"Even when things are difficult, I keep my eyes on the prize." senior Amanda Maher.

A student's persistence and enthusiasm make an impact

Stories of resilience, resourcefulness & responsibility

Marketing student Amanda Maher found her artistic outlet as a teenager watching YouTube videos on makeup application and practicing until she could do it adeptly. By age 16, she was in demand during homecoming and prom seasons and earning good money.

“I was business-minded before I knew I wanted to be in business,” said Maher, a senior at Rutgers Business School-New Brunswick.

Maher’s talents extend beyond cosmetology. She’s an honor student who has made an impact on campus by serving her fellow students and the wider community. Her accomplishments have earned her the New Jersey Business and Industry Association’s Rising Star Award, which she will receive on Sept. 14.

“She definitely is a stand-out,” said Helen Pensavalle, department administrator for the Special Programs Department for RBS-New Brunswick Undergraduate Student Services.

“She embodies the values of Rutgers Business School," said Pensavalle who nominated Maher for the Rising Star Award. "She has proven to be resilient, resourceful and responsible in everything she does.”

As director of community services for honor society Beta Gamma Sigma, Maher organized a successful food drive for the Rutgers Student Food Pantry, said Pensavalle, who is an advisor to the honor society. “She’s so enthusiastic, and she always brings a lot of great ideas to the table,” Pensavalle added. “She can really think on her feet.”

Her first-year experience at Rutgers demonstrates her resiliency. When her father suffered a stroke, she often traveled from campus to her family’s home in Saddle Brook to help care for him while keeping up on classes. “Even when things are difficult,” the 20-year-old said, “I keep my eye on the prize.”

“She embodies the values of Rutgers Business School. She has proven to be resilient, resourceful and responsible in everything she does.” - Helen Pensavalle, department administrator for the Special Programs Department, Undergraduate Student Services, RBS-New Brunswick.

In addition to organizing the food drive, Maher worked with the Rutgers Student Food Pantry to boost its visibility through a social media campaign. The number of Facebook followers grew from 10 to more than 600 between the springs of 2017 and 2018, she said. More significantly, the pantry served 500 students during the 2108 spring semester compared to only 15 a year earlier.

Maher co-founded Rutgers Cares, a club that connects Rutgers students with volunteer opportunities at a New Brunswick soup kitchen. She also is active in Women BUILD (Business Undergraduates in Leadership Development) and works as a marketing assistant in the Office of University Career Services.

“I like to take things and run with them,” Maher said. “I’m very independent.”

She said she appreciates being named a Rising Star. “To feel that I’ve made an impact is very humbling,” she said. “I’m happy my hard work has paid off.”

Maher said she became hooked on marketing while doing an internship during her senior year of high school. She chose Rutgers Business School for its reputation and set her sights on a career that combines her passion for cosmetics and marketing. She spent last summer as a marketing intern at L’Oréal in New York City and will begin working full-time after graduation in the company's management development program.

Last April, Maher was one of a dozen students invited to dine with Harvey Schwartz, a Rutgers alumnus and then president and co-chief operating officer at Goldman Sachs, before he addressed a large audience.

“It reminded me of how lucky I am to be here at RBS,” she said.

- Margaret McHugh

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