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Business student achieves success despite a turbulent uphill climb

December 08, 2009

From the outside, Melissa Liampetch may appear to have it all – she’s bright and has a positive personality and a streak of strong determination that has led her to become a leader in her sorority and an outstanding mentor for freshmen in the W.P. Carey School of Business.

But the 22-year-old has had an uphill road to her graduation on Dec. 17. She’s been on her own since she was 17, working full time while carrying a full load of classes. She’s also been caring for her younger brother, who was 15 when he joined her to live in Arizona.

The two had a turbulent home life, with a father in the military and a mother who wasn’t around much. After graduating from high school, Liampetch says she didn’t know much about college, but “I knew I wanted a different life.” So she came to Arizona, got two jobs, moved into an apartment and enrolled in 15 hours of classes.

In her job with T-Mobile she discovered a talent for customer relations, and in her freshman year she was the top part-time sales representative in the Western region of the United States, winning a trip to New York to meet the company president. She continued working for the company, earning further kudos by teaching her sales team what she’d learned in her ASU sales management class.

Motivated to accomplish more, Liampetch joined a sorority her junior year and became the group’s philanthropy chair. She also became a facilitator for 19 freshmen in WPC 101, the success course for first-year students in business. A year ago she took another job, as brand ambassador and event planner for an energy drink company.

Through all this she has coped with the most difficult hurdle, the news that her brother had throat cancer. She saw him through chemotherapy, and now the 19-year-old is doing well and is enrolled in a justice studies program at ASU.

“My goal when I graduate is to get a really good job and help him, so he can go out with his friends and not be so stressed out, like me,” Liampetch says. “I guide him as much as I can. I feel like his mom, his sister and his best friend.”

Media contact:

Sarah Auffret
(480) 965-6991