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Business Management Grad Earns Student of the Year

August 26, 2020

The Student of the Year Award is presented annually to a student who served in leadership roles during their educational journey at BTC. Normally students nominated for this honor have led student organizations and provided an impact to on-campus groups. This year’s winner, Audrey Petitt, is a woman with a reach far beyond the Blackhawk campus.

Audrey Pettit pictured in the courtyard at BTC wearing a black bouse and silver necklace.

When Audrey graduated from high school over 15 years ago, she jumped right into the working world with a full-time position at M&I Bank. Pursuing additional schooling was always in the back of her mind, but the time was never right and the need was never pressing as her career evolved. It was also a time when many believed “your work ethic and reputation had more weight than a degree,” she noted.

But the times, and Audrey’s perspective, changed. After 17 years with Grainger, a supply company that stocks over 1.5 million products ranging from motors to personal protective equipment to industrial fans, she realized that “most people in my field have bachelor’s or master’s degrees” and decided the time was right to pursue a degree of her own so she could stay competitive and keep growing in her field.

“I decided to start first with the Project Management Certification,” she said. “I had been out of school for so long that I wanted to see what school would entail during this day and age, and I wanted to feel confident that I could balance school with my current work/life responsibilities.” Turns out, she was not only able to successfully balance working full time and being a mother and a wife, but she also excelled in her new educational environment. Audrey graduated in May with an Associate’s Degree in Business Management and a Certificate in Project Management with a 4.0 GPA.

Along with being an excellent student and employee, Audrey is a vibrant, active member of her community at large. She contributes time and money to the Salvation Army, Project Angel Tree, her local humane society, and Parent-Teacher Organization. This year she also welcomed international students into her home and plans to do so again in years to come.

As she pursues a four-year degree in business, she is eager to take on greater leadership roles, and her employer agrees. In her time with Grainger, she’s been promoted three times and currently works as an Engineering Business Analyst and an intern supervisor. When asked about Audrey, her supervisor said they have had “dozens of interns, contractors, consultants, and full-time employees over the years and Audrey is easily in the top 5%.”

Audrey was nominated for this award by all three of the instructors in the Business Management program. In their nomination letter, they declared that she “embodies the qualities that a Student of the Year should have: teamwork, determination, leadership skills, communication skills, analytical skills, and organizational skills. She puts a high degree of quality into her work and holds others to the same standards.” Her professors also shared that one of the group assignments Audrey was involved with was “one of the best projects in the program’s history.”

Taking pride in her own journey, Audrey encourages other students to test the waters when it comes to higher education. “Take advantage of the transfer programs that are available,” she says. “BTC is a great, reasonable, local school that will allow you to learn how college works without jumping right into a 4-year college program.”

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