Graduation profile 2011: Barbara “Barby” Mercado

Barbara Judith Mercado, 23, received bachelor's degrees in business administration and Spanish when she graduated from the University of Oregon in June.

She is from Milwaukie, Ore. "My time and experience at the UO have made me a more open-minded, well rounded individual," she says.

Academic Accomplishments
UO Deans Award May 2011; UO (OMAS) Excellence Award May 2011; president, UO Women in Business (2010-11); CEO Network co-founder and leadership team member, 2010-11.

The reason I chose the University of Oregon for my education is ... the UO was where my heart was from day one. I didn't apply anywhere else. My main motivation for attending the UO was its location, atmosphere, culture, spirit and renowned recognition of the business program. My family is very close and Eugene/UO has an ideal distance from Portland, making it easy to come home when needed.

The greatest obstacle I encountered while earning my degree was ... budgeting and getting homesick. I'm not from out-of-state, nor do I live far away from my Portland home. However, my family is very close to me and within a week I unknowingly made a friendship that is sure to last a lifetime!

While pursuing my degree I was most inspired by ... Lundquist College of Business academic advisor Kim Rambo. I have worked very closely with Kim, both before I was admitted into the business school and immediately after. She is a phenomenal role model – always professional, considerate, caring and genuinely interested in her students' well-being. I had the opportunity to work under her supervision for my first year in the business school, as an academic peer advisor. She always asked how my day was going, she helped me every step of the way. Kim never doubted me for a minute, and since has been my greatest inspiration at the UO.

My education at the UO has changed the course of my life because ... I came in here with my heart set on business and with my journey to achieve that I have been exposed to many experiences that have made me a better person. I have experienced things that I never would have had without the education of the UO. The culture, environmentand spirit changes people in a positive way.

After graduation, I plan to use my degree from the UO to ... teach English in Spain for eight months. With my education, I hope to motivate other first-generation students to attend college. I want them to be able to share my experience by encouraging everyone else to go! College is no longer not an option.