For the second year in a row, the Pamplin College of Business Outstanding Graduate Student Award has gone to a student in the Master of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Business Analytics (MSBA-BA) program. This year, Sarah Spicer was selected from a very competitive field as the recipient of the award. 

The award is given to a Pamplin graduate student based on their achievement in research, scholarship, and service. The award committee examines the nominees' involvement in professional organizations, campus activities, and the community. Contributions to knowledge through research, teaching, and scholarship are additional factors that nominees are judged by. 

Born and raised in North Carolina, Spicer found her way to Virginia Tech by way of competitive golf. Competing for the Virginia Tech Women’s Golf team, she has been a standout on the golf course, as well as in the classroom. Spicer majored in economics and was an inaugural graduate of the Data and Decisions Pathways minor while working closely with Associate Professor Quinton Nottingham

She was also involved in many extracurricular activities on a day-to-day basis, such as the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), where she headed community outreach initiatives. Spicer ultimately enrolled in the MSBA-BA program because she found her passion for data analytics through her Data and Decisions minor.  

“I ended up redshirting my freshman year, so I had an extra year to stay [in college],” explained Spicer. “I began looking at different master’s programs. I thought the MSBA-BA program was a perfect fit and would be something great to do while playing my last year of golf.”

She continued, “I'm really glad that I ultimately made that decision because I've ended up loving data analytics and I'm really excited to go down this career path.”

The MSBA-BA program is supported by Pamplin’s Center for Business Intelligence and Analytics (CBIA). It is an 11-month program open to students from all majors, and its mission is to produce next-generation, high-impact business analytics leaders.

Transitioning to the MSBA-BA program, Spicer continued to stay involved with her community engagement and extracurricular activities. She continued to work with Nottingham and took on a new position as a graduate assistant.

Spicer also played an integral role in the new medical-legal partnership with Ballad Health, a collaboration between Pamplin College of Business and both the Appalachian School of Law and Ballad Health in a program to help patients in need receive free legal assistance. The goal of the program is better access to health care and improved patient health for the residents in Southwest Virginia and Eastern Tennessee.

When Spicer learned that she would be receiving the Pamplin's Outstanding Graduate Student Award, she was shocked. The CBIA team had nominated Spicer without her knowledge and surprised her with the congratulatory news. 

“It really meant a lot to me to hear the news from the CBIA team, because I look up to them a lot and value their opinions,” Spicer said. “It was definitely uplifting to get the email notifying me I had received this award.” 

Spicer continued, “Given that for the second year in a row this award has gone to someone in the MSBA-BA program, it speaks volumes about the CBIA, the MSBA-BA program itself, and the people who make it all happen.” 

“Sarah represents everything that the MSBA-BA program, the CBIA, and the Pamplin College of Business represent – research, scholarship and service,” said CBIA Executive Director Jay Winkeler.

“Sarah is an amazing person and a phenomenal talent with an incredibly bright future. It was truly our pleasure to have her in the program and nominate her for this prestigious award.”

Upon graduation, Spicer will join Alpine Consulting.

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