While many college students struggle to keep track of their checking accounts and student loans, eight students from Texarkana A&M University-Texarkana had an opportunity to get real-world banking experience as members of the Commercial National Bank Collegiate Ambassador Board.
The board’s mission is to educate students on activities and experiences within a financial institution, provide opportunities to gain experience and knowledge in serving as an advisory board member, and allow insight and the opportunity for feedback on the bank’s marketing strategies.
Members of the Collegiate Ambassador Board attended monthly sessions at the bank from October to May, focusing on areas such as leadership, banking laws, financial literacy, marketing strategies, planning, and mortgage and commercial lending. Students also were challenged to brainstorm ideas for the development of a social media campaign and Eagle account for the bank as a final project.
“We were pleased to partner with Commercial National Bank to provide a positive and enriching learning experience for our students,” said Dr. Emily Cutrer, A&M-Texarkana president. “The students gained a great deal of insight into the world of banking and developed important networking, communication and critical thinking skills. We look forward to working with other businesses and industries in the region to provide similar initiatives for our students.”
Dr. Larry Davis, dean of the A&M-Texarkana College of Business, worked with bank officials to select the first class for the program.
“From day one, our students were energized by the enthusiasm shown by Commercial National Bank’s officers, directors and staff,” Dr. Davis said. “Students valued the opportunity to develop professional relationships and explore career opportunities in banking. We truly appreciate Commercial National Bank’s ongoing support of our students and university.”
Dennis Huffman, president of Commercial National Bank, explained, “When you begin any inaugural endeavor, you always hope for the best and are excited when it exceeds your expectations. Not only did the Collegiate Board learn about banking, but we learned what their generation expects and wants from the banking industry. We look forward to continuing our partnership with A&M-Texarkana and the Collegiate Ambassador Board.”
As the bank and the university prepare for the fall semester, Huffman said students are encouraged to apply for the 2015-16 Commercial National Bank Collegiate Ambassador Board.
“We want to especially thank Dr. Cutrer for advancing the idea of the board and Dr. Davis for his participation,” Huffman said.
2014-15 Collegiate Ambassador Board members included the following:
· Logan Byrd of Texarkana, Texas, a senior pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in marketing. Byrd graduated from Pleasant Grove High School and said he was both honored and excited to be selected and to learn about the world of banking to better understand its influence on future careers in the business world.
· Devin Cigainero of Queen City, a junior pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in finance. A graduate of Queen City High School, Cigainero said he appreciated the opportunity to learn more about the banking industry and establish new professional contacts.
· Landon Forbes of Texarkana, Texas, a junior seeking a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in management. A graduate of Texas High School, Forbes said the program expanded his knowledge of the banking industry and helped him establish new contacts outside of the university.
· Shelby Franklin of Atlanta, a senior pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in finance. A graduate of McLeod High School, Franklin said she is preparing for a career in banking and appreciated the experience she gained on the board.
· Nathan McWilliams of Texarkana, Texas, a senior pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting. A graduate of Atlanta High School, McWilliams said his knowledge of banking was limited before joining the board and that he valued the opportunity to serve.
· Kendal Rowe of Hooks, a junior pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting. A graduate of Texas High School, Rowe said the knowledge and contacts she gained through the program were beneficial to her as she prepares for a career as a certified public accountant.
· Lindsay Rushing of Wake Village, a junior seeking a Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in marketing. A graduate of Redwater High School, Rushing said the program provided her with opportunities to actively participate in her community and for personal and professional growth.
· Janette Urenda of Texarkana, Texas, a senior pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting. Urenda, who received a GED diploma, said she appreciated the opportunity to improve her leadership and communication skills and to establish meaningful professional relationships.