Avila serves students from around the corner and around the world
Middle America sits half a world away from his native Malta in geographical distance and a full world away in culture. Yet, Justin Scicluna said he can’t imagine obtaining any better education than he’s received at Avila University.
“It’s been a really good experience for me,” said Scicluna, who graduates in December with a bachelor degree in finance. “Avila has a great faculty willing to work with students. Class sizes are small, so it’s easier to learn, I think, and get help when you need it.
“I’m sure I’ll be able to apply skills I learned here in the work force.”
Scicluna’s path to Avila was circuitous to say the least. He was born on Malta, a tiny island south of Sicily in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. When he was 13, he moved with his American-born mother to West Plains, Mo., where he excelled in school and on the soccer field. He originally enrolled at nearby Missouri State University in Springfield. But, he said it just never felt like the right fit.
When Avila soccer coach Chris Clements found out Scicluna was shopping for a new university, he contacted Scicluna’s high school coach and convinced Scicluna to make a visit. He was sold.
Scicluna immersed himself in soccer and Avila’s business classes. He said he especially appreciated the tutelage of professors like Brian Buckler, Ph.D., who taught him the importance of networking, and Daniel George, Ph.D., who taught him how to be a successful business manager by applying all the business tools he learned in his courses.
Scicluna’s hard work led him to a pair of internships which paid off as well. He assisted two financial advisors with administrative work for Midwest Financial and entered data and organized files for stock brokers at VSR Financial.
He has a job as a financial advisor awaiting him at Edward Jones – helping people reach their future financial goals - once he passes a couple of certification exams in March.
“I learned at Avila to study really well, and that will help me be successful in taking these exams,” Scicluna said. “I’ll get a couple years’ experience and then come back and get my master’s.”
Scicluna said he wasn’t yet sure whether he’d pursue his graduate degree at Avila, but certainly wouldn’t hesitate in doing so.
“Overall, it’s been a great experience, and the faculty at Avila are a big part of it,” Scicluna said. “They’re willing to help their students in a way you don’t typically get at bigger schools.”