After a fast-paced, jam-packed four years at Slippery Rock University, senior Marshall Tuten received the JoAnne Day Business Student of the Year award from the Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Employers.
The JoAnne Day Student of the Year award is presented annually to four accomplished undergraduate students attending one of the 80 member institutions. Each applicant must have completed an internship or co-op assignment and must be pursuing a degree in one of four categories: a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts, business or STEM, or an associate’s degree in one of the previously mentioned programs. Each winner receives a personalized plaque and a cash prize of $250.
Tuten, this year’s business recipient, will graduate in May with two degrees: professional Spanish and business administration and economics, although the latter isn’t what he intended to study when he first came to SRU. He actually began his time at The Rock in the health sciences.
“I initially came in studying in the health sciences,” Tuten said. “[When] I took my first economics class, Economics 101, I realized that I think like an economist all the time. By that, I mean I think about using time and resources efficiently because the time and resources I have are limited, so I have to find the best ways to use them to reach my goals.”
His second major in professional Spanish, however, has always been a staple. He knows the language well, was and still is confident that he’ll use it regularly in his professional future and he’s glad that he gets to practice it regularly and experience effective learning in and out of the classroom. For example, he was able to speak Spanish in a real-life setting when he traveled to Europe for an art philosophy class through the Honors college, when he took a trip to Bolivia as the Fair Trade Learning Coordinator for the Office for Community-Engaged Learning and on his spring break trip to Costa Rica.
“I’ve been able to visit [these countries] because of my connections at Slippery Rock,” Tuten said. “I was recommended for those leadership positions and for that research because I built relationships with faculty and they trusted me and knew I’d do a good job. So that’s why I’ve been able to do that, just because I put my heart into it and people notice.”
Tuten also traveled to France and the Netherlands on his trip to Europe and spent a few weeks in China doing research through the school of business. His research in China was sponsored by the Asian Network Foundation, and he and three other SRU students spent about a month in some rural parts of the country as well as some cities like Beijing, Chongqing and Chengdu.
This past summer, Tuten went cross-country to Salt Lake City, Utah where he completed an internship with Creminelli Fine Meats, an American/Italian producer and seller of artisan meats. Tuten said the purpose of his internship was to fulfill marketing, sales and operations goals. He worked with the marketing team to develop sponsorship strategies, to expand the brand’s online presence and to develop more streamlined internal processes.
“I was kind of a jack-of-all-trades in the office, and I helped with whatever was given to me,” Tuten said.
The completion of this internship and his relationships with numerous faculty and staff members and his leadership experience here at The Rock were the biggest factors behind his receipt of the Student of the Year award. Tuten said he’s been looking for the best leadership opportunities since his first semester on campus when he was part of the First-Year Leader Scholar Program. Since then, he has served as the Fair Trade Learning Coordinator for the Office for Community-Engaged Learning, an Orientation Ambassador, vice president of the Guitar Club and vice president of Health and Safety for his fraternity, Theta Chi.
“I’ve always tried to shoot for what seemed to be the most prestigious leadership positions or things that would really challenge me,” Tuten said.
As someone inspired by creativity and innovation, Tuten said he’s not positive where the future will take him, but that’s okay. After his work in Salt Lake City and his experience with music, he’s become very interested in working in the music industry, specifically behind the scenes and on the business side of things. He’s thinking about graduate programs in Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and New York, and also has his eyes set on internships throughout the country, too.
“Right now, I’m unsure of the specifics of where I’ll be and that’s okay. Because if I did have some specific goals, I think I’d probably end up pretty far from there,” Tuten said with a laugh. “Who knows what happens, you know. I can’t plan for everything.”
While the plan may not be solid, the confidence in his future is. Thanks to his connections here at SRU, his passion and work ethic and his never-ending list of experiences and skills, Tuten’s future is bright — no matter where that future will take him.