What majors did you pursue and why?
I graduated with a B.S. in Economics and a B.A. in Spanish. When I was growing up, I wanted to be an engineer; I loved the process of solving problems and allowing my curiosity to drive me to a higher level of understanding of the world around me. However, at some point, I realized that I was much more drawn to the process of science than the actual content and my true interests lay in the social sciences. I would much rather discuss employment trends or international development than the structure of a eukaryotic cell. I was lucky to have discovered economics as a field that perfectly blends the structure and real-world application of a science with a fascinating and flexible theory that encourages my insatiable curiosity. My degree in Spanish was a happy surprise. I love foreign languages and took Spanish courses here without intending to earn a degree. After my semester abroad in Santiago, Chile, I was informed by an advisor that I had sufficient credits to graduate with a Spanish major and a Certificate in Business Spanish.
Why did you choose the Belk College of Business/UNC Charlotte?
I am from Raleigh and my first time visiting Charlotte and UNC Charlotte was to interview for the Levine Scholars Program. I immediately fell in love with not only the campus and the city, but all the people that I met here. I remember the staff in the Student Union were upbeat and friendly, and each student that I spoke with was so excited and eager to help. It’s always my advice to seniors to visit a school because I think it’s the best way to judge if an environment is right for you.
What activities were you involved in when not working or studying?
As part of our scholarship, we have access to a grant to implement a civic engagement project of our choice in Mecklenburg County. I have been working with a fellow Levine Scholar in partnership with Discovery Place and the Durham-based startup Bee Downtown to bring more honey bees to the Queen City. We installed an observation bee hive at Discovery Place Nature this spring. It is a lot of fun and keeps us busy!
How would you describe the Belk College of Business to someone who is thinking about applying?
The Belk College of Business has something for everyone. Whether you want to work for either a large multi-national corporation or nonprofit or even start your own business, the skills that you learn here can transfer into any field. The Belk College of Business is a vibrant community and, in addition to developing my professional skills, many of my closest friendships began here.
What does professional development mean to you?
It’s an ongoing editing process, and I think it looks different at different times for everyone. When I was interning as a Finance MAP intern at Bank of America, it meant reading The Economist and The Wall Street Journal, reaching out to knowledgeable people whose careers seemed interesting to me, and attending seminars and trainings. As I’m currently transitioning to pursue a career in teaching after I graduate, professional development involves talking to veteran teachers, the wonderful faculty we have at UNC Charlotte, reading books (I check them out from Atkins Library!), and understanding current trends and needs within public education.
How did the Levine Scholarship Program helped you pursue your educational and professional goals?
The Levine Scholars Program has positively impacted my life in so many ways. Before college began, I spent 25 days backpacking in Wyoming with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS). That experience in the backcountry gave me the resilience, tenacity and confidence that I have been able to tap into during the many challenges that have followed — from starting a new internship to living in a foreign country. The LSP staff know when to hold your hand and when to give you a push. They have become close mentors and advisors to us all. I would not be where I am or who I am without them.
The Civic Engagement Grant Project has given me the tools to successfully apply for grants and see a project to fruition in the community. The practice of having that broader scope and owning a project from beginning to end is a unique experience that most underclassmen do not usually have.
A special note about the Levine Scholars Class of 2017 is that we are part of the original four cohorts of the scholarship. When we entered the program, the inaugural class was in their senior year. We still did not know exactly what this program would mean for us or for UNC Charlotte, but we were excited to make something of it. That energy of creating something from a mostly blank canvas has given me the momentum to push myself professionally. I have the confidence to reach out to more people and apply myself to projects that would normally be outside of my comfort zone. These skills and attitude have helped guide me through my academic and professional work in Charlotte these past four years.
What was it like for you and your family when you found out you were accepted into the Levine Scholars program? What did it mean to you?
I remember getting my acceptance letter like a scene from a movie. It was the best burst of joy, relief and excitement. My acceptance to the Levine Scholars Program meant everything to me. It meant not having to worry about paying for college (or worrying about debt that would follow me after graduation). It meant being a part of this incredible community at UNC Charlotte. I am truly surrounded by the most passionate, caring, smart, and creative minds.
What were your plans post graduation?
I am moving to the Lone Star state and will be working for Teach for America.