Christina Cowperthwait, ’19, loves animals and giving back to her community. And she has a strong entrepreneurial mindset. At Meredith, she found ways to explore her passions and gain the self-assurance and knowledge to move steadily toward her goal of one day owning her own business.
A business administration major, she was a two-time finalist and award recipient in Meredith’s Entrepreneurship Challenge, winning $1,000 each time with proposals that related to her interest in caring for animals. Both built on her extensive background working with kennels and animal rescue facilities. This year, Christina used her experience to mentor other participants in the Challenge.
“I want to figure out where my niche is. I want to open a business related to animals, but I want it to be on the happier side of things. If I worked in an adoption center I would want to bring every animal home.”
Christina was born with an eye condition called congenital nystagmus and strabismus, and has had multiple surgeries to improve her vision. She was motivated by her personal experiences to take on an internship with the Bryce Martin Foundation, an organization founded by Megan Martin, assistant professor of management information systems at Meredith, which supports visually-impaired children and their families.
She has held diverse roles with the foundation, from digital marketing intern, volunteer, grant writer, event planner. She also raised more than $27,000 this year through donations for a silent auction.
“Dr. Martin helped me get involved and give back to a group I can relate to.” In describing her speaking role at the Foundation’s festival, Christina said, “I think it gives parents hope to see that someone who has a visual impairment can succeed in school.”
Christina found another mentor in Interim Associate Dean & Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship Nathan Woolard. She studied abroad with him in Peru. That was when he first suggested that she consider the MBA 4+1 program. Christina is one of two students who was accepted into the accelerated program, which will allow her to earn her MBA in just one year.
“He’s always pushed me and rooted for me in a great way. He’s really supported my growth,” she said. “No matter what I can go to him – for advice or a recommendation letter. I can sit down and talk through an assignment for any class.”
Christina’s business activities have been wide-ranging, from her involvement with HQ Raleigh, a North Carolina-based entrepreneurial co-working community, to starting an Investment Fund Club. And although she came to Meredith full of confidence, her experiences here and the community she’s built have helped her become even stronger and more at home in her own skin.
“Meredith has taught me about myself and pushed me out of my comfort zone,” she said. “Overall I’ve grown as a leader in the sense of how I communicate and the strengths and weaknesses I have. The network I’ve built is amazing.”business administration class of 2019 entrepreneurship mba