Kevin Leyva

Degree: Bachelor of Business Administration

College/School: College of Business

Until recently, Kevin Leyva wasn’t much of a student. But thanks in part to his mentors at FIU, Kevin now becomes the first in his family to graduate college – on the dean’s list, no less. Not long ago, this feat would have been unthinkable.

Raised by a single mother who worked long hours, so she could not help him focus on school, Kevin graduated high school with poor grades, then bounced around various college programs, failing out of each one. He joined Tesla as an assistant store manager to help launch the North Florida market and, after two years of working nonstop, realized he wanted the stability of an undergraduate degree. His mother was living in Miami so he enrolled at FIU and before long, found himself on academic probation once again.

FIU advisor Judy Echevarria stepped in, and they met regularly to hammer out a plan for success. While working full-time in sales and marketing for an artificial intelligence start-up firm, Kevin went on to regularly earn a spot on the dean’s list. When he told his mother, she cried tears of pride and happiness.

Now 27, Kevin is following his passion and heading to the University of Southern California for a master’s degree in film and television production. His ultimate goal is to direct a motion picture, and he plans to make use of his business background along the way.

By Lauren Comander
College of Business