Spring 2013 11
What experiences have particularly prepared you for the business world?
The opportunity to serve as a Hess Fellow advocacy intern with the Mobile
Area Education Foundation in 2011 was a particularly valuable opportunity
since it gave me real-world experience working at a leading nonprofit agency.
For those of you not familiar, the Hess Fellows program sponsors summer
internships at nonprofit advocacy organizations, and I was fortunate to serve
at a leading voice for education reform in Alabama. My Hess Fellowship
allowed me to compare the practices of for-profit and nonprofit enterprises,
an experience that gave me a deeper appreciation and love for the nonprofit
sector as well as a realization of how nonprofits must adopt for-profit practices
in order to stay afloat. In addition, serving as a Hess Fellow provided a
wealth of workplace experiences that I have incorporated into the classroom,
particularly in the areas of marketing, management, and finance.
Interning at Organic Harvest was another highlight of my college career.
Organic Harvest is a locally owned grocery store and cafe that is facing
increased competition from EarthFare and Whole Foods. During my
internship, I helped Organic Harvest increase their marketing presence by
maximizing social media outlets and blogs, a challenge that put my education
to the test.
Why did you major in business?
Pursuing a career in the nonprofit sector has always appealed to me since
the field allows individuals with high energy and drive to make a tangible
difference in a community. Given that the business department opens so
many doors, earning a business degree seemed the best route to frame my
academic career at BSC. I love a good challenge, and I have seen how earning
a business degree offers a multitude of opportunities.
What are your future plans?
I will teach middle school math in Houston, Texas, for two years through
Teach for America, and I eventually hope to earn a Ph.D in finance.
Student Government Association:
Publications Board: President
Phi Alpha Delta: Treasurer
Women’s Cross Country: Captain
President’s Service Team
Business Student Advisory Committee
Academic Resource Center Tutor
Leadership Studies Program
: Contributing Sports Writer
Kappa Delta Sorority: Academic
Excellence and Ritual
Panhellenic Executive Board: Vice President
2011 Hess Fellow Intern, Mobile Area
Up ‘Til Dawn Executive Board: Fundraising
Running, sports, reading, puzzles
What are your thoughts on the Birmingham-
Southern Business Program?
I genuinely love the Birmingham-Southern
Business Department. Majoring in business
has offered me multiple opportunities
to grow professionally, educationally,
and personally. I have been fortunate to
connect with influential business leaders
on and off campus, and I am particularly
appreciative of the chance to represent
the business student body at a variety of
events in the community, such as meetings
of the Birmingham Venture Club. The
challenges posed by the business program
have deepened my appreciation for my
professors and my college experience
in general, and I particularly enjoy how
professors incorporate their real world
business experiences into the classroom. I
also love the personal connections I have
built with my professors and business
leaders throughout my time at BSC. I am so
grateful for my experience, one that I believe
I would not have achieved at any other
Ruiz (front row, center) with her Cross Country teammates and coaches shortly after their
SCAC conference championship.