University Scholar Spotlight: Jose Rodriguez

Jose Rodriguez, a senior finance, accounting, and political science major originally from Reynosa, Mexico is one of 4 business majors recognized as a University Scholar this spring. To qualify as a University Scholar, students must maintain a 3.5 GPA or higher and show a demonstration of knowledge and skill in the research of their appropriate field. Students are nominated by faculty across the university and presented for selection to the Faculty Senate for the final decision. We asked Jose to talk about his experience thus far at ACU and give current and future students advice on how to make the most of their time here. Congratulations, Jose!

 

Being named a University Scholar is a great honor! What was your first reaction when you received the news? 

After receiving the email saying that I was nominated as a University Scholar, I immediately shared the news with my parents. I do not think that I would be the person who I am today without their sacrifices, support, and love. My parents trust my capabilities and know that I can take care of business. However, I always keep them up to date with my academic performance. 

 

What extracurricular activities/student orgs were you involved with on campus? 

I am the current Vice President of Frater Sodalis. I am part of LYNAY (a community service group), I am a tour guide for ACU Admissions, I am part of Chess Club, and I am a member of Financial Management Association chapter here at ACU. 

 

What are some of your favorite memories/experiences in your department? 

My first ever Departmental Chapel was special because I got to meet most of the faculty in my department. I thought that I would never get to know them all but now I can say that I have had a conversation with every one of my professors. Secondly, the COBA networking event that happened during the fall of 2021 was a great way to meet ACU alumni and to get internship/job opportunities (fun fact: that is how I got my summer internship for summer of 2022). Finally, just studying in the Griggs Center and getting to know all the COBA students is truly a blessing and something I enjoy of being a finance/accounting major.

 

What has grown you as an individual the most in your time at ACU? 

First, being able to do jail ministry has been a blessing. God has used me in a way that glorifies His name and has allowed me to serve others who need Him. Moreover, I have met great people who are in desperate need of love. All they want is to be heard and they want to know that there is someone praying for them, regardless of the conditions they are in.

Furthermore, finding the right group of friends at ACU has had a huge impact on me because I know I can rely on them and they can trust me. I have made so many good friendships that I would not otherwise have made if I had not stepped out of my comfort zone and wanting to meet new people. 

 

What is your favorite thing about ACU?

Spending time with my fraternity, with my closest friends, and the community are things that I cherish and I take pride in here at ACU. Additionally, being able to know my professors outside of the classroom has been something I enjoy doing because of how my professors care about me and about what is going on in my life outside of the classroom. 

Finally, the community at ACU is welcoming and hospitable. I found a group of friends who I could hang out with all the time and it easy to get plugged in into the dozens of student organizations on campus.

 

Do you have any advice for future students? 

My advice to future students is:

  • Be disciplined. You will thank yourself down the road when you graduate and take these skills into the workplace. Find a routine that works for you and that is efficient and stick to it—sometimes it’s okay to change it around. 
  • Make study groups. It is a great way to enhance your knowledge and to help each other out. 
  • Get to know your professors. They care about you, they are for you, and they want to be resources for you.
  • Enjoy yourself and give yourself time for fun! Sometimes it is so easy to get caught up in our busy schedules that we forget that we are entitled to have fun in college. Go to the gym, go on a walk, hang out with friends, or do something that gives you energy.

What will you be doing after graduation? 

Although I graduate on May 2023, I will be preparing for the CPA exam. I hope to land a job in accounting somewhere in the DFW metroplex.

University Scholar Highlight: Isabella Maradiaga Molina

Isabella Maradiaga Molina, a double major in marketing and graphic design from Tegucigalpa, Honduras, is one of 4 business majors recognized as a University Scholar this spring. To qualify as a University Scholar, students must maintain a 3.5 GPA or higher and show a demonstration of knowledge and skill in the research of their appropriate field. Students are nominated by faculty across the university and presented for selection to the Faculty Senate for the final decision. We asked Isabella to reflect on her time at ACU and how it’s shaped who she has become. Congratulations, Isabella!

 

Being named a University Scholar is a great honor! What was your first reaction when you received the news?

I’ve looked up to many people who received this award in the past and feel extremely honored to be named a University Scholar. This is the best way to culminate my college career at ACU!

 

What extracurricular activities/student orgs were you involved with on campus?

  • Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society
  • International Students Association
  • COBA Ambassador Team
  • COBA Marketing Team
  • WorldWide Witness
  • Alpha Chi National Honor Society
  • American Marketing Association
  • Ko Jo Kai
  • Student Government Association
  • Wildcat Ventures
  • Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society

 

What are some of your favorite memories/experiences in your department?

