From New York with love — an FDU Vancouver student takes on the Big Apple

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Maria Zrno at the Statue of Liberty. (Photos courtesy of Zrno)


By Kaidi Ilves

Maria Zrno, a Vancouver, Canada native, always dreamed of going to the University of British Columbia. She didn’t get in right out of high school, but decided to keep trying. After two years at a small local college, she was sending out transfer applications. This time, however, not taking any chances with missing out on a “big college” experience, she decided to expand the search to all business schools in the area. Unbeknownst to her, she was setting off on a journey that would change her life.

“Everyone told me to check out Fairleigh Dickinson University,” said Zrno, who is now in the midst of finishing the last semester of her bachelor’s degree in international business. FDU is one of three colleges in Zrno’s area that have the coveted AACSB accreditation, and the University offers courses on four campuses, including the Metropolitan Campus, located near New York City. Zrno says that made it “a done deal” for her to apply to FDU and attend FDU’s Vancouver Campus.

Fast forward a few semesters, and Zrno finds herself standing in Times Square, taking in the scenery after a long day of work at her internship at 5loom — the social media division of IMRE, a marketing company located near Wall Street. “It doesn’t get any better than this. I’m exactly where I want to be, doing what I want to be doing,” she says excitedly. And excited she should be — NYC is a big change, and getting to where she is now was a huge risk.

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Left: Zrno (center) with FDU Vancouver Students Felipe and Raul at Jersey City

Right: Zrno with friend Ester at Times Square


“I was hitting a stalemate in Vancouver. Everything was fantastic, but it was going way too smooth. I needed to take a chance on myself and try something new. When I applied for a semester abroad, I knew I wanted to live and work in New York City. I wasn’t feeling too optimistic about this whole thing in August when I first got off the plane… You see, I had nothing lined up other than having registered for an internship course!” But Zrno never lost hope. Determined to follow her vision, Zrno reached out to Mary Sakin, the director for placement and outreach at FDU’s Silberman College of Business. Sakin put Zrno in touch with several companies in the big city, helped her revise her resume, and guided her in the steps she should take to get an interview and nail it.

The quest seemed daunting. A lot of the companies were slow to respond and hesitant in offering any leads, but Zrno persevered, and eventually she ended up finding 5loom. She’s been with the company as a marketing intern for a few weeks now and is still learning the ropes, but she is “definitely loving every minute of it.” 

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View from the 5loom office building


As for what the future holds, Zrno only knows one thing — “It will be epic!” Zrno expects to graduate in December, and is hopeful that the internship will lead to a more permanent position.

Zrno is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma international honor society. While in Vancouver, she volunteered for the Yaletown Rotaract Club for several years, recently stepping down as president due to her semester in the U.S. Zrno has also worked as a marketing and graphic design student worker for FDU’s Silberman College on the Vancouver Campus.