Ball State Graduate School Blog

Where will graduate school take you?

Meet Judy, a fashion merchandising student and world traveler

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We’re happy to introduce you to Judy Qiong Zhu, who came to Ball State from China to pursue both her undergraduate and graduate degrees. While pursuing her Masters degree in Fashion Merchandising, she held a graduate assistantship in the Rinker Center for International Programs and had the opportunity to travel to multiple countries as part of an interdisciplinary team. Judy sat down with us to share more about her graduate experience and why she’s pleased with her choice to attend Ball State. 

Face photo

Photo courtesy of Judy Zhu

On what drew her to Ball State:

“I joined an Asian Cooperation program that was called Sino-American CHEPD 1+2+1  and came to Ball State when I was a junior. I was majoring in Business Administration and Human Recourse Management. I fell in love with Ball State once I arrived here because it has a very diverse community. I have met and made friends with people from all around the world.

After I earned my undergraduate degree from Ball State in May 2014, I was inspired by Angela Ahrendts, a fabulous Ball State alumnus, who graduated from the fashion merchandising program here. She had a deep influence on my decision to come back to Ball State to pursue my graduate program.”

Study Abroad trip in Machu Picchu Peru

Photo courtesy of Judy Zhu

On what she learned as a graduate assistant:

“I have been working as a graduate assistant in the Ball State Rinker Center for International Programs since August 2014. I’ve been able to assist my supervisor, the director of Ball State China Initiative, to promote Ball State University in China through the Asian Cooperation programs.  I’ve learned so many important lessons from my supervisor and my peers that have helped me succeed in the working environment. I have come to realize that being reliable, respectful and responsible would help me excel in my future career.  My colleagues are also very warm, cheerful, caring and inspiring. I am not only shown ‘what’ to do, and ‘how’ to do projects but also taught ‘why’ things are approached and processed in certain ways. My ideas and opinions are also respected.”

Ball State Chinese New Year Event 2015

Photo courtesy of Judy Zhu

On the travel opportunities she’s had at Ball State:

“I am passionate about appreciating different cultures, and as a student at Ball State, I’ve been able to achieve my dream of traveling the world. During summer of 2015, I joined the Ball State CAP Americano Study Abroad program and I was given the chance to travel to Argentina, Bolivia and Peru.

I received many unique opportunities to visit some of the top companies in these countries, including a food factory, a fashion company, a government organization, and hospital network. At each, I was able to talk to members in the senior management team.  I have received more information of the operations and built personal connections with these companies. These trips have also offered some special opportunities for me to work with the colleges students from different countries.”

International Ambassador%27s Association in the Ball State Homecoming Parade 2014

Photo courtesy of Judy Zhu

On how Ball State is preparing her for a professional career:

“My graduate assistantship experience and the student organization leadership opportunities I had during my time at Ball State have shaped me into a better professional. I interviewed with a Fortune 500 company and they provided me an offer. Ball State has played a vital role in preparing me to be a competent candidate for this position.”

On how Ball State has transformed her life:

“This place has helped me build outstanding leadership skills and it has enabled me to confidently communicate with people from all over the world. It also helped me realize my dreams and taught me that nothing is impossible. I’ve been empowered to be very independent and strong, and I’ve been able to realize what my life goals are during my time here.”

Her advice for incoming students:

“Explore the various opportunities available through Ball State and actively involve yourself. Students should use every opportunity to enhance their skills and prepare themselves for the professional world. Keep a positive attitude towards life here and be proud to be part of Ball State. Enjoy yourself!”

Thanks for sharing with us, Judy!

If you’d like to learn more about the Fashion Merchandising program or any Masters degrees in Family and Consumer Sciences, check out their website or contact their graduate program director. To learn more about the Rinker Center for International Programs, visit their website

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