Your Professors Will Be the Key to Your Future

Picture of Ligia standing at the conferenceHi! My name is Ligia Espinoza, and I am an International Student from Nicaragua. I am here to share my story about how I was able to receive an internship with a Transportation Economics and Logistics Research firm through the help of my UCO professor.

The United States is known as the “land of opportunity” – however, UCO is the place where opportunities oftentimes come with a helping hand. My story started when I came to UCO in August of 2017 and started pursuing an Operations and Supply Chain Management degree. At this time, I quickly realized that making connections was going to be key to my success as a student and for my future as a professional.

I did not know where to start or how to get involved. Luckily, my professor, Willis Mwangola – who is also the student organization’s advisor, shared information about my major’s student chapter during one of his lectures and I got really interested. I approached him, and the next week I had been appointed an officer position as the UCO Supply Chain Association (SCA) Treasurer.

Ligia standing with another conference participantOne of the main advantages of joining your major’s student chapter is to receive opportunities like attending a nation-wide conference – which was my case! During the Fall 2019 semester, we were able to attend the Association of Supply Chain Manager’s (ASCM) nation-wide conference in Las Vegas with all expenses paid, including meals.

This unique opportunity not only granted me the honor of meeting Fareed Zakaria and industry-renowned professionals from companies like P&G, AT&T, Deloitte and others. But it also allowed me to expand my professional network and the chances for me to meet people interested in giving international students an opportunity to gain real-world experience through internships.

Ligia standing at a presentation with the professor

My professor, advisor and mentor, Dr. Mwangola, gave us tips and helped us with networking throughout the entire 3-day conference. He even reached out to one of his personal contacts, Dr. Heather Monteiro – Founder of Hickory Ridge Group, LLC. A Transportation Economics and Logistics Research firm based in Las Vegas. Dr. Mwangola set up a meeting with Dr. Monteiro and the SCA Executive Board to see if there were any internship opportunities for us. After that meeting, I was honored to be offered an internship position as a research intern for the Spring 2020.

It was really encouraging to see and hear the passion and drive my professor had in giving us every opportunity for success. I can clearly state that my professor and mentor, Dr. Mwangola, has gifted me more than just knowledge, he believed in me as a student and as a professional. Now, through my internship I have found another mentor who I have learned greatly from – Dr. Monteiro. All thanks to professors at UCO like Dr. Mwangola, who have an inherent passion for education and for seeing students success inside and outside the classroom.

If there is any piece of advice I could share with future international students it is that professors really are the key to your future as they come with not only opportunities but also a helping hand to ensure your success!

Reply