Alumni Spotlights
BA Management student
January 28, 2021 |

Management Undergrad Wins Outstanding Student Award

LJ Mizzi won the the 2020 Outstanding Student Award for Undergraduate Studies, but the road to graduation was paved with challenges. Balancing priorities as a working mother with four young children during COVID wasn’t easy. Support from GGU and her community gave her the motivation she needed to realize her goal.

By Jenny McKeel

LJ Mizzi was working for the Managed Markets Department at Gilead Sciences in a marketing role when she decided she wanted to complete her undergraduate degree. Between her job and the needs of her young children, her schedule was hectic. She was happy to discover GGU through Gilead, who partners with GGU on their employee MBA program.

“It was everything I was looking for. GGU has several class options, making it very easy for working mothers to attend class when it is convenient for them, which I really appreciated,” reflected LJ.

BA in Management

She pursued a BA in Business Management with a concentration in marketing and found that the courses she took for her concentration directly related to her role at Gilead. They provided foundational knowledge she didn’t realize she was missing and helped her better understand core marketing concepts she was already using at work.

Some courses required by her Management major and concentration were quite challenging. Accounting and Statistics, explained LJ, were two classes that terrified her the most.

“Those classes helped me to see that I am more capable than I thought I was,” said LJ. “I faced my fear of math classes and I completed them both successfully. In fact, I now manage the department budget with the guiding principles and resources I learned in Accounting.”

Business Writing, taught by Barbara Cully, proved to be especially valuable to LJ who regularly references assignments and materials from the course. Taking it reaffirmed her commitment to her marketing concentration.

COVID-19 Challenges

In March 2020, LJ experienced a mounting workload due to the pandemic. She doubted she could sustain working and going to school with young kids at home. What made the difference for LJ was that her community stepped up to support her. Her husband regularly watched the kids so she could complete her schoolwork and her manager at work provided valuable feedback on marketing assignments. Her children were patient with her and her friends and co-workers offered encouragement when she needed it. She’s proud that she graduated with a 4.0 GPA during the pandemic with four kids under age 5 while working full-time from home.

“Staying motivated to continue my coursework through pregnancy, several unexpected life-obstacles and more hospitalizations than one family should ever experience was extremely challenging,” LJ commented. “I wanted to give up several times, but I wanted to set the right example to teach my children how to persevere, even when it seems impossible.  My kids gave me the extra push I needed to cross the finish line.”




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