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Bemidji State graduate Melody Hoza finds success and strength in business

After four years at Bemidji State University, Alaskan native Melody Hoza is going out like a professional.

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Business administration student Melody Hoza is set to graduate as part of Bemidji State University’s class of 2022 on Friday, May 6, at the Sanford Center.
Madelyn Haasken / Bemidji Pioneer

BEMIDJI — After four years at Bemidji State University , Alaskan native Melody Hoza is going out like a professional.

With BSU’s graduation coming up on Friday, May 6, Hoza has mixed emotions about the big day.

“I’m very excited as it’s a great accomplishment to graduate,” Hoza said. “Along with that comes the uncertainty of ‘what am I going to do next?’ That’s what I’m figuring out right now.”

As a business administration student, Hoza is planning a career in business-to-business sales or marketing, an area she has explored since her sophomore year of college.

She’s not in any rush, however, as she hopes to road trip across the country before entering the workforce full time.

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“I’m currently looking around for potential jobs, but don’t want one that might not be the right fit,” Hoza said. “I kind of just want to relax after four years of college.”

A love of travel

Hoza’s love of traveling started at home in Fairbanks, Alaska, where she lived with three older siblings who all moved out of state for college.

“It seemed they were having awesome experiences and I really wanted to grow in that way. The school I would’ve gone to in Alaska was like 20 minutes from my house,” Hoza said before detailing why she chose BSU.

“It was affordable and they had all the programs I was looking into,” Hoza added. “I also wanted to be somewhere that would still feel like the ‘northern snow experience,’ so that’s why I ended up visiting BSU in person and fell in love with it.”

Her participation in BSU’s chapter of the American Marketing Association allowed her to travel across the country for conferences and competitions, not to mention the networking opportunities and professional development that came along with them.

Most recently, Hoza competed at the International Collegiate Conference that took place March 16-20 in Chicago, Ill., during which she did a sales role-play competition where she was given a scenario and product to sell and had 10 minutes with a potential buyer to close the sale.

She also took part in the conference’s Perfect Pitch, which involved delivering a 90-second speech about herself to a prospective employer.

Hoza placed second out of 61 students competing in the sales role-play and ranked among the top 15 out of 180 students in the Perfect Pitch.

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“One of my favorite achievements was getting second in the sales competition as it was a culmination of the hard work I’ve done throughout the year and I could see my growth during each competition,” Hoza mentioned.

She also journeyed to Kennesaw, Ga. for a national sales competition, another opportunity that followed more than a year of virtual conferences and classes.

Finding her strengths

Hoza was supposed to study abroad in Oxford, England, in spring 2020 as part of EuroSpring, a two-month study abroad program. Being back in Alaska and not intending to return to Bemidji until that fall, the onset of the coronavirus pandemic dashed those international travel plans.

Hoza moved back to Bemidji in fall 2020 and took note of the gradual return to normalcy particularly during this current school year.

“I wanted to be back in Bemidji, and it’s been amazing this past year just seeing things starting up again especially after feeling stuck for so long,” Hoza mentioned.

She credits her family and BSU business professor Angie Kovarik as her biggest mentors, specifically for recognizing her strengths and supporting her throughout her education.

Adding to the challenges that came with the pandemic, Hoza admitted to comparing herself with her siblings and figuring out what her own strengths are.

“I grew up in a very academically-minded family, so I felt like I was competing with them sometimes,” Hoza added. “One thing I had to realize was just because I may not have their strengths doesn’t mean I don’t have my own. It really helped that people like Angie saw those things in me and helped me realize that I had these cool strengths.”

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Looking ahead to the future, Hoza’s main motivation is to help others.

“Ultimately, it’s my belief that if you want to be successful, you figure out how to help others and that will help you in return,” Hoza said. “That goes with my family, my faith and just the way I try to live my life.”

Bemidji State will hold three graduation ceremonies at the Sanford Center on Friday, May 6, one for each college. Each ceremony is also available via livestream on BSU's social media pages.

A ceremony for the College of Arts, Education and Humanities will take place at 9 a.m. Graduates from the College of Business, Mathematics and Science will be recognized at noon. The College of Individual and Community Health will have its ceremony at 3 p.m.

Daltyn Lofstrom is a reporter at the Bemidji Pioneer focusing on education and community stories.
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