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Saturday, May 08, 2021

Ashlee Henriquez never left UF despite graduating in 2014.

Her face plastered on the wall of Heavener Hall memorializes her for passing business students.

Henriquez is one of the dozens of students photographed and displayed across campus. Here’s what some of them are up to today.

Who are the faces on the walls?

Ashlee Henriquez in 2013 and now. 

Ashlee Henriquez

Then: In 2013, Henriquez was serving customers at Outback Steakhouse in between accounting classes. A 22-year-old UF accounting senior, Henriquez wanted to graduate debt-free.

Henriquez was the vice president of programming for the Warrington Diplomats, an organization within the College of Business. She suspects that’s why the designers of Heavener Hall used her photo.

When Heavener Hall opened at the end of 2014, Henriquez only spent a couple weeks in the building before graduating. One of the last Warrington Diplomats meetings she attended was held in Heavener. For her, it was one of the last opportunities she had to spend time with her fellow diplomats before saying goodbye.

Now: Henriquez, 27, moved to Miami after graduating. She’s a senior associate for Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, where she has worked in the audit department for three years, she said.

Henriquez comes to UF once or twice a year to recruit for the company. In her spare time, she’s developing a blog about Disney she hopes to release in the next year.

Every now and then, people ask her about the photo in Heavener.

“I’m very humble about it,” Henriquez said. “I’m honestly kind of embarrassed when people say, ‘Aren’t you the girl in Heavener?’”

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Who are those people on UF's walls?

Stephanie Chastain, pictured in 2014 and today. 

Stephanie Chastain

Then: In 2014, Chastain was a 22-year-old UF economics and information systems senior.

She had just finished a summer internship with KPMG, an accounting firm, when someone asked her to participate in a photoshoot for the new business hall.

By the time the photo was taken, Chastain had accepted a job offer to work at KPMG after graduating. Without the worry of looking for a job, she enjoyed her senior year as the president of the Florida Business Leadership Society, she said.

Now: Four years later, the 26-year-old lives in Tampa, but her job lets her travel all over the country.

As a chief information officer senior associate, Chastain has traveled to Washington, D.C. and Atlanta. As of homecoming week, she’s in New York City working on a project, Chastain said.

She doesn’t often think about her photograph hanging in Heavener Hall, but said she looks back on it fondly.

“It’s a combination of feeling proud to be able to represent my school and humbled,” she said.

Who are the people on the walls?

Bryan Rivera, in Spring 2018 and now. 

Bryan Rivera

Then: Less than a year ago, Rivera was doing web development for the university while working in the marketing department of UF Student Affairs.

The then-20-year-old UF computer science junior’s boss and the Dean of Students invited him to a photoshoot in Spring 2018. Rivera didn’t think much of it and had no idea where his photo would go.

During the summer, friends messaged Rivera and sent him pictures of himself enlarged next to the hotel entrance in the Reitz Union. He hadn’t seen it.

Now: Not much other than Rivera’s age has changed since a giant version of him was posted in the Reitz, he said.

After the photo was taken in Spring, Rivera was offered a job with Coursera, a tech education start-up. He will move to San Francisco after he graduates in May, he said.

“People will say, ‘Now you have a job; the (Career Connections Center) will be ecstatic,’” he said. “Now they know the person they put on the wall has a job and is being successful.”

Four strangers have approached Rivera to ask if he’s the person on the wall. It’s a weird feeling, but Rivera is happy he’ll have a piece of himself left at UF after he graduates, he said. Rivera hopes he will be an example for incoming Latino students.

“When new students come on campus, they’ll see someone that looks like them and have the confidence that they’ll graduate and get a full-time job at UF,” Rivera said.

Contact Jessica Curbelo at jcurbelo@alligator.org and follow her on Twitter at @jesscurbelo

 

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