Cassandra (Cassie) Trosino
“In West Philadelphia born and raised, Neeley is where I spend most of my days…”
Fun fact about yourself: I currently live in the biggest corn and soy producing county in the world!
Hometown: most recently from Bloomington, Illinois
High School: University High School (Normal, Illinois)
Minor: Philosophy with an emphasis in Leadership
Favorite Business Course: Leading in a Complex World with Dr. Mary Uhl-Bien
Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:
- TCU Panhellenic President (2021)
- BNSF Neeley Leadership Program (2019 – 2021) – Director of the Ambassador Experience (2021), Ambassador Committee (2020)
- Panhellenic Recruitment Rho Gamma (2020)
- Kappa Alpha Theta – Scholarship Chair (2019), Election Committee Member (2018, 2020)
- Neeley Navigators Student Academic Advisor(2020 – 2021)
- TCU Club Soccer Team
- TCU Student Development Services Connections Mentor (2019)
- Dean’s List
- Mosebrook Pfizer Student Leader Scholarship Recipient
- Junior Pillar of Leadership Award Nominee
Where have you interned during your college career?
Streamline Event Agency – Franklin, TN – Marketing Analyst (2020)
TCU Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life – Fort Worth, TX – Panhellenic President and Recruitment Team Member (2021)
Where will you be working after graduation? I have not yet accepted an offer.
What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The value of building genuine relationships with people. Sure, business is comprised of finances, statistics and lots of numbers, all which are very important. But at the end of the day, people and the relationships we have with each other are what make the ship sail. As cheesy as it sounds, prioritizing building trust and embodying care with team members and partners is the real secret sauce to executing tasks and completing projects to the best of our abilities. This knowledge also applies to way more than business circumstances. I don’t remember all of the difficulties I faced in Fundamentals of Accounting, but I most definitely remember the way Professor Ann Tasby supported and encouraged me throughout the entire semester during office hours, tutoring and attending extra classes throughout the week. While accounting was never my favorite course, I will never forget my experience with it because of how well I was treated by Professor Tasby. Another one of my professors, Dr. Harper, shared an insight from Austrian-Israeli philosopher Martin Buber that nods to a similar idea:
“In life,” he explained, “you can see people two ways: as I- Its, or as I-Thous.” This concept breaks down the idea that we can see people simply as “Its” – something standing in your way in the subway, or the thing that happens to sit beside you in you Wednesday night class. Or we can see people as “Thous” – a unique subject, with their own array of experiences that are worthwhile to engage with for our shared awareness of each other and our unity of sameness in the human experience. At the end of the day, understanding this notion and choosing to see and treat people as “Thous” is what I will continue to apply not only in business, but for the rest of my life.
What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? No matter who you work for, tutor, sit next to in class or mentor in your free time, there is something that can be learned from everyone you meet. Some of my favorite conversations and experiences occurred during office hours, where conversations drifted from capital budgeting to law school opportunities at the University of London, or when catching up with a younger students, who would then teach me a new Excel formula. Knowledge is not static. It may shift and change or be influenced by new information. We can and never will be all-knowing. The cool part about this advice is it will remain constant for the rest of our lives. Eric Hoffer beautifully articulated this notion of lifelong learning in one of my favorite quotes:
“In times of change, learners inherit the Earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”
It doesn’t matter how many degrees we have, what title we hold, or what role we may occupy in the future. The world will change, and we will never be too knowledgeable or above someone to learn something of value from them.
What business executive do you admire most? Truthfully, I do not have a “most admired” business executive for I am drawn to different aspects of many businessmen and women. Here are two that I admire for their striking innovation and efforts to fill gaps and help solve global problems:
- Scott Harrison, founder of the revolutionary non-profit charity: water. Harrison left his indulgent life as a nightclub promoter to tackle the global water crisis. His organization, charity: water, has a mission to bring clean water to ever living person through the unique 100% model – a business structure formulated that allows 100% of public donations to go directly to fund clean water projects across the world.
- Sophie de Oliveira Barata, founder of the Alternative Limb Project. By mixing technology and medicine while putting the human being with a story at the center of her work, she uses the medium of prosthetics to create alternative and wearable art pieces to focus on and celebrate what’s there rather than what’s missing.
Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? For my junior year Impact Project. I spent the entirety of this school year alongside my classmates Brennan Holt and Hayden Hite researching a massive problem that we could make an impact on, and diving in headfirst. After thoughtful consideration of multiple groups, we partnered with a non-profit, charity: water, to sponsor a water project in a region that lacked access to clean water. This organization locates regions that do not have access to clean water and builds the most sustainable solution to collect rainwater. What charity: water does is not remarkable just because they provide clean water to people who need it – it is how they support the communities they help while doing so. They operate on a unique 100% model, allowing all public donations to go directly toward helping and teaching the families in each location how to stay sanitized and perform proper hygiene. They also operate the wells and technology on their own – an empowering and enabling act for them and their futures.
Not only was this project challenging on an academic front and unbelievably humbling on multiple other accounts, it completely transformed the way I perceive impact as well as my awareness for what I have been fortunate enough to experience in my life so far. Nearly 771 million – or 1 in 10 people – live without clean water. At the TCU Neeley School of Business, I can choose from fifteen different water fountains to fill my bottle. I don’t have to walk 8 miles a day and sacrifice my education to do so, much less worry that I will get cholera or dysentery for drinking it. We learned that clean water is so, so much more than hydration. It is opportunity, it is freedom and it is hope.
By the time our campaign closed, we had raised $32,650 from donors, family and TCU students alike to give to a developing location that lacked the infrastructure for clean water. We recently were informed our project’s efforts are now at work in Sierra Leone, which is such surreal and exciting news!
