Almost four years ago, senior Jonalynn Lao was hesitant to attend Plattsburgh State because the college was seven hours away from home. She was also accepted by many CUNY schools in New York City, and thought this could be more of her comfort zone.
However, the open house changed Lao’s mind about PSUC, which “has been the best decision” she has made for her future.
“It was a beautiful spring Saturday,” Lao said. “I had the opportunity to see the business facility in Ausable, and I was automatically impressed.”
She immediately decided to go to PSUC to double major in business administration and business management with a concentration in management information systems.
Having been growing up in New York City, Lao has always dreamed of working around the Downtown Area of Manhattan and running her own company one day.
“By the time I was in high school, I knew I had a passion for working in a high-paced environment,” Lao said. “I also was familiar with my strengths which included being an excellent multitasker, a diligent worker and an outgoing individual.”
Lao is going to graduate this fall. After all the time she has spent in PSUC, Lao was “incredibly proud of many achievements” she has made for herself.
In fall 2016, Lao decided to join a local sorority on campus named Theta Alpha Lambda, in which she has “befriended the best women on campus.”
Beside her social activities, Lao has also been working for the admission office at Kehoe since her sophomore year and at Feinberg library as research assistant and associate.
“What I am most proud of are the strides I have taken to further my career,” Lao said. “In the course of three years, I have successfully completed three internships.”
She is also currently the public relations chair for the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA), in which she has met many people who are passionate about their careers and driven to work hard in order to succeed.
“I have a strong belief that you become whom you surround yourself with, and I would always enjoy being around my NABA friends,” Lao said.
Looking back, Lao was an optimistic and naive freshman. However, she was struggling with her academic, which discouraged her to have a positive attitude toward college.
“I felt that I was dragging to classes everyday, and I felt homesick to the extent that I wanted to transfer schools,” Lao said. “Since I was feeling a lot of emotions, it really forced me to utilize the resources around me.”
She started to communicate with her academic advisor, Tara Studley, and received helpful advice. Then her resident assistant at that moment introduced Lao to become an admission ambassador, which led to her first leadership experience on campus. Since then, Lao has continued to improve.
“As a final semester senior, I have taken advantage of all of what SUNY Plattsburgh has offered me, and I can full heartedly say that,” Lao said. “As I embark on my career, I will take with me all of the lessons I have learned.”
After graduating, she is planning on finding a job and “hopefully attending graduate school in a year.”
To go along with Lao’s work ethics, one of her hobbies is traveling around the world. Lao also has a huge passion for food, shopping and going to the gym.
Senior Abhey Sharma has worked with Lao at the Center for Cyber Security and Technology. He said she is “an individual with a lot of passion” and always willing to help her peers.
“She also likes to network, which is great tool for every student and acts as a future asset throughout an individual’s life,” Sharma said. “If I could describe Jonalynn in three words, they would be ‘passionate’, ‘enthusiastic’ and ‘talkative’.”
For other students who are looking for tips on how to do well in college, Lao’s advice is “to try new things and explore outside of your comfort zone” because that’s what made Lao become the person she is today.
Email Hilly Nguyen at email@example.com