Members of the Class of 2024 pose in their caps and gowns

Credit: Will Kirk / Johns Hopkins University


Advice for the Class of 2024

Johns Hopkins University alumni share some words of wisdom for this year's graduates

In less than a week, the Johns Hopkins University Class of 2024 will cross the Commencement stage on Homewood Field to shake hands with President Daniels and receive their diplomas while thousands of friends and family cheer them on. As they take their first steps as alumni, we asked some people who have been in their shoes to offer advice for meeting the challenges to come. Read on for some words of wisdom from Johns Hopkins alumni.

Mindy Farber, A&S '74

Retired civil rights attorney and inductee into the Montgomery County Human Rights Hall of Fame. Founder of FOACAS, an animal welfare nonprofit

Somewhere in the first 10 years after graduation, get off the fast track, take a few months off, and get to know yourself. Marry someone with equal if not more ambition, so you never get bored with each other; travel a lot before you have children; and when you start earning, always find a good cause or two to start a lifetime habit of philanthropy.

Jonathan Bradley, Bus '09 (MBA)

Founder and investment manager at Cristata Investment Management

I have learned more from setbacks than successes. Never quit, persevere, and follow your heart, with your thoughts and dreams . . . a dream is reached through faith, hard work, perseverance, and treating others how you would want to be treated.

Hovig Artinian, Ed '06 (MA)

Pediatric pulmonologist and sleep medicine at UCSF-Fresno

My advice to the graduates is to only listen to advice that recognizes your unique magic, that encourages you and builds you up; make sure to promptly forget any "advice" that tries to hold you back.

Natasha Yamaoka, A&S '94

Director of International Digital and Enterprise Payments at Delta Air Lines

Stay curious—clearly you are all smart, but you can always learn something new every day. It will serve you well in career and life. Stay in touch with each other—the bonds you have formed here are like no other!

Gregory Petrossian, Bus '16 (MS)

Commercial lead for AI and data solutions at OmniData

Harness your passion and remain open-minded; the willingness to explore unanticipated career paths can lead to surprising and fulfilling opportunities. Stay committed and reliable in your growth, and actively keep abreast of how AI continues to revolutionize your field, ensuring you remain adaptable and informed in a rapidly evolving professional landscape. Cheers to the class of 2024! Go Hop!

Michael Pryzby, Engr '09 (MS)

Systems engineer at NASA

Ask the questions. I have been building satellites for 30+ years and still have a ton of questions. I am still learning. So why should you, with limited experience, be expected to know all the answers? Ask your questions. Learn the answers. Ask more questions. Good leaders will appreciate your inquisitiveness.

Most of us suffer from Imposter Syndrome. If you have it, it will probably stay with you for a long time. I still have mine. In a room of two people, odds are good that you are not the only one in the room with it. Know you have a degree from Johns Hopkins and that you truly belong. You have survived four or five years among some of the best in the country. You are not an imposter.

Get active with the alumni orgs—Alumni Association, Lifelong Learning, OneHop, Handshake, etc.—while the degree you received is worth its price itself. If you do not access this amazing network of Hopkins alumni, you are not getting the full value of your Johns Hopkins education.

Dave Prakash, A&S '97

Director of AI Governance at Booz Allen Hamilton

At this stage of your life, there is no mistake that you can't recover from. So go take some chances. Failure is a gift because you will always come out of it better, stronger, and wiser.

Matthew Auran, A&S '17

Vice President, Primary Investment Team at Adams Street Partners

Don't sweat failure; it's like a crash course in winning, teaching you the good stuff along the way. And asking for help isn't admitting defeat; it's just crowdsourcing brainpower.

Leena Aurora, A&S '18

Health equity manager at Boston Medical Center

You may have a few iterations of your life in the first year or so after graduation—you may not immediately love your first job, or living situation, or set of friends. Take an honest stock of what actually energizes you day-to-day; you may be surprised to find that the tasks or people that "should" make you feel good aren't actually the ones that fill your cup.

You can always find your way back to yourself by tapping into how something feels in your body. For the leaps of faith, small and large, there is so much wisdom in asking: Does this make me feel good and grounded? Even if this makes me feel anxious, is there a quiet voice of hope that I feel in myself? Listen to those messages.

Meg Bresnahan, A&S '12

Director of Executive Communications, World Wildlife Fund

Develop good communication habits—with friends, alumni, old coworkers, distant family...that one person you volunteered with one time who left their mark. If you're lucky, life is long. It is also unpredictable. You never know who you may need to call to ask for help. And find something to do with your time that energizes and inspires you outside of your day job—and protect it relentlessly. Jobs come and go, and we don't always have control over what happens at the office. Maintaining a hobby, a volunteer role, or a routine social activity reminds you that your identity is not tied to your title.

April Lugo, A&S '17

Inclusive Diversity & Equity Senior Manager, The Allstate Corporation

When you graduate, you might feel utterly and completely lost, but know that you will figure it out. Remember your first day at Hopkins—how overwhelming it all seemed. Yet, you managed to navigate through and reach this moment. Trust that you will find your way again.

Young Joo, A&S '09

Strategic Intelligence Officer, U.S. Army

Never forget your roots, always be there for your loved ones, and do life together. Mostly importantly, always leave it better than how you found it!