What brought you to Old Dominion University?

I’ve lived my entire life in the Hampton Roads area. My senior year of high school, I was determined to not only attend university outside of the area but also outside of Virginia. However, graduating at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the universe had other plans for me.

While I was initially attending another university while living at home, I decided it was a more economical decision to attend ODU. Being frank, my first week on campus I was not happy at all. ODU was not my first choice, or second choice, or even tenth choice (mainly due to the proximity to my childhood home), however after that first week I truly applied myself and now, in senior year of my undergrad, realize that coming to ODU was the greatest decision I could have made. Being a Perry Honors College Student, I’ve had the opportunity to conduct valuable research across a number of disciplines, foster meaningful relationships with peers, serve as a Resident Assistant on campus for almost two years now, and accomplish much more.

What I’ve come to realize about life is that regardless of your plans or what direction you want to go, the wind will take you another direction. My first week on ODU’s campus I was miserable, simply because my initial plan had fallen through and led me here. Now a senior at ODU in my second to last semester, I don’t want to leave!

What made you choose to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Management?

There are two main reasons I chose to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Management. The first is my mom. She is by far the hardest working individual I know and has had an extraordinarily successful career in Human Resource Management. Through her, I’ve learned how vital it is to communicate effectively and efficiently in the classroom but also in the workplace and in business.

The second reason I chose a Bachelor of Science in Management is my “end goal.” In five decades when I have lived a long life, I hope to have made a lasting impact in business and entrepreneurship but also within my community. I think management and leading a team of people is the best way to accomplish that.

Additionally, I have had the opportunity to work firsthand with a number of Management professors at ODU who continue to ignite my passion for academics and management entirely.


Specifically, Professor Andrew Bennett has made a lasting impact on my collegiate journey. I have never taken a course that Professor Bennett teaches, however, on a number of occasions he has assisted me in research pursuits, letters of recommendation, etc. He truly has a passion for teaching, higher education, and helping students — It is professors like him along with Dr. Sheila Keener and Dr. Jay O’Toole who make being a Strome student great.

What advice would you give to anyone considering ODU and the Strome College of Business to further their education?

There are truly outstanding faculty and staff that work within the Strome College of Business. Additionally, as I am a member of Dean Kahns’ Student Advisory Board, I can say firsthand that he is taking a new and innovative approach to Strome and Strome students. I truly believe that what the Strome College of Business looks like now will be entirely different six months from now.

Tell us about a valuable lesson you’ve learned at Strome.

I’ve learned that professionalism is the key to success. In and out of the classroom, you should always dress to impress, speak as if you are in a boardroom, and interact with your peers with the notion that they could be the next Bezos or Musk.

You are a major advocate of internships. Tell us more about your internship experience.

As a business student, one should know that we are living in a highly competitive world. There are a number of students at ODU with my same major, similar extracurriculars, and a higher GPA than me. What truly sets students apart is practical experience on one's resume — experiential learning. I have participated in three internships (soon to be four this summer) and I’ve learned so many things. First, every internship will have some good, some bad, and some ugly. This past summer I interned with a group who specialize in construction, developmen and luxury real estate. While the majority of the internship was pleasant, I dreaded the portion of the internship spent on the physical construction site; it wasn’t my “cup of tea.” Even that bad experience showed me something great: that in my future career, I don’t want to be in a construction environment. An “ugly” experience actually taught me something great.

The second vital thing I learned from a more recent internship is that you should soak up any and all information from your leadership team. This past fall semester, as an intern with the Monarch Internship and Co-Op Office, Dr. Barbara Blake, executive director of the office, told me something that has stuck with me. In a discussion about internships and students on campus, Dr. Blake stated that an “internship can truly be life changing.” While I knew internships were important, “life changing” seemed a little far- fetched.

She explained, however, that internships make you 1.) competitive, they 2.) give you opportunities traditionally you may not be exposed to, and 3.) they give you control. Later on in your career, the control to negotiate your pay, show that you have corporate or work experience, and give you a better shot at getting a seat at the table.

Do you have any helpful tips for someone interested in pursuing an internship?

Yes, first, start your internship search early. If you’re looking for a summer internship, it’s almost too late to start looking in the spring, that search should start in the fall. Some premium internships (especially for business students at Fortune 500 companies) start recruitment a year in advance. The second tip I have is for students to visit the Monarch Internship and Co-Op office. The Monarch Internship and Co-Op Office is a brand new office located in the Webb Center (1000 Webb), with the main focus in helping ODU students obtain internships. While I am slightly biased (as I am a current intern for the office), all of the services offered to students are completely free. It is a premium service one would expect to see at an Ivy league institution.

(Photos Courtesy of Seth Smith)