With graduation around the corner, it is bittersweet for me to bid farewell to the University of Miami and of course the amazing people here at OU. My time at UM has provided me with a world class education while helping me grow as a person. With that said, I would like my last piece in the squeeze to be dedicated to a person who has helped so many students, including myself, over the past few years, OU Managing Director MJ Barnes.
Here at Orange Umbrella, students are able to gain valuable, real world work experience in a classroom setting. That opportunity is only possible because of the incredible vision, hard work, and creative approach MJ has taken since she helped establish OU two and a half years ago.
The educational experience students are exposed to at OU doesn’t exist anywhere else at UM, and that is because of the amazing work MJ does to help students every day.
The students here at OU have achieved some amazing accomplishments, from the team’s work on the Red Ribbon Campaign to the successful Kickstarter campaign built from the ground up to help fund “The Fallers” film. There are plenty of other successes the students at OU have achieved, but none of them would be possible without MJ’s leadership.
While OU’s accomplishments help quantify the success MJ has had as Managing Director at OU, the real success comes from her ability to connect and positively impact each student. Personally, MJ has provided me with help and guidance on plenty of occasions where I would have been lost without her. Incredibly, the ability to rely on MJ is not unique to just me. Every student at OU is lucky enough to call her a mentor, and that is only possible because of the passion and work ethic she has to help every student lucky enough to join OU.
I am almost positive she will be embarrassed when reading this piece since she’s very humble and extremely reluctant to accept praise. But I can think of no better way to leave OU than sharing just how special of a professor, mentor, and person MJ is.
So, as my college life comes to end, I want to leave by saying thank you to one of the greatest people I have ever had to fortune to know, Melissa Jane Barnes.
Editor’s note: This far-too-kind article was written by Orange Umbrella staff writer, Nicolas Iparraguirre. Nico joined us in the Fall of 2018, and we’ve been better for it since. Nico is a steadfast, hard-working, and genuine soul. He never fails to step up to a challenge or do what’s been asked of him. He’s a well-rounded writer and creator, and he’s graced the Squeeze with some of our most-favored articles, particularly in the realm of South Florida sports. Thank you, Nico, for your tremendously kind words, but more importantly, for being an outstanding contributor and playmaker at Orange Umbrella!