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AMA Foundation Collegiate Scholarship Winners 2019-2020

The AMA Foundation awards collegiate scholarships to student marketers who are making an impact on campus and in their community. The AMAF also offers the Students Helping Students award that is funded by student giving across the country. Here’s a look at our 2019 winners.


AMAF Social Impact Scholarship Winners

The AMA’s Social Impact Scholarship is awarded to AMA student members who have made a positive impact in their local, regional or larger community.

Kristine Lai, University of Pennsylvania

Tell us a bit about the work you did to receive the scholarship. What impact did it have on your friends, your campus or the community?  

I am beyond proud that I’ve led a committee (social impact) that has created lasting, impactful initiatives– from organizing Wellness Week every semester, shedding light on the importance of mental health and resources available, to marketing the need for civil engagement regardless of political affiliation. My AMA chapter has also established partnerships with Philadelphia animal shelters and rescues. Additionally, we created marketing strategies for adoption events, fostering programs and more.

How do you think that marketing can be used for good?

Marketing can be used as a crucial tool to highlight causes that are close to our hearts, whether it is through environmental efforts or mental health awareness. Marketing gives us the ability to reach greater audiences and shine a spotlight on efforts and businesses that deserve more attention. Ultimately, [marketing] creates action.

Sophia Meranda, University of Wisconsin-Madison

What does it mean to you to be part of the AMA community?

My AMA community is my support system. I genuinely feel as though each member in this organization wants to see me succeed. Through this community, I am able to learn, practice, volunteer, connect and engage with others. Being a part of the AMA means I am a part of a group of inspiring, like-minded individuals who strive to work together to see marketing innovations and strategies used for good.

What advice would you give to other college students who are looking to make a positive impact in their community?

Be persistent. If there was one thing I learned from my whole experience, it is that none of it would have been possible if I did not stay the course. There were a couple of times when I questioned if continuing was worth it, but I had to remind myself that this cause is bigger than me.

Jessica Teruel, Bob Jones University

What would you like to say to the donors who made this scholarship possible?

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. It means the world to me to have people who are willing and ready to recognize marketers in college who are trying to make a difference and are continuing to build community to make a positive impact. I am so excited to see what our future holds.

What advice do you have for other student marketers looking to make an impact in their community?

First of all, you have to be willing to put in the time and the effort. You have to be willing to give up the Saturday mornings you want to sleep in for. People are going to notice that and that will give you another open door, another opportunity. Keep making those connections and keep going through those doors. Keep putting in the time and effort and you will be rewarded in the end. It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you.

AMAF Diversity Leadership Scholarship Winners

Lorenzo Lagares, Inter-American University of Puerto Rico, Arecibo Campus

Tell us a bit about the work you did to receive the scholarship. What impact did it have on your friends, your campus or the community?

As president of AMA Inter-American University of Arecibo, I learned to value time, manage responsibilities and understand what it means to be a true leader for my classmates…we have had the opportunity to work with social impact initiatives, such as the adoption of a home for abused young women to whom we donate our time and gifts. We also provide help to the victims of earthquakes that occurred during January of this year.

Jenna Martinez, University of Pennsylvania

What does it mean to you to be part of the AMA community? 

My experiences in the AMA University of Pennsylvania have been some of my most memorable experiences in college thus far. The community is full of people from different academic, socioeconomic and geographic backgrounds, but they are all alike in their intelligence, passion and ambition. More importantly, the people I have met in the community are good-hearted people who have become genuine friends.

What advice would you give to other college students who are looking to make a positive impact in their community? 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s easier to come together and create a positive impact when we turn to friends inside our chapter, outside our chapter, other organizations or even faculty for support. For our social impact work, we often try to collaborate with other off-campus organizations or on-campus student organizations in order to put our resources together and have a wider reach.

Rachel Cadet, Ithaca College

What has this scholarship enabled you to do that you might not have been able to do otherwise?

Winning this scholarship has allowed me to focus more on the community development aspect of marketing. I’ll be able to work on initiatives such as working with the polar plunge to promote events and working with the Girl Scouts of Ithaca to be able to share what is marketing and how girls can learn about it at a young age.  

Why should donors continue to give to the AMA collegiate scholarship programs?

In my opinion, donors should give to the scholarship program because it allows students to be recognized for their hard work and be able to focus on other things other than on campus jobs and off campus work.

Alima Abdirova, University of Illinois at Chicago

Tell us a bit about the work you did to receive the scholarship

Currently, I am the Director of Account Management for the AMA UIC chapter’s Five94 Marketing Solutions agency, which was launched last year. I am in charge of maintaining a close relationship with clients as well as reaching out to potential clients to inform them about what our agency has to offer. In this role, I developed the leadership skills and the ability to work in a team through leading meetings. I utilized my marketing skills to create a constant flow of communication with my team and implement the most effective strategies for reaching out to clients.

What advice would you give to other student marketers who are looking to make a difference in their community?

As a motivated and eager-to-learn international student, I never gave up on achieving my goals and challenging myself through different opportunities that presented themselves. I started my college career as a shy, scared international student who didn’t speak any English and not fully understanding the corporate culture. Now, I am in three leadership roles on campus, I am in the Honors College and I learned to read, write and speak a whole new language.

Gabrielle (Gaby) Alcala, Indiana University

What does it mean to you to be part of the AMA community?

Being part of the AMA community means having classmates and friends that have similar interests and passions in life and want to see you succeed. Whether it is the same area of marketing or a different aspect of a business, I can always count on my AMA support group for advice or any information I need. In my AMA chapter (shoutout AMA Indiana University!), we refer to our chapter members as fAMAily (family) because especially during the weekly meetings and volunteer opportunities, members and leadership are always willing to help out and support each other. 

What would you like to say to the donors who made this scholarship possible?

Thank you a million times for your generosity and dedication to the American Marketing Association. The AMA has allowed me to gain professional experience during weekly meetings and throughout my internships. Without the AMA, I would not have the marketing knowledge and experience I have today.