Having traveled the world, graduate now strives to pay it forward


Aniqa Feerasta

Snapshot: Aniqa Feerasta

Triangle B.A. in Economics and a BSBA, minor in Spanish, graduated in 2010

Triangle Currently: Site merchandiser for Amazon in Seattle  

Triangle Aniqa returned to campus to speak to new students as part of UA's Honors Leadership Summit. About this series.

A native of Pakistan who has lived with her family in New Zealand, Australia and now, the United States, Aniqa Feerasta says she's always had "a curiosity about the wider world" and a desire to work and travel abroad.

Her Akron Experience included studying in South Korea, presenting an award-winning paper in Switzerland and interviewing self-made billionaire Warren Buffett for UA's Z-TV.

Since graduating, the Buckingham Scholar has followed her own advice, with a resume that includes working in Kabul, Afghanistan, for Roshan, a telecom operation that is part of the Switzerland-based Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development. Feerasta helped launch the company's social media strategy.

She also continues to follow some advice gleaned from her interview with Buffett — "Managing your life is a lot more important than managing money."

"Ultimately, I just want to harness my talents and contribute them in a positive way," notes Feerasta. "Nobody's success is just due to their own efforts. I've been very fortunate, to have people in my life, whether it's family or friends or professors or mentors, who have given their time, or their experience, or their knowledge, just for the sake of helping someone else and watching them succeed. Being a beneficiary of other people's generosity, I think, obliges you to pay it forward later and be that same catalyst for someone else. That's what I aspire to do."

Career pursuits

"I decided to pursue an opportunity in Afghanistan…I think I was very much ready for the adventure."


“I was very fortunate to have so many wonderful professors willing to help you achieve your goals.”

Studying abroad

“I really wanted to experience life as a student in another country, somewhere I had never been.”

Interviewing Warren Buffett

"I've learned not to be intimidated by people’s titles and positions…Just go out there and ask. Take a shot. What’s the worst that can happen?"

Making a difference

"A lot of us have ambitions to change the world…After going to Afghanistan, I've learned you should also take time to invest in your skill set…so that you can equip yourself to effect change down the road."

The 'Akron Experience'

“The college experience isn’t necessarily about the major you choose…I really had the freedom to explore different avenues and passions…It was really a liberating time for me."

About this series

As incoming Honors College students prepared to start their first year on the UA campus, they received sparks of inspiration from four honors alumni — all recent College of Business Administration graduates — who became more than their majors and found success on their chosen paths.

The four, who had all been all Buckingham Scholars, were brought to campus through the Honors Leadership Summit, which is a program hosted by the Institute for Leadership Advancement within the CBA. The institute, established in 2012 by a $1 million gift from The J.M. Smucker Company, promotes the development of leaders with the unique combination of knowledge, skills and principles needed to make an impact on their organizations early in their careers.

The alumni that returned to inspire, one each week, were: 

  • Aniqa Feerasta, Amazon;
  • Mike Honeck, Walt Disney Imagineer;
  • Michael Modon, Google; and
  • Jessica Custer, MBAs Without Borders.

Capping off the series as keynote speaker was Richard Smucker, CEO of his family's company. He spoke about wise and ethical leadership.

In wide-ranging interviews before their presentations, each graduate talked about the value of his or her UA education. From mentors to motivations, from goal setting to overcoming fear, from campus involvement to studying abroad, each shaped an Akron Experience that made them ready for everything that has followed.

See what Mike Honeck, Michael Modon and Jessica Custer had to say.