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Celebrating the Class of 2013: Michelle Velez

‘With hard work, persistence and a positive attitude, everything you want to accomplish can be possible.’

Wednesday May 08, 2013


Michelle Velez, of Hammond, graduates this May with a bachelor’s degree in communication and two minors, in business administration and Spanish.

The 22-year-old graduated from Morton Senior High School and immediately enrolled at IU Northwest, with no intention of attending a residential university.

By remaining close to home, Velez said, she could maintain her independence and continue to work while attending school, all while getting a world-class IU education.

And work she did. In fact, at one time, she held three jobs. She achieved this along with a full class load and involvement in student activities, including the IU Northwest dance team, student ambassadors and the communications club.

Somehow, even friends and family managed to receive some of her attention in the midst of her packed schedule, and she still graduated with a 3.5 grade point average.

“My goal, although difficult, was to do all of this with a positive attitude and a smile on my face,” she said.

After graduation, Velez is headed to an internship at Walt Disney World. A stint at the parks is a prerequisite for the professional Walt Disney World Internship Program, where she hopes to secure a communications internship in the Disney Human Resources Department.

Velez hopes her internships will perhaps lead her to a job at a public relations agency. Her ultimate goal, though, is to become a motivational speaker.

“I have a really positive attitude,” she said, “and I think everyone else should too.”

Velez said choosing IU Northwest was the perfect fit for her because of its rich diversity, which she sees as a learning opportunity.

“You have so many opportunities to work with different types of people here,” Velez said. “That was the really great thing that I got from this school. I think there are amazing professors on our campus that are helpful and willing to be there for you and get you through.”

About the Class of 2013: Indiana University Northwest conferred 854 degrees at the 47th Annual Commencement ceremonies on May 9, 2013. The Class of 2013 collectively received 123 associate’s degrees, 606 bachelor’s degrees and 125 master’s degrees. More than a hundred of the graduates have earned their diploma with honors.

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