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Dec. 4, 2017
By Hannah Brod, media relations assistant
By attending Northwest Missouri State University, Mariah Jones developed a confidence and established professional relationships that will carry her in to the next phase of her life.
Jones is graduating this month with a degree in business management and marketing and plans to continue her education by pursuing a master’s degree abroad. In the meantime, she also has been selected to serve as a legislative intern this spring with a state representative at the state capitol in Jefferson City, Missouri.
“I studied abroad the summer after my sophomore year,” Jones, a native of Lebanon, Missouri, said. “It was the best decision I have ever made. It was something that really showed me my strengths and weaknesses as a person.”
Coming to Northwest, Jones knew she wanted to get involved and try to make a difference. She considered several schools throughout Missouri, but none of them offered the environment she felt at Northwest.
“Everyone talks about the magical feeling you get when they walk on campus and you can see yourself walking the halls and walking around, but I just never got that anywhere else,” Jones said.
Jones fell in love with the beauty of the campus, which holds a designation as the Missouri Arboretum, as well as its values of acceptance and diversity that help shape Northwest as a special campus community.
“Northwest has made me more aware of others around me and other perspectives,” Jones said. “I have friends from Nepal. I have friends from Nebraska. I have friends from all around the world now that have really challenged me and inspired me and shown me that there’s other ways to do things and other ways to think about things. Coming to Northwest and getting that really wide breadth of ideas and perspectives has been really eye-opening.”
Jones gained friendships through her involvement and a range of activities at Northwest. She was a supplemental instruction leader and mentor in the Student Success Center, a member of the service organization Sigma Society and the Delta Mu Delta business honor society, and she participated in Knacktive, an immersive and interdisciplinary strategic communications experience that partners students with a professional client. Her involvement has yielded connections throughout the Northwest community.
“It’s good to get that opportunity working in a team of people that are different from you, instead of just being surrounded by people that think the same way you do and who don’t really challenge you in any way,” Jones said.
Jones said winning last spring’s Knacktive competition remains her favorite experience at Northwest. The selective educational experience for advanced undergraduate students incorporates, through actual client interaction, the creative demands and intensive teamwork environment of a technology-oriented, professional marketing communications agency. The course also provides students with an invaluable opportunity, unique to other universities, to build their portfolios with real-world experience while learning to work with others in a fast-paced team setting.
“That was pretty exhilarating,” Jones said. “We put in a lot of really hard work and a lot of really late nights. As a team, just building that closeness over the course of a semester and getting to, at the end of it, have this great moment where we could celebrate that win together was really awesome.”
Jones says she has gained more confidence because of the relationships she created with Northwest faculty.
“Northwest has done about everything they can to say, ‘Hey, go out there, spread your wings and fly,” Jones said. “There are so many opportunities with mock interviews and Career Day. Within the business school, we have many opportunities to network with business professionals. Again, Knacktive was another great experience for me. I was able to network and present for different businesses.”
Jones’ advice for future Northwest students is to get connected.
“Do not be the student who stays in your freshman dorm all day by yourself, playing video games or napping all day or watching Netflix,” Jones said. “Get out there. Meet people. Join a club. Sit in the front row of your classes. Get to know your faculty. Be that person in class who is shaking everyone’s hand, getting to know them. Go to all activities. Go to the SAC (Student Activities Council) events. Go to sporting events. Take advantage of these opportunities while you have them.”
Being connected and involved has allowed Jones to secure additional opportunities for leadership roles and enhance her communication with other people.
“I have gained a new confidence in myself,” Jones said. “Realizing that I’m capable of doing the things I want to do and having faculty and other students around to build me up with that has been really beneficial.”
As Jones graduates, she leaves with the same sentiment that attracted her to Northwest, and she says she will miss the community.
“It has been a really bittersweet last couple months here,” Jones said. “I really love the environment here. It is easy for people to come here and hear, ‘Oh we are like family.’ Genuinely, that has been my experience at Northwest.”
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
firstname.lastname@example.org | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900
Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468