Senior Ashley Abbey found her way to Wilkes University while taking a college tour road trip with her family. While checking out universities along her route from her hometown of Rochester, N.Y., Abbey quickly fell in love with the University. Now the marketing and management double major is spreading the knowledge she’s accumulated in the classroom as the Allan P. Kirby Center for Free Enterprise and Entrepreneurship Scholar of Business Development.
“It’s definitely enhanced my time here at Wilkes,” Abbey says of the experience. As the scholar of business development, she assists entrepreneurs who come to the center for assistance in starting their businesses. Her responsibilities include formulating business plans, creating marketing for clients and the Kirby Center and event planning. A highlight of her experience was sitting in on the strategic planning committee where she was able to attend meetings with administration and key supporters of the center.
Abbey also is a member of the Honors Program at Wilkes where she serves as a mentor to first-year students in the program. While it opens up doors to academic opportunities, it’s also allowed her to add destinations to her passport. Abbey attended the Nations University Scholar Leadership Symposium in Thailand with members of her honors class. The week-long training session brings together 1,000 of the world’s most promising leaders from 90 universities and colleges around the world.
has also visited Germany, Austria and Switzerland during spring break 2019 through the business course, International Business Experience. She will be visiting the United Kingdom for the same course in spring 2020. Through the Kirby Scholars program she traveled to Finland where she has presented research on the Kirby Center at the University Industry Innovation Network.
“I definitely wanted to travel, but I thought the only way I could do it was with a semester abroad,” Abbey explains. “Wilkes makes it easy to travel.”
Abbey also is taking advantage of Wilkes’ research university status. She will conduct a study as a research assistant under Grace Xiao, associate professor of marketing and chair of the marketing, sports management and hospitality leadership department. The team is studying the effects of social media, with a focus on micro influencers and the decline of retail. Currently she is conducting surveys and field experiments.
A well-rounded student with a resume full of experiences, Abbey credits guidance from her Wilkes mentors. With a minor in communication studies, Abbey counts Mia Briceño, assistant professor of communication studies, among her mentors. “I didn’t originally have a communications minor, but I took her public speaking class and she was super enthusiastic about it,” Abbey says. “She would drop little hints that I should look into being a communications minor.”
All of the connections and experiences she’s had as an undergraduate have set Abbey up for a successful future. With an acceptance letter in hand to the Wilkes MBA program for the fall 2020 semester, Abbey is enthusiastic about the opportunities she’s had at Wilkes. “A close friend said that college is what you make of it,” she says. “Sometimes it’s not about the school, it’s about how involved you get and that you look for those opportunities to travel, for internships and research. That you keep your eye open for the special things.”
With her future set on her MBA and a life goal of pursuing a Ph.D., she’s ready for the next step. “Wilkes is a small school with big opportunities.”