Park City High students get down to business |

Park City High students get down to business

Drew Castellanos has always thought it would cool to start a business. He’s wondered what it would feel like to take an idea, build it from scratch, and turn it into something real and lasting.

"That seems really gratifying to me," he said.

That ambition is now one step closer. Castellanos and two other seniors in the Park City Center for Advanced Professional Studies (PCCAPS) program — Julia Lazzaroni and Walker Hess — have been accepted into the University of Utah’s Business Scholar Program at the David Eccles School of Business. The program’s aim is to provide a hands-on, personalized learning environment for high-achieving freshman at the university who are interested in business.

Lyndsay Huntsman, director of PCCAPS, said having three students accepted into the business scholar program shows PCCAPS is churning out students who have the skills colleges covet. Much of what the students included in their applications to the program centered on their experiences working with other students on real-life projects for local businesses with PCCAPS.

"They have the chance to get skills that most high school students don’t have the opportunity to acquire," she said. "That sets them apart from the rest of applicants. They’ve been exposed to a lot of business just in the short period of time they’re here. We have people come in all the time and talk about their businesses and their experiences while they were in college. And then they’re meeting one-on-one with mentors in the field who have been there, done that. It’s a really valuable experience."

Like Castellanos, Hess would also like to own a business one day. He envisions coming up with an idea that would "change the game." He said getting a taste of what being in the business world might actually be like with PCCAPS has been an enlightening experience.

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"You get to go out and do stuff outside the classroom, which is what the real world is about," he said. "You’re not just sitting and reading things in a textbook. You go out and do it and work through different ideas to make something work."

Added Castellanos: "The discussions we have in class are more in-depth and business-oriented than just what a general class offers. And also the group work is good — you’re assigned a partner, and that’s what it’s really like in the world. You work together and can’t just do it yourself."

Lazzaroni comes from a family of people who have made their careers in business, with her father holding prominent positions at several local businesses in the ski industry. Growing up in that lifestyle is what made her eager to apply for the Business Scholar Program and begin forging her own path.

"I feel like that kind of shaped who I am and what my interests are," she said. "And I like to travel a lot, so having a business degree could be potentially international, so you could go anywhere. You’re not just tied down to one location."

One of the unique aspects of the Business Scholar Program is that it allows students to travel, both in the U.S. and internationally, to learn about businesses around the world. All three students said that opportunity was a main reason they applied.

"I want to tour different companies across the country like Apple and Google and get to go to foreign countries," Hess said.

Huntsman said she is eager to see how the students fare in college. They have proven to be well-rounded, and she wouldn’t be surprised to see them find success in a number of fields within business. But there’s one other crucial trait they all share that will be key as they move on to college.

"All of them are highly motivated and go-getters," she said. "They’re not waiting for their instructor to tell them what to do next — they’re already at the next step when their instructor comes to check in to see how things are going. They’re just pressing forward. And they’re going to adapt to whatever environment they’re in and make it work."