STUDENT PROFILE: Nichols College Senior Karen Velasco

Velasco is an International Success Story



DUDLEY, Mass.—Nichols College senior Karen Velasco is about to graduate from this business school focused on leadership, with a bachelor’s degree in finance and international business—as well as a near-perfect grade point average. She also has the pleasure of having to select from several job offers, including one from New York Life.

The resident of Stamford, Conn., only had to cross state lines to come to Nichols, but she took a world view in making her decision.

“I was looking for a business school because I knew I wanted to major in international business, and I found an amazing opportunity here,” she said. “I also liked the opportunity Nichols gives you to grow, not only as a professional but also as a person. Coming in, I knew that I wanted to shape my career and skills. I wanted to enhance my leadership ability and my public speaking. I joined as many programs as I could to make myself better.”

Among the programs Velasco discovered here was the Nichols Institute for Women’s Leadership (IWL), which provides regular contact with and mentoring by successful female professionals. Her participation has led to speaking opportunities on panels and other occasions. She was also president of Nichols College’s chapter of the American Association University of Women and served as a mentor to female students at Bartlett High School in Webster, Mass., who participated in the Nichols College Connection program.

“I’m definitely a better leader,” she said, adding, “Joining IWL was one of the best decisions I made at Nichols.”

Velasco was born in Ecuador and came to the United States with her parents when she was 8 years old.

“It was a little hard coming from a country where you understand the culture and language, to another where you don’t,” she said.

Her parents, however, taught her to never give up on her goals and dreams.

“And I didn’t,” she said. “I seek motivation every day, even if it may be hard at times. I tell myself, ‘I will never be average.’”

Velasco hasn’t lost sight of her Ecuadorian heritage.

“I’ve taken bits and pieces of both cultures and shaped myself,” said Velasco, who is an assistant in the Nichols Office of Diversity and Inclusion. “Being bilingual brings a lot of opportunities in the international business and financial advising fields.”

She values her contribution to the diversity of the Nichols community.

“That’s what makes companies successful,” said Velasco, who studied abroad last year in Barcelona, Spain. “When you have people with different ideas and perspectives, it makes a company better.”

As for her own notable success so far, she said, “I feel that I’ve grown over the past four years, and I feel prepared to take on any challenge that comes my way. The challenges are what make you stronger at the end.”

Veteran reporter Ronald Schachter is an adjunct faculty member at Nichols College who teaches journalism.

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