We want to make your school-to-career process a little easier and we know that some of the best advice comes from your fellow college students. That’s why we’ve tapped our Jopwell U Ambassadors for a little help in this department.
Jopwell U Ambassadors are our team of all-star undergrads who help us spread the word about Jopwell on campuses nationwide. They also help us learn more about students’ needs so we can provide you with the most relevant resources possible. Instead of having you wonder who these behind-the-scenes connectors are, learn more about them in our #JUAHighlightSeries!
Today’s ambassador to meet is Mirella Martinez, a Finance and Management Information Systems major at Florida State University. Ahead, she talks about how her unique first-generation and daughter of entrepreneurs led her to pursue a career in business.
Interested in learning more about the Ambassador program? Visit our page here.
Tell us a little bit about yourself! (What are your passion points, why did you chose your major, what extracurriculars are you a part of, etc.,)
Growing up with entrepreneurial parents and being exposed to business operations, it felt almost natural that I ended up pursuing a business degree. This passion also led me to open my own small business selling textiles and electronics to local consumers. We grew quickly within the first few months and eventually started traveling to other areas to reach more consumers.
As a brother of the Delta Sigma Pi business professional fraternity, I’ve served as the Vice President of Financial Development and this coming spring will be serving as the Vice President of Pledge Education.
When I’m not in school, you can find me traveling, enjoying the latest true crime podcasts or coming up with new entrepreneurial pursuits.
What has your college experience been like so far? What are some challenges you face being a first-gen student and business owner?
As a first-generation college student, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I knew it would be harder than high school, however, I didn’t think I would become so involved in my campus community.
A big challenge for me was understanding the campus recruiting process and how to make myself marketable. As a business owner, it’s been an interesting experience because I create the rules/restrictions and I’ve had to learn how to manage those responsibilities.
For example, I once ordered too much of one product that was not selling fast enough and I lost out on profits. I’ve since learned how to not let my emotions get the best of me and now take the time to plan and strategize my product purchases.
What factors went into you selecting Florida State University as your alma mater?
Before my senior year of high school, I learned about FSU’s Center for Academic Retention & Enhancement (CARE), a department dedicated to helping and providing support to first-generation and underrepresented students. I applied to FSU through the CARE Department because I knew I would have the support I needed with my transition. It has been the best decision I have made in my college career.
What was the application process for these internships like for you? Any advice you’d give to other students looking to pursue similar opportunities?
When I was applying to internships, it was hard not to feel bad when I received a rejection email or no response at all. At times, I would leave interviews feeling like I did amazing only to receive a rejection email a few weeks later.
I would remind other students not to give up and to be yourself. The right opportunity will come if you keep looking. At times I was so focused on being the person that I thought companies wanted and saying the things that I thought the interviewers wanted to hear. It wasn’t until I started telling my story that I started hearing back.
What sort of lessons and connections did you take away from your internship experience?
This past semester, I interned with the State Board of Administration of Florida for the Florida Prepaid College Board. At the beginning of my internship, I was afraid to ask for clarification on projects or additional questions because I felt like I should know everything.
As I began to ask more questions, I noticed more doors opening for me. I learned that it’s okay to not know the answers to everything. People are always willing to help out and add you to opportunities if you make it known.
How has your role as a JUA changed your perspective of the university-to-career process? How do you feel it has/could impact your peers?
As a JUA, I have the ability to support my peers in their career advancement journey by providing resources and relevant events. Jopwell has the ability to reach many underrepresented students and I’ve witnessed firsthand how the platform has impacted my peers.
It was through the Jopwell platform that I was able to land my summer 2020 internship. I strongly resonate with Jopwell’s mission to empower underserved communities and I’m excited to see how many more students will benefit from the platform.