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A young woman wearing a Drexel sweatshirt and a mortarboard posing against the exterior of Gerri C. LeBow Hall

Community, Connections and Consulting All Shaped LeBow’s Commencement Speaker’s Journey


May 20, 2024

Much of Samantha Gedeon’s experience at Drexel has been unexpected, starting with how she first heard about the University — two YouTubers she watched during high school were undergraduate students at the time — and continuing to her time on campus.

She switched majors and found it seamless. She also changed from a five-year, three-co-op program to a four-and-one, and was still able to complete her degree ahead of schedule. She recorded a TikTok video as a marketing project for a UNIV101 class and it became one of LeBow’s most popular recruiting tools.

Though her student experience began during remote instruction in the fall of 2020, from her first days on campus she turned some of those online acquaintances into real friends, and today she can count among her day-one supporters her UNIV 101 instructors and a number of her Global Learning Community classmates.

As a first-generation Haitian American, Gedeon admits to worrying about being “detached from her community” when moving from a large, diverse public high school in Brockton, Massachusetts to a predominantly white institution like Drexel. She found her way to existing communities of support, particularly through LeBow BRIDGE, and assembled others for herself throughout her years on campus and during a semester abroad in Prague.

All of those experiences have shaped her time at Drexel and have provided material for her address to the LeBow Class of 2024. Ahead of LeBow’s commencement ceremony on June 15, Gedeon reflected on her accomplishments as a student, the friendships and other bonds she’s formed, and the message she plans to share with her fellow graduates.

Samantha Gedeon, BS behavioral economics, business and organizations '24

Hometown: Brockton, Massachusetts
Major and minors: Bachelor’s degree in behavioral economics, business, and organizations; minors in finance and business consulting
Co-op experience: Program manager co-op with Comcast Business; consulting summer analyst internship with Accenture
Notable student organizations and activities: LeBow BRIDGE (Build Relationships in Diverse Group Experiences), co-chair during fourth year; Drexel LeBow Dean’s Student Advisory Board (DSAB), president during fourth year; Global Learning Community (GLC); Resident Assistant with Drexel Housing and Residence Life; Drexel University Symphony Orchestra, principal viola
Post-graduation plans: Management consultant with Accenture, based in Atlanta

Drexel LeBow: What are some of the highlights of your experience as a LeBow student?
Sam Gedeon: First, I’d have to say the people I’ve met and how I met them: Thrive, an early move-in program for first-year students offered by the Center for Inclusive Education and Scholarship; LeBow’s Global Learning Community; the LeBow’s Dean’s Student Advisory Board; and through working as an RA.

Above all, I have to single out BRIDGE, which became something I didn’t even know I needed. I love the community; we really are a family. There are no words I could say that could encompass my experience in BRIDGE, and I appreciate everything it’s given me.

I recently went on the spring break BRIDGE cultural immersion trip for the first time. I know everyone says this trip is when you really make connections, but I didn’t realize until I had experienced it for myself. That’s where I really felt this shift from my advisors really becoming my sponsors. I realized that, yes, I’m ending my time here, but I have this community that I’m taking with me and that’s never going away.

DL: Who are some faculty and staff who have helped and supported you?
SG: First of all, shout-out to everyone involved with LeBow BRIDGE: Vanessa Herrera, Ashley LaTorre, Dashiyah Green, Kimberly Williams and Brian Ellis. I am so thankful to have met all of them and to having them backing me 1,000 percent. Also, my UNIV 101 instructor, Caitlin Brady, has been there for me starting right out the gate all the way through graduation.

Among the faculty, I have to single out (Professor of Economics) Christopher Laincz. I had Macroeconomics (ECON 202) with him as an online course. He had such a great energy and great presence, and he was one of the professors I wanted to meet when I came to campus. I took another class with him on mathematical modeling, where he was testing out material from his new book, and that was quite an experience! That class genuinely made me want to pursue economics. There are other economics faculty I should mention, too: (Professor of Economics) Constantinos Syropoulos, PhD, and (Professor of Economics) Mark Stehr, PhD. I love their teaching style and how they keep things casual. Overall, I’ve been very grateful to have faculty and staff who really care about the students and who are available to us.

