Student Profiles

Like Nobody’s Business


Allison Rhea (in blue) and friends
at a Notre Dame hockey game
As junior Allison Rhea was growing up, business skills and ideas were dinner table topics. When she landed a job in the Shaheen Bookstore on campus last fall, Allison turned the opportunity to her advantage. She’s not just ringing up sales; she’s gaining valuable work experience and learning a business from the inside out. “I have always been interested in the business world, how it works, and what goes into success,” says the Carmel, Ind., native.

 Conversations with store manager Mike Hicks and her position as a bookstore team member inspire Allison as she looks forward to majoring in accounting. So far, one of her favorite classes is marketing, which she says combines reading with real world applications of business concepts. Throughout these experiences Allison says she’s learned valuable leadership skills, which she’ll apply in the workforce after graduation.

But this diligent student isn’t all business. She has heart too. Allison has participated in many volunteer and faith-related activities through Saint Mary's. As a member of the Rotaract Club, Allison has helped fill shoeboxes with necessities for children living in poverty during the holiday season. She has also explored her faith as a peer mentor for Campus Ministry, helping with various events, including one of the Theology on Fire sessions. Allison is also involved in Dance Marathon

In her time here, Allison has begun to appreciate the impact Saint Mary’s has made on her and the many women who have gone before her. “The College builds women’s confidence and teaches women to express themselves effectively in speech and written communication,” she says. She already knows her knowledge and friendships will expand well beyond the classroom and her college years. 

—Sarah Sheppard '11

Future CPA

Joi Pugh is a driven accounting major with a personal motto: “counting my way to the top.” Not a bad choice given that Joi looks forward to a career as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). She has firm ideas about what good business looks like and the skills a businesswoman needs in order to succeed.

First and foremost for Joi is a hands-on approach to entrepreneurship. “This means being able to successfully understand and operate all aspects of business from the ground up, to have a business that reflects the needs of the consumer, one that shows appreciation for staff, and one that acquires a substantial amount of revenue,” she explains.

But for Joi it isn’t all about the bottom line. Being an excellent businesswoman—something she aspires to—means being socially conscious and fulfilling a need in her community. “I’m choosing to be an accountant because I want to help proprietors manage their funds to run their businesses effectively,” she says. Joi has learned through her business classes that mismanagement of funds often shuts down businesses that could function with a little financial guidance.

Joi, whose confidence shines in her friendly smile, strives for excellence in all she does. Upon entering Saint Mary’s, she became a member of Collegiate Entrepreneurship Organization (CEO) and the Young Executives Club (YEC), both of which have helped her understand more about building a business and marketing a product. She is also a classical pianist and a member of the Voices of Faith Choir at Notre Dame.

Joi’s favorite class so far was Microeconomics through which she gained a greater understanding of how the economy functions and how it relates to her as a future entrepreneur. Through her club memberships, she’s met local businesswomen who have inspired her to succeed. “Saint Mary’s, especially, has already instilled in me the certainty that I will be successful in accounting and an empowered leader, ready to take on the world,” she says.

What keeps Joi motivated are her equally dedicated classmates and the examples of leaders who’ve gone before her. Originally from Gary, Indiana, Joi’s favorite place to vacation is Martha’s Vineyard, an island with history in its landscape. Since Ulysses S. Grant in the late nineteenth century, U.S. leaders have found the Vineyard a retreat away from the demands of public life.

Joi not only relaxes at the Vineyard, she gleans inspiration from its history. “I am humbled to have the opportunity to visit an island walked by some of our nation’s prominent leaders,” she says.

Her goal ever in her sights, each experience—whether a vacation to Martha’s Vineyard, a club meeting, class discussion, or performance—leads her toward it.