Celia Miranda, now a senior majoring in information systems and operations management (ISOM), attended a bootcamp for aspiring entrepreneurs when she was a high school senior. The bootcamp took place on the Fairfax campus of George Mason University. It was then and there that she learned what she wanted to do and where she was comfortable studying.
As an undergraduate at Mason, Miranda learned she had to take advantage of any financial resource at her disposal to help her reach her academic and life goals. With her family moving to Chile for her father’s job, and their discretionary income suddenly cut, her support system was suddenly strained. Thankfully, the School of Business has many scholarships that she qualified for, and she applied for as many as possible. Miranda’s actions were rewarded when she was announced as the recipient for the Women in Business Initiative Endowed Scholarship.
The Women in Business Initiative (WIBI) is an advisory board comprised of professional women from a wide range of industries. “It’s wonderful how WIBI supports women in all aspects,” says Miranda. “Seeing mainly guys in business can often feel intimidating, so that support is really meaningful.”
WIBI’s mission is to support female business students to advance their careers. In addition to hosting fundraising, networking, and mentorship events, they award merit and need-based scholarships to students each year. “Providing the scholarships to female business students is equally as important as sitting at a table with them and talking about the business world,” says WIBI Chair Tonia Chagnon. “If we have a means of raising funds to help alleviate the burden of finances and tuition so Celia can focus and thrive in her education, we have succeeded!”
Flying back and forth to see her family abroad every semester added to the financial toll on Miranda. Compounded with the usual expenses of room, board, food, and tuition, the obstacles were daunting. Eventually, COVID-19 would further burden her as it spread across the country and world. But the Women in Business Endowed Scholarship proved to be even more invaluable in times of trouble. Not only because of the financial assistance, but the scholarship encourages Miranda that she was recognized as worthy and capable of attaining her dreams.
Today, Celia Miranda is making the most of every opportunity. Her passion lies in art and music, and she is striving to build a business around it, using her acumen developed at Mason. She also sits on the board of Future Business Leaders of America because she understands what her future holds. Her story is yet another example of why the Women in Business Initiative is so critical. She is currently benefiting from their involvement, but many others will one day benefit from Miranda’s blossoming skill set, leadership, and vision.