Sense of Community Inspires Business/Graphics Double Major

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Gabriella Tassano ‘19 says being a student-athlete came second nature to her, as did becoming a double major in business and graphic design. She was surrounded by supportive people and that was a source of inspiration to achieve on and off the field.

“I felt like everyone I had met truly cared about me and my success, which was something that did prove to be true throughout my time at Dominican, a true sense of community,” says Gabriella, now working as an operations manager at Berkeley Nucleonics while she finishes her MBA degree.

“I chose graphic design and marketing because I saw how common it was for graphic design and marketing teams to work together, but they very rarely spoke the same language. By combining both, it would give me better perspective and skills later in my career. I am glad that I did choose to study both because much of the business world is moving towards `design thinking’ and user experience-based marketing. That is exciting for me because I can see a career where I can combine both of my passion for design and marketing in a space where they can seamlessly become one way of thinking rather than keeping them separate.”

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Gabriella was recruited to play soccer and first toured Dominican while she was a junior at Tracy High School. She was a goalkeeper who became a goal setter.

“The first thing I remember about my visit was how much the campus felt like home, a place I could live and go to school,” she says. “Education-wise, I saw the value in the small class sizes and was guaranteed to graduate in four years. As a student-athlete I started looking at colleges really young, but, in addition to that, I had no idea what I wanted to study. At Dominican, having the ability to get two degrees in both marketing and graphic design allowed me to explore the different interests that I had. Plus, there was the added bonus of the 4+1 program in the Barowsky School of Business.”

In the School of Liberal Arts And Education, the graphic design major was recruited to design the class shield for the incoming freshman class of 2022. The final design was a torch, inspired by both the University’s original shield where the torch signifies the search for knowledge, lighting the way and the greater association with freedom like that of the statue of liberty. It’s inscribed with the words “embrace individuality, celebrate differences.”

The business major led Gabriella to several internships, including Eckhoff and Company, a CPA firm based in San Rafael. She joined Berkeley Nucleonics immediately after graduation.

Gabriella credits Dominican for shaping her future and she was inspired to share that with future Penguins. Gabriella became a student ambassador and guided prospective students on campus tours.

“I remember how wonderful and helpful the team was when I was applying to Dominican and I knew I wanted to be a part of that environment,” Gabriella says. “I applied the summer before I came to Dominican and went through the interview process in the early weeks of school. I knew that being an ambassador would bring me close to a team of people, but I never realized how much of a familial bond I would form with my fellow team members. The ambassador team was my comfort and to this day, my biggest support system. The bond that we have started from our shared passion to show prospective students their potential. We were able to show so many people that attending college could be an option for them. That is one of the experiences I will cherish the most. It brought me close to people that I probably would have never met otherwise.”

In the end, in her senior year, Gabriella was chosen to deliver the undergraduates’ address at Commencement. She polled her Dominican friends on Facebook to share their memories of their Dominican experiences and ultimately leaned on Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken to pass on her message.

“And though that lone traveler in the poem also made it, I had an advantage they did not; I was not alone. And neither are you,” Gabriella said at Commencement. “So on your next journey in life, whatever the path you may choose, no matter how frequently it has been traveled, just be on the path to awesome. You have air in your lungs, a heart beating in your chest, you were made to do great things. Whatever path you choose, it will be the right one, and the rest of us Penguins at Dominican have your back, I can promise you that.”

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