Lara Arabi

Lara Arabi
Photo by David Schmitz

President’s Scholar

Major: Business Administration/Management
Lucas College and Graduate School of Business

Why did you choose your major?

I decided to study Business Management with a minor in Communication Studies because I thought it would be very flexible when it comes to career options. I was still not sure what I wanted to do when I chose my major and I thought that the combination of these two programs would allow me to keep my options open.

What does receiving this particular award mean to you?

Being honored by the school feels like such a big accomplishment. I have always worked really hard to achieve the grades that I would be satisfied with. My standards for myself have always been really high and this award proves to me that hard work pays off. 

Who has had the greatest influence or impact on your life?  In addition, tell us about a SJSU faculty member who contributed to your academic success.

The two people who have the greatest influence on my life would be my parents. They have always supported my decisions and have allowed me to create my own path for myself. Their hard work ethic and constant persistence has been an example that I have tried to replicate throughout my life and especially throughout my college experience.

Professor Elizabeth Mullen was actually the professor who nominated me for this award. Professor Mullen was my professor for the business management and global innovations honors seminar. The biggest part of what made her a huge influence on my academic experience is the fact that she pushed me, along with the other students in the class to improve our analytical skills in regards to scholarly articles. Another reason that Professor Mullen has influenced me is that she has seen something in me that stands out to her. For her to nominate me for this award is a huge honor. It sets me apart from other students and it makes me wonder what she sees in me that was different than other students. 

Describe an experience that has shaped who you are today.

A huge experience that has shaped who I am today is the fact that I stayed home for college. I am a San Jose-an, born and raised. Although I did not think that I needed these extra years at home, I would not have otherwise been able to thrive academically the way that I have.  The college experience itself has shaped who I am. College is a time when people figure out who they are; I didn’t think that would be possible if I stayed at home. Turns out, I was completely wrong in my assumptions! When I look back at myself four years ago, I am almost unrecognizable. SJSU has forced me to leave my protected little bubble and made me put myself out there in ways I wouldn’t have otherwise done. 

What would you say to other students to encourage or inspire them to attain academic excellence?

I would say that you should hold yourself to the highest standard. I was not a straight A student in high school, and did not care about my grades. Something clicked in college in which I saw that I could achieve academic excellence if I put in only a little extra effort. It is not easy to achieve the grades but wow does it feel good when you look at your transcript. It is also a way to set you apart from other SJSU students, which is a huge plus on your resume!

What makes you a Spartan?

Historically, Spartans are considered to be some of the greatest fighters ever. I am a Spartan because of the daily battles I fought in order to achieve my dreams of graduating. Not everyday has been an easy one; in fact most days were difficult to get through (especially during midterm season!). I am a Spartan because I fought my battles and I won. This honor is just one example of my many victories at SJSU.


Nominated by Elizabeth Mullen
Professor, School of Management

“Lara was one of the best students among a highly talented group of students in the School of Management’s Sbona Honors Program.  Lara was truly a pleasure to have in class.  She consistently delivered thoughtful commentary on class readings, was an outstanding contributor to her group’s project, and was a leader in classroom discussions.  Lara was also well-respected by her classmates.  In addition to excelling in the classroom, Lara also contributes to SJSU and the broader community.  For example, she is an active member of the Lebanese Social Club on campus and she volunteers with Amaan, a non-profit organization focused on helping Syrian refugees.”