Chrystal Allen dreams of becoming a corporate director of operations, a position she’s watched her father hold for many years. Business management is in her blood, and UT Martin is helping her continue a family legacy.
Allen, a Germantown native, began her college career as a biology major intent on attending pharmacy school. However, the summer after her freshman year was a time of self-reflection and change.
“I really had to evaluate what it is that I am good at – what majors and minors could provide a career for me,” she said. “In my family, I’m surrounded by business leaders. … My family is so business-oriented and I wanted to follow in their (her parents’) footsteps.” Allen’s mother is an entrepreneur and owns her own screen printing and embroidery shop, where Allen helped serve customers as a child. Her father is a director of operations for the McDonald’s corporation.
Allen started working at an Arby’s restaurant in Memphis at the age of 17 and transferred to the Union City location when she began attending UT Martin. After spending a year stretching her proverbial “wings” as a shift manager, Allen is now training to become an assistant manager and has her sights set on upper corporate management.
“I knew I didn’t just want a management degree, I wanted to actually do something with that degree,” she said. “While I’m training, I’m looking on the paper and it’s things we’re going over in my management class… and for us to be learning what I’m going to need in my career is very refreshing.”
Allen is happy to have found her path in life and is working toward a useful degree to help her follow in her parents’ footsteps. She credits the professors and programs at UT Martin with helping her toward that goal. “I love the professors here. They’re very genuine and they actually care,” she said.
She also has advice for other students who may be considering an academic career at UT Martin: “Even though, for some, it might be out of your comfort zone, take that leap of faith. I did and now I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else,” she said. “UT Martin has shaped me into the person that I am today. … UT Martin won’t lead you in the wrong direction.”
Allen is currently a junior and intends to graduate in December 2016.
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