Tara Fortunato

Hometown: New York City
Major: Entrepreneurship
Class: 2014
Clubs/Student Activities: Center for Entrepreneurship Ambassador
Off Campus Activities: Compass Program Mentor

What’s your passion?
Helping people. I believe it is what also sets me part from other students. For about a year and a half, I was a Group Leader of the ASCENT Program (Advocacy, Social Skills, Career Exploration, Networking, Transitions) at the Barry Price Center in Newton, Mass. The program is about empowering young people with developmental disabilities to overcome barriers to independence and individual-success. I mentored students at a 5:1 ratio. It was an experience that changed my life. Helping people gives me a sense of purpose that I find so rewarding.

What are your career goals?
After I graduate the Sawyer Business School in May 2014, I’ll be applying to Suffolk’s Law School.

What entrepreneurship projects are you working on?
As an entrepreneurship ambassador at the Center for Entrepreneurship, my goal is to get students more involved, and get the Suffolk name into the streets.
This year, the ambassadors are mentoring freshmen as part of the Compass Program. This is the first year Suffolk is a part of the Compass Community, which includes a network of 20 other schools nationwide.

How has Suffolk inspired you?
Suffolk has made me value my education through the experiences I’ve had here. My college experience is a lifetime investment. I can confidently say that when I graduate, I’ll have the tools to transition successfully into the professional world.

I’m inspired everyday walking through our historic campus, experiencing Boston, and taking advantage of all the opportunities around me.

As an entrepreneurship student, we’re encouraged, and sometimes required, to go out and network. I’ve met countless students and young professionals. The social network I have obtained at Suffolk alone is Extraordinary—I have friends from all over the world.

How is it different than you expected?
I did not expect to mature and grow as much as I did at Suffolk. I underestimated Professor George Moker when he told me on transfer orientation that I was going to get a “diverse” and “hands-on” education here. I don’t want to leave!

Favorite class?
Intro to Globalization. Most business students take it freshman year.

The reason why I like it so much is because of the way it is taught. Professor Jorge Riveras is very enthusiastic and has a way of communicating the material in a way that I understand. His teaching style is outside the box, making the class highly interactive and fun. He integrates current global news, the text, and our opinions to create an exciting and upbeat class.

He's incredibly motivating and business savvy. He is by far one of the best professors I've ever had (including my high school education).

Highlight of your Suffolk Experience
In the fall of 2012, I took Social Entrepreneurship as an elective. The class was the missing link between my education and my passion for helping people. The class focused on community outreach as an entrepreneur. A team of four other students and I were responsible for feeding 300 people nationally, and 600 people in the greater Boston area.

Our team networked with fellow Suffolk students to sign-up for a mailing list at a socially responsible company called ROOZT. They practice great social responsibility by providing one meal for every one signature (e-mail). We gained the support of 300 students in just a few weeks of a semester, allowing us to feed 300 people nationally.

But our team didn’t stop there. We wanted to benefit our immediate community as well, so we raised $600 and donated it to the Boston Greater Food Bank.

I went with another student on my team to hand-deliver our check. The pride I felt saying I was from Suffolk, and that we did this together was the absolute highlight of my Suffolk experience.

Yousef Jafaar

Hometown: Watertown, Mass.
Major: Entrepreneurship
Class: 2015
Off-Campus Activities: Works at Assorted Phone Cards (family business) and is launching JAY Sunlight Holdings, Inc.

What’s your passion?
My startup company is always on my mind. I love feeling accomplished when I make progress and reach my goals. I also enjoy speaking to other entrepreneurs about their ventures and helping them in any way I can with my expertise, networks, and strategic thinking.

What entrepreneurship projects are you working on?
I’ve spent the last two years developing my startup, called JAY Sunlight Holdings, Inc. I’m also the inventor of InstaBrush, the world's first Interchangeable hairbrush. I’m trying to decide whether I want this to be a product to be taken to marketing consultants and put on TV networks such as, As Seen On TV, or make a play for the retail space (which is extremely difficult to get into). I have learned a lot in this endeavor about myself and what I can withstand. I'm continuously making progress and quitting is never an option.

