Staying Close To Home Helps Student-Athlete's Business Career

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Aidan Vermeulen ’20 discovered that you don’t have to go far from home to get way ahead in college.

A graduate of Analy High School in Sonoma County, Aidan was recruited to Dominican to play NCAA Division II basketball, but is now scoring multiple internship opportunities. He is planning to return to campus in the fall, having enrolled in the new Master of Science in Business Analytics program in the Barowsky School of Business.

“Dominican was close to home, and I actually played in a basketball tournament in eighth grade at the Conlan Center. I remembered how amazing the campus was at that time in the spring,” Aidan says. “But, of course, being close to home but far enough away where I could build my own support network was a large part of my decision to attend Dominican. I just can’t believe how big that network is now.

“It’s as if you gain another family! Being close to home allowed me to stay in touch and involved with my family in Sebastopol, as well as create the family that I now have at Dominican. I believe that having those different support systems so close to each other can positively affect one’s college experience. It certainly did for me.”
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At Dominican, Aidan has played basketball three seasons for the Penguins and is athletically eligible to play his fourth later this year. He was joined on the team this past season by his younger brother, Quinten. As a sophomore, Aidan became the team’s representative on the Penguin Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (PSAAC) and was its vice president this year when he was named again to the Pacific West Conference All-Academic team.

It was also during Aidan’s sophomore year that he began to blossom as a business major.

“I knew that the possibilities in career growth are vast in the business world,” he says. “I was able to `taste’ many different topics before I had to decide on a concentration.”

In the meantime, Aidan jumped at internship opportunities, first in the Athletics Department alongside Associate Athletics Director Phil Billeci-Gard. Aidan worked on logistics-related projects in the department, tracked study hall hours, and helped raise funds for the basketball team.

“Phil has been a huge influence on my growth from that point up to the present; Dominican is definitely lucky to have him as he is an amazing mentor for student-athletes,” Aidan says.

With the help of Courtney Budesa, BSB’s Director of Internships & Professional Development, Aidan then landed an internship with Marin Builders Association and helped kick-start its Permit Simplicity initiative. Next, Aidan joined Woodruff Sawyer, interning to help develop customer relationship management tools, audit financial data, and work on financial wellness solutions.

During the COVID-19 shutdown, Aidan has been working remotely for both companies. For Marin Builders, he is involved in the process of collecting data for its next round of client proposals and, for Woodruff Sawyer, Aidan is working on business development efforts with Salesforce and LinkedIn Sales Navigator.

 “Without Dominican, I wouldn’t have known how to prepare for any of these internships. The support from the business school faculty and staff has been crucial for my success,” Aidan says. “A Dominican education has provided me the building blocks for a successful career post-graduation.”

Now well versed in the world of 401(k)s, Aidan is anxious to pursue his MSBA at Dominican.

“To that end, I want to use the technical skills that I can gain from the MSBA program, in conjunction with what I’ve learned from the MBA classes I’ve taken, to influence data-driven decision-making in the businesses I work with,” Aidan says. “As we’ve seen exponential growth in data created in the last few years, we have also seen exponential growth in the data-related job market. That attractive job market is definitely a draw for me, with everything going on in the world today. Year over year, we will need more people to understand data, explain it to businesses, and create action plans for successful implementations. That, for me, is how I want to utilize that degree.”

Between the support he has received from classmates, teammates, coaches, administrators, and business professors such as Dr. Christopher Leeds and others, Aidan feels he has developed a winning game plan for his future.

“The academic support is second to none at Dominican – from the coaches, to the professors, to the students in my classes. I feel lucky to have so many people holding me accountable,” Aidan says. “It has definitely molded me into a more professional and organized person over the time that I’ve been here. I’ve learned so much about the different aspects of business during my time as an undergraduate, and my professors have been immensely helpful in cultivating my curiosity.”

That curiosity started in eighth grade when Aidan’s eyes saw Dominican for the first time. His Dominican experience has been enhanced across campus by too many people to name.

“Without my friends, my classmates, my professors, Dr. Leeds, the athletics department, the coaches – it would take me way too long to list off everyone who has inspired me,” Aidan says. “The people at Dominican make the experience as enjoyable as it has been for me. Dominican has brought out my potential, and I am humbled and grateful for every single person that has helped me along the way.”

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