WSP University of Notre Dame Cohort Spotlight: Donte Calabrese

Donte Calabrese, U.S. Navy

What was your educational experience prior to WSP? Would you consider yourself a confident student?

Prior to WSP, I was attending community college full time while serving in the Navy full time. Due to having a full schedule, I usually felt defeated and exhausted from the course load. Although I am a stellar student, I often doubted my ability to maintain this standard and attended WSP to learn how to balance the two aspects of my life in a productive way.

What have you learned so far that you think will be helpful as you pursue your degree?

WSP has taught me many critical skills that will help me fundamentally as a college student. However, the biggest lesson I took away from the WSP is learning how to develop an “outside of the box” mindset. From the very beginning, the military emphasizes following orders or instructions to an exact point. When I entered the college community and realized that there were no blueprints or instructions to follow, the transition was extremely difficult. Throughout the business week, I was encouraged to find answers to problems with no set solution, plan for the unexpected, and find innovative ways to do even the smallest tasks. By taking these in-depth courses, I feel even more confident in my ability to tackle the unexpected challenges of college.


What was your favorite session, and why?

My favorite session was the Invanti entrepreneurial class taught by Dustin and Maria. Their in-depth lessons on what it means to be an entrepreneurial thinker were extremely insightful and have helped me immensely. I also really liked putting together a pitch for a company that I created and presenting it to experts in the startup industry. The feedback and encouragement that I received were amazing and has greatly encouraged me to think about starting my own business.


Are there any instructors or fellows who have made a difference for you at WSP?

Han Nguyen and Patrick Trujilo were absolutely amazing fellows! They were there for me every step of the way through this rigorous course and provided a lot of insight on what it takes to be a successful college student. Seeing that they were veterans in schools and positions that I aspire to be in has allowed me to believe that my goals and dreams are not only possible but achievable.