A trip to Chicago is not only an opportunity for a Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) student to compete nationally, but also to reunite her with her sister for the first time in six years.
Aixa Rodriguez, who was born and raised in Chicago, is among three GNTC students whose placement in their competitions earlier this year at the state Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) competition in Atlanta qualified them to compete in the conference. National PBL Leadership Conference on June 24. 27 in Chicago. She is the only GNTC student to compete in Chicago.
“I’m beyond excited to be moving back to Chicago,” said Rodriguez, a marketing management student who now lives in Rome and attends classes at the Floyd County campus. “I have an incredible bond with my sister. We were both put up for adoption and first met when I was 16. We immediately became best friends. I couldn’t imagine my life without it.
“We haven’t seen each other since I got married in 2016,” she said. “I can’t wait to see her again and discover our favorite restaurants while listening to the latest gossip.”
Although she has lived in the Southeast for four years, her body is still acclimatized to Chicago temperatures, she said. In addition to taking a break from the scorching summer heat and visiting his family, competing nationally will allow him to stretch his self-confidence, which has grown since participating in PBL.
“I didn’t think I even had a chance of being nominated for an award in a state pageant, and then I placed first,” she said. “I thought there were a lot of other competitors who had a better chance of winning than me. You always hear ‘There’s always going to be someone smarter and more skilled than you.’
“The truth is, you never know if you don’t try,” she continued. “You can take the easy way out and not put yourself in a position to be rejected, or you can try anyway and maybe get a better result than expected.”
She said she plans to complete her Entrepreneurship Certificate at GNTC this summer. She also plans to obtain a specialist marketing certificate before completing her associate’s degree in marketing management in the spring of 2023.
After graduating next year, she plans to pursue her bachelor’s degree at Georgia State University in marketing or management with a concentration in business analytics, she said.
Since April 1, she has been an intern at the Greater Rome Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), where she is responsible for updating and maintaining the CVB website with attractive content for residents and visitors. , said Kristi Kent, director of communications of the CVB. . She also manages the CVB events calendar.
“Aixa has guts,” Kent said. “I was impressed that she approached us on her own and offered to create content to build her CV. Because she took the initiative to develop herself before her required internship, we knew we wanted her as an intern.
One of the first blogs Rodriguez produced reached more than 20,000 CVB social media followers — an impressive achievement, Kent said. Having this kind of data will help Rodriguez build his data and analytics background on his resume.
His classes at GNTC gave him the knowledge to pursue an internship, Rodriguez said.
“I knew I wanted to get into a very diverse field, and marketing is so much more than a lot of people realize,” she said. “I love the range of work I can do, from market research and consumer behavior to writing and content creation. It’s also a huge plus that there are plenty of remote jobs available. because I have two young children at home.
Because she placed in three categories in the state competition earlier this year, she is eligible to compete in those same categories in the national competition. She got first place in Small Business Management Plan, first place in Management Concepts, and second place in Entrepreneurship Concepts.
GNTC students Will Arrant and Misty Hawk have also qualified for the national PBL competition, but cannot travel to Chicago to participate in the National Leadership Conference. Arrant is in the Computer Forensics and Security Specialist Certificate Program at GNTC’s Whitfield Murray Campus, and Hawk is a student in the Criminal Justice Technology Associate’s Degree Program at Gordon County Campus.
Attending these kinds of events adds to student learning, networking, interpersonal relationships and stress management; potential employers like to see well-rounded students who are prepared for the job market, explained Mark Upton, GNTC Marketing Management program director and PBL coordinator. Students find competitions fun and exciting.
“I believe Aixa will excel in the competition and represent GNTC well,” said Trish Wiggins, GNTC’s Director of Student Engagement.
Future Business Leaders of America – Phi Beta Lambda is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational association with a quarter of a million students preparing for careers in business and business-related fields. FBLA-PBL is headquartered in Reston, Virginia, and is organized at the local, state, and national levels.
Georgia Northwestern Technical College provides quality workforce training to the citizens of Northwestern Georgia. Students have the option of earning an associate degree, diploma, or certificate in aviation, business, healthcare, industrial, or public service career paths. Last year, 11,134 people benefited from GNTC’s credited and non-credited programs. GNTC has an annual credit enrollment of 8,528 students and an additional enrollment of 2,606 through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start. For more information about GNTC, visit us at www.GNTC.edu. GNTC is a unit of the Georgia Technical College System and an Equal Opportunity Institution.