Growing up watching her father operate his own business, Schahrzad Mehdian decided her major before she ever applied to UT. What Mehdian didn’t know was that she would find a passion to leverage her knowledge of business not for profit but for good.
“I plan to pursue a career in non-profit fundraising,” Mehdian says.
She has sought out a variety of enrichment opportunities to this end: interning with St. Jude, serving as an ambassador for Haslam and co-chairing the Haslam Senior Impact committee.
Her efforts with the Senior Impact campaign, which encourages students to make donations and pledges of support their final year at Haslam, helped achieve over 50 percent participation of the senior class.
“This has been a great experience for me, as it ties into exactly what I plan to do in my career,” Mehdian said. “Fundraising for a great cause excites me very much. I love using my creativity in planning campaigns and engaging people in philanthropic causes.”
Mehdian understands first-hand how others have influenced and impacted her, which is why she’s so passionate about giving back. She received many scholarships during her time at UT, including the Pearson Family Endowed Business Excellence Scholarship, the Joseph Kenny McMillin Business Scholarship and the Rosemary Rousch Business Scholarship.
“This is why I want to educate other students about the ways they can give back and change someone’s life,” she says.
Weston Bell is not the typical Haslam senior. In addition to majoring in finance with an international business collateral, he is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in chemistry and minoring in history.
Bell added his business degrees after studying abroad in Hong Kong last spring.
“I was originally a pre-med major and even took the MCAT,” Bell says. “But the classes I took abroad, which had a focus on international business in a global aspect, helped me decide to pursue business as well.”
Despite the rigorous and diverse demands of his coursework, in which he maintains an honors GPA, he participates whole-heartedly in university culture. He received the Frederick Bonham Chancellor’s Scholarship, a merit-based scholarship awarded to only four students per year. Bell is also the president for the interfraternity council and a former senator of the student government association.
Bell is active off campus as well. He conducts research relating to ion transportation in solid polymer electrolytes in conjunction with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He also has held several internships and is recently worked in Manhattan with the investment banking firm Sawaya Segalas & Co., LLC.
When asked which of his many interests he hopes to focus on after graduation, he is still unsure. “I’m hoping to find something that touches at least a little of all of them,” he says. In the future, he plans pursue a Master’s degree in public policy.
Senior Wayne Nash was introduced to collegiate life through Haslam’s Business Education for Talented Students (BETS) Program. He’s spent his university years since giving back to that community.
Nash’s passion for the college began when Tyvi Small, Haslam’s director of diversity and community relations, came to his high school in Memphis to talk about BETS. The program hosts high school students on campus for 10 days, exposing them to college and business norms through social events and corporate site visits.
“I wanted to get involved with Haslam because BETS meant so much to me as a high school student,” Nash says. “I wanted to continue that feeling. I felt immersed in the culture. I like the people here, and I know all the faculty.”
As a freshman, Nash joined Venture, the business living, learning community. Venture offers roughly 80 first-year business students the opportunity to enroll in similar classes, live on the same floor and serve the community through volunteer opportunities.
“I’m so connected with Haslam because Venture made me be involved,” Nash said. He became a peer leader for BETS the summer after his freshman year and later went on to be the lead counselor for BETS after his junior year.
Nash is majoring in supply chain management with a collateral in international business. Nash has also found time to serve as a resident assistant for two years, volunteer with the Office of Diversity and Community Relations and even win the Best Presenter award at the ninth annual Keybank Leadership and Creativity Undergraduate Minority Student Symposium.
Nash will complete his degree in the fall, but he is set to embark on a three-month internship in Prague prior to finishing his college career. He will be working in the marketing department for Agave, a high-rated restaurant.
“I’ve never been out of the country before,” Nash says. “I’m looking forward to getting a new perspective and seeing a new culture.”
Nash is excited to start working in the supply chain field after graduation, but it will be bitter sweet to leave the relationships and experiences he has had with the college. “I take pride in being a Haslam College of Business student. It’ll be hard to leave,” he says.
Nash is the recipient of the Hope, University, Pepsico, Alex Haley, Benjamin A. Gilman International, CIE, and Haslam College of Business International Study Abroad scholarships.