Which classmate do you most admire? As a proud member of the TCU Neeley School of Business and the BNSF Neeley Leadership Program (NLP), it is safe to say that I could come up with a long list of students that I greatly admire, and all for very different reasons. With that being said, I have looked up to and admired one student since I met him at the beginning of college. Brennan Holt, a double-major in Supply Chain Management and Entrepreneurship and Innovation with an emphasis in Leadership, exemplifies standout critical thinking, poise and thoughtfulness in approaching every problem he faces. Brennan is a wearer of many hats, but only in the most positive sense. He can command a room immediately with his presence, articulate a remarkable insight during a case study, and then finish with a joke and make the whole class laugh. Brennan is unbelievably charismatic – he understands people and their needs at a great depth yet can execute a task with more discipline and tact than anyone I have seen. But if you know anything about Brennan you know that these qualities are merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to acknowledging what makes him so special in both an academic and a personal sense. If you are lucky enough to be in the same class as Brennan, you will likely notice a few things:
Brennan is never the first to raise his hand and speak up in the classroom. He sits back, opens his ears, and listens before he speaks. He then analyzes the content, synthesizes his thoughts, and confidently shares out, but only when he believes his comment will in some way enhance class discourse. Should he choose to speak, the entire class sits up and listens. There is a quiet yet resounding respect for him because he possesses an extraordinary ability to simplify maddeningly complex information and questions into a tasteful and digestible format. Further, it is clear he doesn’t seek affirmation to his own ideals. He seeks truth in quite literally everything that he does. In today’s world, I think there is something morbidly alluring about complexity and trying to communicate it, maybe because it makes us feel as though we are more intelligent or powerful than the person sitting next to us. In my opinion, simplicity and conciseness are hallmarks of truth and the mark of a mind that knows what it values, what it doesn’t need to entertain, and what is worth understanding. He is not phased by a need to be right or impress others; he cares about understanding the important and necessary aspects of a problem to reach a solution or make some sort of progress. It takes wisdom to consistently engage with the world in this way, and Brennan does just that. At the end of the day, he is not just remarkable because of what he says or gives, but it is in who he is that makes him one-of-a-kind. TCU is a better campus and I am a better person thanks to Brennan Holt.
Who would you most want to thank for your success? My parents, who both worked overtime as me and my siblings’ teachers, doctors, personal chefs and coaches, have been beyond influential in my success. My father’s steadfast experience in the insurance industry and my mother’s ever-growing arsenal of health knowledge have both contributed in a multitude of ways to who I am today. If I had to choose one, my mother, Elaine Trosino, has impacted me because of the way she consistently chooses to see the world around her. She provides a continuous perspective of the value of work-life balance and she pulls me back down to Earth to remind me there is more to life than the next test or unanswered philosophical question. Further, she has taught me that without a healthy mind or spirit, not much can ever be accomplished.
What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?
- I would love to spend time working internationally, perhaps alongside a non-profit organization or teaching in some capacity. There is so much to be learned and experienced in the world we live in, so to truly immerse myself in a different culture would be both humbling and invigorating for me.
- Write a book. I’m not sure what it would be about yet, but it makes me excited for new experiences to come!
What are your hobbies?
- Reading, specifically existential philosophy. My favorite existential philosophers are probably Søren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche.
- Listening to podcasts and YouTube lectures. Tom Bilyeu’s podcast Impact Theory, Jordan Peterson, Rob Hill Sr. and Bjørn Lomborg are some of my favorites, to name a few. I enjoy listening to these individuals not because I always fervently agree with everything they say, rather, they discuss an array of topics and welcome conversation with people who have differing views. I believe respectful engagement in these discussions is imperative for us as a socialized species. Additionally, they often help me get more out of my classes because I can connect theories and other current world happenings to class content.
- Exercise! Whether it’s at our campus recreative center, nearby running trail or on the soccer field, finding time to move and sweat is a priority for me. Although it sounds dramatic, I believe that pushing ourselves through physical pain tells us a great deal about our personal character. Exercise allows me to challenge both my physical and mental state and it helps me balance my overall life better.
- Experimenting with fashion and style. I am a firm believer that how you present yourself directly affects how you perceive yourself. Putting together an outfit you like and feel confident in completely changes how you go about your day, and it helps me put my best foot forward as well as have a healthy means of self-expression and creativity.
- Chipotle. Enough said!
What made Cassie such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022?
“Cassie Trosino is an incredibly bright and driven student, but stands out most because of her exceptionally unique way of viewing the world and its problems. She is one of the most intellectually curious students I have worked with, and I am truly impressed by her ability to draw meaningful connections between ideas and subjects that often seem distinct to the rest of us. I admire Cassie not just for her willingness to question the status quo in the world around her, but also the bravery in which she questions and seeks to better understand her own views. During her time at TCU, she has demonstrated a consistent commitment to putting her values and insights into action in ways that positively impact the world. Speaking to this point, Cassie is a member of the highly selective BSNF Neeley Leadership Program and, with her classmates Brennan Holt and Hayden Hite, used a class project as an opportunity to raise $32,650 to provide clean water to impoverished areas in Sierra Leone. She was also the President of TCU’s Panhellenic Council, held multiple leadership roles for Kappa Alpha Theta, served as a Neeley Navigator (a student-led academic advising group), and played on TCU’s club soccer team. Cassie is widely respected by her peers, professors and work colleagues, and embodies the attributes we seek to instill within the TCU Neeley School of Business and the Neeley Leadership Program.”
Brad Harris, PhD
Associate Professor of Management and Leadership, TCU Neeley School of Business
Academic Director, BNSF Neeley Leadership Program
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