If Marneli Pascacio ‘24 is one thing, she is grateful.
Well, she’s also busy. Pascacio is a senior studying business administration with an option in international business and a minor in marketing.
As part of her international business option, she’s currently studying at the Universidad de Murcia in Murcia, Spain. She’s taking classes in human resources, marketing, strategic management and Spanish economics, while also, of course, finding time to have fun during her term abroad.
But mostly she’s grateful, because this year she received the Ron and Maybelene Young Business Scholarship, and at just the right time. The award funds College of Business students who reside in eastern Oregon, demonstrate financial need and are members of underrepresented groups. Receiving the award made Pascacio’s term in Spain a reality.
“I really appreciate them believing in me and wanting to support a student like me,” she said. “It’s such a huge deal to me. I know there were a lot of candidates, and I’m grateful that they believed in me and my story.”
Pascacio grew up in Nyssa, Oregon, a “very tiny” rural town on the Idaho border. In high school, she joined the Oregon Migrant Leadership Institute (OMLI), a program hosted by Treasure Valley Community College that provides students from migrant backgrounds in rural eastern Oregon with the chance to develop leadership skills and discover options for higher education.
OMLI gave her a path she hadn’t known to consider. “I thought I was just going to keep being outside in the fields,” she said. “I didn’t think college was a possibility.”
Pascacio is a first-generation college student, and she’s driven by a desire to help students who are in the same spot she was. She knows first-hand the multifaceted value of a scholarship – the vote of confidence can be as vital as the tangible financial assistance – and she brings that to her current role as the fundraising officer for OMLI’s scholarship program. Any OMLI participant can apply, and this year, she and a committee of former OMLI participants raised funds for six scholarships.
“I hear about all these high schools already being able to offer college credits,” she said. “I hear about AP courses – I didn’t know what those were. There are so many students back home who have the capacity to do more. We were just not offered the same resources to be able to excel.” She wants to change that, and she believes that giving these younger students the example of her story is the first step to doing so.
“I just know that some way, somehow, I want to come back to my community and be able to share these experiences with them,” she said.
She first learned about Oregon State University through Science & Math Investigative Learning Experiences (SMILE), an OSU-sponsored pre-college program for students in rural areas. In high school, she traveled to Corvallis for a SMILE challenge and fell in love with it.
Though she began her freshman year thinking she’d go on to study orthodontics, by her second term of class, she was registered in the College of Business. It was a decision based on both interest and skill: In high school, she was a member of the Future Business Leaders of America, and she helped take her small school’s club to nationals.
“It was a competitive club,” she said. “So, going to nationals, I realized that business is something I’m very good at.”
This summer, Pascacio completed a highly selective internship at Fisher Investments. She was one of 12 interns selected out of 1,400 applicants. She recently accepted an offer to join them full time in July, after she graduates, as a regional sales associate in Camas, Washington.
“I’m just so excited because I met some great people at that firm,” she said.
As for her long-term career goals, she hopes to one day do business in her native language, Spanish.
But for now, she’s overwhelmingly grateful to the scholarship committee for the financial assistance that enables her to complete her studies and enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime term in Spain.
“I want to express my gratitude again,” she said.
Story by Jess Kibler