For many young people, much thought and planning go into applying to college. But sometimes the decision about where they go hinges on a single moment that speaks to their hearts and minds. For Christina Polenta (McIntire ’09), it took one day on the Lawn.
The Murrysville, Pennsylvania, native knew that her guidance counselor had touted the University of Virginia, but she was leaning toward attending the University of Notre Dame. Even so, she and her parents trekked south to attend U.Va.’s Days on the Lawn.
The Office of Admission created Days on the Lawn to provide admitted students the chance to see the Grounds and meet faculty and other students. Polenta recalls the day in vivid detail. “The first time I set foot on the Grounds was a beautiful, sunny day, just perfect,” she said. “I couldn’t stop smiling. I knew I wanted to go to U.Va. My dad said, ‘Oh, dear, she’s found her mother ship!’”
As a student, Polenta spread her wings, absorbing the breadth of the U.Va. experience. She reveled in the
academic challenges and received a bachelor of science degree in commerce from the McIntire School with concentrations in finance and marketing, combined with a foreign affairs major in the College of Arts & Sciences. She volunteered at Madison House and represented the McIntire School on U.Va.’s Honor Committee. She also served as president of the Class of 2009.
Now working for a Chicago-based hedge fund, Polenta recalls a memorable class she took during her fourth year. Taught by alumnus John Griffin (McIntire ’85), the seminar—called The Analyst’s Edge— introduces students to the principles of investing and doing fundamental market research. Polenta sees the course as the linchpin between her educational and now professional interests. “I wouldn’t be doing what I do today without that class,” she said.
Grateful for the intellectual and personal empowerment she gained as a student, she targets her annual support to several areas, including the Class of 2009, Raven Society, Madison House, and the current
Rotunda renovation project. A member of the Rotunda Society, she also gives to the McIntire School and supports the Gray-Carrington Memorial Foundation and the Mead Endowment.
“I don’t think there’s any way I can repay the University for what it gave to me,” she said. “I encourage my classmates and other young alumni to give what they can to support our University.”