The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

In the Spotlight

May 10, 2013

Expanding horizons: Business studies allow GJHS grad to travel abroad

JOHNSTOWN — Jasmine Narcisse has been chosen to be a commencement speaker for Fox School of Business at Temple University, Philadelphia.

When the former Johnstown resident graduates Thursday, it will be a day after her 22nd birthday.

Narcisse will receive her degree in international business administration and already has a job in her field.

Since April 8, she has been juggling her classes at Temple with her part-time position as marketing coordinator at Bree & Associates Inc., an engineering construction management and consulting firm based in North Carolina that has just expanded into Philadelphia.

“I have an interest in international business because I love people and have a sensitivity for different cultures,” Narcisse said. “I’m aware of current events and the history of countries. I’ve always been business-minded, so this is a natural fit.”

At Bree & Associates, she has been working 20 hours a week and will go full time after graduation.

“We do infrastructure, bridges and highways and get contracts to larger firms,” Narcisse said. “We’re in a growth stage with just expanding.”

As the only Philadelphia employee so far, she was given the responsibility of finding an office base for her new company.

“When it’s just you, there’s nobody to hide behind,” Narcisse said. “I had some reservations about it. In business school, they tell you to work for a big group. I hesitated to go with a small firm, but this was an opportunity to get exposure and grow with the firm.”

For housing, she plans to stay on for another year in the apartment where she lived during school to save some money.

Before signing on with Bree & Associates, Narcisse had an internship as an export assistant with the International Trade Administration for 16 hours a week.

She also interned with the Federal Transit Administration, and by staying in contact with her former employer, she landed her current job.

“I was a volunteer planner at a career fair and the one who owns the business now works at Bree & Associates, so networking pays,” Narcisse said.

Narcisse chose to attend Temple University because its international business program is in the national top 10.

“I came for a visit, and it felt right,” she said. “I felt like I belonged. There was a diverse population, and it was far from Johnstown. I wanted to explore something new. God definitely had a hand in lining everything up, from school to my job.”

Narcisse had the opportunity to study abroad in the fall of 2011 when she attended Temple University in Rome.

With no classes on Fridays and the weekends open, she also had the opportunity to spread her wings by traveling.

After getting to know Italy, her favorite destinations were Morocco, Budapest, Belgium and Paris.

Growing up in Somerset, she faced discrimination being a member of the only African-American family in the area.

“Instead of harboring resentment, I wanted to speak out for diversity,” she said. “Through studying international business, I’ve developed an appreciation for diversity.”

Narcisse moved with her family to the Moxham section of Johnstown from Somerset when she was in seventh or eighth grade.

Developing a business mind even then, she made her own greeting cards and sold them and collaborated with a cousin on the invention of a board game they called “Einstein.”

When it comes to hobbies, friends say Narcisse is so old because she likes to hang out with friends.

If she could choose a favorite pastime, it would be traveling.

“My mother raised three kids by herself, so there was no money for vacations or travel,” Narcisse said. “I’m thankful for my family. They’ve been a huge support.”

Narcisse’s family includes her mother, Sharon; sister, Veronica; and brother, Charles.

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