Alumni Spotlight: Mikayla Novak
Iowa State University Alumni of 2020
“The scholarship provided me with financial peace of mind, allowing me to dedicate myself to my education and get both a major and minor within four years. I also have the Bright Foundation to thank for the internship I had between my junior and senior year, which turned into my full-time position. Without the scholarship, I would never have had the resources and experience necessary to launch my career in marketing analytics.”
Current position: Marketing Analyst II
Current city: Waukee, Iowa
What do believe was the most valuable part of your experience as a Bright Scholar?
The most valuable part of my experience as a Bright Scholar was building out resources and connections. The annual ceremonies allowed me to connect with people from the foundation and also with important staff members from my college. I also had the opportunity to meet other scholarship recipients and discuss my college experiences with them. It was great to be able to share advice with people I had something in common with.
How did the scholarship allow you to do these things: Graduate on-time, debt-free, launch your career and give back?
The scholarship provided me with financial peace of mind, allowing me to dedicate myself to my education and get both a major and minor within four years. I also have the Bright Foundation to thank for the internship I had between my junior and senior year, which turned into my full-time position. Without the scholarship, I would never have had the resources and experience necessary to launch my career in marketing analytics.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering applying for the Bright Scholarship/Lois Dale Scholarship?
My advice is to apply, even if you’re unsure if you’ll be selected. It can’t hurt to try! In your essay and application, be sure to include personal insights into who you are and what you hope to accomplish professionally. The more the selection commitee understands about how the organization can impact your life, the more you will stand out during the selection process.
How did your college experience prepare you for the post-college workforce? In what ways were you unprepared?
College prepared me with a lot of knowledge around my area of study. My internship prepared me for the post-college workforce by introducing me to the expectations of working in a corporate office environment.
One of the areas I felt college didn’t prepare me for was how challenging it would be to be to go from interacting with students in a similar learning situation to interacting with diverse professional team members, all with various levels of education and experience.
Who is your biggest inspiration and why?
My oldest brother is definitely one of my biggest inspirations. He was the first one in my family to go to college and has worked so hard to create a great life for himself and his family. I owe a lot of my success to his guidance. He was the one who pushed me to apply for the Bright Scholarship. He showed me that, with enough hard work, life could be more than what you were given.
Thanks for getting to know our scholars and alumni! Stayed tuned for more spotlights and other updates on our News & Events page, as well as other updates!