Class of 2021: Meet our Tassel-Turner

Posted on May 05, 2021

Maria turns her tassel
Maria Esch leads the Turning of the Tassels at the CAS Commencement Ceremony.
Maria turns her tassel
Maria Esch leads the Turning of the Tassels at the CAS Commencement Ceremony.

During the College of Arts & Sciences Commencement Ceremony on Friday, May 7, Maria Esch led the class of 2021 on stage for the official “Turning of the Tassels.”

Turning of the tassels is a long-awaited milestone that signifies the moment when graduates are no longer students, but alumni of UNC Greensboro. Tradition requires that before graduation the tassel be worn on the right-hand side of the mortarboard. After graduation, the tassel is worn on the left.

Graduate stands in commencement robesSo who is Maria Esch?

Without a doubt, she is an achiever: A double-major in International and Global Studies as well as Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Esch is also graduating with minors in Spanish, History, and African American and African Diaspora Studies.

Between playing four years of volleyball for UNCG, Esch also managed to earn the highest GPA in the College of Arts & Sciences. Within the athletic department, she served as president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee as well as the communications director for Athletes for Activism.

“Graduating feels so surreal to me! I am sad to be leaving such a close-knit community of friends, but I feel excited and ready for the next chapter of my life,” said Esch.

And what is that next chapter?

Esch will be pursuing a master’s degree in justice studies at Arizona State University. Her ultimate goal is to earn her doctoral degree and work as a university professor.

“In addition to all the close friends that I will miss from UNCG, I am really going to miss College Avenue in springtime – when all the trees are blooming,” Esch said. “Thank you so much to all of the faculty and staff who make the G so special. Shoutout to the WGSS, IGS, and Athletics departments … you guys are amazing!

Interview by Elizabeth Keri, College of Arts & Sciences
Commencement photo by Jiyoung Park, University Communications 
Additional photography provided by Maria Esch

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