When San Antonio native Raquel Stark receives her undergraduate degree this week in entrepreneurship, it marks the end of a long journey for her.
A first-generation college student, Stark has supported herself since she was 18–taking classes as she could pay for them. Now, realizing her dream of a college education, she’ll graduate as a small business owner, a member of the 100 Best Business Students in the college and as president of the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization.
“I drove by UTSA every day and knew that I wanted to go there,” said Stark, who is 28 years old. “UTSA was the biggest and best university in San Antonio.”
Stark entered the College of Business and was immediately drawn to the entrepreneurship program. At the time she was running her own business, Easy French, a nail tips company. “UTSA brought out the entrepreneurial spirit in me.”
She credits Anita Leffel, assistant director of the college’s Center for Innovation and Technology Entrepreneurship for helping her reach her potential. “Dr. Leffel is my hero,” said Stark. “She taught me that you can theorize all you want, but you have to go out and talk to people and validate your business ideas. I also learned how to manage people and how to approach a negative situation positively.”
Her biggest accomplishment at UTSA was helping start the entrepreneurship incubator. The incubator is now home to five companies.
After graduation Stark plans to relaunch her Easy French business and work on other business ventures that materialized because of her UTSA experience. She has given herself five years to be a successful entrepreneur.
“I appreciate all that UTSA and the College of Business have done for me. I can’t wait to be able to give back to the college and university as a successful alumni.”
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