First-year Smeal student wins S.T.A.R.T. Diversity Essay Contest

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- First-year Penn State Smeal College of Business student Adam Lewis won first place in the S.T.A.R.T. Diversity Award Essay Contest, presented last month at the 14th annual S.T.A.R.T. (Striving Toward Awareness and Respect for Tomorrow) Conference.

“Diversity is really important to me, because a diverse environment can make possibilities infinite,” said Lewis. “A diverse group of people and how they interact with each other is what leads to success.”

“Diversity is really important to me, because a diverse environment can make possibilities infinite,” said Lewis. “A diverse group of people and how they interact with each other is what leads to success.”

Sophomore Emily Zheng won second place in the essay contest, and junior Fuad Ligali won third.

The S.T.A.R.T. Conference, organized by students in the Penn State Smeal College of Business, brings students, faculty and corporate representatives together to talk about the importance of diversity in the workplace.

Corporate speakers from Altria, Boeing, Capital One, Johnson & Johnson, KPMG and Shell delivered presentations on topics such as personal branding, generational differences in the workplace and transitioning from student to professional life.

“I really enjoyed Ms. (Lisa) Wimbush’s presentation, from Capital One,” said Lewis. “She talked about how, by focusing on presenting yourself in a certain way every day, you can affect the way people think of you.”

Lewis said the conference was a great opportunity to network with corporate representatives and people in Smeal.

“The coolest part is that it’s open to everyone,” Lewis said, “Even if you leave with just one piece of key information, it could change the course of your career.”

“It’s pretty rare that freshmen get to interact with corporate representatives in a relaxed setting,” said Lewis.

He hopes to attend again next year, he said, and he hopes that other students take advantage of the opportunity as well.

“The coolest part is that it’s open to everyone,” Lewis said, “Even if you leave with just one piece of key information, it could change the course of your career.”

The S.T.A.R.T. Essay Contest is open to all full-time undergraduate students enrolled at any Penn State campus. The contest and registration for the conference opens early in the spring semester; for more details, visit www.smeal.psu.edu/startconference/.

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Last Updated September 10, 2013