For this month’s Alumni Spotlight, we are focusing on Adrian and Quinones Rivas, two of our 2015 graduates! We are extremely proud of them, and we cannot wait to see where life takes them both!

High School Attended: Northridge High School Class of 2015

Undergraduate Institution Attended: University of Northern Colorado, Class of 2019

Undergraduate Degrees: Both attained degrees in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing

Graduate Institutions Attending:

  • Adrian – Laboratory Institute of Merchandising (LIM) College in New York City
  • Jesus – Georgetown University in Washington D.C.

Graduate Degrees Expected:

  • Adrian – Fashion and Merchandising and Retail Management
  • Jesus – Sports Industry Management

What aspect of being in the Dream Team has stuck with you?

“I think what stuck with me the most was that I could achieve anything I set my mind to. I made it a goal to be on the Dean’s List every year, and I did achieve that. Also, I was fortunate enough to be selected as a Reisher Scholar at UNC. Every year, only about 12 Continuing Scholars are selected throughout the entire school, and both my twin brother (Jesus) and I were selected.”

– Adrian

“In all reality, Dream Team has been the one program that has been supporting me since my middle school days when I was in ETS! Dream Team along with my advisor have always been there to lend a helping hand and support me in anything I ever did. I was truly fortunate to have had such a support group behind me because you don’t come to realize how much they have helped until you cross certain milestones and realization kicks in and you notice who’s helped you along the way.”

– Jesus

What are your goals for the future, and what goals have you achieved?

“My goal for the future is to become a fashion merchandiser in New York City for some of the biggest names in high-end fashion retailing. I would say that one of my biggest achievements was getting a prestigious Retail Management Internship with Nordstrom in Denver at the Cherry Creek Mall. I have always loved fashion, but I knew I had a passion for the business side of it. This internship was a perfect blend of both, and I was lucky enough to be selected as 1 of the 14 interns available in all of Colorado. One of my favorite parts of the entire internship was the fashion show for Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale, and you best believe I slayed on the runway! In terms of my academics, I would say graduating college Cum Laude and with the Highest Honors from the Honors Program at UNC would have to be some of my other big accomplishments. It was A LOT of work, but it was ultimately worth it in the end.

“Lastly, one of my latest accomplishments (one that I still can’t believe happened) was that I was accepted into my dream Master’s Program in Fashion Merchandising and Retail Management at LIM College in New York City. Getting this news simply astounded me because LIM College is ranked TOP 10 IN THE WORLD for fashion business schools, and I got in!”

– Adrian

“My short term goal as of now is to earn my master’s degree a year from now from Georgetown University. It won’t be easy, but a challenge like this is always welcomed! My long term goal will be to work for a professional sports organization someday or if the opportunity presents itself, work for Nike in a position that will allow me to showcase my skill set and give back to the community.”

– Jesus

What is one of your favorite memories of the Dream Team?

“One of my favorite memories of the Dream Team was having my meetings with my Academic Advisor, Monica. She has been with in my life ever since I started my journey with ETS back in 6th grade at Franklin Middle School. She always helped me out, and she went above and beyond to help me fill out all my scholarship applications. I am so grateful for having such a great advisor in my life.”

– Adrian

“One of my favorite memories is actually one of my most stressful ones as well. This was during my senior year of high school and I was in the process of working on and submitting my Daniels Fund application. These were some of the most stressful time, but Monica was there for my brother and I from the very beginning and I can truthfully say that we wouldn’t be where we are without Monica and Dream Team as a whole. Even though it was extremely stressful and in the end we made it to the final interview round of Daniels Fund and we, unfortunately, didn’t get Daniels, but the entire experience showcased what Dream Team did to support us, along with what Monica did for us.”

– Jesus

What is one piece of advice you would give a Dream Team student who has recently graduated high school?

“You don’t have to choose a major right when you start college. I was so stressed about having to choose a major that I freaked out and chose something that I ultimately wouldn’t want to study (I chose Chemistry as my first major for a week). At the end of the first week of college, I came panicked and so stressed out that I would cry. From here, I chose to switch to Business Marketing because my passion for Fashion and Business could someday become a career for me. What most new incoming college students don’t know is that most colleges give students a week to test out their classes in order to figure out logistics and other problems. If at the end of the week, students don’t like their classes, they can always drop them with no penalty and add new ones if there is space available (which there should be).

“Another piece of advice I would give is to choose a major you’re passionate about. Over the years, I have constantly heard peers and students say that they HAVE to be Biology, Chemistry, Political Science, or some sort of major that they’re not passionate about because there are expectations placed on them by family and others. Those careers are excellent and great if you have a passion for them, but they should only be your careers if you love doing it, not because of a paycheck or other expectations. I love fashion, and I have always wanted to live in a big city to work in the industry, so I tailored my education towards achieving that goal.

“Lastly, I would also say to never be afraid to dream big and go after your dreams and never let what others think of you put you down. Growing up, my parents instilled within me the drive, motivation, and passion to achieve what I wanted in life. I’ve always done well in school, and I have always made it such a big priority in my life. Even though I have achieved so much (with the constant help from my family and friends), I have faced discrimination on some occasions. Being a first generation, gay, and Latino student, I have had to endure many harsh words and hurtful actions from individuals who thought it was okay to put me down for me just being myself. This made it even harder for me to achieve in my academics as I have had to prove myself much more to people based on the idea that I do have several different intersectionalities attached to me. From here, be yourself, be proud, and go after what you want in your life.”

– Adrian

“During my junior and senior year at UNC, I worked as a peer advisor for CHE. CHE is a program for first-generation students, and during that time I worked with freshman and sophomore students in the program and the one piece of advice that I would always give them is to GET INVOLVED AND TO GET OUT OF THEIR COMFORT ZONE. As an incoming college freshman, you will come to realize that you will grow and learn the most when you are doing things you aren’t used to. Exploring your options and expanding your network through different experiences is what made my undergrad career so fulfilling. So don’t be afraid to try new things and meet new people because once you finally walk across that stage in four years, you’ll come to realize that the people you have connected with and what you have learned will go a long way towards a bright future.

“Lastly, gain some real-world experience early on in your undergraduate career because internships will set you up for some amazing opportunities later on in life, especially as a business student. Do as much as you can because it will be worth it!”

– Jesus