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Student Competitive Award


This $500 program award is a competitive award for all the full-time students enrolled in the business degree program at Penn State New Kensington.



Students who are eligible to compete for this award must be enrolled full time in the campus business degree program or in their final semester completing internship.  They must have completed at least 30 credits toward the degree and are currently enrolled in their third or greater semester of the program. Their current cumulative grade-point average must be 2.5 or higher.



The primary consideration in granting the award is the quality of the student’s paper on the topic “Why I chose business program and my career development plan”. The paper length should be 600 – 800 words. The award selection committee will review the papers on the basis of writing skills, organization of paper, and creativity. Students must submit a typed (electronic copy in MS Word) paper by email attachment to Dr. Yang XU at yux4@psu.edu by October 21st, 2016. The award recipient student will be notified no later than Nov. 4th, 2016. The student must agree to have the paper published in campus publications and media and provide a current electronic photograph of the student to be published with the paper. Questions should be directed to Dr. Yang XU.

M. Tonarelli, BSB Student

2015 Award-Winning Essay

Madison Tonarelli
Business Degree Program Essay Competition

   Growing up, many children want to be a firefighter, police officer, or an actor, but I have known I wanted to enter business since I can remember. This might be because my dad has been in sales my entire life. He has been a strong role model for me as long as I can remember. Since he frequently worked from home, I can remember sitting on his lap while he answered phone calls or created presentations for his company. I also remember him traveling a lot for meetings and trade shows, which I did not like as a kid. Fast forward fifteen years later and I'm interested in traveling for the same reasons as well as pursuing the same career. I followed in my dad's footsteps and today I am a business student at Penn State New Kensington. I have come to realize that I did not choose this career path alone, but part of it was with me all along.

   Choosing my major came easily but choosing where to study did not. After different considerations and many college visits, Penn State New Kensington quickly became the obvious choice. The campus is close to home, being that I live in Pittsburgh, and the size allows me to engage in hands on learning and make lasting relationships with my professors and peers. Equally important, my classes are very interesting, and I find myself excited to learn, as well as eager to apply these concepts in my career. All of my Penn State New Kensington professors are passionate about what they teach, and they inspire me to do the same. It is not about which field will make you the most money but which one you will be passionate about. Caring about what I am learning in each of my management and marketing classes further confirms that I have made the right decision in following the path that led me to study business at Penn State New Kensington. If I could go back, I would make all of the same choices again. I am proud to be a business student at Penn State New Kensington.

   I do not want my education in business to stop here. Whether I take time off after my four years at Penn State New Kensington to get an entry-level job or start my career right after graduation, I plan on getting my masters of business administration degree through the Penn State in Cranberry program. The two-year masters program is very flexible and is 75% online, with a few in class meetings per semester. Since the schedule is very agreeable to everyday life, I can still take classes while supporting a family of my own. I want the best future possible for my family, as well as myself, and in today’s society it is becoming more and more important to continue your education. This would not only open up new windows to different job positions, but it would also benefit myself by having the opportunity to become better educated.

   Overall, I do not know exactly what the future holds for me. It is possible I could be a sales associate for a large company, travel to different parts of the country, become a CEO, or even start my own business. Although I am not ready to make those specific decisions, I am ready to continue learning new things about my career choices and myself. I do know, however, that the education I worked for at Penn State New Kensington will prepare me for any of those career choices. After graduating I plan to find a management job in the Pittsburgh area and start a family. Simultaneously, I plan to work towards receiving my MBA through Penn State in Cranberry. By earning my masters degree, more career opportunities will open up for me. I look forward to being able to support my family doing what I love and am passionate about. I did not choose a business path just to do so; I followed what I have always had an interest in and want to do the rest of my life. I am excited for my journey to continue, and I am more than ready to go along for the ride.