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"The Center for Academic Retention and Enhancement aided my transition from high school to college, while helping me to develop my greatest academic potential."
Double Major: Multinational Business Operations & Marketing
"The hardships my mother and I experienced have motivated me to strive for excellence," says Leidys Peña, a senior who is carrying a double major and a minor while maintaining a 3.9 GPA. Born in Cuba, Leidys clearly remembers the day her mother received word from the Lottery of Visas that they would be allowed to immigrate to the U.S. She was eight and spoke little English; her mother spoke none. "I remember struggling to do my homework and not being able to ask my Mom for help."
The years since have brought changes—Leidys chose to attend Florida State, away from her Miami home, because she "wanted to know what success and failure feel like without anyone to praise or comfort" her. Yet, she has received support. "The Center for Academic Retention and Enhancement aided my transition from high school to college, while helping me to develop my greatest academic potential."
She's also been living at the Southern Scholarship Foundation's Alpha Delta Kappa house with "amazing young ladies who have taught me everything from acceptance and patience to how to bake a cheesecake. I can honestly say that being part of the Foundation community has enhanced my sense of responsibility." Leidys is now the head resident of her house, a challenge that excites her. "The key to community living is seeing the house as a joyful place where you make friends and learn to be self sufficient. I do not believe that many people will remember me or the things I have done at FSU, but I am positive that my housemates will remember the woman I have become."
"Fascinated by the various cultures around the world," Leidys chose to study Multinational Business Operations, but she knew she would need to specialize. Upon learning that many firms, when expanding abroad, fail for the simple reason that they do not take the time or commit resources toward understanding their proposed markets, Leidys chose to specialize in Marketing Research, "a fascinating field."
Her wise academic advisor, Janice Lindsley, convinced Leidys to minor in Hispanic Marketing Communication. A growing minority, Hispanics have "great purchasing power." Leidys explains, "Not all Spanish-speaking consumers like to be marketed to in Spanish, and not all English-speaking consumers like to be marketed to in English. Preferences vary with the circumstance, service, or product. It is extremely important to understand where they stand on the language spectrum, as well as how they would like to be marketed to."
Leidys intends to continue her studies at the graduate level, earning a master's in International Business with an emphasis in Marketing, but, she says, "No matter where I go or what I do, I will always be a Seminole at heart!"