At UMass Dartmouth, Sumalee Frank found her calling.
Sumalee, from Fall River, MA, started her education elsewhere and it didn’t click for her. She transferred to UMass Dartmouth and says, “I am really, really happy with my decision. I’ve built confidence and am prepared to start my own business.”
She believes college is about more than just getting a nice job. “Think about how you can drive your own career in a way that will be fulfilling and rewarding to yourself and others,” she said.
“I’ve had lots of opportunities to develop leadership and management skills that not only apply to my career, but to anything in life,” she added. “It is rewarding to help others reach goals and to build teams.” Sumalee leads the business portion of the team UMass Dartmouth will send to Washington, D.C. for the Marine Energy Collegiate Competition in May. UMass Dartmouth is one of 15 institutions invited to design and propose a device to harness wave energy and store it in a battery in the ocean. Sumalee and her team are creating the business plan, which will be judged as part of the competition. The business and engineering students meet regularly to collaborate on the production and the presentation.
“It’s so exciting to be part of this project,” she said. “I really like dealing with people, to influence them and lead them to accomplishment.” She found early on that communication is critical in trying to achieve a product with colleagues who have different skills. “Our team met with the engineering team to hear their plans. We were so intimidated and struggled to understand the basic concepts.” She reached out to the engineering student lead to invite him to meet with her team, and that broke through the “engineer” language and got them all on the same page.
She cited another meaningful opportunity when she traveled to the Azores to participate in a business plan event. “We traveled as part of my Entrepreneur class to work with people who wanted to start a business,” she said. “I helped people build evidence-based business plans and consider markets for their products.”
She encourages others to keep from letting a lack of confidence get in the way of trying new things and following their dreams. Her dream is to open her own interior design firm. “I’ve always wanted to own my own business,” she said. “Now I know I can do it and will do it!”