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Coggin College of Business

Aspire Initiative

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About the Initiative


To better prepare and serve our growing number of exceptional marketing students, the UNF Marketing and Logistics department has created the Aspire initiative to:

  • Extend and enhance the experience of excelling students.
  • Provide real-world opportunities for experiential learning through professional internships, case projects, and service opportunities.
  • Build and support ongoing relationships with regional businesses.
  • Increase employment opportunities for marketing students.

Aspire students complete all courses required to graduate with a marketing degree and, through the elective Aspire course, build knowledge and skills sought by hiring managers. Successful completion of the Aspire course (B or better), earns the student invitations to Marketing Advisory Council (MAC) meetings and the opportunity to complete marketing case projects and internships with area companies.

Enrolling in Aspire


The Aspire initiative provides an opportunity for marketing majors to learn valuable personal, interpersonal, professional, and technical skills required by employers that are not typically covered in traditional academic classes. And, once you pass the Aspire class with a B or higher, you’ll be invited to the Marketing Advisory Council meetings where you get to network with dozens of local employers. Here you have the opportunity to get real experiential learning by taking on short case projects, volunteering, or doing internships all of which boost your resume. In addition, if you meet all the requirements of Honors in Marketing, you will graduate with Honors.

To join Aspire you must meet the following requirements. If you do, simply register for MAR 4906, “Special Topics–Aspire Marketing" during regular registration.

  • Marketing Major.
  • Have completed MAR 3023 with a “B” or higher.
  • UNF or Overall GPA of 3.2 or higher.

For additional information, please see our FAQ.

About the Internship


Each Aspire student may, but is not required to, complete a professional internship. Students may complete an internship in any location around the world, but the internship should meet the following requirements and be approved by the Head of Aspire prior to the student starting the internship. We recommend these criteria to help ensure Aspire students receive meaningful, professional work experience related to their career path.

Qualified internships should be:

  • At least 200 hours, which is equivalent to 12.5 hours a week for a full semester (16 weeks). Total hours can be in any combination (e.g., 20 hours a week for 10 weeks), but students should not work more than 20 hours a week if enrolled full time in college courses. Students may start and end an internship across semesters, so may start anytime the company needs and the student’s schedule allows.
  • Paid at least minimum wage.
  • Consist of primarily professional activities (not clerical).
  • Related to marketing, which includes, but is not necessarily limited to, activities in sales, product design or assessment, advertising or promotion including social media, pricing analysis, logistics or supply chain design or assessment, any form of market research including competitive analysis and marketing data analysis.
  • A series of assessable tasks or project, which forms the basis of the internship course grade.
  • Hiring manager completes a survey-based assessment of the student at the end of the internship.

Organizations may request Aspire student(s) for an internship by emailing marketing.honors@unf.edu.

About the Service Component


To gain relevant work experience, Aspire students may also, but are not required to, complete a service project of at least 100 hours, which should be marketing related. All career-related service activities should be approved by the Aspire Initiative head.

Not-for-profits may request Aspire student(s) for a project by emailing marketing.honors@unf.edu. We encourage marketing- or business-related activities. Aspire maintains a list of recognized not-for-profits from which students can choose based on the mission and activity that best meets their schedule and career interests.

Aspire Students

Aspire students are the top ten percent of the marketing major. They have completed additional in-depth training preparing them for work in a professional environment, building their technical and “soft” skills, and focusing their career on areas of interest that build on their strengths.

All students are qualified to take on and manage case projects, internships and, as they approach graduation, full-time positions in marketing. Feel free to email them directly. 

ASPIRE STUDENT

AREAS OF INTEREST

GRADUATION DATE

Sadie Adams

Consumer Behavior|Analytics|Social Media

Spring 2024

Jaden Briones

Advertising|Digital Media|Social Media

Fall 2025

Marcelo Celi

Musician|Graphic Design|Marketing Communications

Fall 2023

Alyssa Commons

Advertising|Social Media|Research

Spring 2024

Logan Custer

Marketing Strategy|Sales|Digital Marketing

Fall 2023

Amber Dale

Branding|International Marketing|Product Design

Spring 2023

Ben Geesey

Content Creation|Digital Marketing|Analytics

Fall 2023

Emerald Hall

Digital Marketing|Advertising|Marketing Communications

Spring 2024

Maya Jones

B2B Marketing|Sales|Customer Experience

Spring 2023

Nadyia Jones

Marketing Strategy|Social Media|Digital Marketing

Summer 2023

Gabriel I. Medina Pagan

Research|Marketing Strategy|Critical Analysis

Spring 2023

Caitlyn Roberts

Advertising|Digital Marketing|Sports Marketing

Spring 2023

Marla Saikali

Advertising|Digital Marketing|Social Media

Spring 2023

Parker Schmidt

Advertising|Marketing Communications|Design

Spring 2024

Caitlin Spence

Transportation and Logistics|Research|Marketing Operations

Fall 2023

Jonathan Stephen

Analytics|Transportation and Logistics

Spring 2024

Gabriela Vargas

Advertising|Social Media and Content Creation|Digital Marketing

Summer 2023

Sophia Wyche

Not-for-Profit Marketing|Campaign Management|Marketing Strategy

Fall 2023

Frequently Asked Questions

 

  • What are the benefits of the Aspire Initiative?

