Jordan Pana: Creates lasting gift for future students


When the first S.T.R.I.V.E. Scholarship is awarded for the first time this fall, no one, not even the recipient, will be celebrating the moment more than Jordan T. Pana and his classmates, Liz Weber and Amber Kern.

Jordan T. Pana

The three business majors established the award as their senior honors project — one of the few student-initiated scholarships in UA history. The S.T.R.I.V.E. Scholarship — Success Through Resilience, Initiative, Values and Endurance — is designed to help other business students who need just a little financial aid to finish their degree work and graduate.

Of course, there are other moments of celebration coming Pana's way.

He has been chosen to speak on behalf of the Fall Class of 2013 as the student responder at the 2 p.m. commencement ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 14, at E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Hall. Pana will be awarded a B.B.A. in Marketing Management and Integrated Marketing Communications, summa cum laude.

Giving back, paying forward

"We've all been supported in many ways — this is an opportunity to give back to other students who are so close to graduating and so deserving of support to finish their degrees," says Pana of the S.T.R.I.V.E. Scholarship.

In his years at UA, Pana himself has been the recipient of several scholarships, including the Honors Scholarship and the Peggy and Bill Maltarich Scholarship for Excellence. He also has been active on campus in such organizations as Relay for Life, the Honors Business Group and the American Marketing Association.

Pana and another team of classmates recently triumphed by taking first place in the Rosetta Digital Marketing Challenge — competing against 38 teams. The student teams are required to create a complete digital marketing campaign. The winning UA team used social media, mobile apps and a variety of other strategies to promote Google Glass. 

When Pana considers the highlights of his Akron Experience, one of most important was his opportunity to intern with the Cleveland Indians through its College Partnership Program. He worked in merchandising and, at the end of the internship, was offered a position as an assistant manager-in-training in merchandise distribution. Pana held the post for a year before resigning due to his class schedule this last semester.

Real world experience valued

"It was such a great experience," says Pana. "It was extremely challenging at times, but ultimately, it was the best preparation for handling challenges in the future."

Creating and funding a scholarship in a matter of months would qualify as just such a challenge.

For the project, the three students were guided by Dr. Susan Hanlon, assistant dean of the College of Business Administration, as their adviser.

"They began their work last spring with nothing but an idea that would help other students," says Hanlon. "They learned how to scope a project into something significant, yet doable, how to organize a project and then drive it to final completion. The neatest thing about their project is they will leave UA knowing they have indeed made a difference in one of their peer’s lives."

"With a donor gift and the fundraising we've been able to do, we feel the S.T.R.I.V.E. Scholarship is well established," says Pana. "Going forward, we hope other honors students will create projects to continue the fundraising for it."