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A valedictorian who was born in Italy, a Hurricane Michael survivor who took online classes from a hotel room when she lost her home, and a German transplant pursuing a Master of Business Administration.

What do they each have in common?

They are all part of the inaugural class of Baldrige Scholars, representing the top five percent of graduates from Post University’s Malcolm Baldrige School of Business, named in honor of the late former U.S. Secretary of Commerce and Waterbury native.

“These are high-achieving and resilient students who bring a diverse set of ideas and backgrounds to Post,” said Malcom Baldrige School of Business Dean Jeremi Bauer.

“As inaugural members of Baldrige scholars, each is a great ambassador of the university. They are going to be movers and shakers in business and in industry because they have a proven commitment to excel.”

The Baldrige Scholars include students from throughout Connecticut and the U.S., in addition to students in Germany, Italy and Puerto Rico. Of the 23 students, 14 will receive their Master of Business Administration. A dinner to honor these scholars takes place Thursday, May 9 at Waterbury Country Club.

Meet the inaugural scholars:

Marisol Soto

Where are you from?
I was born in the borough of Brooklyn NY but I have lived my entire life in Bridgeport CT. My parents were born in the beautiful island of Puerto Rico but both left at a very young age to start their lives in America.

What are your plans for the future?
I have been working for my current employer for almost 19 years. I don’t have plans to leave the company any time soon but if the right opportunity presents itself, I may consider it.

What does this award mean to you?
This award is one of the greatest pats on the back I have received in a very long time. I worked hard and sacrificed a lot in the past three years to receive my degree. Being awarded a Baldrige Scholar shows that my hard work was recognized.

Timothy Hartmann

Where are you from?
I am from the state of Schleswig-Holstein in the North of Germany.

What are your plans for the future?
My plan for the future is becoming a certificated project manager and working in exciting projects. If I will get the chance to work in a project in the North East of the US, I would take it and come back.

What does this award mean to you?
This award means a lot to me because it makes me part of a group of hard-working and dedicated alumni. It made it worth putting the hard work in in the classroom.

I want to thank my coaches Gregg Schmidt and Rick Hammer who were strong arguments for me to come to Post University as an athlete. Also, I want to thank my great teammates as well as my classmates and the rest of the Post University family who all made this a memorable time for me.

Rebeca Montanez

Where are you from?
I am a resident of Waterbury, but from the beautiful island of Puerto Rico.

What are your plans for the future?
I plan to become an online professor and leadership consultant.

What does this award mean to you?
This award represents resilience in the face of adversity, my desire to be outstanding and amazing in everything I do. The award is also a symbol of never giving up, so my children and grandchildren believe that what seems impossible is possible.

Teresa Marangon

Where are you from?
I am from Trieste, a small town located in Italy. Now I live in Virginia.

What are your plans for the future?
So far, I have been interviewing with several CPA firms in Virginia. My one-year plan is to study for the CPA exam and pass it. As for the future, I plan to work as an auditor, and possibly specialize in fraud examination, and make partner in a firm.

What does this award mean to you?
This award means a lot to me. In the past four years, I have been working hard not only to gain the knowledge necessary to succeed, but also to become the professional I aspire to be in the business world. Finally, being recognized for this award makes all of it worth it: the nights passed studying and writing papers, the weekends spent trying to figure out difficult accounting problems. All of these experiences pushed me to do better, to go the extra mile, and to become a better version of me.

Alison Monroe

Where are you from?
I grew up in and currently reside in Watertown, CT.

What are your plans for the future?
As a Contracts Manager at Collins Aerospace, I plan to continue my education through the acquisition of the CPCM, CFCM, and CCCM certifications from NCMA. Additionally, I plan to continue to progress in my career through different levels of contracts management.

What does this award mean to you?
After three years of unwavering hard work regardless of the circumstances, this award is a tremendous honor. While completing my MBA, I maintained a full-time job and a part-time position in the Air National Guard. Also, during the final year of the program, I welcomed my son into the world. Being identified with this type of recognition makes my efforts feel even more rewarding. Post University has aided me in the progression to the young professional that I am today and I know that no matter what happens, I will always press forward to grow as an individual.

Ben Morris

Where are you from?
I was born in Portsmouth, VA. I was literally born in a van on the side of the road, and my dad delivered me. I even have the nameplate of the fender of the van. Because my dad was in the Navy, we moved a lot and I have lived all over the U.S. I do not have a hometown in the traditional sense, but I call Idaho Falls, ID home now.

What are your plans for the future?
My plans for the future are to expand my knowledge of, and experience with project management and let this career field take me wherever it takes me.

What does this award mean to you?
This award is recognition that all of my effort and sacrifices have been worth it. It is tangible evidence that I had the fortitude and perseverance necessary to not only earn my degree, but rise to the top of my class.

Daron Callahan

Where are you from?
I’m from Southington CT.

What are your plans for the future?
My plans for the future are to continue to take on challenging roles within my organization and to find ways to help the employees I manage grow.

What does this award mean to you?
This award means a lot to me as I spent a lot of time on my schoolwork trying to get the most out of it that I could. To be recognized, in this manner, is an honor that makes all of the late nights, early mornings, and missed family time worth the effort.

Joseph McDonald

Where are you from?
I am originally from Lindenhurst, NY, but I now reside in Shrewsbury, MA.

What are your plans for the future?
The most immediate plan is to spend more time with my family. My wife, Christine, and my two daughters, Abigail and Megan, have made many sacrifices during my educational journey, and those sacrifices played a major role in my academic achievement. So now, it is time for me to pay if forward and focus on spending some more time with them, if they like it or not!

What does this award mean to you?
It is very humbling to be considered as a Baldrige Scholar. It makes me think of all the sacrifices and support that I received from family, friends, co-workers, and from the faculty and administration of Post University. It is because of their efforts and sacrifices that gave me the opportunity to focus on my studies and obtain a high level of success is completing my course work. This award is just as much their success, as it is my success. It makes me proud to know that so many people care enough about me to make those sacrifices so that I could have the opportunity to not only achieve, but to exceed at accomplishing my academic goals. I am greatly honored to be a Baldrige Scholar.

Timothy Kay

Where are you from?
I am from St. Louis, MO.

What are your plans for the future?
I am currently enrolled into the Florida Institute of Technology to complete a Master’s of Business Administration in Project Management. My future goal is to use the lessons I have learned at Post University and Florida Tech to successfully transition out of the military and into a career in marketing.

What does this award mean to you?
Receiving the Baldrige Scholar Award is very special to me. I am the first person from my family to graduate from a four-year institution and receiving this award show my children what can be accomplished with hard work and dedication.

More 2019 Baldrige Scholars

Coree Kinerson – Business Administration – Northwood, NH
Veronica Demarest – Master of Business Administration – Prospect, CT
David M Mwangi – Master of Business Administration – Colorado Springs, CO
Karla Cordova – Master of Business Administration – Berlin, Germany
Katharina Justinger – Master of Business Administration – Frankfurt, Germany
Brittany Knutson – Master of Science in Accounting – La Farge, WI
Carrie Spaulding – Accounting – Jacksonville, NC
Emma Tracy – Business Administration – Waterbury, CT
Barbara Fritts – Master of Business Administration – Collinsville, CT
Dennis Dumont – Business Administration – Brandenburg, KY
Guy Guadiosi – Master of Business Administration – Meriden, CT
Catherine Nesci – Master of Business Administration – Rockfail, CT
MaryLynn Conelly-Sawicki – Master of Business Administration – Wallingford, CT