VIU has many different student clubs: the African Pride Club, the IT Club, and the Indian Spirit Club, among many others. Students create the clubs themselves, based on their interests. Through their participation in club activities, students get to know each other and form a close-knit community of peers, a closeness that defines VIU. One of the newest additions is the Latin American Culture Club (LAC2). Colombian MBA student Maria Del Mar Garces is the vice president of LAC2. Created with the purpose of establishing cultural exchanges between VIU students from Latin America and students at VIU and in the surrounding community, the club hopes to make a difference through community service, cultural activities, film forums, festivities and commemorative celebrations, culinary events, and health and fitness awareness. Besides Maria, club officers include Sileni del Moral, Paulette Zegarra, Veronica Enriquez, and Armando Mori. Maria and the other club members feel that it is their duty to make everyone feel welcome at the university. “We want other students to learn the Spanish language and create a strong connection with Latin American culture.”
|Maria (in yellow) stands with other LAC2 officers|
Maria received a bachelor’s degree in industrial and product design and worked for five years in the field of design for large Colombian companies. She is currently pursuing her Master of Business Administration in Marketing Management at Virginia International University. “My decision to study at VIU was always clear. I felt that this school cared about me and my goals when I took my first course. VIU gave me what I was really looking for,” says Maria. After graduation, she would like to apply all her acquired knowledge and work for a large company in Colombia. “Returning to Colombia with an MBA from an American university and a fluency in English would dramatically contribute to my professional life. I will be the product marketing manager of a large company and an expert in brand management.” Likewise, she has always been very curious about the behavior of the brain in purchasing decisions. She hopes to expand her knowledge of neurosciences and combine it with her knowledge of marketing and industrial design. “Combining these two fields with neuromarketing is my primary professional objective.” Until then, Maria will put her branding skills to work getting the Latin American Culture Club’s name out in the VIU community and helping to build what the group trusts will be a long-lasting presence at VIU.