The community I’ve built through the College of Business Administration has carried me through the highs and low of my college career. I’ve been mentored, supported, and prayed over by many professors and peers in this department. Additionally, working in COBA Dean’s Suite has been one of my favorite experiences at ACU. I’ve had the opportunity to see the work that faculty and staff put into elevating our college experience as business students. And the student ambassador team makes me look forward to coming to work every day!

 

What has grown you as an individual the most in your time at ACU?

During my time at ACU, I’ve met incredible people that inspired the vision I have for my life moving forward. The Lord placed mentors and friends who stood next to me during challenging times and prayerfully encouraged me to push forward. All the growth and accomplishments of my college career have been a communal effort. This has been one of the greatest lessons I learned at ACU. We are meant to do life with one another.

 

What is your favorite thing about ACU?

My favorite thing about ACU is the lifelong connections we get to build. In the last few years, I’ve seen how many alumni return to campus with eagerness to connect with current students. I’m humbled by the generosity of these people and their desire to give back to our campus – with their time, wisdom, and experience. As I leave ACU, I finally understand what drives these Wildcats to come back home: community. I’m incredibly grateful to be a part of this.

 

Do you have a favorite memory you’d like to share of your time in your department?

My favorite memories in the College of Business are the ones in the Enrollment and Student Development office with Lindsay Palmer and our student ambassador team. These people made the Mabee Business Building feel a lot like home. I will always remember the meaningful conversations I had with Andy Little and M.C. Jennings – thank you for all your support. I’m also thankful for the dinners with Dr. Jennifer Golden and the hours we spent together navigating the challenges of life. I have a deep sense of gratitude for the professors, staff, and students in this department.

 

What will you be doing after graduation?

After graduation, I will join The Marketing Arm as Jr Art Director in their Dallas office.

 

Do you have any advice for future students?

From Glennon Doyle: “Each of us was born to bring forth something that has never existed: a way of being, a family, an idea, art, a community—something brand-new. We are here to fully introduce ourselves, to impose ourselves and ideas and thoughts and dreams onto the world, leaving it changed forever by who we are and what we bring forth from our depths. So we cannot contort ourselves to fit into the visible order. We must unleash ourselves and watch the world reorder itself in front of our eyes.”

Faculty Spotlight: Nancy Kucinski

Dr. Nancy Kucinski
College Professor of Management and the Online Business Programs Director

Dr. Nancy Kucinski might be the definition of homegrown talent. Not only is she an Abilene native, but she comes from a family of professors instilling in her a calling to Christian Higher Education. “My father was a professor when I was born and I essentially grew up on a small university campus. Plus, both of my brothers are retired professors, so academia has always been part of my life.”

Kucinski comes to ACU from Hardin-Simmons University where she has been a Professor of Political Science and Management, as well as a former Dean of Graduate Studies. She graduated from Hardin-Simmons University with a Bachelor of Political Science and went on to receive her Masters of Public Administration from Texas Tech. Nancy holds not one, but TWO PhDs — a Ph.D. in Organizations, Strategy, and International Studies from UT Dallas and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Texas Tech.

Nancy began leading ACU Online and COBA’s online programs last fall when she was named a College Professor of Management and the Online Business Programs Director. She is currently leading her first ACU online course: Management and Organizational Behavior and is excited to teach the Graduate Leadership course next term.

As with many people, the pandemic provided a turning point in her career. “Over the last two to three years, I can see how God has been working in my life to make this opportunity at ACU the exact right place for me to be. Even though I had been teaching online for several years, it wasn’t until the pandemic that I began to really study and learn how to be the best professor I could be in the virtual learning environment. I also have been interested in new research areas, like environmental sustainability that align with the Christian mission of ACU as we are stewards of His creation. Besides God drawing me to ACU, the people here are so supportive and inspiring. And, as they say… life is better as a Wildcat!”

While online education may seem anonymous, Dr. Kucinski does her best to interact with and view each student as their own person. “My approach to teaching is to see each student as an individual. Each has different needs and styles of learning. My desire is to provide the best possible learning opportunities for my students and I’m always open to learning from them.”

Kucinski’s position is a joint appointment with COBA and ACU Online. COBA Dean Brad Crisp is enthusiastic about the future of the online programs saying, “We are so excited to have Dr. Kucinski lead our online business programs. She is an experienced administrator who knows what it takes to build and grow high-quality academic programs that serve Christian business professionals.”

