A degree gives a graduate a voice.
A risk gives that voice a roar.
Ask Rachel Herzog, and she’ll tell you, a rap gives that roar the strength to be heard.
Fellow graduates and their families heard Herzog Sunday, when the multiple award-winning scholar took a risk and rapped a portion of her speech. Many more will watch her rap on social media. She ended the show-stopping rhyme at the podium — as a bachelor’s degree-toting “Titan for Life.”
Herzog graduated with a GPA of 3.95 and is the CSUF Alumni Association’s 2018 Outstanding Senior.
Exploring Cal State Fullerton as a prospective fall 2013 student, Herzog wasn’t much of a risk-taker. She wanted a campus close to her Irvine home, and a way to keep her education debt to a minimum. But the opportunities mentioned by the university’s pride-filled Titans and the reputation of its Mihaylo College of Business and Economics sealed the deal.
“Mihaylo College had an exceptional reputation in terms of quality of curriculum, expertise of professors and connection with the community,” she said. “When I was accepted into the President’s Scholars Program, which provided a full-tuition scholarship based on academic merit, I knew I was destined to be a Titan,” said the business administration graduate, who recently accepted a full-time project manager’s role with CEO Coaching International.
The journey — seeking new challenges and opportunities along the way — built her confidence and her career potential.
“Rachel is an extraordinary person,” John Jackson, director of CSUF’s Center for Entrepreneurship, wrote in his nomination of Herzog. “As her adviser, I have seen many examples of her talent and have long been impressed by her diligence and work ethic.”
Through the center, Herzog worked on teams of student consultants with five small businesses. The teams prepared research, analyzed problems and crafted solutions — professional work experience with real workforce issues, she said.
“Competitions helped me learn to thrive under pressure, communicate clearly and confidently and get practical business experience,” Herzog added.
Her honors and awards include: third place in the February Small Business Institute Student Project of the Year Nationals; the dean’s list; first place in the Titan Sales Competition in 2015 and 2016; first place in the Sigma Upsilon Mu 8-Hour Business Challenge in 2016; and first place in the Future Business leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda State Conference Corporate Sustainability Competition in 2016.
Because of her high academic performance, she also was a President’s Scholar, Scholar of the Year in 2016, and a USG Sales Leadership Scholarship winner. In 2017, she traveled to Washington, D.C., to intern at the nation’s capital with the Cal State DC Scholars program.
Titans take risks. Herzog said she’ll continue on the same path.
“The programs and organizations at Cal State Fullerton have not only prepared me for a successful career; they have given me a head start in launching it,” she said. “I have a passion for entrepreneurship, so I hope to launch a professional services firm in the future. I also definitely want to return to school in the next several years to earn my MBA.”