CU-Boulder will award 2,074 degrees at winter commencement
Dec 21, 2012 (Colorado Daily - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
The University of Colorado will award 2,074 degrees during Friday morning's winter commencement ceremony, but Matthew Piskorz might be the only graduate who credits his success to a famous board game.
Piskorz will receive his bachelor's in finance Friday thanks to his parents, supportive mentors and professors... and his favorite childhood game, Monopoly, he said.
"I remember getting it for Christmas as a kid and begging my family for days and days to play with me," Piskorz said. "They finally gave in and played and four hours later I was still going strong, furiously buying up hotels and eventually taking all of their money, probably because they were sick of playing and let me win. Either way, I was hooked."
Piskorz said he hasn't played Monopoly in years since classes, extracurricular projects and starting his own company took up most of his time. While at CU, he received a prestigious internship with top accounting firms, participated in local projects, like photographing the models for Boulder's swimsuit calendar, and started his own finance company. Through it all, he maintained a 3.5 grade point average.
Piskorz said it was worth all the hard work but he is looking forward to a break before joining the professional world full-time.
"It was a lot of hard work but I'm glad I stayed focused, and now I'm looking forward to taking some time off this spring," Piskorz said.
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Taking it easy for Piskorz includes finishing two freshmen-level classes online and working on his company. It may not seem relaxing but Piskorz said his schedule will be less hectic this spring than it has been in the past three and a half years. He's even hoping to fit in a couple snowboarding trips.
Snowboarding will also be a priority this spring for CU senior Joel Jones, who will receive his bachelor's in environmental engineering on Friday.
Jones is being recognized as an Outstanding Graduate by the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences for his success in academics, research and service, said Carol Rowe, director of communications for the college.
Jones maintained a 3.75 GPA while working in prestigious research positions, including an internship with the United States Geological Survey, the Discovery Learning Apprenticeship and CU's Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, where he plans to work part-time following graduation.
"I'm burned out a bit from school so I'm going to stay in Boulder for at least the spring semester, working part time, so I can enjoy the things in Colorado I didn't have a lot of time to enjoy during school, like snowboarding," Jones said. "I still had a lot of fun here at CU, but school was definitely my main priority and now I want to enjoy Colorado."
Jones said balancing classes, research positions and a social life wasn't easy but luckily he didn't have to go far to find friends.
"I made a lot of friends in my environmental engineering classes, which was great since I spent so much time there anyway," Jones said. "In fact, one of my good friends I met through the program, and we ended up being roommates for a while so it was nice to be able to help each other out with projects or school work or take notes if one of us missed a class."
"That's my best advice for students, to find people in your major you can rely on," he said.
Piskorz said his advice to busy students is to make lists. Writing things down helped Piskorz stay focused and accomplish his many tasks one at a time, he said.
Piskorz's spring to-do list is in the works, he said, but so far it includes snowboarding, work and, of course, a game or two of Monopoly.
Follow Whitney Bryen on Twitter: @SoonerReporter.
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