“It has inspired me to focus on taking my education global in the next three years."
Boundaries and limitations never stopped rising sophomore Kali Holt from achieving unfettered success. As a member of the inaugural cohort of the Integrated Business and Engineering Program (IBEP), Holt has already pioneered a track for students interested in combining their passions for business and engineering.
Growing up in Colorado Springs, Colorado, reared by two auctioneers, Holt’s childhood was anything but boring.
“The fast-paced environment of an auction easily spilled into my home life, and the experiences I gained as a child following my parents around auctions were incomparable,” Holt says. “I quickly learned how to talk to people from all walks of life and had the opportunity to experience how business is conducted in multiple industries.”
In elementary school, Holt’s family moved to Chattanooga, pushing her outside her comfort zone at an early age. She attended an all-girls preparatory school, allowing her to develop skills and interests in a highly demanding environment.
“I was never told I couldn’t do something because of my gender,” Holt says. “Growing up in a myriad of environments pushed me to find ways to define success and allowed me to discover who I am so that I can pursue the aspirations I have for my future through higher education and practical experience.”
Holt’s time in the Haslam College of Business has only spanned a year thus far, but she is determined to make the most of it. She is a member of the management society and works in the Office of Student Engagement and Success. She also participated in a business student trip to Cuba her first semester.
“For me, it was eye-opening, and I would encourage any student to study abroad,” Holt says. “It has inspired me to focus on taking my education global in the next three years, as well as not taking everyday conveniences like electricity, running water, air conditioning and Internet for granted.”
After graduation, Holt seeks a career in the automotive and racing industries. She plans to use her growing network, management and international business degree, and IBEP to build bridges between the university and automotive companies in Tennessee.
In his research, Haileab Hilafu aims to make it easier to extract actionable knowledge from large datasets