Student Wins National Scholarship & IBM Mentor!

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Kirsten Thomas ASU student COBA scholarship 2021 kirsten_050521_008_0.JPG

ASU Student Wins Association of National Advertisers (ANA) Educational Foundation’s HBCU Scholarship!

- COBA's Kristen Thomas wins a $5,000 scholarship and a mentorship with an IBM executive headquartered in Manhattan. 

By: Kenneth Mullinax/ASU 

An Alabama State University student majoring in marketing has been selected to receive the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) Educational Foundation’s (AEF) HBCU Scholarship, which is awarded nationally to deserving students with "impressive academic achievements" and who express an interest in advertising, marketing or a public relation's career. 

ASU sophomore Kristen Thomas, a native of Oconee County, Georgia, is one of just six sophomores to receive the foundation's $5,000 scholarship, which will be divided evenly between her junior and senior years. The HBCU scholarship is made possible by the generosity of board member, Bill Imada, who is the chairman and chief connectivity officer of the worldwide IW Group. 

"I am super excited to be awarded this grant and to receive scholarship monies to help me graduate and also for the opportunity to be mentored and advised by an important industry executive during my junior and senior years," said Thomas, a student in ASU's Percy J. Vaughn, Jr. College of Business Administration (COBA).  

The Foundation's New York City-based vice president and program manager, Sharon Hudson, stated that Thomas is a top-notch student. 

"She is an impressive student and we want her to be an equally impressive mentee, because a great mentor can lead to the beginning of a successful career," Hudson stated. "We are so pleased to have informed her that her mentor is none other than Ann Rubin, vice president of Branded Content & Global Creative at IBM in its Manhattan headquarters." 


Professor Kim Smith is a COBA management instructor at ASU who teaches Thomas, a student-athlete with a soccer scholarship to attend the University. 

"I am proud that one of our COBA marketing students, Kristen Thomas, was awarded this well-deserved scholarship," Smith stated. "Dr. Simone Byrd and I have worked tirelessly to find opportunities for our students, and we are excited that an ASU student like Kristen was awarded and we celebrate the win." 

Smith said that Thomas, a student in Smith's Business Orientations Management class. has a strong work ethic and rates her classroom work as superior. 

"She is a student-athlete and works with SGA (the Student Government Association). I was excited when she applied (for the scholarship). Kristen is hardworking, cognizant about her brand image and intelligent. I knew she could compete with anyone outside of ASU and would represent the college well. I'm very proud of her," Smith explained. 


The ASU scholarship winner said she owes the award and so much more to her attendance at Alabama State University. 

"ASU has helped me grow in so many ways that includes educationally, athletically and socially," Thomas said. "I have had so many wonderful opportunities to immerse myself in COBA, soccer, SGA and campus life. I am really happy here, and I just love ASU." 

News media contact: Kenneth Mullinax/334-229-4104.