Outside of work, Nancy loves to hike with her husband, Dale who is a retired airline pilot, and their Weimaraners, Maya and Marci. She also enjoys traveling, especially to Salzburg, Austria where she often teaches in an international studies program and to visit her son Neal who lives in San Antonio. It might surprise her students to know that she has a private pilot’s license, learning to fly when she was in college.

Being an adventurer is a trait that enables her to cast a vision for what she’d like to accomplish in this new role. “My dream for our Online Business Programs is to reach even more students. We provide quality learning opportunities and because our programs are offered online, more students are able to access our programs.”

Click here to learn more about ACU’s online programs and how they could change your professional future.

Internship Spotlight: Berkley Bruckner

While many students long for the excitement of faraway places, you don’t have to look far from home for a valuable internship. For junior business management major Berkley Bruckner, this was exactly the case. Located in her hometown of Amarillo, TX, Fairly Group gave her the opportunity to enhance her career development, prepare her for difficult hiring scenarios, and strengthen her confidence in both decision-making and communications with like-minded professionals. The Fairly Group is a risk consulting firm advising clients throughout the United States and in over 100 countries in several business segments including corporate risk, human capital and benefits, and a broad array of risk consulting specialties. They are also the largest insurance broker in the Texas Panhandle.

Berkley was able to intern alongside the HR Director and learn first-hand the daily processes of human resources. “I was mainly a part of the hiring process for Fairly group and their sister company Occunet. I would look at resumes people would send in to the company website or I would go to Indeed and look for potential people to hire. I would also schedule interviews with the HR director and had the opportunity to sit in on the first initial phone interview with prospective job candidates.” This enabled her to put into practice what she had been learning about hiring new employees, including bias-free interviewing processes. Berkley also was included in a  workshop that helped her gain more perspective on empathy for her co-workers.

“I participated in a workshop while interning for this company and it was one of the greatest lessons I learned. It was about having an outward mindset and how to always try and take into consideration the people around us. Even if we have conflicts or get frustrated with our coworkers, we never know what they are going through so we should try and be open minded and empathetic towards them and not try to retaliate against them.” Not only did Berkley learn about the strategic and logistical processes of working in Human Resource Management, she was also able to gain insight on the relational side of working with and for other people.

Like many other companies, the pandemic has been an agent of change for the workplace for the Fairly Group. This gave Berkley the opportunity to be in an in-person work environment while learning how to include and be intentional with the company’s remote employees. “I would say that almost 25% of the company was working virtually, and this was an initial challenge to work collaboratively with them and stay in contact, but I grew in this area tremendously.”

Berkley’s experiences in COBA prepared her to take on the workload of this internship through purposeful classes, connections with faculty and staff, and her involvement with the ACU Chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management. In addition to COBA classes, she has been involved in Freshmen Follies, Sing Song, Delta Theta, and has been a mentor group leader for Wildcat Week. Her involvement on campus gave her the practice she needed to connect with future employers. She advises future interns to “try and get to know as many people as you can in the company you intern for and connect with them on LinkedIn. They could be great connections to have in the future when you go into your career and pursue bigger opportunities.”

Through her internship, Berkley was able to put into action the lessons she has learned in the classroom and through her SHRM on how to recruit potential job candidates, communicate effectively with co-workers, and step outside of her comfort zone to further develop her leadership qualities. And not only did she gain invaluable experience in a work environment very new to her, she was able to spend the summer in her hometown – the best of both worlds. If you are a student looking for help with an internship or job preparation or searches, contact COBA’s Professional Development Manager, Steph Brown at stephanie.brown@acu.edu.

Internship Spotlight: Allie Nichols

Did you know that in 2021 business was the #1 minor at ACU? Many ACU students find that their degree is enhanced with a minor in business, giving them even more professional avenues to explore. Senior Allie Nichols, an Advertising and Public Relations major from Abilene, Texas, is one of those students who was able to meld her major and minor in an internship last summer. Allie interned at Imaginuity, a digital marketing agency based in Dallas and shared how her experience at ACU and in COBA aided her in her time with the company.

Allie’s position at Imaginuity was as a client partnership intern. She explains, “I would sit in on all client meetings, build decks for the clients, etc. I got to do client partnerships work, social media work, and even creative work.” She was able to see first-hand what the day to day operations of a marketing agency looked like. Allie also attained knowledge in how to communicate with co-workers, clients, and her audiences as well as learning how to work with teams at the company.

“I have grown in confidence in my ability to work and gained real work experience,” Allie shared. This experience at Imaginuity has proved very beneficial as it led to a future job and she continued to work for the agency remotely throughout the fall semester.

