Greta Hardware ’09 came to Ithaca College for more than a degree—she came for an opportunity to see the world from new and different perspectives. Hardware has a penchant for leaving her comfort zone to discover new people and places, and to experience the fresh insights they can yield.
“I just enjoy the diversity of the way people think,” she says. “It’s interesting to see how people perceive U.S. citizens, and I like breaking those stereotypes. That’s something you only get when you travel abroad.”
Through IC’s Martin Luther King Scholar Program, Hardware supplemented her coursework in accounting, finance, and business administration by traveling to four countries—Costa Rica, Spain, Morocco, and South Korea—on four different continents. Her experiences abroad not only helped her learn about different cultures but enhanced her outlook on business and finance as well.
While researching free trade agreements in South Korea, Hardware got to see discussions with the U.S. unfold in real time. She even witnessed protests outside the United States embassy firsthand.
Participants in the MLK Scholar Program are expected to take classes in civil rights and global justice, and to conduct research based on their explorations. As a junior, Hardware used her findings on free trade abroad to deliver a presentation during IC’s Whalen Academic Symposium. Hardware took advantage of the MLK Scholar Program’s exceptional opportunities by applying them to her studies in business and finance.
“The MLK Scholar Program was the reason I came to IC,” she says. “It gave me a different perspective that other students in my major didn’t have.”
Today, Hardware works as a senior associate in banking and capital markets for the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. But she still views the professional world with an eye to the social issues she studied through the MLK Scholar Program, and she says the firm’s commitment to community involvement played a key role in her decision to work there.
“[PricewaterhouseCoopers] is involved in Junior Achievement, and they have programs from kindergarten to eighth grade on financial management,” Hardware says. “I had the opportunity to teach through Junior Achievement when I taught a third grade class how to write a check, the importance of saving money, and the benefits of putting your money in a bank rather than in your pocket.”
Through PricewaterhouseCoopers, Hardware has advanced her career while using her distinctive knowledge and skill set to stay involved with her local community. But even with all the success she has enjoyed with the company in New York, she’s eager to get back to traveling. Most recently she spent two months in the firm’s Sydney, Australia, office.
“I’m trying to pursue a longer-term tour somewhere—anywhere, really. When I went to the Sydney office, I met a lot of short-term-abroadpeople. I realized that PricewaterhouseCoopers is everywhere, and the door’s open. My travels with the MLK Scholar Program sparked my interest in living abroad, and that has stuck with me.”
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