Maxwell Kennady: Taking Full Advantage
February 21, 2014
A double major in management information systems and international business from Lenorah, Kennady began his tenure at ASU by claiming a Carr Academic Scholarship and joining the Honors Program. Since then, he has completed an internship in Washington, D.C., studied abroad in Italy and participated in various on-campus programs to enhance his résumé when he graduates in May of 2014.
His most recent activities have centered on his selection as one of only 12 students from the U.S. and Canada to serve on the 2013-14 Pearson Student Advisory Board and provide input to the world’s largest educational publishing company. His term on the board began with an introductory meeting in Boston in July 2013, included attending the company’s national sales meeting in San Diego in January 2014, and will culminate with a final meeting in New York in July 2014.
“We are working mainly with their educational technology, their online learning management system,” Kennady said. “They are trying to improve it, and we are part of that effort. We are helping to improve the format, giving feedback on usability, that kind of thing. Each student member also writes articles for the Pearson blog.”
Fittingly, Kennady learned of the Pearson opportunity while he was taking advantage of a year-long study abroad program at the University of Verona in Verona, Italy. After applying and completing two Skype interviews to secure his spot on the Pearson board, he got back from Verona just in time to start his new venture.
“There are more available programs than ever before, and they are not just for students going to Ivy League schools or other large universities. ASU can also be a great path to being successful.”
“I knew it would be a great opportunity to meet interesting people and travel a bit,” Kennady said. “It also offered the opportunity to work with educational technology, and my major is management information systems, so that has been really helpful. I came back from Italy directly to the first Pearson meeting in Boston.”
While in Italy, Kennady completed master’s-level international business courses at the University of Verona and was also able to pick up conversational Italian.
“A lot of students who go there speak Spanish, which is similar, or have studied Italian for a couple of semesters,” Kennady said. “I had to start learning right from the beginning, but you pick it up quickly and it is very interesting. I had studied Spanish in high school, but to be totally immersed in Italian and trying to use it was tons of fun.”
Luckily, his business courses were taught in English and he took some Italian language classes. Outside of class, he also had plenty of opportunities to explore that part of Europe and expand his study abroad experience.
“The international students had a little Facebook group,” Kennady said, “and we would get together on the weekends to go to Venice, Milan or one of the smaller cities around Verona. Verona is pretty centrally located, so that made it really easy to get around. I also visited friends in the Czech Republic and elsewhere.”
Prior to his study abroad trip, Kennady completed a summer 2012 internship in Washington, D.C., with the North American Association for Environmental Education. Since his freshman year, he has been a board member of the local nonprofit Concho Valley PAWS through the Honors Program’s Community Leadership Initiative, gaining even more valuable experience.
“I’m either looking at going into the nonprofit sector or the government/public sector,” Kennady said. “I’d like to work or advise on technology issues in either of those arenas. I’ve looked into getting an advanced degree, but I’d like to get some experience before possibly taking that path.”
Kennady’s other campus activities include membership in the Honors Student Association, Phi Kappa Phi national honor society and Multicultural Advisory Committee. He is also a regular on the Dean’s List and has been named to Who’s Who Among American Universities and Colleges.
“I’m a mentor in the Honors Program for the freshmen,” Kennady said, “and I tell them about all the stuff they can do through the Honors Program. But, there are also lots of opportunities for all students, whether it’s scholarships to help pay for college, internships or study abroad.”
“There are more available programs than ever before,” he added, “and they are not just for students going to Ivy League schools or other large universities. ASU can also be a great path to being successful.”