Look out, world. After graduation, there will be no stopping Josefina Rodriguez Sturba — not that anything was stopping her before.
In the past four years, the management information systems major from Dallas, Georgia, has interned with international corporations, studied in China, worked for the Mexican Chamber of Commerce in Asia and built an impressive network of entrepreneurs.
And it all started with a simple goal of helping her family.
“I’ve always helped my parents with their e-commerce business. I always helped them do so many repetitive tasks that were small and seemed easy to automate. I thought that going to UGA to study MIS would give me a good background and education in order to build out their inventory system,” Sturba said. “That was the depth of my goals until I heard about the Entrepreneurship Program.”
That’s where Sturba found her tribe.
“I fell in love,” she said. “Entrepreneurship was already my life and my lifestyle. It’s something I’ve never been able to relate to anyone about other than my own family because none of my friends had parents who were starting businesses. They all had normal jobs; I felt like my parents were the crazy ones.
“After hearing about the Entrepreneurship Program, and how people can raise millions to start businesses, my whole perspective changed,” she added. “The world of opportunities began to look totally different. It wasn’t that I wanted to learn how to make a simple system for my parents anymore. I started thinking about all the incredible ways I could expand their business, or even create my own.”
Sturba started taking undergraduate certificate courses in entrepreneurship on top of her MIS major and, eventually, became student president of UGA’s Society of Entrepreneurs. Now, she’s involved with two student startups and will be taking a job with the international artificial intelligence company Docebo after graduation.
She credits her bright future to the encouragement and challenges she faced at Terry.
“I knew I wanted to study abroad. Because I speak Spanish, I was considering going to Spain and having the summer of my life. But Don Chambers, one of my professors in entrepreneurship, said ‘Josefina, you need to challenge yourself.’ So I thought, what’s the scariest place I could choose? And that was China,” she said. “I didn’t know the language. I didn’t know the culture. I didn’t know anything.”
Through Terry’s International Business Programs, Sturba spent eight weeks in Asia — two taking classes and six working in an internship with the Mexican Chamber of Commerce in Asia.
“My boss wanted to start a mobile payment solution in Mexico based off Chinese technology. Because I have a technical background, I did mockups for him, built a prototype and helped him prepare his pitch,” she said. “The experience was incredible. Seeing that he wanted to launch an application, but didn’t know anything about technology showed me that my capabilities will never limit me as long as I’m working with the right people.”
An important part of the college experience is discovering passions and developing potential. That’s what the Entrepreneurship Program gave to Sturba, she said.
“Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. There are a lot of people who want a career or a work-life balance, and that’s fair. But for the people who have the entrepreneurial spirit, it will never go away,” she said. “Whether you take a job or start a business, no matter what you’re doing, you’re always going to have that drive to make something or change something.”