Allison Zalesky, ‘19

Finance and marketing

“It’s been great to get to know others who have been able to succeed and help the business school.”

Before enrolling at West Virginia University, freshman Allison Zalesky became interested in the marketing strategies of the Coca-Cola Company.

As a finance and marketing major in the College of Business and Economics, Zalesky is finding the support and opportunities she needs to make her goals of one day working for the company’s financial department a reality.

Zalesky is a private scholarship recipient, member of the Honors College, and co-founder of the new DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) organization on campus. DECA, an international association of high school and college students and teachers, focuses on marketing, management and entrepreneurship in business, finance, and hospitality.

She served as the president of DECA at University High School in Morgantown for two years, when she and her partners placed first and second in the state for marketing communications. During this time, she also had the opportunity to compete twice at the international level.

Dr. Michael Walsh, chair and associate professor of marketing in B&E, became familiar with Zalesky’s high school involvement with DECA and encouraged Zalesky to start a chapter of the organization at WVU.

“As a freshman, I didn’t know anyone. But Dr. Walsh asked me to speak about my DECA experience in front of a crowd of 300 students,” Zalesky said of her first few days at WVU.

The opportunity to address her peers marked the beginning of a new project and challenge for Zalesky. Now, a few months later, the team is preparing to send eight students to compete in Washington D.C. at the international level.

“DECA helps students get real-world experience through competition,” Zalesky said. “And it gives students an idea of what the workforce is like in business related fields.”

“I would love to help others obtain organization and planning with their finances,” Zalesky said, talking about her plans to translate her own personal organization skills to a corporate level.

She keeps a busy schedule, working a part time job, managing her schoolwork and leading the DECA chapter.

Because of this, Zalesky recognizes and is thankful for the hard work of those who went before her in the College of Business and Economics, individuals who have made scholarships available to students like her.

Zalesky is a recipient of the A.K. Robinson scholarship and the Jose V. Sartarelli scholarship, awarded to one freshman each year who demonstrates excellent leadership skills and academic achievement.
Aside from the financial aid they provide to students, Zalesky believes scholarships have inherent value.

“They are a great networking tool and it’s been great to get to know others who have been able to succeed in and help the business school,” Zalesky said.

Thanks to the support of professors and generous donors and her passion to succeed, Zalesky has a full undergraduate experience to seize in her upcoming years at WVU.