Allie’s internship enriched her learning environment, both on campus and at the agency. She advises students looking for marketing internships to take an internship where you can learn multiple parts of an agency or facility. “I love that I got a taste of three different aspects in my agency because they wanted me to learn it all to see what I like.”

Even though Allie is not majoring in business, she felt that the COBA professors have shown her the same kind of care and value that business majors receive. She has appreciated the ways her professors have included and poured into her, whether it be through hand-written cards or simply showing interest in her well-being. She has also enjoyed getting exposure to the business side of marketing in addition to what she has learned through her major, the blend of which has given her a broader foundation for her future career.

COBA seeks to help our majors and minors alike gain internship opportunities that provide them with experience for their future careers, whether at home or far away. Interested in receiving more information about our internship program? Email COBA’s professional development manager, Steph Brown, at stephanie.brown@acu.edu.

Internship Spotlight: Isabella Maradiaga

Isabella Maradiaga

Have you ever heard the saying “getting a view from 50,000 feet?” Isabella Maradiaga, senior marketing and graphic design major from Tegucigalpa, Honduras quite literally did just that.  Last summer, Isabella completed an internship as a Junior Design Intern with Chicago based independent global brand consultant and creative agency, 50,000feet. As their website describes, 50,000feet “develops integrated experiences for the world’s most respected brands.”

Maradiaga was able to spend part of her internship at the agency in Chicago while also working remotely. She worked alongside disciplinary teams to develop and support client brands as well as assisting designers and creative directors on a daily basis using software like Adobe Creative Suite, Figma, and MailChimp. Additionally, she contributed in client and agency initiatives through strategic exploration and design assets.

In this role, Maradiaga was able to see how her double major could be integrated into her future work saying, “Pursuing a dual degree in college has been a challenging process. Through this internship, I was able to see how strategic business concepts merge with the creative practice of graphic design. My position as Junior Design Intern was an opportunity to narrow the career path I’m choosing post-graduation. Most importantly, I experienced a work environment that I can only aspire to have in the future. Designers, developers, writers, and all team members collaborate for a shared vision. The people at 50,000feet inspired and motivated me, and I am beyond thankful for the experience they provided.”

Some of the greatest lessons that Isabella learned during her internship were centered on creativity in the business world. “Creativity looks different for everyone. I honestly believe that we have mistakenly identified creatives as the people who pursue careers in art and design alone. There is creativity in design. There is creativity in strategy. There is creativity in business.”

Internships often give students experience and insight that they can take into their future careers. Isabella was no exception. “This internship exposed me to the agency environment that I desire to be in after graduation. I learned more than I could have imagined during the three months of this internship. Now, I can say with confidence that I plan to pursue a career in brand consulting/management.”

A great internship helps students grow and mature as they are stretched beyond what they have learned in the classroom. Isabella’s experience tested her in new ways. “Learning requires an abundance of humility. The College of Business has done an outstanding job at providing opportunities and courses that prepare students for their careers. However, putting all four years of education into practice is challenging. Starting any kind of job means developing new skills, adapting to an environment, understanding company culture, and many other learning opportunities. Approaching new seasons with humility is vital to our personal and professional growth. Most importantly, it is with this same humility that we should approach others as they begin their careers.”

Maradiaga has some advice for students as they look for their own internships. “Don’t be limited by the job postings you see online. Just because you don’t see something, it doesn’t mean it’s not there. I contacted numerous agencies that were not actively hiring for internships and heard back from most of them. Whether they have open positions or not, you are already making yourself available. Do your research, find companies you love, and pursue them intentionally.”

Isabella takes a “first day at work” pic

Isabella felt well prepared for her internship as she became involved with COBA’s professional development program and did her part to grow and develop herself by becoming involved on campus. “The professional development opportunities at ACU are endless. This place provides experiences that most people don’t get until they are out of school. Besides the academic excellence that is provided in the College of Business, I’ve benefited from many roles at ACU that have shaped my work ethic. During my time at ACU, I’ve served as Vice-President for the International Students Association, President of the American Marketing Association, Marketing Director for the Student Government Association, Design Director for Ko Jo Kai, President of Wildcat Ventures, and student ambassador for the College of Business Administration. All of these experiences have been crucial to my growth as a Christian professional.”

Inspired by “the standard of excellence that we communally pursue” at ACU, Isabella says that the glory belongs to God. “The Lord truly deserves all the glory for every opportunity, experience, and achievement in life. He’s been gracious at placing me in the right place, at the right time.”

Current and prospective students can learn more about the professional development program in the College of Business by contacting Steph Brown at stephanie.brown@acu.edu.