KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Growing through learning has been senior Adriana Vicario’s greatest lesson while studying digital marketing and eCommerce at Western Michigan University. Vicario uses her creativity and resilience each day to benefit her registered student organization, engage in experiential learning and contribute through internships.
Digital marketing is not only an interactive and fast-paced field, but also one where Vicario has learned to use her strengths to their fullest potential. “I can combine my analytical and strategic thinking with my creative side, and it has really allowed me to step outside of my comfort zone,” she says.
While it’s Vicario’s final semester at Western, she continues to challenge herself by joining new student organizations. Just recently becoming involved in WMU’s TechNext organization, she will take a deep dive into technology, with interactions with West Coast alumni and their connections in Silicon Valley.
In the classroom, Vicario found a direct correlation between what she was learning in her SEO and Content Marketing course and how it will benefit her in the workplace.
“Through this class, I not only learned about content marketing and generating search engine traffic and conversions, but I also got to execute learned practices on my niche website, Eco Hair Care Guide, as part of the course curriculum,” she says.
Her digital marketing skills are currently being honed through a project for an independent study, where she is gaining experience in branding and website creation.
“The guide I’m creating through my independent study will serve as a resource for the Digital Marketing at WMU student organization and will help me begin creating a website for the group,” she says. “I’m extremely excited to have this experience, and it will hopefully make a significant impact on the organization.”
Daring to put her skills in digital marketing to the test, she and three of her peers competed in the 2022 Digital Marketing Competition & Summit. “Together, over a course of three months, we created an entire data-driven digital marketing strategy for the non-profit organization UNICEF USA. After presenting our research, owned and paid media strategies, along with our media and evaluation, we placed No. 11 out of 161 competitors nationally!”
Through her experiences, Vicario was hired as a summer intern at AdAdapted and Spartan Innovations—getting on-the-job training and experience outside of the classroom.
All of these risks resulted in inevitable obstacles at times. Whenever a complication tried to block her path, she turned it into a positive learning experience. “The most important thing that I have learned as a business student so far is to embrace failure. Nobody likes to fail, but these experiences help shape and redirect us. Failure builds resilience,” Vicario reflects.
As a student, mentors are crucial to reaching success. At the Haworth College of Business, she found her key mentor in Dr. Scott Cowley, associate professor of marketing and co-director of the digital marketing and eCommerce program. “Dr. Cowley’s support and guidance has encouraged me to always go the extra mile and set the bar high. I wouldn’t be where I am without everything Dr. Cowley has brought to my student experience and the dedication he has to WMU Haworth’s digital marketing program.”
Entering college as a Hispanic, first-generation college student, Vicario was ready to explore different avenues to graduate and make the most of her experience. As she prepares to conclude her academic career, she carries her identity with her with pride as she explores what comes next in digital marketing and any challenges she may encounter. She is ready to step outside her comfort zone and discover the possibilities of what the industry can offer.
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