Jul 11

Courage beyond her years: Meet UNCG Bryan Alumna Angelique Garst

As a first-generation college student and the youngest of eight siblings, Angelique Garst knows something about hard work, time management and goal setting. She credits the UNC Greensboro Bryan School of Business and Economics with helping her take these skills to a new level.

Having graduated high school in three years, Garst was 16 when she enrolled in college. She balanced a full course load with two part-time jobs alongside campus leadership activities.

In December 2021, she graduated early once again with her degree in business management.

“I knew I was given this amazing opportunity as a scholar here,” Garst says. “I did not take that lightly.”

Rising to the challenge

From Huntersville, North Carolina, Garst attended most of high school in Virginia. She had an early start in the world of work, beginning in customer service for Kroger at 14 before going on to win an award as the grocery chain’s fastest cashier in the Mid-Atlantic District.

Given her determination and interest in business, her family encouraged her to apply to the Bryan School. They told her it had an outstanding reputation and offered students strong personalized attention. When she received the Ralph and Christine Freeze Brown Scholarship – as well as a Spartan Award and federal Pell Grants – that clinched it.

“From the very beginning, I was inspired,” she says. “I knew I could make something out of myself here.”

Garst would go on to earn the Mildred Orrell, Clark, and Sprint scholarships as well as other grants and funding during her time at UNCG. But college wasn’t easy for her at first. When she arrived on campus, she was shy. She committed to sitting in the front row of all her classes and attending as many school events as possible.

After a discussion with Bryan School staff members about how to get involved, her confidence grew as she began roles as a teacher’s assistant and Team Leader for classes on personal and professional development. She met with students and shared her knowledge of time management, personal branding and networking.

A bright future

Garst applied those same skills to landing her first internship. During a school career fair, she met a district manager for Advance Auto Parts, and interviewed on the spot. As an intern with the company’s e-commerce team, she analyzed their website and presented her thoughts to a team of executives. Based on her input, the company took steps to add more gender and racial diversity to their online presence.

In the months that followed, Garst completed in-store internships with Advance and The Fresh Market. But it’s not all business for Garst, who enjoys writing short stories and aspires to become an entrepreneur or to work in education, potentially as a business professor herself.

“She has such a wide range of hobbies, interests and talents, and I have encouraged her to run with these things and share her gifts with the world,” said Dr. Jason Pierce, assistant professor of management.

Pierce says Garst was a highly engaged student with a good sense of humor and an ability to add to classroom discussions. He recalls one day when he and a group of students talked after

class on a variety of business topics – he was surprised to learn Garst was three years younger than her peers.

Now an alumna, Garst is testing out a career in education, working as a data manager, treasurer and office manager with Guilford County Schools. As she ponders the possibility of graduate school and other next steps, she says she is immensely grateful to the donors who made an impact on her journey.

“I don’t think they will ever understand how much they changed my life,” she says. “Without these scholarships, I would not have been able to go to college – it would not have been in my future. They gave me the opportunity to succeed and to become the person I am today.”