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Senior Spotlight

The end of the semester is closing in, which means final exams and summer plans will soon be in full swing. It also means it’s time to say farewell to our graduating seniors! This past year has been challenging for the graduating class, but our CWIB seniors have been resilient as ever and have helped make this year a fun and memorable experience for all. I asked CWIB’s class of 2021 to recall some of their favorite memories and experiences, and to look towards the future at what is waiting for them post-graduation.

Nafisa Sayeeda is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Business Information Technology (BIT), with a double minor in International Business (BI) and Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE). She plans on working in D.C. post-grad, but would like to move farther north in the long-term. Nafisa began her journey with CWIB as an active member during her freshman year. She has since spent two years on the leadership team, and has held the title of Co-CEO this past year, alongside Jillian Hoglan. CWIB has been invaluable to Nafisa’s college experience. She has loved meeting new people through events and Treks, and has enjoyed using CWIB’s platform “to help support important causes through our philanthropy.” Her leadership roles have also given her insight into what it takes to be an effective leader and team member. If she could say one thing to her freshman self, Nafisa would say “to take time in deciding what you really want to do.” She would encourage herself to “try everything,” and broaden her horizons by taking many different classes. Nafisa is most excited about all of the possibilities that wait for her in D.C. She has her plans open to a variety of creative endeavors, including publishing and video production. By giving herself some freedom to explore her career path, she hopes “to be happy with whatever [she] is doing or is inspired by at any point in time.”

Nafisa wanted to share, not one, but two of her favorite inspirational quotes:

“The greater mistake you can make in life is to be continuously fearing you will make one.”- Elbert Hubbard.

“There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy. By being happy, we sow anonymous benefits upon the world.”- Robert Louis Stevenson.

Jillian Hoglan will be graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Business Information Technology (BIT), with a concentration in Management Consulting and Analytics. Jillian plans on moving to London to get her Master’s degree in Business Analytics. Besides being an active member, she has served as CWIB’s Chief Development Officer, and recently, as Co-CEO with fellow senior Nafisa Sayeeda. Jillian believes that CWIB has introduced her to “some of the coolest women at Virginia Tech'' and has helped her make lots of great memories during her college career. After graduating, she plans to start her career in business consulting, and she’s eager to utilize different skills to take on a variety of unique projects.To her freshman self, Jillian would say to “figure out your priorities, set your goals, and not let the trivial things matter.”

Additionally, Jillian’s favorite inspirational quote is:

“Accept what you can’t change and change what you can’t accept.”- Author Unknown

Emma Sedlack will be graduating with a degree in Finance, with concentrations in Corporate and Risk Management and Banking. She will be moving to Arlington, Virginia, to work in Federal Financial Management at KPMG. Emma has been a long-time member of CWIB and has acted as both Vice President of Philanthropy and Chief Financial Officer. During her time on the leadership team, she has enjoyed learning how to manage both people and numbers. CWIB has also taught Emma how to become more involved in school and extracurricular activities, as well as the importance of networking. If she were able to speak to her freshman self, Emma would tell her to try new things and not to worry about what other people think. She would also encourage herself to “use [her] voice and make sure to always ask questions.” Emma is excited to experience being “completely independent” and to travel, following graduation.

Emma Harwood is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise, with a concentration in Dietetics. After graduation, she will be attending Syracuse University to participate in a dietetic supervised practice program and to pursue a certificate of advanced study. She then plans to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN). Emma believes that her journey with CWIB has been different than most, since she is not a business major. She joined CWIB as a sophomore to be more involved in school activities and build professional skills, then joined the CWIB Chronicles staff writing team. She later became Editor In Chief of the CWIB Chronicles, where she led her writing team in publishing biweekly articles demonstrating CWIB’s key pillars: empower, prepare, and connect. Emma has enjoyed being a leader in CWIB, which she believes has helped her become “more outgoing, confident, and professional.” Meeting new people and attending CWIB events have also been highlights of her experience. Recalling that her college experience had a rough start, Emma Harwood would tell freshmen that “it is going to take a lot of work to achieve your goals,” but to “give yourself some grace.” She believes that even though there will be difficult choices along the way, if you stay true to yourself, your plans will ultimately work out in the end. Emma would also like to remind freshmen that college “is only the beginning of wonderful experiences to come!” Moving forward, she is excited to step into her dream career, where she can express her passion for “helping others discover what healthy eating looks like for them.” She hopes that in the future, she will be able to “combine [her] skills in nutrition and business” through her own private practice. She is ready to “soak up [her] experiences next year to find the specialty where [she] fits best.”

Emma Harwood’s quote of choice is:

“Life is about accepting the challenges along the way, choosing to keep moving forward, and savouring the journey.”- Roy T. Bennett.

Allison Wood will be graduating with a Bachelor of Science in both Business Management and Marketing Management, with a concentration in Consulting and Analytics. Following graduation, she will be joining IBM’s Summit Program as a Rotational Seller. Allison has been an active member of CWIB for several years, and has enjoyed participating in the Treks, meetings, and networking events. For Allison, CWIB has helped her build an invaluable network of professional connections and has been a key factor in helping her land her current position at IBM. She remembers visiting IBM on a CWIB trek during her Sophomore year, where she decided that IBM was her “dream company.” She achieved an internship the following year and was then offered a full-time position. Allison also asserts that CWIB “instilled a confidence in me to go after my dreams and goals like I never had before.” If she could go back in time, she would like to tell her freshman self to take advantage of any personal or professional experiences that come her way, because “you never know what skill you could learn, who you may meet, or how your life can benefit from it.” Allison is excited to start her full-time career as an “IBMer,” where she will continue to build on the skills and knowledge gained during her internship.

Allison’s most inspiring quote is:

“Impossible is just an opinion.” - Paul Coelho.

Abigail Riggs will be graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management, with a concentration in Consulting and Analytics. She will be moving to New York City following graduation, to start her career as a consultant for Protiviti. Abby began as a staff writer for the CWIB Chronicles during her first semester of her freshman year and later held leadership positions for several years, serving as Philanthropy Chair and Vice President of Power Panel. She is grateful for the “close knit family of the most incredible women” that CWIB has given her over the years. She believes that the relationships she’s made in CWIB have helped shape her character, and that CWIB events and networking opportunities have helped her achieve her professional goals. She recalls the Hokies on Wall Street Trek being the starting point for her professional network that led her to her current post-grad job offer. She also appreciates having had the opportunity to grow her creative skills and confidence as a leader during her time on the CWIB leadership team. If speaking to her freshman self, Abby would tell her to join the CWIB leadership team. She claims that her experiences on the team have “allowed [her] to make the organization more personal and truly made [her] passionate about what we do.” Being able to follow her dreams of living in New York is what most excites Abby post-grad, and she is proud to have worked hard to achieve that dream.

Abby’s favorite quote is:

“By the time we have learned to live, it is already too late.” - Aragon.

Thank you seniors, for all you have contributed to CWIB over the years! Your time, commitment, and spirit have helped this organization reach new heights. We’ll miss seeing your bright faces, but we wish you all the best with your post-grad endeavors!

By Lauren Miles

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