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Featured Alumni – Summer 2018

Sebastian Mercado ’13

Sebastian Mercado ’13 (Woonsocket High School) graduated from Bryant University in 2017 with a B.S. in Business Administration and a double concentration in Global Supply Chain Management & Marketing and a minor in Political Science. “I didn’t choose my major until my sophomore year,” he says. “I knew that Bryant had a very strong program but knew nothing about what a business degree would do for me, as I am a first-generation college grad.”

Asking questions nonstop and learning fast became his habit. “I quickly learned that I had a natural understanding of the business world and a knack for efficiency and optimization,” he says. “At the same time, I am a people person and have a skill set for the marketing field from working various sales and customer service jobs throughout high school and college.”

“They say steel sharpens steel. While you’re in the College Crusade program, you find like-minded individuals who want to attend and be successful in college.”

Sebastian is currently employed as an Account Manager for SunteckTTS, a freight broker agency. “I am the middle man between customers and various transportation agencies,” he says. “We provide a third-party service coordinating logistics for companies of all sizes. I have a dynamic work environment and enjoy being directly responsible for the freight I handle into and around the country every day.” He also appreciates the growth opportunities that his job offers. “I am certain the work culture here is providing me with a skill set that I can continue to develop for the next stage in my logistics career,” he says.

When you ask Sebastian what he thought was most important about his college experience, he has a long list – with international travel, internships, and campus involvement at the top. He traveled to Germany, Spain, Portugal, and Austria for coursework, and he’s been to United Arab Emirates, Canada, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Thailand with friends from Bryant. He completed four paid internships, played for men’s club soccer, and served as a campus ambassador for three years.

Sebastian was also a mentor for Bryant’s 4MILE program. “It’s a program designed to integrate international and domestic multicultural students to campus,” he says. “4MILE is important to me because it was a contributing factor in me staying at Bryant. As a Latino and an immigrant to this country, I was able to become a resource to members of other minority groups who are intimated about the college process.”

How did he fit all this in? “I learned to manage my time,” he says. “That is probably the most valuable asset that I can think of. At one point, I was working two separate part-time jobs and taking six classes. There was another point where I was working a full-time internship during the summer and still worked weekends so I could keep my part-time job for the next semester.” The College Crusade scholarship that Sebastian received was part of his overall financial picture. “Although I worked part-time all four years, my burden was lessened,” he says. “The scholarship helped reduce my overall college debt.”

As a Crusader, Sebastian grew close to his high school advisor, Ralph, and increased his knowledge of topics such as college debt, loans versus scholarships, what a degree can mean for you, and how to take advantage of your network. “As a middle school and high school student, you got to meet other kids,” he says. “This doesn’t usually happen until you drive or play sports, but it was an opportunity to make new friends, which was very refreshing at the time. They say steel sharpens steel,” he adds. “While you’re in the College Crusade program, you find like-minded individuals who want to attend and be successful in college. I still keep in touch with a select few friends I met from other schools.”

In his free time, Sebastian is a big fan of movies, music, food, and sports. (“I am heavily invested in basketball and soccer,” he says.) He is also a longtime sneaker collector. He spends as much time as he can with family.

Sebastian’s advice for Crusaders starting college in the fall? Listen up:

  • Apply for scholarships. Don’t be lazy. It’s free $.
  • Learn about internships, co-op programs, volunteer work, etc., that can help you develop in your career field of choice.
  • Find out if the university has a separate program for book aid. Bryant does! You can get a stipend to spend on books and save.
  • Take electives and career interest classes if you’re exploring career options. You’re better off investing extra time to find out what interests you rather than having a degree for the rest of your life in something you don’t want to do.
  • Don’t be afraid to transfer. If you know there is another school that is more suitable for your aspirations, find out what transferring looks like and what to expect.
  • Network, network, network! Meet as many people as possible and try not to burn bridges. You may be useful for connections to each other in the future! Use club sports, orgs, intramurals, and Greek life to meet people with similar interests.
  • Go to your professors’ office hours. Leverage the fact that YOU ARE PAYING THE PROFESSORS TO BE THERE AND TEACH YOU IN AND OUT OF THE CLASSROOM! If you don’t go to class or utilize their office hours for material you don’t understand, they still get paid and you still get poor grades. Use them as resources.
  • Exploit what your school library has to offer. It has subscriptions to thousands of databases.
  • Have fun. These four years will go by very quickly. It will be a bittersweet mix of stressful studies and stress-free living. As an undergrad, you’ll meet friends you’ll have for the rest of your life and learn just as much about yourself as you do in academia.
  • Save some money. When those school loans kick in, you’ll thank yourself.

 

Featured Alumni