The Lowder sisters both graduate from Warrington.
Alyssa (left) and Brianna (right) Lowder are graduating from Warrington this semester.

A family affair at Warrington

Like most incoming freshmen, Brianna Lowder knew she would have an adjustment to college when she showed up in Gainesville four years ago. But unlike most incoming freshmen, she had a special advantage. Her sister, Alyssa, was early in her graduate school career and able to ease the transition and serve as a sounding board.

The two both graduate at the end of this semester. Alyssa completes a nine-year span at UF by receiving her Doctor of Pharmacy and Master of Business Administration before going to Boston to work full-time for Sanofi Genzyme as part of their Commercial Leadership Development Program. Brianna will receive bachelor’s degrees in advertising and marketing before moving to Redmond, Washington to work for Microsoft as a category manager for its Xbox team.

Their time at the Warrington College of Business will always be filled with special memories, especially since they experienced it together.

“Having Bri here at the same time is like having a piece of home while you’re in a different environment,” Alyssa said.

Brianna added, “She has always been there for me, guiding me with whatever situations I encounter. She has helped me build a solid four-year plan and has helped me navigate professors and course content.”

The sisters were born and raised in Tampa, so attending UF also allowed them to stay close to home. That also meant staying close to their parents. The sisters were able to easily return home for a weekend with family, or their parents could make the trip to Gainesville to spend time with their daughters.

“My parents have always wanted us to depend and lean on each other in all aspects, and this situation allowed us to do so,” Brianna said.

They’ve also been able to help each other while they undergo a transformational education experience. Brianna credited her classes at Warrington and the College of Journalism for helping her learn the theory and psychology needed to understand consumer behavior and the business setting while she heads into the world of marketing and advertising. For Alyssa, the UF MBA program provided the perfect background on business acumen and soft skills to set her up for professional success.

“The MBA program has been vital to my success after graduation,” Alyssa said. “The College of Pharmacy set me up with the clinical knowledge I will need, and the MBA curriculum provided the business acumen and soft skills. Because of the program’s size, I was able to really make solid connections with not only my cohort but the other students in the full-time program as well. We all already know that The Gator Nation is everywhere, but the UF MBA alumni network is not only far reaching, but tight knit.”

As they finish their final exams and begin their professional journeys, the sisters will move to opposite coasts of the United States to work for some of the top companies in their industries. Their locations will change and the physical distance between them will grow, but they’ll always have each other for support.

“One benefit that you might take for granted is the ability to rely on one another for support, even as we are in different stages of our academic careers,” Alyssa said. “Friends and colleagues in your program are important, but nothing beats family.”