Gabriella Irwin-Parra '25, M'26

Gabriella Irwin-Parra '25, M '26
Gabriella Irwin-Parra '25, M '26

Although Gabriella Irwin-Parra '25, M '26 is a second-year student at the Barney School of Business, she has made a name for herself on the UHart campus. Gabriella, a 3+1 student majoring in management and minoring in communication, will be graduating with her bachelor’s degree and her MBA at the end of her four years here at UHart. 

On campus, you can find Gabriella involved in numerous extracurricular activities, such as a member of LEAD, STRIDE, S.I.S., a student representative to the Barney Board of Visitors, associate to the public relations chair for the Student Government Association (SGA), and a Barney School ambassador. One of Gabriella’s most notable achievements is being one of the Stanley Black & Decker “Be a Force for Good Scholarship” recipients. The “Be a Force for Good Scholarship” initiative will provide a total of $600,000 in scholarships over four years to UHart’s Stanley Black & Decker Scholars, focusing on students underrepresented in business, including first-generation and BIPOC college students. Scholars will receive up to $10,000 toward their UHart education each year from Stanley Black & Decker, the worldwide leader in tools and outdoor power equipment.

Being so involved in these clubs and organizations has impacted Gabriella  in multiple ways. Most importantly, she has been able to find close friends and other students with the same interests as hers. Fostering these close relationships has also provided her a break from academics. Academic work can be stressful, and having an outlet where she can work with others and feel a sense of belonging has been essential in her college experience. These experiences have allowed Gabriella  to establish important skills, such as communication, teamwork, time management, leadership, and adaptability. She has been able to dedicate a multitude of hours to fostering a welcoming and diverse environment on campus, which is something that she has realized is a strong passion of hers. “I have benefited academically and personally as well,” Gabriella says. “For example, these experiences have allowed me to broaden my résumé in multiple ways—not only by developing skills but by creating experiences that are extremely valuable in the workplace.” 

In the classroom, Gabriella says that being a Barney student has been an amazing experience because she has been able to meet people and professors who have helped her succeed. “I truly believe that the Barney School was meant for me. My experiences in and out of the classroom have been invaluable lessons that have shaped me into the person I am today.” Barney has opened a multitude of doors for Gabriella, such as scholarship and learning opportunities, job opportunities, and connections with respected professionals. The professors and faculty members who are a part of both Barney and the University as a whole have always supported her in her endeavors and pushed her to succeed.  
Gabriella  has been especially influenced by Dean Celia Lofink, who has always been a support system for her. “She is one of the biggest support systems in the Barney School. I find that she is always there for the students, and whether you have a class with her or not, she is welcoming to all. Her connections and power are unbelievably influential and have truly allowed me to grow into the person I am today.” Gabriella has also been able to develop a close relationship with other non-teaching staff members, such as Khalia Whyte and Arlene Maddox. “Their energy is infectious and has always brought me a sense of comfort. Finding these people in my college experience has allowed me to find a support system that is not just students, but also professionals who have been in my position before.”  

Outside of Barney, Gabriella has found several connections in organizations that she is a part of, especially the LEAD program. She credits Amy Barzach and Dina Morris Lyga for supporting her in her academic and professional career. “Their influence and dedication to the women of LEAD are unlike any I have ever seen before. Not only is their mind in the program, but their heart is especially a part of it. Their love and support for the young women of LEAD is incredible and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be welcomed by them during my first year.”  

After graduating with her bachelor’s degree, Gabriella hopes to secure a full-time position in human resources management and work while she is completing her MBA. However, after her MBA, she hopes to pursue law school and become a corporate attorney. Her one piece of advice for students to be more prepared is to make sure they have a support system. Gabriella says that support is one of the most necessary elements of your college experience. “Having strong support has allowed me to broaden my horizons and become a successful student, both in and out of the classroom.” 

I would tell an incoming Barney student that the number one thing you should do is get involved. The first year of college can be extremely stressful and being involved helps you find a place where you feel welcomed and appreciated, and most importantly, serves as an outlet to relax, away from all the academic stress. I believe being involved has been essential in my college experience and I would not trade it for the world.  

Gabriella Irwin-Parra '25, M '26, Barney School of Business