    Employers tell us most graduates are unprepared for professional careers. To address this need, Aspire starts with a special course, giving you direction to define your career and improve the personal, interpersonal, managerial, and technical skills most requested by employers.

    After passing the class with a B or better, Aspire students are invited to the Marketing Advisory Council (MAC) meetings (two per semester) and are eligible for case projects and internships.

  • Will participating affect my graduation date?
    Most likely not. Aspire is designed to use electives that qualify as part of the standard marketing major. Only three hours are used in Aspire. However, to be sure, check with your advisor.
  • Is there a cost to apply or for Aspire?

    There are no application or acceptance fees for the Aspire Initiative. Most of the funding comes from the Coggin College of Business and the Marketing Advisory Council

    There may be small costs ($20 to $30) for assessments during the required Aspire class, but that is the extent of the costs of either program option.

  • What if I don’t complete the requirements?
    Since Aspire has no requirements beyond the class, once you are accepted and complete the three-hour class, you have met the requirements and other activities such as MAC meetings, case projects, service, and internships are available to you but are optional.
  • I work and go to school. How much time does the Honors program take?
    We’ve had several students who take four or five classes and work about 20 hours a week and still have been successful. Once you pass the Aspire class, all other activities are optional, and you can incorporate as many as your schedule allows.
  • What is required to apply?
    You must be a marketing major, or dual major with marketing, or declare a marketing major on acceptance to Aspire, you must have passed (or about to pass the semester you apply) Principles of Marketing (MAR 3023 or equivalent) with a “B” or better. You also must have at least a 3.2 UNF GPA with at least 12 UNF hours to apply.
  • Do I get any exposure to companies?
    Yes. Aspire is closely linked with the MAC, UNF’s council representing area marketing employers. As an Aspire student, you’ll be invited to attend once you have passed the Aspire course with a B or better.
  • How does the internship work?

    The optional internship is an approved, paid, professional marketing position (of at least 200 hours) designed to build your resume. Though an internship is not required, Aspire sets these standards to protect you from opportunist companies that lead students on about “internships” that really won’t help your career or resume. If you do an internship and sign up for the internship class, Aspire will approve the internship for you and notify the Career Center.

    While Aspire doesn’t guarantee an internship, having contact with MAC members (many of whom offer internships) and more awareness of your career goals help you focus on opportunities that meet your needs. Note: there is currently a Covid waiver allowing non-paid internships.

  • Does the internship have to be in Jacksonville?
    No. If the internship meets Aspire’s requirements, it can be done at any company in the world.
  • Does the internship need to be completed in a semester?
    No. The only requirements are that the internship needs to be at least 200 hours (many students choose to do more), consist of professional marketing activities, and be paid (there is currently a Covid waiver allowing non-paid internships).
  • What about the service hours?

    To build your skills and resume, and give back to the community, we encourage students to seek out marketing activities at not-for-profits. We also have relationships with several local not-for-profits, and there are several on the MAC who offer volunteer opportunities. Students often think 100 hours is a lot, but over the course of a year, it’s about two hours a week. Some students do it all in a few weeks during the summer.

     While service is an optional activity for Aspire students, this is a great way for you to build your resume and network.

  • I’m an international student on a student visa, can I do an internship?

    International students at UNF are typically here on F-1 Visas, which allows you to work off campus after the first year if the work is related to your course of study. Aspire offers a designated three-credit internship class. This should meet the requirements to work under the F-1 Visa. However, your internship will be approved (or recommendation to adjust it for approval) by the “SEVIS Designated Official” in UNF’s International Center.

    US Government information is here:

    Student Visas
    Students and Employment

  • How do I join the Aspire initiative?
    A formal application is not necessary. Students register for the Aspire course via online just as you would other courses. The requirements are automatically tested to ensure the student qualifies. (“B” or better in Principles of Marketing   and 3.2 overall UNF GPA.) The class is offered under MAR 4906 and meets Tuesdays and Thursdays per the schedule. (Not offered during summer sessions.)