Her sister, Carolyn, graduated from Wittenberg in 2002, and Allison Scaia knew she did not want to go to the school her sister attended. She wanted to be different, forge her own path. However, when she visited Wittenberg, she felt she belonged here, and the scholarship offer was just too good to ignore.
"When I came to visit, I met with Dr. (John) Fenimore in management for my scholarship interview, and I felt very comfortable," Scaia said. "While I was there I had school work I was trying to catch up and I felt comfortable walking around with my backpack on."
Although she didn't have a campus job her freshman year, Scaia was surprised and pleased when she decided to seek student employment.
"There is so much available for students at Wittenberg as student workers," Scaia said. "There's really a plethora of real work experience available that faculty and staff readily seek out students for – working on the Web, writing, research with faculty, even participation planning major university events."
During her semesters on campus, Scaia worked as a student assistant in the management department, tutored in the Foreign Language Lab and served with the assistant provost for institutional research and planning, all of which helped Scaia build a strong resumé.
"As Dr. (Jeff) Ankrom's aid, I completed analyses of test scores and survey results, planned and ran sessions for students to complete the Collegiate Learning Assessment," Scaia said. "The level of influence that students have is also surprising – students on Student Senate have the ability to vote in faculty meetings and even to be present in faculty meetings."
Scaia also completed a semester at Edge Hill University in Ormskirk, England, near Liverpool.
"I lived on campus," Scaia said. "The travel experience and the opportunity to actually immerse myself in the British culture gave me more confidence in my ability to adapt to different environments and situations."
A decision to minor in economics led Scaia to two critical courses her junior year, European Economic History, which she found especially interesting, and International Trade and Finance, which covered trade benefits that apply globally and discussed concepts of why things work the way they do.
"I found the application of math into the course, the real use of calculus to be very interesting," she said. "In math, I loved how everything fit together."
In addition, Scaia is a member of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority and wanted to perform her community service with the Ronald McDonald House, her chapter's philanthropy. Since Springfield doesn't have a facility, Scaia was permitted to do her service at the Haven House in her hometown of St. Louis, Mo.
"Haven House is like a Ronald McDonald House, and I was able to do my service during a summer." Scaia said. "The focus of my community service was a marketing project to try to reach different doctors. I developed a packet of information on long-term patient care versus short-term, compiled information on hospitals and doctors' offices."
Other learning experiences included participation on the Enrollment Management Committee, the Student Senate education policies committee and the Class Cabinet 2009 subcommittee, working with the provost and faculty – learning their concerns, listening to their interactions.
Following graduation, Scaia moved to Hartford, Conn., to work for The Hartford in its leadership development program. During the next two years she will gain exposure to four different areas of the firm.
"At one time I thought about (studying) accounting at Notre Dame," Scaia said. "However, I completed a pricing analyst internship with Progressive Insurance in Cleveland and realized that accounting was not where I needed to be.
"The six-month rotations to the different areas will provide nice exposure. It helps you to figure what you personally enjoy. When you're actually working, it becomes more clear. You learn what opportunities are available and to understand what you want to do."
Scaia said that to her the "Witt Light is the spectrum of opportunities offered at Wittenberg." Clearly, she pursued everything possible in her four years on campus.
- Written by Phyllis Eberts
- Photo by Erin Pence