Skip to main content

Student spotlight: Alissa Minerd

by Public Relations | February 21, 2024

LATROBE, PA — Alissa Minerd, C 25, has never seen a ghost, scratched off a winning million-dollar lottery ticket or saved a kitten stuck up in a tree. “I wish I had stories like that to tell,” Minerd said with a laugh. “I wish my life was a little more interesting.”

Maybe Minerd is selling herself a little bit short. Midway through her juniAlissaMinerd.jpegor year at Saint Vincent College, Minerd is authoring an interesting—and exhausting—personal story. She is a first-generation college student, a double-major (accounting and marketing), a Fred Rogers Scholar, a prefect and a career assistant at the Career and Professional Development Center. Later this year, Minerd will work an internship that she hopes will lead to a full-time job.

“I would say I’m a very disciplined person,” Minerd said. “That’s especially true with my job as a prefect. There are a lot of unexpected occurrences, and I’ve learned to go with the flow and do things to the best of my ability. It’s taught me about priorities and how to be a leader in a way that’s best for everyone.”

It helps that Minerd had superb time-management skills before she arrived at Saint Vincent. She’s also been influenced along the way by some timely decisions, solid planning and a little bit of serendipity.

Coming out of Bethlehem-Center High School, Minerd wanted to be an accountant. That plan changed last year when she enrolled in the SAP Business One program, an enterprise resource planning software platform that helps small businesses thrive. “I went into [the program] like, ‘Oh, this is just going to be a resume-builder,’” Minerd said. “Then I started to learn I can make a career out of it. It was a turning point for me.”

Minerd soon realized accounting isn’t exactly the direction she wants to follow, so she added a second major in marketing. “Yes, it’s more work, but I knew I could handle it because I’ve been handling everything else up to this point,” she said. “Why not tack on something else? It’s rewarding because I get to be creative and stay in the world of business.”

Minerd began her SAP Business One classes last summer and continued into the fall. She will put her expertise with the platform to use this coming summer as an intern with Stellar One Consulting, which specializes in working with small and midsized businesses.

“Alissa is one of the star juniors in my SAP Business One program,” said business administration instructor Robert Markley, noting Minerd finished first in her class.

Minerd pushes herself so hard in part because she is a first-generation collegian. “It sets a standard,” she said. “You have to work hard for what you get. That’s super important. My [younger] brother sees everything that I do. He’s like, ‘You’re crazy—but I kind of want to do the same thing. I see that you love what you do and you’re getting a lot out of it.’”

Being a trailblazer is challenging. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, “Research shows that first-gen students often confront significant obstacles in accessing higher education, succeeding after enrollment, and graduating. They lack the advantage of a parent’s college experience, which can be a key resource for navigating the ‘hidden curriculum,’ the sometimes-confusing terms and practices on a campus and in a classroom.”

The financial, personal and social hurdles can be high for first-generation students, but the rewards for persevering are great.

“My parents sometimes don’t understand what I’m going through because they never had to do it,” Minerd said. “So, it’s kind of like you’re on your own. It’s been difficult for me to grasp, but it’s one of those learning and growing experiences that’s made me who I am today—more independent—and I appreciate every part of it.”



PHOTO: Alissa Minerd