Ithaca College Will Make You Ready
With a vibrant community, professors who inspire, and the hands-on experience you need to dive into your field with confidence.
NASCAR events are a thrilling part of the American experience. But while fans root for their favorite drivers, not many consider the work that takes place long before the first engine revs. That’s where Jusan Hamilton ’13 is in the driver’s seat.
As an account executive for industry operations at NASCAR, Jusan is part of a team responsible for keeping races on track—managing communications, working with sponsors, and traveling to events around the country. But long before his first trip to Daytona, Jusan was racing around a dirt track in upstate New York.
Jusan’s talent led him to compete in go-kart and stock car races up and down the East Coast throughout his high school years. As graduation approached, Jusan set his sights on professional racing—but he was thinking outside the lanes.
“After I realized I wouldn’t be able to race in the top series in NASCAR, I decided that I wanted to work on the business side of the sport,” says Jusan.
His search for a college that would help him reach his goals led to Ithaca, where he worked toward dual degrees in sociology and integrated marketing communications (IMC).
“My two degrees showed me completely different aspects of the business world and of life in general. They really prepared me to make my own path in my career,” Jusan says.
“Sociology allows you to better interpret what you’re putting out there—how it’s going to affect different groups of people, and how they’re going to see it. From a public relations standpoint, sociology is really useful.
“Marketing and advertising are a big part of what makes the sport go ’round. There are communications aspects with the sponsors, the race teams, the track teams, and the corporate side. The IMC major encompassed everything I hoped to do.”
Jusan’s drive to work in professional racing—along with an education that combined skills and knowledge specific to his career goals—led to three internships in the industry followed by a full-time position in communications at NASCAR soon after graduation. Already rising through the ranks, Jusan is on the inside track toward his career goals.
“I love working for NASCAR; I love working in the industry. My goal is to continue to work my way up.”
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
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