Hometown: Yonkers, N.Y.
WCSU Degree: Bachelor of Business Administration, Marketing
Internships: Job shadowed with Bill Imada, IW Group, and visited several Interpublic Group Companies in Los Angeles. Currently interning with Monika Nagarsheth for CT Kitchen and Bath
Activities: Co-president of the Marketing Club, vice president of Delta Gamma Phi Sorority, treasurer of Greek Council, senator for Student Government Association, worked as an Orientation Leader for two consecutive summers and work part time at the Robert S. Young Library
Honors and Awards: Received Best Revitalized Chapter, Honorable mention, for efforts in Marketing Week; Bronze for Best Collegiate Chapter for 2010-2011 from the American Marketing Association for the efforts and participation in the WestConn AMA Chapter
New Yorker Sissi Rivera attended Bay State College in Boston, Mass., from 2005-07, and graduated with an Associate Degree in Applied Science in Fashion Merchandising. She then attended the Fashion Institute of Technology for a semester before transferring to WCSU in 2009. "I decided to come to WestConn because I didn’t feel connected at F.I.T.," she says. "It’s a large college in the big city and it was hard to connect when I felt like just a number in a classroom. I liked the small classrooms, the ability to get to know the professors and the community aspect Western provided. I wanted the full college experience after attending first a small private college and then a large one. WestConn was the perfect medium and I had gotten outstanding recommendations about the business program."
She believes her move from fashion to business makes perfect sense. "When studying merchandising, I always enjoyed the marketing classes I took," Rivera says. "There was so much more depth to the major and more opportunities. I loved how it involves so many aspects of so many different majors. Its not about just creating ads — it involves psychology, economics and more."
Rivera has built a strong connection with her marketing professors, who she says have been incredibly helpful and motivating. "Three professors in particular have played an important role," she says. "First I would credit Chairman of the Marketing Department Dr. Ron Drozdenko and Instructor Donna Coelho as advisers to the WCSU Marketing Club. They gave me the opportunity to practice my leadership skills and encouraged me to see through all the challenges. I couldn’t have done it without their support and constant advice," Rivera explains. "Another mentor has been Assistant Professor of Marketing Bob Watson. His experience, knowledge and enthusiasm of the industry has allowed me to find my niche once I graduate. He has been incredibly supportive and helpful to me personally and to the professional I want to become once I graduate. All of my professors have given so much and have helped me grow as an individual and academically."
Asked what she will remember most about her WCSU experience, Rivera says, "Winning the awards for the Marketing Club. It was the most amazing feeling knowing that all that hard work paid off and being able to bring the school and our club recognition. I also loved working as an orientation leader; it was great to meet prospective students and their parents. It's been exciting to see how those incoming students I had in my group are now becoming WestConn’s future leaders.”
After graduation, Rivera plans to search for a job in marketing or advertising. "I am looking to work specifically with an advertising agency and plan to obtain my MBA in the next five years," she says.
Rivera’s advice to new students entering WCSU is: "Get involved on campus as soon as possible. There are so many opportunities and connections that can enhance your future. The university provides so many opportunities, from clubs to on campus employment. Find hard work you love doing because it can lead you to so many opportunities and you will be passionate about everything you do. Also know that along the way you will make mistakes. Without mistakes you cannot see where to improve and grow. All these things will help you learn what major to choose, what career choices to make and build relationships and connections that will help you in your future.”