliant psychologist she already knew her daughter could be.

Vilde Johansen
Sierra Nevada College has been some of the most eventful years of my life. The close relationships with the professors are invaluable, the excellency of my internship with Sierra Angels, that the school introduced me to, and the unforgettable trips with the ski team all over the U.S., are just some parts SNC is responsible for letting me experience. Never thought I’d say this, but I’ll miss the mental breakdowns in Prim Library (thanks, Gire), the times the school made me do teamwork (which probably led to me meeting some of the best people I’ve ever met), or the time I had to dig my car out from a ton of snow (just to ski some pow-laps at DP). Thank you, SNC. You’ve honestly been a life changer!

Charlene Jones
I want to thank everyone, especially Donna Axton, Katie Zanto, Dr. King, and, especially, Christina Frederick, for being THE BEST teachers and for all the support they gave e throughout my education at SNC. I couldn’t have done this without them and their caring attitudes. I appreciate so much those who went out of their ways to help me. Personally and professionally SNC has changed my life for the better, and I owe it all to all of these teachers – THANK YOU! Thank you for helping me succeed and for helping me make my dreams come true! Thank you for all your support and caring throughout the two years I was here. I love everyone so much! You mean the world to me and I appreciate your support so very much! Coming here was “life changing” for me. So, thanks, again!

Jeremy Katz
Jeremy is highly dedicated to Global Business. He is eager to work for some of the best companies in the world.

Cole Kennedy
I want to thank my family, friends, and the faculty of SNC for helping me get my degree. I especially want to give a huge shout out to my parents, Rob and Terri, for their constant love and support. This wouldn’t have been possible without you.

Aaron Lewko
I enjoyed studying at Sierra Nevada College!

Carina Logan
SNC has been an invaluable experience for me. Being on a campus surrounded by all of the things I love to do made four years fly by. I would like to recognize Richard Gire, Henry Conover, and Stacy Hamilton for going the extra mile and leading me down a path for success.

Sierra Lundell
Sierra is a single mom working a full-time job while finishing school. Anything is possible with enough determination for succeeding.

Trever Mann
I would like to thank my family and friends for supporting me throughout my college career. I would also like to thank my teachers for motivating and inspiring me in my pursuit of an economics degree.

Baylen Marschall
I would like to thank all at SNC – students and staff – for making my SNC experience unforgettable. I would also like to thank my family and friends. I wouldn’t be able to do any of it without them.

Morgan Meadows
I wouldn’t be where I am without the love and support of my wonderful parents. Thank you, mom and dad, for all that you’ve done for me.

Yulisa Mendez
My SNC experience has been amazing! Coming from a small high school in Truckee, I really appreciated the small classrooms and the cooperative educational, learning environment. I appreciated all of the dedicated support I received from faculty and staff. The Psychology program at SNC has been one of the important factors to my success. I was very grateful to be part of a small, but powerful, community of psychology students. My overall experience at SNC has been great! It has prepared me to go to graduate school and pursue my future career goals.

Macy Miller
What a cherished place Tahoe has become for me. I now glow from all the knowledge I have absorbed. Here, we leave memories and take experiences.

David Moniz-Lewis
I am grateful to Christina Frederick, Adam Bigelson, Robert King, Donna Axton, Deborah Downing-Wilson, Rosie Hackett, and Katie Zanto for all their guidance, opportunities, inspiration, and care. Thank you.

Bridget O’Brien
Thank you, mom and dad, for all your support!

Heidi Peinthor
Upon graduation, Heidi plans to pursue a career in the field of creative marketing. She will apply the experience, skills, and knowledge gained during her time at Sierra Nevada College to pursue an internship and career.

Kimberly Riddle
I enjoyed the LTCC and SNC joint program. It allowed me to enjoy SNC without the drive! And, the new building is beautiful!

Lauren Rosta
Thank you to everyone at SNC for making this educational journey possible. I’d like to thank my family for support my decision to go back to school. And, a special thank you to my husband and daughter for being my motivation.

Jenna Seabury
My time here was well spent. I am grateful to my professors for being unwavering in their supportive and showing me a path I would like to be on for the rest of my life. Coming here was the best decision I made for myself. I wish I had come sooner to have spent my entire college experience in this awesome place.

Jake Shields
I loved the Entrepreneurship program. This program is the main reason I chose this college, and I am happy with my decision to transfer.

Anton Waller
I had a great time studying at Sierra Nevada College for the last three years.

Melissa Watts
Based off the number of projects Melissa did on this company, I would now say that she is an expert in all things Disney.

Reilly Whittaker
I would like to thank my entire family, especially my Uncle Rob, for making this all possible. Furthermore, I would like to give a special shout out to all the professors who challenged me and made this experience all the more memorable. Thank you, Stacy Taylor, for being ultra rad and rooting for women in finance!

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