At a Glance

Year: ‘24
Major(s): Marketing and Entrepreneurship
Activities: River Hawk Scholars Academy, Asian American Center for Excellence and Engagement
Why UML? “They have an incredible business school, and I was excited and relieved to be part of a program like River Hawk Scholars Academy that would help guide me through college. UMass Lowell is also tremendously generous with financial aid. That is important for someone like me who did not come from much.”

Business Administration BS

Gain the analytical and problem-solving skills that employers seek with UMass Lowell's business administration major.

Jessica Tran aspires to own her own fashion business someday.
“But I want sustainable and environmentally friendly fashion solutions rather than luxury design,” the business major from Quincy, Massachusetts, says. “Most of the things you see on the runway at Paris Fashion Week or New York Fashion Week, not everybody can wear it — and not everybody can afford to wear it. I want to make it accessible to the average consumer. I want to create solutions that actually solve people's problems.”
Tran’s blend of big ambitions and practical thinking led her to UMass Lowell.
Her parents, who immigrated to the United States from Vietnam in the 1990s, encouraged her to become the first in the family to graduate from college but couldn’t help her financially, she says.
“UMass Lowell gave me generous financial aid, which was huge,” says Tran, whose younger sister, Julia, is a psychology major at UML. “It’s not like we can just rely on our parents to pay for everything for us, because we don’t have that kind of money.”
Through the River Hawk Scholars Academy (RHSA), a supportive community for first-generation college students, Tran was able to get through a “pretty tough” first year of remote learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
“It’s probably the No. 1 thing that made me feel welcome and love the school so much,” says Tran, who became an RHSA peer leader as a sophomore. She rose to team leader as a junior and helped organize the RHSA’s inaugural conference for first-gen students.
“I had never planned something so big from scratch before. It was a valuable experience to develop my leadership skills and to work collaboratively with faculty and other students,” says Tran, who spoke about the RHSA’s impact on her college journey at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new home on the third floor of O’Leary Library.
Tran, who also serves as a peer mentor in the Asian American Center for Excellence and Engagement, discovered interests in fashion and entrepreneurship in high school. She considered attending a fashion school for college but decided that a business degree (with concentrations in marketing and entrepreneurship) would provide her with a broader range of opportunities.
“I’m on the entrepreneurial path, so I feel like I have a very different mindset with how I approach things,” says Tran, who had a commercial real estate internship with Project Destined and has another summer internship lined up with Flywheel Partners, a health care marketing agency.
No matter where her career eventually takes her, Tran says she will always be grateful for the boost that the RHSA and UML have provided her.
“College is not the only way to be successful in America, but education unlocks the door to countless opportunities in the workforce,” she says. “As a first-generation college student, I am able to break out of the patterns my family has established and choose my own path.”

Be understanding with others

Jessica Tran headshot
“Be patient and understanding with others. That does not mean you should let their mistakes slide, but rather try to see life through their eyes and perspective."