What are your career goals?
Since I was 17, it’s been my dream to run a multi-million dollar company by the age of 25. And I won’t quit until I make it happen. I want to expand my current company into a private equity and consulting firm for young entrepreneurs.

Favorite course?
Legal and Financial Risk with Startups (ENT H300). Entrepreneurs tend to think that if they have an idea, the money will follow, but that’s just not true. You need to understand finance and law in order to succeed. This course helped me mold my business model into a sustainable one that has helped generate larger revenues, while cutting down costs associated with starting up and launching a business.

Favorite professor?
Without a doubt, Professor George Moker. He knows how to take a difficult honors course and turn it into a fun learning experience. I almost didn’t notice the heavy workload of his class because of how interesting the topics were. I haven’t had a professor who cares for his students as much as he does. He truly wants to see his students succeed in life. His passion, hard work, and consistency have made him one of the top professors at Suffolk University.

What advice do you have for new students?
Everybody has good ideas, but that's not enough to be an entrepreneur. You have to be dedicated to what you're doing and have the guts to move forward and not take “no” for an answer. Keep moving toward your goals, and you will achieve it with time, persistence, and resilience.

Jason Stenson

Hometown: Marshfield, Mass.
Major/Minor: Entrepreneurship, with a double minor in marketing/management
Class: 2014
Clubs/Student Activities: Sawyer Ambassador, Treasurer of the Suffolk Entrepreneurs, President of the Ski & Snowboard Club, Sigma Nu Tau, Beta Gama Sigma
Off-Campus Activities: Works part-time at Country Ski and Sport.

What’s your passion?
Entrepreneurship. Growing up in a family business and interning at a few start-ups have made me realize how comfortable I am in the entrepreneurial atmosphere. I’m always excited to help support small, local businesses and have been a huge advocate for new start-ups that are looking to make an impact on their communities. It’s awesome when customers can go into small businesses and end up talking to the owners that care about their products or services.

Favorite course?
Management 101 (now SBS 101). As a freshman, I had no idea what to expect out of college. By working on a case all semester long and then getting the opportunity to present the case to executives, the class turned out to be a fun and exciting experience.

Favorite professor?
Professor George Moker. He has the ability to teach students both inside and outside of the classroom and never ceases to provide value through his real-life examples. He’s easy to connect with, and his passion for teaching shows that he truly cares about what is best for his students. Over my four years at Suffolk, Professor Moker has become more of a mentor to me than a professor.

How has Suffolk surprised you?
I’m surprised by how much it’s shaped me overall as a student and a young professional. Through the entrepreneurship program, I went from having scattered and unorganized ideas running through my head, to seeing business opportunities, developing new ideas, and thinking critically about what it takes for those ideas to become feasible businesses.

Not only has my entrepreneurial spirit matured, but I have also gained useful experience that has helped me grow professionally. Between classes, extracurricular activities, and working on and off campus, I feel that Suffolk has helped prepare me for my next steps after graduation.

How is it different than you expected?
I didn’t expect the classes to be so tight-knit. Before coming to Suffolk, I didn’t think my professors would get to know me personally in and out of the classroom. The professors here are invested in each and every student, and it’s been a great experience.

Highlight of your Suffolk experience?
Most of my professors at Suffolk are professionals in their respective fields, bringing real-life experiences into the classroom. Not only does this make learning interesting, but it also provides useful critical thinking skills that allow me to transfer the knowledge I gain in the classroom to my own experiences outside of Suffolk.

Apart from experience, Suffolk and its faculty has offered me a valuable personal network that has helped me earn three different internships; one of which came from a Suffolk alum.

Overall, learning from these professionals and getting to network and connect with them has been the highlight of my Suffolk experience.