10 College Graduates Who Are Making a Difference


The daily grind of higher education can be monotonous and draining, yet there are stories of success and resilience all the time from people who graduate from college. Inspiration is all around us, and all it takes is exposure to those who are making a difference in the world to regain hope and drive to be a story of inspiration ourselves. The following graduates are making an impact, and it’s time we start noticing all the good that’s coming out of pursuing your passion at a professional level.

1. Charutha Bandara

Charutha Bandara was a finance major from Indiana University-Bloomington with a passion for entrepreneurship and technology. He took his hobby of technology, created a plan to teach himself how to code, and is now a software developer that collaborates on open source projects on GitHub. He is also the founder of Creston Solutions, a company for marketing and technology consulting. Through knowing his passion and pursuing to make himself proficient in this task, Bandara found his way as a college graduate.

2. Mobolade Ajomale

Mobolade Ajomale was born in London, but is known as a Canadian sprinter. Ajomale attended the Academy of Art University, and also achieved many accomplishments outside of school as well. Ajomale competed in the 2016 Rio Olympics and won the bronze medal in the men’s 4×100 meters relay. He has since raced in events such as the NCAA Division II Indoor Track & Field Championships, Hillsdale Wide-Track Classic, and more.

3. Sasha Alsberg

Alsberg is a 22-year-old graduate of Emerson College, a private liberal arts college in Boston. Within her freshman year of college, she completed her first novel, Zenith, which is now part of a New York Times #1 best-selling saga, The Androma Saga. Her novels are science fiction for young adults and have made waves within the literary community.

4. Daksha Dumornay

Nurses make a difference in so many people’s lives every day. Dumornay, a graduate of the RN-BSN program at Bay State, now works at Boston Children’s Hospital, a facility she had previously worked at as a secretary and then a clinical assistant. She maintained working a full-time job while going to school to become a nurse, and now wants to pursue further education with a master’s in nursing. 

5. Andrew Cagle

As a Texas A&M University College of Liberal Arts graduate, Cagle entered the filmmaking industry and now is a documentary filmmaker for VICE on HBO. His films focus on Middle Eastern countries and human rights injustices that are happening there. With the undercover stories that Cagle was able to illuminate, he has made an impact on the world by showing truth while describing relationships and stories that would not normally be exposed. 

6. Halona Norton-Westbrook

Norton-Westbrook graduated from Mills College in Oakland, California. Mills has a women’s undergraduate college as well as graduate programs that are open to all genders. This graduate from Mills is now the curator for contemporary and modern art at the Toledo Museum of Art. However, after a nationwide search, she was selected to be the new director for the Honolulu Museum of Art

7. Tyler Mitchell

An Atlanta native, Mitchell changed his cityscape to the Big Apple to receive his BFA from New York University (NYU). The recent graduate of the class of 2017 is now best known for his photography that has reached millions of people. Beyonce sought Mitchell out for her Vogue cover and he became the first black photographer to shoot for the cover of Vogue Magazine in its 126-year history. 

8. Erica Gannon

Gannon is a Southwestern University graduate with a degree in accounting. Although her degree could have given her many jobs in the finance and business industries, she pursued an internationally minded option of joining the Peace Corps. She used her knowledge of finance and business and headed up the business development of her region in West Africa. With her experience in the Peace Corps, Gannon came back to the states and sought a career in recruitment for the Peace Corps, and now she recruits physicians for the HCA Healthcare’s Physician Services Group.

9. Carlos Centeno

Centeno received his first degree, a Bachelor of Arts in journalism, as well as his second degree, Master of Arts in global and international studies, from Kansas University. Centeno has aimed to use his skills to solve some of the world’s toughest issues: preparing for and recovering from natural disasters. Previously, he worked with communities and governments of disaster-prone countries directly and now works with MIT Solve to promote lasting change through technology and entrepreneurship. 

10. Patricia Kiernan Johnson

Patricia Johnson double-majored in art history and studio art and graduated with honors from Fordham University. She is keeping classical music, specifically opera, alive and well in the modern era as the director of marketing and communications of OPERA America. She has created and organized National Opera Week, created a genre-specific feature spread in US Airways Magazine, and has managed the marketing for opera companies. Her work preserves this culturally important art form and pushes it forward into the future. 

Nola Blanton researches, organizes, and delivers high-level and impactful strategic content that helps OI's readers understand, discuss, and prepare for emerging trends in business and marketing.

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