Carl H. Lindner College of BusinessCarl H. Lindner College of BusinessUniversity of Cincinnati

Carl H. Lindner College of Business
Maria Cassidy

Striking A Balance

Kolodzik Business Scholar squeezes myriad of activities into four years at UC.

When Maria Cassidy gets involved, she gives 150 percent. At Springboro High School, she joined every organization while maintaining high academic standards.

College at the University of Cincinnati is no different.

To say Cassidy, BBA ’12, has a lot on her collegiate plate is an understatement. As a marketing major with an international business minor and Spanish certificate, she is on the academic fast track, racing toward graduation with honors in four years. Within that time, she squeezed in two summer internships, traveled to six cities in three countries and holds leadership roles in several student organizations.

Somehow she’s able to balance the load.

“College life has been a journey of self discovery,” she says. “I’ve grown so much and enjoyed my time here as a student in the Lindner College of Business.”

Now, with four jobs, a full course load and heavy on-campus involvement, she shows no signs of slowing down.  As a leader in the Marvin P. Kolodzik Business Scholars (KBS) program in the Lindner College of Business, she mentors younger students and interviews potential candidates for entry into the honors program.  

Through KBS, she’s traveled to Quebec and Montreal in Canada; Paris, France; and Antwerp, Brussels and Bruges in Belgium to satiate her passion for “seeing how other people live and conduct business,” she says.

She’s most proud of the legacy she will leave behind, now a KBS tradition that she hopes will live on long after she graduates. As a committee member with a goal to increase KBS exposure she involved a group of students in Relay for Life, a fundraiser of the American Cancer Society. As a four-year participant, the event is near to her heart. Her mom is battling breast cancer, so she started the KBS group with her family in mind.

“Now the KBS students do the race every year,” Cassidy says. “I’m proud to know that when I graduate, I’ll be leaving a lasting mark at UC.”

Marianne Lewis, director of Kolodzik Business Scholars Program, associate dean for undergraduate programs and professor of management, says “Maria sets herself apart thanks to her tremendous energy and can-do spirit.”

“Beyond her strong academic performance, Maria has a great eye for opportunities, truly making the most of her experiences at and well beyond UC,” Lewis says. “Whether it’s through her professional experiences, study abroad or extra-curricular, she does not shy away from opportunities that challenge and extend her development.”

During her time at UC, she completed two internships. After her freshman year, she found her own paid internship in the events department at F&W Publications in Cincinnati. The second intern experience with Hasbro Company in East Longmeadow, Massachusetts came after her sophomore year. She wrote about the experience in an online UC contest and won the 2012 Cool Co-op award for Best People category. She received a gift and was honored at the Career Connections Luncheon on February 16, becoming a UC co-op ambassador.

At Hasbro, Cassidy had to read the Disney Cars 2 movie script to write a tagline that would be printed on the Pop-o-Matic® Trouble® game packaging. She created the tagline: “Pop & Race in a Super Spy Chase” that was printed on game boxes and sold in hundreds of stores.

“The people I worked with were creative types and literally would play games during the day, to test and study the games, of course,” Cassidy says. “It was great to see the games I helped work on, like Monopoly, Sorry®!, Pop-o-Matic® Trouble® and more.”

While an intern at Hasbro, she often made the nearly three-hour trek to New York City and fell in love. She plans to return March 8-10 to attend the Big East Fair, where she hopes to network and launch a fashion career after graduation, a venture she’s already started in Cincinnati. Cassidy is among four students to represent UC at the prestigious New York City career fair.

In Cincinnati and on campus, she works in promotional modeling as an independent contractor for various companies that want to advertise at events around town. Companies like Mentos, Reebok®, Toyota, Time Warner Cable hire Cassidy to promote and manage a staff that pass out promotional items or sometimes dress in character.

Cassidy also represents the BCBGeneration® clothing brand on the UC campus, hosting fashion shows or passing out promotional items.  The company rewarded her with a trip to New York City for a fashion show for creating a marketing plan that amassed the most email addresses for the company’s advertising campaign.

“It’s the Super Bowl of fashion,” says the 5-foot, 8-inch Cassidy, who has been modeling since childhood and continues to participate in photo shoots and filming for commercials.

As graduation draws closer, her immersion in UC activities endures at full-speed. She continues to work four jobs, including one as a resident assistant in the dormitory where she has lived the past two years. Her involvement continues in the Lindner College of Business, as a Kolodzik Business Scholar, a student ambassador and as a Business Fellows mentor, a program that selected her as Outstanding Business Buddy for 2011-2012.  She doesn't hesitate to jump into new experiences, most recently as a charter member of the Gamma Phi Beta, a social sorority.

Full speed ahead, to a future of opportunities that began at UC, Cassidy says.

“These opportunities allowed me to get my heel in the door—and now I’m prepared even more for what the future holds,” she says.