Earning a black belt in Taekwondo is no facile feat, but recent Lundquist College of Business and Clark Honors College graduate Alex Sudeora, BS ‘17, who became a martial arts master at 14, said he thought more about how much he enjoyed the journey than how difficult getting the belt may have been.
“It was just the result of putting forth my best effort,” he says.
Sudeora, who also earned an accounting major from the Lundquist College of Business’ honors program, may be better described as a multidisciplinary master. He has composed short films through the University Film Organization, dabbled in philanthropy as a member of the Beta Alpha Psi fraternity, and broken ground on a musical album that is still in the works. Despite this diverse portfolio, he finished his undergraduate degree in just three years.
CLASSES HELPING CLASSES: HOW TWO HONORS PROGRAMS HELPED SUDEORA EXCEL
Lundquist College of Business
Business class to remember: BA 352H Leadership and Communication
What: Developed a sports program to be used in a grant proposal for the St. Francis Indian School in South Dakota.
The impact: His program design won the school a $10,000 grant from the Nike N7 Fund.
Clark Honors College
CHC class to remember: HC 431H Negotiating in Northern Ireland
What: An immersive look into The Troubles, a 30-year conflict between Catholic nationalists and Protestant unionists that left at least 50,000 people injured and 3,600 dead. “In that very short period of time, I had to act as if I lived it,” Sudeora says.
A Rewarding Path
As his hobbies and classes suggest, Sudeora has an innate curiosity that pushed him to make the most out of his time at UO. He describes his senior thesis, “Agile Scrumban Project Management in IT Audit” as the first of its kind for both the business and honors colleges. His project looks at ways to make IT audits more efficient to benefit a variety of businesses.
To complete the project, Sudeora blended his expertise in technology science—he built his first computer from scratch in middle school—with the knowledge he gained from his accounting and honors coursework. The experience gave him a tangible idea of the work he wants to do in the future.
“The thesis component has and will add a lot of value to what I am doing,” he says.
Reflecting on his three years at UO, Sudeora thinks the honors college has given him a broad education that his multidisciplinary career requires, as well as given him a network of professionals among its faculty and alumni who have given him career-making opportunities.
Sudeora applied for his first internship with AdPearance, a digital marketing firm in Portland, because of a connection he made with Aaron James—founder of the firm and a CHC alumnus. Sudeora's ability to speak confidently during the interview on a broad range of topics—he even mentioned his thesis project—was one of the main reasons he was chosen for the internship.
“It forces you to be adaptable and to go outside your comfort zone,” Sudeora says of the honors college experience. “You’re in a discussion and there are biology majors, English majors—everyone brings their own unique perspectives. There’s something to be gained from someone who is outside of your major.”
Nothing Too Crazy
Sudeora says that while completing both honors programs meant that professors assigned more project-based work than if he had taken traditional UO courses, his course-load was never too stressful.
“I’ve had twelve, 16-credit terms,” he says.
The secret, he explains, is learning to manage his time and find fun in the work, just as he did with his Taekwondo classes. “It’s nothing too crazy, I swear” he says, laughing.
The reward, he added, is becoming well-rounded with a broadened worldview. That skill-set is something Sudeora’s professors have told him employers in any field are looking for.
“In this day and age you have to be able to adapt quickly,” he says. “That doesn't happen if you take classes according to your comfort zone.”
The projects in his portfolio helped land him internships during summer 2016 and 2017 with Moss Adams, a public accounting firm. He worked as an IT Audit intern in their Portland office.
While Sudeora acknowledged that the honors college’s emphasis on multidisciplinary thinking may not appeal to everyone, the benefits can be immeasurable. “It’s not a requirement—it’s a different path,” he says of the honors college. “But it’s a rewarding path.”
—Derek Maiolo, journalism student