College Student

Congratulations, Class of 2022!

Seniors, you did it! Between late-night study sessions, on-campus or Zoom classes, and the hurdles you went through the last few years, we know how hard you worked to earn your undergraduate degree. Now that this chapter of your education has come to an end, you deserve to celebrate this accomplishment, and we couldn’t be more excited for you. 

Grad Cap Design Contest Winners

This year, Forté held its third Graduation Cap Design Contest, and our impressive community of undergraduate women went above and beyond with their designs. The three winners are Abbigail Davis, Melanie Rojas, and Qi Cao!


Abbigail’s inspiration and cap:

 I am graduating with my Bachelors in Social Work (BSW) and Bachelors of Multidisciplinary Studies (BMDS) from West Virginia University. I decided to pick words that represented each of my three minors to include on my grad cap, along with both of my degrees. ‘Resist’ comes from my sociology minor, as I’ve learned without resistance there can never be progress or justice against large societal structures like the patriarchy. ‘Advocate’ comes from my women and gender studies minor, as I’ve learned how to better identify my privileges in order to adequately advocate for oppressed groups. Lastly, I chose ‘Empower’ from my leadership minor, as throughout my experience learning about leadership I have decided that the difference between a good leader and a great leader is their ability to empower others. 




Melanie’s inspiration and cap:

When designing my cap, I wanted to incorporate pieces of my identity and culture as a first-generation Latina college graduate. When I was 3, my mom and I ventured from Peru to the U.S. to reunite with my dad who was living in Maryland. I don’t remember anything about that trip, but as I grew up I came to understand that a large part of my identity was tied to Peru, a country that was over 3,000 miles away. I grew up in a suburban household full of love from my parents and siblings, but always longed for a connection to my aunts, uncles, and younger cousins in Peru. Family is one of the most important aspects of life to me.

I dedicate my cap to my family from Peru. It is because of their sacrifices (particularly my Abuelita who was the first to come to the US in the 90’s) that I am the first to graduate from college. My hat includes the Spanish phrase ‘volando alto’ which translates to ‘soaring high.’ (The phrase is) a nod to the first airplane flight that I took at age 3 from Peru to Washington, D.C., that transformed the trajectory of my life, but is also a quote I want to live the rest of my life by. The bottom half of my cap is a recreation of the Peruvian flag, the country that I was born in and love so dearly. And on the sides, my cap is adorned with butterflies, which represent the dignity and resilience of immigrants in America. And last not but least, I have four roses, one for each of my grandparents who have been my inspiration to become the first in my family to graduate from university! 



Qi’s inspiration and cap:

As a first-generation college student, I stand on the shoulders of several generations who’ve paved the path for me to be here. I always consider first-gen college students as brave pioneers, following in the footsteps of predecessors and creating new paths. In my point of view, the explorations start with bold dreams. The dreams give me the motivation to strive for the things I like, no matter how hard it seems to be. So at the center of my cap, is the phrase ‘Dare to dream.’ It represents my attitude toward my life.

The shining gems around the phrase represent the people who helped me. There are so many people to thank at this point in my life. Everyone who has helped me is like a little star; they use their kindness to light my road through the darkness and give my adventure a little hope. At the bottom of the cap are the initials of my name. I used two colors: purple and blue. Blue is the color of my undergraduate school, the University of Rochester, and purple is the color of my future graduate school, New York University (which is my dream school, as well). I’m going to attend NYU’s Master of Economics program starting in September. On the left and right sides are my graduation year and my major, financial economics (FEC). Also, I chose small pearls to decorate the cap because I want them to match with the pearl on my qipao. Qipao is a kind of traditional Chinese dress. I wore it to show my identity and culture. I designed my cap this way because I want it to be both meaningful and aesthetic at a significant point in my life. 

Grad Cap Design Submissions:

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