Mt. Airy, Maryland
Major: Food Technology for Companion Animals
Minor: Leadership & Entrepreneurship
Business: I want to create a line of pet food specifically for elderly dogs who can no longer eat the way they once did, inspired by the hardships my own dog went through.
What is your story?
I grew up in a small town in southwestern Washington where the community and the people that surrounded me were critical to my development. They say it takes a village to raise a child. I was raised with the belief that you chase your dreams no matter how wild or crazy they appear at first. Growing up there were really three driving forces in my life: my love of dogs, my love of cooking, and my creative spirit. It was in my junior year that I decided food science was the best route for my ambitions. With a firm science background and a cultivated culinary plus baking and pastry arts background I figured it was a perfect marriage. My senior year of high school I co-operated a small bakery that specialized in event cakes. In addition, I had my own little cake business on the side. Within those last two years of high school my childhood sidekick, my oldest dog Jasper, became very ill. He stopped eating his dog food and eventually stopped eating completely. Heartbroken, I could not let him leave the world like that. Instead I developed a soft dog food that he could and would eat. This ignited a passion within me to go into pet food product development. Fortunately Jasper made it for those two years, but unfortunately he passed away the summer before I left for college. I eventually would like to create my own line of pet food for elderly dogs inspired by my Jasper. I am a firm believer that we should hold most strongly to the things that move us the most.
Who is your entrepreneurial inspiration OR biggest hero?
My dad has taught the importance of working hard and pursuing my dreams. Whatever my goals or dreams have been my dad is always my number one supporter. In addition to his support, he has taught me the importance of building meaningful relationships with those who surround me. He is one of the most understanding people I know, always willing to lend an ear. I honestly don’t know where I would be without his support.
If your story were made into a movie, what actor/actress would portray you and why?
I would have to say Abigail Breslin. I have been told there is a slight resemblance, but aside from that I think she could do well playing my character as an upbeat individual who is resilient and laughs a ton.
What advice would you give to a student starting their entrepreneurial journey?
People are always going to want to put you in a box. After spending years resisting this reality I realized that as long as I am in charge of building the box, this can be a truly great thing. So build your own box and make it an awesome one, unique to who you are!