Student Life

McIntire’s Class of ’20: Faith Runnells Invests in Relationships

The fourth-year student says her most vital lesson has come from connecting with others.

Spending time with family is important to Faith Runnells. And it’s a good thing, too, because like most students across the world, she’s sharing a space with them.

But she’s still carving out the necessary time to finish out her final semester at the Comm School from her hometown of Virginia Beach, VA. The IT concentrator also took tracks in Business Analytics and Real Estate, as well as majored in Psychology at the College. This summer, she’ll start a position with PJT Park Hill Real Estate Group in NYC as an Analyst in the company’s Park Hill Real Estate Group, where she’ll work on fundraising for large commercial real estate funds located across the globe.

Runnells says there are multiple links between her McIntire education and Psychology studies, elements of which she plans to apply to her upcoming role at PJT. She explains the relationships rather succinctly: “McIntire, of course, has a focus on business, and business is really about people. And people are what you study in psychology—our minds, our behaviors, our desires, our biases, our connections. Studying the behavior of people and learning more about why we do the things we do, consciously and subconsciously, have greatly enhanced my studies and experience at McIntire as well.”

She says McIntire sharpened her skills as an analyst, as well as her overall technical and financial understanding of real estate, while Psychology has been just as critical for her, in terms higher-level group dynamics and communication.

But ultimately, her most vital lesson has come from connecting with others. In fact, she identifies her former residential adviser Kat Massenko (McIntire ’19) for guiding her to apply to McIntire when she was a first-year student.

“She’s now one of my dearest friends,” Runnells says. “She took little 17-year-old me under her wing to show me the ways of networking, business, and work ethic, when I had no idea what was going on. I credit much of my college academic experience to her confidence and faith in me. Genuine mentorship is one of the greatest gifts!”

What’s one lesson that you’ve learned at the Comm School that is helping you to navigate some aspect of your life during the current situation?
I’ve learned that relationships are the most important thing in life. You may not always remember each lecture or quiz grade, but you will always remember the people you have shared your experiences with. While in school, I’ve learned it’s important to invest in your relationships because they will bring you the most happiness in your life. So I’ve been reaching out to those I care for often recently, which has made quarantine much happier and more enjoyable for me!

Outside of your coursework, how are you spending your time these days? What’s keeping you going?
I do yoga every day with my mom through FlyDogCville’s live-streamed classes, which has been my favorite part of my days in quarantine. It’s great to still be part of that community. I also like to walk with my grandma around the neighborhood and on the beach. And just before bed, I play a board game with all my siblings who are home. We have a running tally of total wins, and for some reason I’m in nearly last place.

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