“Women are strong and can do many things,” said Cassidy Clegg Smith, a Utah Valley University junior in art and design, with a minor in marketing. UVU’s Women’s Success Center spotlighted her as an example for others to follow as they pursue their degrees.

“Whatever they want to do — creating a career for themselves or pursuing a four- to six-year-degree, they can do it,” she said. “They have to be willing to put in the work to change their lifestyle and fit those goals. They should believe in themselves. They can do whatever they put their minds to.”

Part of her inspiration to have a positive attitude has come from her parents, she said.

“They encouraged me and said I would be blessed if I worked hard. My mom had me when she was pretty young. My dad was out of the picture. She got her associate degree when I was a baby. She was a hard worker and inspired me. When I was 6, she married my stepdad. I love him so much and appreciate him.

“They definitely taught me the value of education. They always wanted me to go to college and get a degree. They were always there to help me with homework in junior high and high school.”

Because of that example, she said a degree is “super valuable” to her.

“It will help you further your career and it also shows that you are committed, have a passion, and that you can work hard,” she said.

She attended Merit College Preparatory Academy in Springville for three-and-a-half years and said it helped her find scholarships and service opportunities.

Once she got to UVU, she found additional help. She also received scholarships from the Women’s Success Center that have been a “huge blessing” to her.

“I also had success coaching meetings twice a semester,” she said. “They helped me stay motivated and organized. Peggy Pasin has been the best success coach I could have ever asked for. She is so kind and always has the best advice. She cares so much for each of the girls she coaches, and I’m so grateful to know her. She has helped inspire me to continue to pursue a bachelor’s degree and helped me make a plan so everything goes smoothly.”

Part of her plan is learning to balance work and academics. The two are related, as she works in marketing and design for both. A part-time (20-25 hours a week) job at the Covey Center in Provo gives her experience in both marketing and graphic design.

“That is what encouraged me to change my major,” she said. “Marketing is so fascinating to me, I have learned so much about it in the program here at UVU. I think one of my favorite things I’ve learned is that as marketers we aren’t trying to just make money by selling things to people. Rather, we are finding out their needs and wants and figuring out how we can help them fulfill those needs by bringing them to the right products.

“Working at the Covey Center, I work hard to tweak each campaign to reach the people who will most enjoy our shows. Seeing the theater seats fill up helps me know I’m doing a good job, and that I’m helping in a small way to provide people with a night at the theater they will always remember.”

Smith says she sometimes has a challenge to not compare herself with others. She reminds herself that she has value to others and can create things.

“I also do wedding photography on the side,” she said. “I would like to do something I could do both. It would be great.”

She will graduate in spring 2021, an event she says her mother “can’t stand still” for.

“I love UVU. Every year I have been shown why I am here. It is the right school for me.”

To learn more about the Women’s Success Center at UVU, visit uvu.edu/wsc.

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