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What I Most Want Freshmen to Know…

The featured speakers from UNLV Creates share their best advice with incoming students.

Campus News  |  Aug 22, 2016  |  By UNLV News Center

Students peform at the last year's UNLV Creates. The annual academic welcome ceremony includes inspirational talks for incoming freshmen. (Aaron Mayes/UNLV Photo Services)

The fourth annual UNLV Creates will take place during Welcome Day on Aug. 26, 2016. The entire campus community is invited to the annual event to welcome new students and their families to the university and educate them about the transformative opportunities of a college degree. We asked some of this year’s speakers what they hope the Class of 2021 gets out of their Rebel experiences.


Anjala Krishen: Be A Creator

After years of teaching and research on how consumers make decisions, I’ve come to believe that progress happens when individuals move from consumption to creation.  So what I want for our incoming freshman to create — not just consume — content. Now this can mean creating a physical and tangible piece of content that others can then share in, but as a start, I want students to create new experiences.

To reach new grounds — which is what college is all about — you have to take yourself out of your safe space and move from watching others do things to doing them yourself. Stretch yourself from consuming to creating.

It’s so easy to sit and spend time isolated watching a screen, but this is the time to escape your box and do things instead, move from seeing others do things to being the one doing those things. I encourage freshman to step out of their otherwise predictable surroundings and enter unmarked territory. Try new things, meet new people, learn other cultures, in essence, get out and see the world in a variety of ways. I guarantee you will be happier and find more meaning in your existence and what you learn in class. You’ll also accomplish more than you thought possible for yourself.

Krishen is an associate professor of marketing and international business in the Lee Business School, where she teaches consumer behavior, marketing research, and internet marketing. Her interdisciplinary research interests include decision making in rich environments, e-marketing and social networking, and database management. Prior to working in academia, she held a variety of management positions in sales and consulting and electrical engineering. Krishen has published more than 40 journal papers, completed more than 50 marathons, including seven ultramarathons and a 100-mile race earlier this year. She also holds a black belt in taekwondo. 


Jacob Thompson: Get Involved

The key for UNLV freshmen is to get involved in campus organizations and with events on the UNLV campus. UNLV offers students a world of opportunity, and in order to maximize your experience here, you need to dive in head first. Become a member of the UNLV debate team, participate in intramural sports, or get involved with student government — there are so many choices.

This year, every student should consider taking advantage of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be involved with the presidential debate that will occur on the UNLV campus on October 19, 2016. Students can volunteer, take classes related to the debate, or can attend the many exciting debate-related events happening on campus in September and October. It’s exciting to know that UNLV students will play a part in writing the democratic history of our nation!       

Thompson is the coach and director of UNLV's nationally recognized, award-winning debate team and an associate professor in residence in the department of communication studies. Under his leadership, UNLV's debate team has risen rapidly since its rebirth in 2007 and has been ranked among the best teams in the nation for several years. Thompson's research and teaching focuses on political and presidential debates, argumentation theory and practice, persuasion, and the rhetoric of American foreign policy. 


Ramona Denby-Brinson: It’s Your Turn

Whether you know it or not, people of my generation now look to you to be an agent of change. As you engage in your studies, take time to think about the various conditions around you. What would you change if you could?

Your educational experience here uniquely positions you to grow and develop by involving yourself in the natural laboratories that we have before us. You possess many talents — some God-given and some acquired through grit, hard lessons learned, and life experiences — and you can contribute your talents to your university and your community starting today. Contribute your gifts so that others will benefit. Pass on what has been given to you.  I realize that, for some of you, doing so may require you to quiet the fears that tell you: I can’t. I don’t fit in. I won’t be effective. Quiet those fears by asking yourself: What makes me different? What makes me strong? What will distinguish my college experience from that of others? And then remind yourself that you have been training your mind and heart for years and years to arrive at this moment. What I most want you to know is that this is your time — it’s your turn and you have the talent to transform society.  

Denby-Brinson is the senior resident scholar of social services with The Lincy Institute and professor in the Greenspun College of Urban Affairs School of Social Work. She is an expert in child welfare, children’s mental health, juvenile justice, and culturally specific delivery of social services. A staunch community advocate, Denby-Brinson has used her research to inspire change and as outreach to build capacity in community programs and services for vulnerable populations. She is the recipient of multiple research and outreach grants and has been awarded the prestigious Harry Reid Silver State Research Award in 2014 and the Clark County Child Welfare Advocate of the Year in 2015.