By Jefferson Geiger
Valerie Guan’s passion for Wagner College landed her in an unexpected role in the fall semester of her final year: a spot on the presidential search committee as a student representative.
Following President Angelo Araimo’s retirement announcement, Guan said, she answered the committee’s call because she wants future classes to receive the same high-quality support and education that she and her peers have.
While Guan can’t go into specifics about the search process that has begun its formal review of candidates, she said she is glad to help Wagner in any way possible.
“I really, truly want to see Wagner thrive,” Guan said. “This is a big responsibility that I’m happy to contribute to. We want a great president and I’m excited to see where it takes us.”
Guan has plenty of accolades on her college resume to qualify her for the position. The accounting major recently interned with Chase Bank, is the vice president of finance for Wagner’s Student Government Association, frequently appears on the Dean’s List, co-founded the Business Ambassadors Club and more.
If Guan doesn’t have enough on her plate, she is graduating early in the spring, too.
Guan grew up in New York and moved around to be near family. She was born in Brooklyn and lived in both Manhattan and Long Island before arriving in Staten Island. As a commuter to Wagner, Guan said being exposed to the metropolitan melting pot made her adaptable.
Her mother was on track to become a certified public accountant before she got pregnant with Guan.
“I'm kind of carrying that torch and fulfilling her dream,” Guan said.
Other family members also graduated with accounting degrees, and even if they aren’t accountants now, she saw how valuable the degree was for them and became inspired to major in the field.
Why Guan chose Wagner
While her family attended different colleges, it was Wagner that attracted Guan. The small class sizes, in particular, caught her attention.
“For me, it's just a lot easier to learn and open up with people in a smaller setting,” Guan said. “I want it to be out of my comfort zone, but in a more comfortable way, and Wagner has really been a great place for that. I've met so many different people through student activities and my involvement on campus.”
Guan has been involved with the Women's Professional Network, which hosts opportunities for students to meet alumni in various careers. Mentorship is important to Guan, and she passes it along by being a student panelist talking to high schoolers about her college experience.
“I wouldn't be where I am today without the support that people have given me,” Guan said. “So I always want to give back that support. Community is a big deal for me.”