Student Spotlights

Allison  Jensen

Allison Jensen (Honors program, Class of 2015)

Fun Fact:
I recently opened an Etsy shop online called "The Finishing Touch" showcasing my handmade jewelry and scarves. This also provides an opportunity for me to give back as a portion of every purchase will benefit the Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara horticulture program. Etsy is an e-commerce website focused on handmade or vintage items.

First tell us more about your online shop "The Finishing Touch". What inspired you to create an online business?

I'm passionate about making jewelry and scarves and I want to spread my love of accessories with the world. Earrings and scarves are the perfect finishing touch for any great outfit, and I'm almost never seen without one or the other (most often I'm seen with both!) My Grandma Jensen taught me how to create beautiful accessories when I was younger, and I inherited my passion for it from her. I love any chance to connect what I’m doing with a real-life cause or charity organization, so every purchase you make from The Finishing Touch will enhance the lives of people with developmental disabilities who participate in the Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara horticulture program.

How did you select Niagara University?

I had the opportunity to tour NU a few months before I graduated high school and I absolutely fell in love with everything about the campus. As I was walking around, I could picture myself walking around like that every day on my way to and from class, and I knew it was exactly where I needed to be. I had been looking at a couple other schools but nothing else felt right. Everyone I met at Niagara was so open and so friendly that I just couldn’t picture myself going anywhere else or meeting anyone that I would connect with as much as the people I met on that tour. Niagara felt (and still feels like) a home and everyone I meet feels like family.

What extracurricular activities are you involved with?

I'm very actively involved on campus! I love keeping myself busy and on the go and I constantly push myself to try new things and meet new people. I’ve been a member of Business Organizational Leadership Development (BOLD) and the Campus Programming Board (CPB) since I first got here freshman year, and I recently joined Niagara University Marketing Association (NUMA) and To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) during my sophomore and junior years, respectively. I’ve made such great professional and personal friendships with members of these clubs and I can’t imagine my college experience without them. An active member of the honors program, I also constantly push myself to learn new things and focus as much on my school work as I do my extracurricular activities. I’ve been inducted into two honor societies to date: Delta Epsilon Sigma, and Beta Gamma Sigma. I’m going to be working on my honors thesis this year with my adviser, Dr. Peggy Choong. When I’m not attending weekly club meetings, going to class, or working on homework, I can usually be found in the library, tutoring students in the writing center, or off campus, at my public relations internship at Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara.

What projects are you involved with through the BOLD club?

My involvement with BOLD over the years has been centered around Sandal Falls: A BOLD Project. Cave of the Winds, part of Niagara Falls State Park gives us the sandals that people donate back after their visit and our job is to sort, clean and then distribute them worldwide. Some of the places we have sent them so far include: Cuba, Haiti, India, Kenya and Malaysia, Malawi, Guatemala, and El Salvador. We seek out volunteers from NU and the surrounding community and get a group together to work on sorting them and cleaning them. BOLD is very focused on creating community service opportunities for NU students: all our sorting and cleaning events count as community service hours for our club members as well as any outside volunteers that help us. We get a lot of help from NU's sports teams and other clubs such as NU_Finance club . It's really great to see everyone come together to work on this project and help us out and we sincerely appreciate everyone's effort and involvement.

Do you have a favorite professor or class that has challenged you?

I find that almost all of the classes I take within the College of Business, especially my marketing classes, have challenged me as student (in the very best way possible!) I’ve learned to think outside the box and apply what I’m learning in the classroom to real life situations and make the most of the assignments I am given. One of my favorite classes so far has been Marketing Research with Dr. Choong, because everything we learned about in class during lectures, we actually practiced during our group projects. We worked with a longboard company called Flexdex Skateboards, which is owned by Niagara alum Matthew Morinello '07 to create a tangible, working marketing report that would be used in part to create their actual marketing report. We conducted focus groups, created screening questionnaires, and learned how to calculate and interpret statistical functions on data we collected ourselves. The most important thing that we learned is the value of interacting with your client and learning what they need, then working with them to make it happen so that we’re not just doing a project for a grade, we’re doing a project and creating a marketing report that will actually benefit their company. That’s not something you can just learn from a textbook. That’s something you learn by getting out there and actually “doing” marketing.

As a senior, do you have any helpful hints or advice for incoming freshmen?

Get involved! Join a club. Join three clubs. Take classes outside your major. Take classes with people you don’t know. Just put yourself out there and make friends. There's nothing better than walking in to a weekly meeting to hang out with friends and talk about whatever you're passionate about. One of the reasons I love being in NUMA is that it feels more like a family than anything. I know almost everyone in the club on a personal level and I can go up to just about anyone in Gally and sit down and have lunch with them. Not only can we talk about NUMA stuff, but we can also talk about the experiences we share in class because as mostly business majors, we all take the same required classes so it's nice to consult with each other on what classes to take, when, and with which professors.

What are your future career plans?

I’d love to work in advertising, marketing, or public relations, because I’ve always been passionate about this industry, and I can’t picture myself doing anything else.

I also plan to work with Dr. McNab to make another business idea of mine come true, a thrift shop that sells business professional and casual clothes. When I came to Niagara University, I personally didn’t have any business professional clothes and I had to buy my first business outfit for my Business 120 class as well as my interview for Business Organizational Leadership Development. After that, I decided to start buying a few pieces here and there to add to my collection so that I would have more than one set of business professional clothes. The problem is, I’m a broke college student and business professional clothes are expensive. I know many of my friends are in the same boat as me. In college, for job fairs, for interviews, and for our future careers, it’s required that we own business professional clothes.

I’ve been in a few thrift stores and I’ve seen that they have some business professional clothes, so they do offer an affordable option there, but I think it would be interesting to have a thrift store that is dedicated solely to gently used and “too good to toss” business professional and business casual clothes so that college students like myself and anyone would be able to buy business professional attire. It’s an absolute dream of mine to go out on my own and start this business after graduation. I feel more than prepared, given my education at Niagara University. All of my classes in the College of Business have prepared me for this and I’m really excited to see it become reality.