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Kent State Stark Student is First Recipient of Small Business Development Center Scholarship

Posted Feb. 13, 2012 | Cynthia Williams
enter photo description
Kent State Stark student Felicia Dragos
is the first recipient of the Small Business
Development Center's scholarship award,
which encourages entrepreneurial-minded
students to reinvest their skills and knowledge
in the local community after graduation.

Kent State University at Stark student Felicia Dragos is the first recipient of the Small Business Development Center’s (SBDC) scholarship award. Dragos received $500 for the Spring 2012 Semester to assist in her pursuit of a marketing degree.

The North Canton Hoover High School alumna is currently in her junior year and hopes to find employment in corporate marketing after graduation. Dragos says that she will eventually enroll in graduate school, but would like to have professional experience in the job market first, preferably in Northeast Ohio. She truly enjoys living in the area and wants to stay close to her family.

For many years, small-business owners have benefitted from expert counseling and informative training sessions provided by the Small Business Development Center. In 2010, the nonprofit organization offered the Entrepreneur Experience, educating prospective and current business owners, as well as presenting numerous networking opportunities, through a series of events. One of the events was a competition between groups of students from Stark County colleges and universities.

After the 2011 Entrepreneur Experience, SBDC Director Victor Pavona developed the idea to benefit students who were pursuing business, finance or economic degrees from Stark County institutions. He combined proceeds from the Entrepreneur Experience with contributions from local organizations and nonprofit foundations and launched a scholarship fund administered by the Stark Community Foundation to financially assist students attending any of the county’s accredited colleges.

“The purpose of the Small Business Development Center’s scholarship is to encourage entrepreneurial-minded students of all disciplines to stay in this area after receiving their degrees, so they can reinvest their skills and knowledge in the community, adding to its economic growth,” says Pavona.

Getting a jump on her professional career, Dragos works as an intern in the Direct to Consumer Department at Little Tikes Worldwide in Hudson. She recently decided to become more involved at Kent State Stark and signed on to be on the front lines as a campus ambassador – a student who represents the campus by giving guided tours and assisting the admissions staff in recruiting efforts, as well as welcoming guests and working at major events, such as commencement and featured speakers’ lectures.

The Dean’s List student, who describes herself as competitive and ambitious, rose to the top of the applicant pool for the scholarship.

“The selection committee was unanimous in awarding Felicia the scholarship and wishes to express its sincere hope that she will continue her education in the same positive manner reflected in her selection,” says Pavona.

She gives a lot of credit to business professors Greg Blundell and Victor Berardi for instilling in her a drive to succeed academically.

“My professors have really influenced me to go above and beyond,” she says. “Professor Blundell made our class do something that I had never done before. He asked us to write down specific, achievable goals and strive for them.”

Dragos was proud to say that she exceeded the goal she wrote down that day, surpassing the GPA target that she had set for herself.

Dragos also has the full support of a very close-knit family and the Romanian community. She joined the Doina Romanian Folklore Ensemble, a 14-member dance troupe, last year and is enjoying the experience of performing throughout America and Canada.

As the first generation on her father’s side of the family to live in the United States and go to college, she says that he frequently tells her stories about life in his native country.

“I do the best I can to take advantage of the opportunities that he sacrificed for,” says Dragos. “I appreciate it and do not take any of it for granted.”