Photo by Taylor Humby.

The Alumni Association hosted the Broncos of the Last Decade Exchanges (BOLD) event on Sep. 27, which aimed to connect students with Boise State graduates who are local business owners. The BOLD Exchange provided students with the opportunity to network and learn their secrets of success.
Alumni guest speakers included a top producing agent and real estate mogul, as well as two well known downtown business owners. Guest speaker Kelsey Miller, owner of SHIFT boutique and KEYSTONE station, discussed her journey from a being a  student to where she is today.
“I studied history, and I would say while I’m not using my degree, my degree helped me get into positions that gave me a lot of the experiences that enabled me to open a clothing store,” Miller said. “Working as a server helped me get a job at Target, working at Target helped me get a job at a tech startup. Working at a tech startup, and all of those other experiences, helped me open my business and helped it be successful.”
Miller stated that her work within various jobs prior to her business, and the growth that came from those opportunities, wouldn't have been possible without her college degree opening those doors.
Christina Moore Ward, a producing agent named one of Real Trends top three agents in Idaho, and owner of realty business Christina and Company, also shared her journey and advice. Ward said that she was a volleyball student athlete studying in health promotion.
“My business is real estate, so it has nothing to do with what I learned in school,” Ward said. “I feel like college for me was about the people that I met and the lessons that I learned through projects, working with others and networking.”
When asked about the constant struggle experienced by students of not knowing what to do with their degree, or being unsure whether what they are studying the right thing, Ward talked about her own experiences.
“I don't regret that my degree doesn't match what I'm doing today, but rather it was the perfect path to get me to where I am,” Ward said. “It's crazy to think about what internships we could do, jobs, or clubs we could be a part of that could lead us to what we are supposed to be doing.  My advice is to at least consider every opportunity.”
Paige Gunther, a freshman studying health sciences, shared her positive experience with the event, stating how such opportunities to network are rare.
“I think this was really cool because you don't really get opportunities to ask questions to successful people,” Gunther said. “So many people in college don't know what they want to do, so it's cool to know that you don't have to know and can still succeed.”
Lauren Hamilton, assistant director of student and recent graduate programs, spoke about her goals with the creation of this event, sharing how there are many successful graduates doing amazing work within the city.
“Our goal is to create communities among recent graduates so that after you graduate from Boise State, you know that you have a place to call home,” Hamilton said.
According to Hamilton, alumni are a great resource, that can provide sources and the tools necessary for life after college.
“We think it's important for students to see that there is a community, and there is something for them from Boise State after graduation,” Hamilton said. “We want to light a fire for people and let them know that really exciting things can happen for graduates after graduation, and help them stay connected to the university.”

View the article on The Arbiter website.
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