Transfer student Adrienne Johnson finds community through opportunities at UMSL

Adrienne Johnson, business administration major

Adrienne Johnson is pursuing a business administration degree while being actively involved in student organizations, completing an internship and enjoying a study abroad trip to Brussels. (Photo by August Jennewein)

When Adrienne Johnson first entered a University of Missouri–St. Louis building, she discovered something unexpected: The lecture halls were big.

Coming from Valparaiso University, an Indiana college outside Chicago with around 4,000 undergraduates, UMSL’s size was initially an adjustment.

“Everyone was very welcoming here, but it was such a different environment,” Johnson said. “It’s really hard to walk into a room full of people when you know absolutely no one.”

That’s when the business administration major, with a dual emphasis in international business and supply chain management, decided to find ways to connect with others on campus.

“I had to be very intentional in trying to join a few things and talking to the people who sat around me,” she said. “Things fell into place throughout the course of the semester.”

Since arriving at UMSL in the fall of 2019, Johnson has been involved in a long list of campus organizations and activities, including the Supply Chain & Transportation Club, dean’s advisory board and Pierre Laclede Honors College. She also interns at the dean’s office in the College of Business Administration and serves as a First-Year Experience mentor.

These activities have helped her carve out a place in the vibrant campus community. They’ve also allowed her to explore her passion for communication and develop skills within that field.

Even with her extensive obligations, Johnson found time to study abroad in Brussels, Belgium, over winter break, a trip that confirmed international business is the right track for her.

“Traveling is a lot of fun,” she said. “If there’s a way I could be paid to do that, it would be excellent. And business is practical because everything involves business.”

Even though UMSL was new to Johnson, the St. Louis area was familiar. She grew up in Webster Groves and completed internships at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, serving on the student board of directors.

Her decision to return to Missouri required acting swiftly to enroll in classes, but she doesn’t regret coming back.

“I decided I was coming to UMSL two weeks before the semester started,” she said. “I got my schedule, and there I was. It wasn’t the easy choice, but it was the right choice. The UMSL business program is unparalleled in their reputation, and with the cost, it just made a lot of sense. It all very quickly fell into place.”

Between international relations, logistics and economics courses, along with organization meetings and her internship, Johnson has embraced being an UMSL Triton. She’s enjoying the advantages offered by a larger university and especially loves the diversity on campus.

“Something UMSL’s really great about is having a bunch of different people on campus,” she said. “Especially coming from a school that was not diverse in that way, seeing everybody and learning from everybody is really enjoyable and impactful. As a transfer student, coming into this environment where so many people are like me makes it easier. Going to a smaller school, I’d be one of a dozen. Here, it’s just normal.”


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