Summer Venture in Business program leads accounting student to KU

The School of Business Summer Venture in Business program encourages students to enroll at KU.

When Ri’Auzzia Watson-Miller started at the University of Kansas this fall, she felt prepared.

The freshman accounting student already toured campus, spent time in the School of Business and made friends at KU as a rising high school junior participating in the Summer Venture in Business program back in 2017.

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Although she’s at the beginning of her academic journey, freshman accounting student Ri’Auzzia Watson-Miller already has plans for her future, which include opening a recreation center that offers activities and tutoring for kids and a 24/7 daycare for children with special needs.

“I think being able to come to Summer Venture really influenced my decision to come to KU,” Watson-Miller said. “Being able to actually get a look at the b-school, a feel for it, and talk to different professors and the dean — that had an influence. It feels like home here.”

Summer Venture in Business is a pre-college summer academy housed in the School of Business for underrepresented ethnic minority students in high school and/or potential first-generation college students who are interested in business. During the three-day program, students stay on campus, learn about the college experience in and out of the classroom, and explore business topics with faculty and staff.

Watson-Miller already knew she wanted to study accounting when she attended Summer Venture, and the program reinforced her interest and clarified the path to becoming a certified public accountant. She also appreciated hearing business students and alumni discuss their college and professional experiences.

Now that she’s officially a Business Jayhawk, Watson-Miller is branching out to pursue other interests. She’s minoring in Spanish, American Sign Language, advanced African language study and psychology, and is involved in a variety of campus programs and organizations, including G.E.M.S., the Black Student Union, Hawk Link and the Multicultural Business Scholars Program (MBSP).

“MBSP most definitely helps a lot,” she said, adding, “We have a community. We bond together and have similar interests, so we’re able to talk about those things or study together.”

She learned about MBSP, which includes a scholarship in addition to networking and development opportunities, from Steven Johnson Jr., director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Student Programs in the School of Business, at a Summer Venture reunion last year. The reunion also allowed her to reconnect with people from her cohort, which includes four or five people now attending KU who all stay in touch. (Since the program launched in 2017, 15 participants have enrolled at KU and seven are studying business.)

“You make new friends and you’re able to build a community in case you do come to KU,” she said of Summer Venture. “It is a great program that not many can come to — if you have the opportunity, you should definitely take it.”

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