Taylor Scholarship Helps Students Build on Their Accomplishments
November 30, 2011

When Crystal Bustillos and Alyssa Chen first enrolled at the University of Denver, they each wanted to pursue studies that would complement their global ambitions.

Today, as international business majors at DU’s Daniels College of Business, their ambitions are supported by study abroad experiences, internships, extracurricular leadership activities and close relationships with professors who have taken the time to cultivate their potential.

Both students are recipients of DU’s Taylor Scholarship, created by alumnus Andy Taylor and his wife, Barbara. Taylor is chairman and CEO of Enterprise holdings—parent company of the Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car brands. Together, the couple wanted to establish a scholarship that would foster diversity among undergraduate students at the Daniels College.

A 2008 graduate of the Denver Center for International Studies, Bustillos first learned about DU when she benefited from the institution’s Volunteers in Partnership (VIP) program, which sends DU students into middle and high schools to help students prepare for college. Under the auspices of VIP, Bustillos was invited to spend a week in a DU residence hall, learning about the campus and its community. Coming in the summer before her junior year of high school, that experience convinced Bustillos that she wanted to study at DU.

“I loved it,” she says. “I didn’t want to go anywhere else.”

She has never regretted her choice. Since enrolling, Bustillos has pursued a minor in Chinese, and thanks to the Taylor Scholarship, she will postpone graduation by two quarters so that she can add minors in accounting and finance to her accomplishments.

The list of those accomplishments is already lengthy. In addition to leadership positions with VIP and membership in the Excelling Leaders Institute Program offered by DU’s Center for Multicultural Excellence, she has served as Epsilon Chapter president of Pi Lambda Chi Latina Sorority.

As a Cherrington Global Scholar, Bustillos spent four months studying in Beijing, China. While there, she completed an internship for a Chinese firm tasked with issuing carbon-emission permits to manufacturers. Her job was to research the various companies applying for permits, supplying valuable information that would help her employer project each applicant’s future emissions.

Back in Denver, Bustillos secured a marketing internship with Arrow Electronics. With her course work at the Daniels College to guide her, she helped the company develop an onboarding process for potential business partners. That experience, she hopes, will help her land a job after she graduates in June 2012.

Chen, who hails from Colorado Springs, came to DU just as determined to maximize opportunities. After choosing her major, she added a minor in business ethics and legal studies to her plate. She’s contemplating a second major, this one in finance, to prepare her for the volatility of the job market.

Like so many DU students, Chen made study abroad a priority, opting to spend the fall quarter of her junior year in London. “I wanted to study somewhere where I could deeply focus on business courses. London turned out to be the perfect place, being an economic powerhouse and having the most diverse population in the world,” she explains.

In summer 2011, Chen interned with Target as an executive team leader. “For the first half of the [10-week] internship, I spent time in each department—logistics, human resources, pricing, food services, etc. In the second half, I developed a project of my own to help increase the metric of price-change accuracy. Also during the second half of the internship, I took on ‘leader on duty’ shifts, similar to ‘manager on duty.’ I absolutely loved working these shifts and having control of running a store. It was nonstop, fast-paced work that was multifaceted in a lot of different ways.”

She loved the experience so much that she’s contemplating a future with the chain retailer. “Target is expanding to Canada within the next year and to Puerto Rico within the next two to three years,” Chen says. “If I decide to stay with Target, it would be a very good opportunity to utilize my international business degree by helping open a store abroad.”

Close collaboration with professors has helped Chen chart the coming years. “I never cease to be amazed at how much [the faculty] devotes themselves to each student’s ability to learn and their willingness to just sit down and discuss with students their plans for the future,” she says. One professor, in fact, took the time to help Chen negotiate a family crisis that could well have caused her to leave DU before completing her degree.

For Bustillos and Chen, experiences like these count as priceless. Nonetheless, neither could have afforded a DU education without significant scholarship assistance. And neither was willing to assume an outsized debt load.

“Debt to me, I didn’t like the idea of it,” Bustillos explains. “I saw my mom struggle with it and file for bankruptcy. I didn’t want any part of it.” Although she has taken out a small student loan, she has pursued scholarships aggressively to ensure that she could study at DU.

Because her parents could not fund her education, Chen, too, looked to scholarships for assistance. When evaluating schools, she gave careful consideration to the amount of financial aid offered. But financial aid wasn’t her only consideration. Chen knew she wanted to attend a school that had her best interests at heart.

“What it really came down to,” Chen explains, “was not simply ‘Which school is offering me the most money?’ but rather, ‘Which school truly believes I will be a worthy investment?’”

DU made—and continues to make—the most convincing case. “I am continuously amazed,” Chen says, “at the opportunities that have surfaced during my time at DU.”

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