Georgeann McLemore got pretty good at delivering her elevator pitch as she made her way around the event space at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. in late February.
‘Hi, my name is Georgeann,” she’d say as she stopped at each table and struck up conversations with the different business representatives there.
Then she’d tell them that she is a student at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, majoring in information systems and technology in the College of Business Administration. She’d tell them a little bit more about her career goals and ask to learn more about their companies.
McLemore was one of 15 recipients of the AGA National Collegiate Leadership Scholarship, which gave her the opportunity to attend sessions and network with leaders in government financial management over two days at AGA’s annual National Leadership Training.
As an information systems major focusing on cybersecurity, McLemore felt a little out of place at a conference for AGA, which was founded in 1950 as the Federal Government Accountants Association and changed its name to the Association of Government Accountants in 1975 when it expanded to include state and local government finance professionals. But she was still grateful to make her first trip to Washington and get experience networking as she closes in on graduation in May.
“It was nice to build that conversational skill, just introducing yourself,” McLemore said. “I shook their hands, got their business cards, and I think hopefully I made an impression on them, as well as the impression that they made on me.”
McLemore has goals, both educationally and professionally, that she wants to pursue after completing her bachelor’s degree. She’d like to pursue a master’s at some point, and she also would like to land a job at a technology company. She’s just not completely sure about which to go after first.
“I probably want to take a year off just to work and then relax,” she said. “I love school, but I’m tired. I’m just ready to be done.”
McLemore has made the most of her college experience since graduating from McCluer North High School.
She said she chose UMSL because it provided her an affordable option close to home, with a tighter-knit community than other options. She figured she could save money continuing to live with her parents, and she heard about the strong reputation of the College of Business Administration.
McLemore originally intended to study marketing, but she changed her mind after being selected for the Boeing FLITE (Future Leaders in Thought and Experience) internship program after her freshman year.
McLemore has continued to broaden her business knowledge throughout her time at UMSL and in the fall of 2021 served as an investor services intern with TD Ameritrade.
One of McLemore’s most impactful experiences came last spring when she studied abroad at Chonnam National University in Gwangju, South Korea.
She’d long had a fascination with Korean culture, whether it was K-Dramas or Korean pop music. But she never considered she might be able to go experience it firsthand until one of her friends decided to study abroad.
McLemore reached out to the UMSL Global office to find out what it would take to join her and discovered it was much more feasible than she’d realized.
“Everybody thinks going abroad is expensive,” McLemore said. “I was one of those people. That’s why I didn’t do it until later into college. I’m like, ‘I can’t afford this, so I’m just not going to go.’ But once I did it and realized how cheap it actually was, I said, ‘Oh, OK, this is nice. I can do this more often.’
“Most people see traveling as a luxury. It shouldn’t be. It should be for everyone.”
McLemore used the experience to begin learning Korean. She and her friends spent weekends traveling around to different cities, from the bustling cosmopolitan streets of Seoul to the beaches outside the port city of Busan, her favorite destination.
She appreciated how safe she felt everywhere she went.
“You could walk home alone at 3 a.m., and no one would bother you,” she said. “I would take night walks in the park, and no one would bother you. You could just walk all by yourself, and you just felt completely and entirely safe, without fear of somebody attacking or something. I think that’s the one of the biggest things that I miss.”
McLemore loved seeing new places and interacting with native Koreans so much that she felt inspired to do more travel, joining the study abroad trip Michael Costello led to Oxford, England, last summer.
When she returned to campus last fall, she landed a position as a global ambassador for UMSL Global, where she gets to share knowledge she learned with other students interested in studying abroad.
McLemore – who has also served as a member of the UMSL Chapter of the Associated Students of the University of Missouri and helped manage the group’s social media accounts over the past few years – is looking forward to doing more travel in the future and is even considering applying to graduate school overseas.
She’s grateful for the experiences she’s already had that have helped open up possibilities as she contemplates her future.
“I’d say it’s been a very positive experience,” McLemore said. “I really do enjoy my teachers. I like all the classes. I feel like I’m learning a lot of real-world experiences that will help me once I graduate into my career field. The opportunities that UMSL offers have been great.”