During her senior year of high school, Christel Vivor took a trip to the University of Georgia. It wasn’t at the top of her college list, but after receiving an informal tour from a Black UGA student, Christel knew she’d found the place where she could succeed academically, socially and professionally.
Still, there were financial barriers to overcome. Coming from an immigrant family and raised by a single mother, Christel knew that paying for higher education would be a challenge. But when she learned she’d received a Georgia Commitment Scholarship, the decision to attend UGA was easy.
“For students like me, it’s just a dream,” she said.
The Georgia Commitment Scholarship Program has created more than 680 endowed, need-based scholarships since 2017, and because of the program, Christel has made an impact on and off campus though multiple student leadership positions, academic achievements and community involvement. Christel believes “this scholarship cares about its students—not just funding us, but investing in us.”
Christel arrived on campus in fall 2020, unsure of what academic path she wanted to pursue. After attending a table talk on race in the business community by Randy Groomes, director of diversity, equity and inclusion at UGA’s Terry College of Business, Christel found her passion for tech—specifically, Terry College’s Management Information Systems program.
She joined several business societies to further cultivate her professional goals, such as the Magellan Program and the Black Business Association, where she was able to network with top executives from businesses like Google and Deloitte and further explore career options. Christel is also a Terry Ambassador for the 2022-2023 academic year, where she serves alongside 41 other distinguished students representing one of the top business schools in the nation.
It didn’t take Christel long to make waves beyond campus. In her first semester, she was selected as a Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF) Scholar. As one of 70 JRF Scholars selected from across the nation in 2020, Christel received an additional multi-year scholarship and became a participant in the New York-based foundation’s four-year mentoring curriculum. She also became a member of the JRF Scholar Leadership Council and now acts as an ambassador for the scholarship program and a liaison between the foundation and the scholars.
“Being a part of the leadership council with JRF has had many benefits,” said Christel. “I was able to be an integral part of the organizational planning surrounding the annual Mentoring and Leadership Conference. Being able to serve as an advocate and ambassador to my peers for this foundation has been the most amazing experience.”
In the summer of 2021, she interned in New York City for a leading hedge fund, Pura Vida Investments. Christel adjusted quickly to the fast-paced lifestyle. From only knowing the fundamentals of investing to now possessing an in-depth knowledge of the financial sector, Christel feels her experience at Pura Vida set her up for success in her future career. “I gained valuable experience planning, leading, and implementing various projects throughout the internship,” she said.
In December 2021, Christel became a member of the Eta Xi chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc, one of UGA’s six active National Pan-Hellenic Greek chapters and part of the nation’s first Greek-lettered organization established by Black college women. Now serving as membership chair, Christel has been able to both find a community and expand it by welcoming new members. Through this important leadership role, Christel has taken on several responsibilities within the Eta Xi chapter including conducting the formal rush process, developing budgets, serving as a liaison between the chapter and candidates and facilitating chapter orientation workshops to set candidates up for success. Above all, she is grateful to be a member of such a close community of strong women.
“My sorority exhibits to successful, young black women like myself how to manage, listen, organize and delegate,” she said.
This summer, Christel will work as a business analyst intern at global consulting firm Kearney in their Atlanta office (though she may also spend some time in their Chicago and Dubai locations). Christel is on track to graduate in spring 2024 with a degree in management information systems from the Terry College of Business, after which she hopes to find a role as a project manager or strategy analyst. She said the well-rounded experience she enjoys at UGA will benefit her personally and professionally for years to come.
“UGA allows students to work in great places but still have a great college experience.”