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Nichols College

Learn. Lead. Succeed

STUDENT PROFILE: Nichols Senior Karen Velasco is an International Success Story

Karen Velasco

DUDLEY, Mass.—Nichols College senior Karen Velasco is about to graduate from this business school focused on leadership, with a bachelor’s degree in finance and international business—as well as an impressive 3.9 grade point average. She also has the pleasure of having to select from several job offers, including one from New York Life.

The resident of Stamford, Conn., only had to cross state lines to come to Nichols, but she took a world view in making her decision.

“I was looking for a business school because I knew I wanted to major in international business, and I found an amazing opportunity here,” she said. “I also liked the opportunity Nichols gives you to grow, not only as a professional but also as a person. Coming in, I knew that I wanted to shape my career and skills. I wanted to enhance my leadership ability and my public speaking. I joined as many programs as I could to make myself better.”

Among the programs Velasco discovered here was the Nichols Institute for Women’s Leadership (IWL), which provides regular contact with and mentoring by successful female professionals. Her participation has led to speaking opportunities on panels and other occasions. She was also president of Nichols College’s chapter of the American Association University of Women and served as a mentor to female students at Bartlett High School in Webster, Mass., who participated in the Nichols College Connection program.

“I’m definitely a better leader,” she said. “Joining IWL was one of the best decisions I made at Nichols.”

Velasco was born in Ecuador and came to the United States with her parents when she was 8 years old.

“It was a little hard coming from a country where you understand the culture and language, to another where you don’t,” she said.

Her parents, however, taught her to never give up on her goals and dreams.

“And I didn’t,” she said. “I seek motivation every day, even if it may be hard at times. I tell myself, ‘I will never be average.’”

Velasco hasn’t lost sight of her Ecuadorian heritage.

“I’ve taken bits and pieces of both cultures and shaped myself,” said Velasco, who is an assistant in the Nichols Office of Diversity and Inclusion. “Being bilingual brings a lot of opportunities in the international business and financial advising fields.”

She values her contribution to the diversity of the Nichols community.

“That’s what makes companies successful,” said Velasco, who studied abroad last year in Barcelona, Spain. “When you have people with different ideas and perspectives, it makes a company better.”

As for her own notable success so far, she said, “I feel that I’ve grown over the past four years, and I feel prepared to take on any challenge that comes my way. The challenges are what make you stronger at the end.”


Nichols College is a college of choice for business and leadership education as a result of its distinctive career-focused and leadership-based approaches to learning, both in and out of the classroom, and through impactful research and professional education. Founded in 1815, Nichols transforms today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders through a dynamic, career-focused business and professional education. Within a supportive community, Nichols offers and experiential business curriculum with a strong liberal arts foundation that is enhanced by the scholarship of practice and pedagogy; integrates research and scholarship into the student experience programs and activities that cultivate and enhance professional skills and readiness; and develops the communication and critical-thinking abilities, the ethical and cultural perspectives, and the necessary teamwork skills that are required of leaders in a global economy.


Lorraine U. Martinelle
Director of Public Relations and Social Media
Nichols College
Dudley, MA 01571-5000
Twitter: @NicholsNewsroom and @Nichols_College