Posted by Jeremy Pittenger on May 27, 2014
Transfer student Marisela Soto made the most of her two years as an Aurora University finance and business administration double major. She graduated earlier this month with not only a degree, but a long list of academic and leadership achievements. She participated in seven college student competitions, completed marketing research projects for two local organizations, interned with four businesses, organized an American Marketing Association regional conference and received two scholarships. For these accomplishments, Soto was recently presented with the 2014 Jennifer Worzala Award for Academic Excellence in Business and Leadership.
The award gave Soto a reason to reflect on her transition from community college to a university. “Coming in as a transfer student, I was worried about not being able to make an impact on my community or to demonstrate my academic passion and dedication,” she said. “The support and encouragement I received from the Aurora University community have provided me with opportunities to demonstrate my worth.”
Soto credits her professors for introducing experiences that have expanded her knowledge and interest in business. Two opportunities led to impressive achievements. She was a national semi-finalist in the Take Flight with PR Video Contest sponsored by the Council for Public Relations Firms, and she won the AMA Northwestern Mutual Sales Competition.
“I have been immensely influenced by the genuine care and interest of two professors: Dr. Vander Schee and Dr. Green,” she said. “Dr. Vander Schee introduced me to the wonderful world of marketing research and the endless career opportunities in the field. He helped me to find my passion in research and through that solidify my career goals. Dr. Green, through constant persistence, helped me to step out of my comfort zone and turned me into a top sales competitor.”
The versatility of her extracurricular activities is what Sota also appreciates about her areas of study. “My passion for calculations, analysis and research combine perfectly with my finance major and marketing minor,” she said. “What I love about learning at AU is that my professors help us to make applicable use of the concepts taught in the classroom. I have had the opportunity to work on a number of research projects for businesses in the Aurora community. These projects enabled me to demonstrate the skills learned in the classroom and showcase the academic excellence of Aurora University in preparing students for the real world.”
Soto’s future plans include working in a marketing research firm as a data analyst. After gaining some experience in the industry, she would like to pursue a master’s degree in marketing and possibly a PhD in marketing.
The Jennifer Worzala Award for Academic Excellence in Business and Leadership was established by Mr. and Mrs. Richard Worzala in memory of their daughter who died during her senior year at Aurora University.