Vanessa Mariscal (BBA ’16) remembers the moment she knew she wanted to attend the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She and her parents had just toured campus and met students who were engaged in many activities beyond the classroom. Their ambition made an impression on her. “We were standing in one of the gardens on campus, and I just fell in love,” says Mariscal, grinning at the memory. “I turned to my parents and said, ‘I need to come here!’”
Months later, when a letter arrived from the UW stating that Mariscal had been awarded a full scholarship, that was even more unforgettable. Mariscal is the first in her family to attend college, and when she and her parents learned about her scholarship, they all jumped up and down with joy—literally. “My parents have always been my biggest supporters. The idea of a full scholarship was just so unexpected and so exciting. It was an amazing day.”
Over the past four years, scholarship support has allowed Mariscal to embrace campus life with gusto—much like those avid students who inspired her on a campus tour.
Rather than working several jobs and facing financial stress, Mariscal has participated in numerous student organizations and volunteer opportunities, while also excelling in her classes and other learning experiences at the Wisconsin School of Business. And every step of the way, she’s gotten excellent guidance. “The whole school is a support system,” she says. “It’s been a huge help to have WSB advisors and staff answer so many questions about classes, careers, and interviews. Most of my best friends are also business students, and we help each other.”
Upon graduation, Mariscal will begin a job as staff consultant at Baker Tilly in Chicago, where she interned last summer. “I’m excited to start the next chapter of my life,” she says. “I have a huge sense of accomplishment. Just two generations ago, my family moved to the U.S. And now I’m about to graduate from college. I’m proud of myself.” Already, Mariscal, who meets with prospective students as a BBA Ambassador, thinks she would like to return to a business-academic setting one day to help other students develop the strengths and skills they’ll need to flourish. “I honestly can’t wait to be on the other side and give back,” she says.