Sustainable Influence

Kathleen Blehl ’18 VSB took full advantage of the opportunity to study abroad during her time at Villanova. She studied in China, Italy, and the Czech Republic. To document her experience and share it with friends and family, she started a travel blog. Her blog evolved to focus on sustainability and sustainable travel, a passion she further developed at Villanova through her work on the environmental committee.  

Last year, Blehl continued to pursue her love of travel as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Ukraine. While teaching English at a university there she recognized a core part of the American college experience–especially her Villanova one–was missing: clubs. She started three clubs, one of them being a Business Club where the group explored topics like marketing, leadership and entrepreneurship. She loved to engage with the students outside of the classroom, sharing her business knowledge in a unique way. She introduced her class to relevant business concepts and centered the club around topical discussions. 

Blehl is now a semifinalist for another Fulbright program: a Fulbright Research Grant. This program allows an individual to design and develop a research project and present it to the Fulbright Committee for funding. Blehl’s goal is to create the first multilingual sustainable travel guide to Ukraine. She hopes to return to Ukraine to develop a guide, much like her current blog, which would inform travelers about sustainable businesses across the country. She aims to highlight sustainable restaurants, accommodations, fashion, local crafts, and more. 

Blehl reflects that she applies her VSB skills in a non-traditional but important manner. Her VSB Marketing Major helped her hone her writing skills and channel her creativity into her travel blog. She also gained communication and presentation skills which enabled her to explain her research idea to the Fulbright Committee, allowing them to understand the vision she had in mind for the project. Witnessing the intersectionality of business through courses like Business Law made Blehl realize how versatile a business education could be. This motivated her to pursue a career outside the traditional corporate structure. 

VSB faculty mentors helped Blehl along her untraditional path by providing guidance and recommendations. For Blehl these teachers were Professor Gerard Olson, PhD, Finance and Real Estate, Greg Bonner, PhD, professor emeritus, Marketing, and Ward Utter, professor of the practice, Management and Operations. She advises VSB students to take advantage of small class sizes by connecting with their teachers.

Kathleen Blehl

Kathleen Blehl ’18 VSB

“It’s really important to connect with professors so they can become mentors who know you inside and outside of the classroom.”