DL: What’s an important lesson you took away from an academic course?
SG: I took Retail Intersections: Social & Cultural Issues. It was about topics like fashion, gender and sexuality relating to retail. It was the only class I had in Westphal, and it was about how fashion has represented different aspects of society throughout the years. It really brought about a shift of mind for me; I never thought that hard about fashion and just thought it was about self-expression. The class brought out a lot of sociology topics represented through fashion throughout history, and it really showed me that everything is represented in clothes and an entire fashion revolution has taken place. We would watch “What Would You Do?” videos and other films that explored different styles and fashions; I remember seeing “Generation Iron,” about bodybuilders and how they change their workouts to change how their bodies look. It was really mind-opening for me. I thank (Professor of Design & Merchandising) Joe Hancock, PhD, for the course!

DL: Looking back on your time at Drexel, how would you say you’ve grown or changed since starting here?
SG: I feel a lot more confident, whether that’s in my skills academically or socially in my leadership positions. I’ve had so many opportunities to grow and to say to myself, I’ve got this. College should be a time of growth, and time and again, I’ve proven to myself that there are things I can do if I set my mind to it and work hard.

DL: What accomplishment from your time at Drexel are you most proud of?
SG: I think it might be a combination of things: first, at the end of the year of my third year, I was awarded one of the Peer Mentor awards at the BRIDGE year-end celebration. This kind of surprised me! Students will submit nominations and they’ll put the reasons why, and one nomination they read said, “Sam has helped me so much since I walked in the door.” Those are things that people don’t say to you very often, and it made me feel so good that the things I’m doing are helping people.

Recently looking towards graduation, a friend told me, “Sam, you have some many indirect impacts on people, through the programs you’re in or just the energy you bring.” That made me realize that the things that I’m doing are helping, and at the end of the day, I’m doing something right.

DL: How would you say your experiences have prepared you for your post-graduation role?
SG: Because I’ll be working in consulting, my past experiences have really helped me, particularly the research I’ve done in my classes and the speaking that I’ve had to do in presentations to classes and clients. The business consulting minor is designed amazingly well too, and those classes helped me so much in my internship and will continue to as I move on: learning how to cross-collaborate and work across teams that have different scopes, learning how to do research, making presentations. Beyond that, running meetings, taking notes, working with people, learning to have a relationship with your peers — all of that really encompasses working on a consulting project, and I know I can bring that with me to a post-grad role.

DL: What are you planning to share with your fellow graduates?
SG: The whole theme is reflection, and being thankful and recognizing the things you’ve done during your time thus far. This is not easy, by any means! College is an accomplishment and you can’t forget that, it’s been years of your life that you’ve dedicated to the cause of literally bettering yourself. So be thankful, because you’ve put in the work and earned the degree.

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Mentioned in this Story
Drexel LeBow Logo

Associate Director of Undergraduate Programs and Recruitment, LeBow College of Business

Drexel LeBow Logo

LeBow Bridge Program Manager & Academic Advisor, Undergraduate Advising

Drexel LeBow Logo

Assistant Director, Undergraduate Advising

Drexel LeBow Logo

Associate Director, LeBow Bridge, Undergraduate Advising

Drexel LeBow Logo

Associate Director, Marketing & Legal Studies Department Manager, Marketing

Headshot of Brian Ellis

Associate Dean for Academic Programs Administration, Dean's Office

Drexel LeBow Logo

Associate Professor of Economics , LeBow College of Business

Headshot of Constantinos Syropoulos

Trustee Professor of International Economics; Trustee Professor of Economics, Professor, Economics

Headshot of Mark Stehr

Director, School of Economics, Professor, Economics

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