U.Va. Commerce School Student Trades Fast Lane For Slow Pace On
May 6, 2004 --
She should have been thrilled. Last summer, Caty Price sat at
a comfortable desk in an office cubicle towards the end of her
internship for the Cramer-Krasselt Advertising Agency in Phoenix.
She had just been offered a job.
“I loved branding, and I liked the people, and the company
was great,” said
the fourth-year U.Va. McIntire School of Commerce student. The
internship had been a good experience, enabling her to draw on
her concentration in marketing and management. But all she could
think of at that moment was, “I do not want to do this for
the next two years.”
wanted to do something that would force her to think outside
the box. And that’s
what she’s planning to
when her McIntire classmates don pinstripes, fight city crowds
and hunker down before flickering computer screens
and business-consulting firms in New York and Northern Virginia,
pulling down hefty paychecks for 80-hour workweeks, Price will
be adjusting to life in the slow lane in the Kingdom of Tonga,
a tropical island in the South Pacific. There, as a Peace Corps
volunteer, she’ll have to adjust to a new climate, new diet,
new language, new culture and new ways of putting her business
skills to work.
She knows her
job for the next two years will have something to do with youth
development, but she’s not yet
sure exactly what.
“It’s not all together altruistic on my part,” she
says of her decision. “I just think it will be a good way
to get some hands-on, business-management experience.”
of Shreveport, La., Price, 22, graduated from high school in Roanoke.
Her mother passed away when she was 17. Her father,
Charles Price, a radiologist now living in Miami, Fla., loved to
cook exotic food and expected Price and her two siblings to try
new things. “I hated it then,” Price admits, “but
I’ll eat anything now.”
a skill that should serve her well in the coming years as she
grows accustomed to the
Tongan diet, based on chicken, pork,
yams and tropical fruit.
north of New Zealand, west of Samoa and east of Fiji. There are
currently 50 to 70 Peace Corps
volunteers serving in
the country, which has a population of 101,000 spread over 170
islands, fewer than 40 of which are inhabited. The country’s
economy is based on imports of tourists and exports of pumpkin
Price has enjoyed the bottom-line focus of her education
in commerce and fit in well with the many Type-A personalities
at the undergraduate
business school. But she has another side.
Brought up in the Unitarian
Universalist Church, Price enjoys learning about different religions
and has pursued that interest through
a minor in religious studies.
In the summer
of 2001, she worked with the Unitarian Universalist Association’s
Faith and Action Office in Washington, D.C., where she developed
study guides for
the church on globalization,
among other topics.
“I’ve always been teased as being earth friendly and
was voted by [my McIntire study group] as being ‘most likely
to save the environment,’” she said.
In her spare
time as a second-year student, Price volunteered with Big Brothers,
Big Sisters. She volunteers each year as a counselor
for the Unitarian summer church camp, and has enjoyed her membership
in the Phi Mu sorority, a diverse group of girls who support the
Children’s Miracle Network.
Since her second
year, she also has worked 10 to 15 hours a week at Greenberry’s Coffee & Tea
Co. in the Barracks Road Shopping Center.
“I’ve always worked; I’ve always saved my money,” Price
said. “My mom always told us there was no reason to be bored. We never
did much sitting around.”
to keep busy served her well as a student. “I’m really
hypercompetitive,” she said.
Even so, she
is drawn to programs that combine her interests, such as Leading
with Compassion, a course offered
by McIntire, for which she wrote a paper
about corporate social responsibility. “We need to know who we’re
Price believes her experience with the Peace Corps will give her
an edge in the job market down the road. It should offer opportunities
in marketing, communication, and people skills, all of which would be
valuable for a career in international business.
When her Peace
Corps stint draws to a close, she will look for a job in international
business in the field of branding and corporate social
in the area of environmentally conscious manufacturing. Price is optimistic
about individuals’ and companies’ abilities to effect positive
She may need to tap that optimism during her Peace Corps adventure,
which is likely to challenge her assumptions and take her out of her
happy about that.
U.Va. No. 1 school, for its size,
for sending volunteers into the Peace Corps
is among eight May 2004 graduates who will be entering the Peace
Corps. And another 35 U.Va. grads have been accepted
and are awaiting
their assignments, expected to come in the near future.
efforts by its students have garnered U.Va. the No. 1 spot — two
years in a row — among all medium-size schools in the country
for sending graduates into the Peace Corps.
This year, U.Va. beat out
the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill for the top honor for
all schools in the Mid-Atlantic States Region.
official count was taken in January 2004, there were 75 U.Va. alumni
serving in the
Corps, a 10 percent increase from the previous year.
Over 772 University
of Virginia alumni have served (or are currently serving) as
Peace Corps volunteers.
Charlotte Crystal, (434) 924-6858