Forging Her Own Path
Chandrea Baster (BBA ’21) knows the importance of hard work. Born to Polish immigrants, Baster grew up in a Chicago suburb with a keen appreciation for what it takes to succeed and support oneself. From a young age, she knew she’d grow up to be an independent person.
“My parents came to the U.S. from Poland to give me a better life,” says Baster. “Neither of my parents attained a four-year degree, so as a first-generation student I really value the opportunity to go to college.”
Baster, whose first language is Polish, discovered her predilection for languages after learning English as a child. Since sixth grade, she has been learning French and has continued these studies at UW.
A double major in marketing and French, Baster hopes to eventually work for an international company and maybe even live abroad. Though she isn’t sure what job she’ll pursue after graduation, Baster hopes her semester studying in Paris will inspire and inform her career goals.
“I’m looking forward to being out of my comfort zone,” she says. “I think it will be awesome to learn the French ways and norms, and how they approach marketing—and how it differs from the United States’ approach.
— Chandrea Baster (BBA ’21)
“Gaining that different perspective will expand my horizons,” she says. “If I do end up working abroad—or even here in the States—drawing on that will help me when communicating with individuals from other countries.”
Baster, who is paying her own way through college, received a scholarship from donations given on Day of the Badger. She says the support she received has helped relieve some of the pressure of paying off student loans.
“I never had a college fund because, as immigrants, my parents didn’t have the means to provide money for college while also supporting our family as I grew up,” she says. “All of that is on me now. It sounds so cliché, but every little bit helps.”
Day of the Badger, UW–Madison’s annual day of giving, encourages alumni, students, and friends to make a donation, show their pride, and stay connected to the university. WSB took part in the inaugural Day of the Badger in 2019 and will participate again in the university-wide campaign later this year.
Baster feels a strong connection to alumni—not just because of the scholarship she received, but also because she witnessed their generosity while working for Badger Call during her freshman year. At Badger Call, she spent time on the phone talking to UW alumni, discussing the power of philanthropy and hearing their stories.
“Since working for Badger Call, I’ve had a strong appreciation for UW alumni because I’ve seen how much they give back to the university,” she says. “I appreciate that others are giving so much to students like me. That support is just incredible.”