‘Growth Happens When You’re Uncomfortable’
Senior Cristi Wade Shares Her Wisdom on Optimizing the UHD Experience
By Ashley Kilday
We sat down with Cristi Wade, Marketing major and recent winner of a Ted Bauer Undergraduate Scholarship, and asked her to share her successful approach to college.
What brought you to UHD?
I had two friends who were already students at UHD. One transferred from UH and told me she preferred UHD. My other friend, who was also a Marketing major, told me the Marketing program at UHD was awesome. Additionally, my father-in-law (Timothy Wade) is a UHD alum—he earned his bachelor’s in Interdisciplinary Studies in 2011 and an alternative teaching certification in 2012. He completed these studies in his 50s and showed me that it’s never too late to get your degree.
Why study Marketing?
One summer, I took on a dog-walking gig for a woman who was opening an e-commerce site. She hired me to do some graphic design and ad work, and I learned to use what is now Meta Business Suite. I realized I could get a degree in Marketing, then opted to minor in Digital Marketing.
I interned at the Marilyn Davies College of Business for a year with the Digital Communications team. I also just got an internship at Love Advertising doing media buying. I’m still exploring, and every time I learn something new, I love Marketing more.
Who inspired you?
Dr. Michael Pettiette, a Marketing professor, let me know about my current internship with Love. I feel so supported by him. He made me feel excited about getting into the field, and he makes Marketing sound glamorous and fun. When you talk to people who know him, they all say they love him. I strive to be someone like that.
I also appreciate Thomas Lopez, who provided a letter of recommendation for the Ted Bauer scholarship. He encouraged me to apply and is still very supportive.
Are you involved on campus?
I am a member of the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA), and I am the vice president of social media for the American Marketing Association (AMA) chapter at UHD. We help students connect with each other, and we bring in industry professionals to introduce them to students and vice versa. I appreciate the opportunity to learn how to interact with the “suit and tie” crowd. Being a part of AMA helped boost my confidence. I was recently invited to an industry party. Three years ago, I would have hidden in a bathroom, but now I’m able to hold my own.
You mentioned wanting to give back to the community to pay forward what the scholarship gave you. How do you see yourself doing that?
Honestly, my biggest inspiration is Marilyn Davies. She’s so cool! At my first Ted Bauer Scholarship luncheon, one of the student speakers became emotional. Ms. Davies approached her and said, “Be up there and be proud, know you earned it!”
I so admire the way she gave back to the school. I hope I can one day help with scholarships and be part of the alumni organization to help students who are where I was when I got my scholarship. The scholarship was a godsend, and I want others to have that experience. (Wade is back row, sixth from the right, Bauer Scholars Luncheon photo.)
You had to work through college, is that right?
Yes, and I currently work part-time at my internship with Love. I paid for as much of my school each semester as I could afford. I wanted to graduate debt-free, and anything would help. I qualified for the Ted Bauer Scholarship, and it’s helping me graduate early.
I’ve become very meticulous. I sit down with my planner and use my syllabi to plan out my semester. This really helps me have a road map when I’m overwhelmed but still need to get things done. I set realistic goals for myself throughout the week. With some projects, you really can’t start Saturday night for a Monday deadline.
What’s one piece of advice for future Gators?
Get involved, even if it makes you uncomfortable. Growth happens when you’re uncomfortable. And get a planner—and actually use it.
For more from Christi, watch her video testimonial.
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.
U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.