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Student Spotlight: Anna Wagner

Anna Wagner

I am Anna Wagner, a senior marketing major at the Perdue School of Business. I am involved on campus as a MASMI sales ambassador, a member of the Sales Team and a programming coordinator for Greek Life. I grew up in Annapolis, MD, as an active athlete participating in travel and local teams for field hockey, lacrosse and swimming. I played varsity field hockey my freshman year in college. I suffered a spinal injury in fall 2014 that prohibited me from playing competitively again. The doctors initially told me that I needed surgery and may never be able to run again. I spent the next few years working hard every day to make sure I did not have to get surgery. I was running again by 2016.

I found myself lost still, like many young college students. Swimming in abundant free time, I knew I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself again. I found that right here at Salisbury University. I began working two jobs, going to school full time and volunteering around campus. I studied international accounting abroad in France. After I got back, I decided to continue my growth by getting my real-estate license, so I could complete a dual internship in marketing and sales at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage.

With the guidance from faculty, professors and peers, I was able to pursue these opportunities and found my passion. I want to make a difference. I began to take up more leadership roles around campus and in my professional career. It was during these when I realized how powerful and inspiring our community is. SU mathematics faculty member Bob Barber became a mentor in my life. It was through his support that I was able to realize my purpose in life and stay motived while juggling all the opportunities I took on.

In summer 2017 I was walking on the beach in Ocean City, MD, when I received a phone call from Professor Barber to catch up. I was not ready to hears the news that my mentor and someone who has influenced my life so profoundly was diagnosed with cancer. Having already been in close connection with the cancer community from my youth when members of my family were diagnosed, I knew the difficult road that lied ahead. It was the last straw for me, I had to do something, anything, to help the cancer community.

I knew of the 4K for Cancer Program that benefits the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. I needed to be a part of something bigger than myself, and I knew this was it. I applied, interviewed and got accepted! I signed up for Team Baltimore, which meant I was running (yes running) from San Francisco, CA, to Baltimore. This 4000+ mile cross country run I will start in June 2018 was only a small part of the journey I began last summer.

I knew during the run I would be sleeping on floors, getting food donations, volunteering at hospitals and giving out scholarships. I knew I would host dedication circles where my team would hear community members share their cancer stories and we would dedicate our run that day to those people by writing their name on our legs. I learned fast that cancer changes lives, but so do we.

Six teams, one flight and 4,000 miles go into the 4K for Cancer experience. I have 25 new teammates from around the world who all share one thing in common: We all want to make a difference. It was through the continual support that Salisbury University and peers offered that lead me to taking on another position. I applied and got selected to be a director for Team Baltimore. This means I am leading and orchestrating this run for 25 young adults and our impact on to the communities across the country. People ask, “What are you doing after graduation,” and I have the best answer: “I am running.”

It has been my time at Salisbury University that has led me to this remarkable journey and be able to achieve my goals. It is the community that lead me to my passion and allowed me to pursue it with all the leadership and volunteer opportunities. It is the Greek Life, the Student Business Leaders and the Perdue School of Business that really has supported me on this run. It was the inspiration and influence from Professor Bob Barber that has guided me to being able to rise above circumstances and everyday continue to grow.

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