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Budding Entrepreneur Maria Tobergte Thrives in BA in Integrative Studies Program


NKU integrative studies graduate Maria Tobergte

Maria Tobergte is surrounded by family members channeling their entrepreneurial spirits to increase the beauty in the world. Tobergte did the same when she graduated from the Bachelor of Arts in Integrative Studies program at NKU in Spring 2019.

"I always knew that entrepreneurship is something I would be interested in, but I also realized that it takes time to be an entrepreneur," Tobergte said. "Plus, I have other interests. I am doing marketing and communication studies as areas of focus in my degree program. All of that ties into what I want to do."

Tobergte works part time in cosmetics sales and hopes to someday open a beauty salon with an emphasis on makeup. She plans to attend cosmetology school to become an esthetician after graduating. Her family ran a floral shop when she was younger and currently works in high-end wedding design.

"I'd love to learn the ropes of the retail side of cosmetology and, at some point, do some sort of freelance activity — a fun way to bring makeup to people and teach them about it," Tobergte said. "I know there's a demand for that right now. People love learning on YouTube and want to have the actual resources."

The flexibility to focus on several areas of study in the BA in Integrative Studies program appealed to Tobergte and her vision of the future. She started off as a business management major.

"I had a lot of classes, like argumentation and organizational leadership, which are important to what I want to do," she said. "Both of the advisers I had at NKU thought integrative studies would be the best fit for me — and I agree."

Norse, of Course

Tobergte completed her degree in just three years because she took advanced placement and dual-enrollment college courses in high school. She chose NKU for several reasons.

"I knew some people who took some classes there and liked the smaller class size," she said. "I knew that I could probably get where I wanted to be the quickest at NKU. I chose NKU because I was familiar with it and, honestly, with a lot of the scholarships that they offered, I couldn't pass it up. I also live close to campus, which is convenient."

Tobergte is excited about the educational possibilities available to her as an undergraduate.

"In my first year, I didn't realize what all was out there," she said. "I was taking anthropology courses and fell in love with those, but realized anthropology probably wasn't the way to go. I'm not the kind of person that can see myself in one area."

She is also a big fan of the entrepreneurship course she took toward the end of her program.

"It was a very conversation-based course," Tobergte said. "I feel like that's very beneficial for entrepreneurship because a lot of it is idea-based. It's amazing we had that opportunity to focus more on conversation activities. The marketing and communications courses are the most applicable because I work predominantly in sales right now."

When Tobergte explained her goals within the integrative studies program to her future employer, she was more convinced she had made the right decision to switch majors.

"When I first started the program, I had some apprehension because you have to phrase your goal in the right way with the major," she said. "When I interviewed for my current job, I pitched the program in such a way that the interviewer was very interested. That eased my worry about it."

The Right Foundation

With graduation day in the recent past, Tobergte is excited to work toward her goal of becoming another entrepreneur in her family.

"Everyone is extremely supportive," she said. "I am the second person in my immediate family to earn a college degree. My sister is a senior at Eastern Kentucky University. She was the first."

Tobergte, who enjoys reading and writing in her free time, believes it is important to map out specific areas of study and goals before enrolling in the BA in Integrative Studies program.

"If you know what you want to do after college, and you are able to get in this major and find things that you love that will shape you for it, absolutely go for it," she said. "Some people worry that others don't know what the program is and that it won't have any merit behind it.

"You have to show that the program is building you to be an asset and you're comfortable with that. I believe the BA in Integrative Studies program is building me to be an asset on a team — to be flexible and adaptable, which I feel so many companies are looking for, rather than somebody who is specialized."

When the day comes for Tobergte to open her salon, she believes she will look back on her experience at NKU as a bridge to her dream job.

"I really love what the program has done for me," she said. "I've been able to be flexible. In my first year, I was so worried about what I was going to do and how I was going to do it. I had so many stresses all of the time. As soon as I found this major, I was able to settle down and say, 'You're doing what you want to do.'"

Peace of mind is a beautiful thing.

Learn more about the NKU online BA in Integrative Studies program.


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