News from The Mahurin Honors College
Allie Surina Spotlight
- Sydney Windhorst
- Monday, November 1st, 2021
The Mahurin Honors College (MHC) has been cultivating growth in scholars for many years and some graduates have conquered their ascent and started to reach excellence in their professional careers. One such scholar is Allie Surina (MHC ‘12). During her time at WKU, Allie double majored in mathematics and economics, participated in the Chinese Flagship Program, and represented the MHC in rotary meetings in Bowling Green. Allie states that her fellow MHC scholars inspired her to explore her opportunities. She asked herself, “Where can I go? How far can my education take me? What are the opportunities available? Being around other people with a similar mindset and who were really focused on the big impact in foreign service or public service, it really led me to the public sector and in the civic world. I think being around people who have that mentality was incredible, because you are lifted up off of their energy.”
It was during a WKU designed study abroad program in 2010 that Allie discovered her love for China and its culture. On her return home, she applied for the Fulbright Program that fall and was awarded the 2012-2013 scholarship in China and Cheyenne. Immediately following graduation, Allie spent the next 14 months in China. During this time, she started applying to graduate schools and was selected for a program through Columbia University. While in the program, she worked in the Office of the Provost at Columbia, where she led research projects to better understand why faculty members didn't want to retire, even when they were in their 80s and 90s. Through a tip by one of the administrators in the provost office, Allie got a job working at the Business School. This opportunity enabled Allie to advance her skills and explore other fields like marketing. She recalls, ”I was consulting with some of the business school professors in marketing. We consulted with pharmaceuticals, with the New York City Government, with local nonprofits, with other businesses, and with NASA.” This experience encouraged Allie to go back to her roots in economics, and she updated herself on the new computer programs. One instructor helped her secure a job at Priceline which is where Allie still works today. Reflecting on her own journey, Allie encourages other scholars to embrace the twists and turns of one’s career and be patient for the right opportunities.
Allie also uses her experience to advise women in business. “With the most strategic women that I've met, there's always a moment in their careers where somebody recognizes their talent but tries to poach them for a job that is too small for them. Although it may offer a good salary or perks, it's important to look past those, the false opportunities, and keep your mind focused on the type of impact you want to have. The smartest thing that anyone ever told me was the head of communications for Louis Vuitton who stated ‘You don't want to take a job where you're not connected to the profit and loss statement. If that's not your job description, then the company has already put you in a place where you'll never have money, resources or a promotion opportunity. Ask yourself daily, what role am I playing? What kind of business do I want to create in the world? Will I be willing to take a step back in order that somebody else might have an opportunity? Be prepared for moments where you must re-examine your ethics to fight for a greater good.”
In addition, Allie values using her skills to serve others. Currently, she is working with a non-profit (in addition to her position at Priceline). “The project I'm working right now is the future of land, housing, poverty, and evictions - helping counties in America and further understanding where eviction rates are the highest within their county so that they can reallocate their funding in a little different way to help alleviate the problems of evictions and mortgage foreclosures. I think finding areas where you have a real skill set that's expensive to hire, and volunteering those is really a practical way that business women can have a big impact on society.”
We are incredibly proud of Allie’s progress and heart for serving!