Meet a Loper Graduate: Nadia Piñon dedicates degree to her parents

Nadia Piñon of Shelton graduates Friday with a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a marketing emphasis and a minor in international business. She’ll start her business career in Kearney, working for SCORR Marketing.

What does this moment mean to you?
It means I have freedom. It means I have an opportunity – to go down different paths, mess up, go down a different one, recreate myself, and try again. I am a first-generation student, so this means my parents are symbolically graduating with me. They were the ones who dragged me out of bed in the mornings when I was in elementary school, came to watch all my athletic events in high school, and stood by my side every time I decided I wanted to try something new. My parents are hard workers, I feel like I get it from them, but this degree is for them. This is for them because they gave me the urgency and passion to keep going to school to have an opportunity. This moment means the world to me.

What was your most memorable experience at UNK?
Blue and Gold Welcome Week is by far the most memorable week of my college career. As an incoming student, everything was new, and excitement was in the air for free things. UNK’s pride in its students goes a long way because it shows. Yes, a simple orientation is nice and welcoming, but UNK goes beyond in making sure students know they are valued. This is what Blue and Gold Welcome felt like … appreciation. UNK brings vendors from all over Kearney so students feel welcome in their new home. What shops there are, what kind of food is around Kearney, different services and job opportunities. Blue and Gold Welcome Week felt like the rest of my life was waiting for me and I had the opportunity to take it by the hands and run.

Who was the most influential person during your undergraduate career?
Bambi Sell was my TRIO-SSS adviser and would let me come into her office sometimes to talk about plans and she would smile and say, “So, what are we going to do to make those things happen?” She was a great mirror and listener so I could realize and make plans for myself.

Dr. Sri Seshadri, Dr. Heather Meyer and Dr. Greg Broekemier.

These three professors were the most influential because they were compassionate, supportive and thoughtful. They were so reassuring that life was always going to turn out exactly right. Each of them has industry or academic experience that helped a worried first-time student realize you must move with the world and its curves.

What’s your favorite place on campus?
There is a room in the student union that overlooks the football field on the top floor. When the sun sets it engulfs the top of the stands and a little bit of the man-made pond with a bright shine that makes you appreciate the moment.

Tell me about the time when you worked the hardest during your undergrad career:
Every day. Being a student, no matter the major, learning how to do life for the first time on your own and create lasting relationships made me try my hardest every day. Balance is never easy, and it gets harder over time. No matter what, every day I tried my hardest and I know every student can say in one way or another that they also did their best.

If you could go back in time and do something differently, what would it be?
Maybe go back to my first day of class and tell myself not to spend all my dining dollars in one semester.

What advice do you have for current and future Lopers?
If you want to do something, try it. If you want to love something, work at it.

What’s your career goal? Why did you choose this path?
My career goal is to become a marketing director and touch every aspect that drives business to the consumer. From pricing, graphic design and internal communication to sales, I would love to be able to see results for consumers around the world.

I chose business as my area of study because there are specialized industries everywhere – every corner of the world, every small exchange for trade and every moment in communication. My mom owns her own business, and my grandmother owned her own before that. I guess you could say it runs in the family to be an entrepreneur or be involved in the exchange of daily tasks that move the world.

How did UNK help prepare you for your future?
UNK’s organizations prepared me for my future career and every activity I have been a part of. As a member of the Office of Student Diversity and Inclusion, their organizations helped me go deeper into civil matters, local disturbances and human rights around the world. As a member of Residence Life, they prepared me to be a leader, not a follower, and to make a difference. That special connection with first-time college students and being their first person to go to for many things helped me grow into the responsible individual I am today. Being part of Fraternity and Sorority Life also helped me mold myself into a leader as I held different executive and board positions within my sorority. Also, being part of a research marketing team and getting to present marketing plans to industry leaders right in our classroom.