Ithaca College Will Make You Ready
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The Martin Luther King Jr. Scholar Program at Ithaca College uses the phrase “citizenship and service in the global community,” and that’s exactly the spirit of connection and commitment that attracted Greta Hardware.
“[The MLK program] gave me a different perspective others in my major didn’t have,” she says. “It inspired me to explore classes on social justice issues and do research outside my major but still integrate the business world and look at it from a different perspective.”
For example, Greta used several international trips built into the MLK Scholar Program to research free-trade agreements between the United States and countries she visited—South Korea, Costa Rica, Spain, and Morocco. During her junior year, the accounting and finance major had the opportunity to present her findings at IC’s Whalen Academic Symposium, where students present research projects to the campus community.
“When I was in South Korea, there were real-time discussions about free trade, and we saw protests at the U.S. embassy. It was a very real experience. [The overseas trips] helped me realize I want an international experience, that I like learning about different perspectives. That stuck with me.”
The international component was one reason she joined the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers after graduation. “I found out you could do tours in different offices around the world. I knew I wanted to work at a PWC office in another country for an extended amount of time.” Greta’s done a two-month stint in Sydney, Australia, and hopes to land a longer stint in a Spanish-speaking country.
She was also drawn by PWC’s community involvement, an important aspect of life for Greta. She’s been involved in programs that teach school children the importance of financial management, done cancer walks, and assisted with community service projects as fundamental as painting at local schools.
PWC offered her a job after college based on her performance during a summer internship with the firm, and Greta credits her education with helping prepare her.
“The School of Business puts you in a professional environment, which simulates the real world. Presentations, student organizations in which you play a professional role conducting activities in your field, internships in the industries that interest you, contact with recent alumni—you get a real-world perspective on what it’s going to be like after college.”
>> More on this story: MLK Scholar Program
Plumpy’nut is a peanut butter paste fortified with vitamins. Because it can reverse the ravages of malnutrition in as few as two weeks, Doctors Without Borders dubbed the lifesaving concoction "a revolution in nutritional affairs." Integrated marketing communications major Elizabeth Stoltz ’13 first read about Plumpy’nut in high school.
"I'd been disheartened about the tragic effects of childhood malnutrition in Africa and was stunned that such an easy solution existed," she said. "I wanted be part of that solution."
So she organized a 5K walk that raised $5,000 to support Plumpy’nut distribution in Ethiopia. Inspired by that success, Elizabeth established Food for Thought, a nonprofit that was initially dedicated to raising money for more Plumpy’nut deliveries. After doing summer relief work in Ethiopia, Elizabeth arrived at IC and founded a student chapter of Food for Thought. The college provided fertile ground for her organization.
"Being a Park scholar, I was surrounded by students who shared my commitment to improving the lives of others," says Elizabeth, referring to a scholarship program at IC that couples academic achievement with community service. "As a freshman, I was already implementing classroom lessons in marketing and public relations to make a social impact."
That impact has broadened.
"Every week, students pitch causes they feel Food for Thought can advance," she said. "Besides two local Plumpy’nut walks, which raised our total support to $20,000, Food for Thought has supported orphanages in Russia, Peru, and Nicaragua. We also organized a cupcake sale that raised $1,600, the cost of a one-year scholarship for a student at a school in India. Starting with five people on the executive board, Food for Thought now has a full house at rush nights."
Elizabeth’s relief efforts have garnered national recognition. As her junior year draws to a close, she is one of 162 American college students to be named a 2012 Newman Civic Fellow. Bestowed by Campus Compact, a coalition of college and university presidents, the award honors undergraduates who engage their fellow students in civic and social responsibilities.
Ironically, as word spreads about Elizabeth’s leadership ability, she feels it’s time, with her senior year approaching, to step down as president of Food for Thought and make way for younger leadership—the first transition, she hopes, of many.
"After I graduate, I’ll be looking at bigger PR firms in Washington, D.C., as good places to integrate relief work with public relations skills,” she said. “But wherever I go, Plumpy’nut and Food for Thought will be in my blood. In 15 years, I want to come back and be blown away by how far IC students have taken the organization."
>> More on this story: Student Organizations at IC
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