CREW NETWORK | Influencing the Success of the Commercial Real Estate Industry by Advancing the Achievements of Women

2015 Scholars

The CREW Network Foundation scholarship is intended to encourage women to pursue an education that will lead to a career in the commercial real estate industry. To date, 76 scholarships have been awarded totaling $610,000. 

Lauren Baker »


Hometown: Friendswood, Tex.
University: Senior at the Texas A&M UniversityLauren Baker
Major: Agricultural Economics

Lauren is a senior at Texas A&M University majoring in Agricultural Economics with a focus in Real Estate and Finance. She currently has a 3.89 grade point average and will be entering the Master of Real Estate program at Texas A&M's Mays Business School immediately upon graduating in December 2015. Lauren studied abroad in Australia and Fiji the summer of 2014 year where she learned about the world’s eco system and earned nine credit hours in sustainability. During this past summer, Lauren worked as an intern at HFF’s Houston office, gaining valuable insight into the commercial real estate industry, which included creating marketing collateral for a number of transactions and underwriting. Lauren states, “My background and academic concentrations in finance, accounting, and economic market analysis will integrate soundly into the dynamic requirements of the real estate business, and I look forward to pursuing a career in real estate.”

A. Katherine Canning »


Hometown: Rockville, Md.
University: Graduate student at Wharton School of the University of PennsylvaniaKatherine Canning
Major: MBA - Real Estate

Katherine is scheduled to graduate The Wharton School’s MBA program in May 2016. She is concentrating in Real Estate and Management, is serving as Co-President of the Wharton Real Estate Club, and is an active member of the Wine Club, Ski Club, and Private Equity Club. Following 7 years of professional experience in Structured Credit Products and Commercial Real Estate Banking in New York City, most recently as a Vice President, she is seeking a career in Real Estate Private Equity. Katherine attributes her success so far to her strong work ethic, attention to detail, and communication skills, which have been apparent since her undergraduate years at the University of Maryland where she managed to pay for her college education by waiting tables at a local restaurant while maintaining a 3.8 GPA in her double major and holding officer positions in Kappa Delta sorority and the Finance Society. Katherine’s passion for real estate sparked from a young age, when her father worked in residential construction, frequently bringing her on tours of the developments he was working to build. Through a career in real estate investing, Katherine aims to help develop and redevelop beneficial communities which will over time improve residents’ and communities’ quality of life, which she sees as an increasing national problem. Katherine is spending the summer of 2015 interning in ASB Real Estate Investment’s acquisitions and asset management group in the Washington, DC area, where she grew up.

Sara Jane Cardenas »


Hometown: Englewood, Colo.
University: Senior at the University of DenverSara Jane Cardenas
Major: Finance

Sara became interested in commercial real estate when she landed her first internship at a commercial real estate finance company in Denver. She has worked there for over a year and sees commercial real estate finance as not only her future career, but her passion. Sara’s job has provided her with experience in real estate investment underwriting, financial modeling, and due diligence from both the position of a bridge lender and an equity partner. Sara aspires to take what she has learned at her internship and apply it to a full time career in commercial real estate finance when she graduates next June.Sara has been a Dean’s List recipient every quarter at University of Denver and continues to excel in her studies while working part time during the school year at her internship. Her success in her education and work show her dedication and drive to become an integral part of the commercial real estate industry. Says Sara “Through both my studies and my job I have gained experience and knowledge from the individuals I work with each day. I am excited to have a career in commercial real estate where I know my passion and hard work will contribute greatly to the industry”.

Mary Dooley »


Hometown: Lake Forest, Ill.
University: Senior at the University of MiamiMary Dooley
Major: Finance and Computer Information Systems

Commercial Real Estate first piqued Sara's interest through classwork, as well as the Bermont/Carlin Scholars Program, where she was able to learn more about the industry and network with key professionals. This interest grew into a passion through her internship with HFF, where she was able to gain exposure to investment sales and debt placement, among other platforms. The work there appealed to both her analytical and creative sides, as she enjoys both valuation and creating an in depth knowledge base of various submarkets; furthermore, the dynamic nature and quick pace of transactions characteristic of the industry overall mesh well with her personality and work ethic. Upon graduating in December, it is her goal to put these skills into practice on the capital markets side of the commercial real estate industry.

Samantha Miller »


Hometown: Saratoga, Fla.
University: Junior at the University of FloridaSamantha Miller
Major: Business Administration - Management, with a minor in real estate

Samantha is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration – Management, with a minor in real estate, and a Master’s degree in International Business, with a certificate in Tourism & Hospitality Management. In the two years since she started at UF, she has published a paper on negotiation titled “Availability Bias Can Improve Women’s Propensity to Negotiate”, founded a new organization for undergraduates interested in real estate (URES – Undergraduate Real Estate Society), mentors international students, and is a teaching assistant for a freshman success & development course. Samantha not only juggles student organizations and extracurricular activities, but also works part-time as a leasing consultant for a new community in Gainesville, where she holds the record for the most leases closed by a single agent.

Olivia Neal »


Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.
University: Junior at The Art Institute of CharlotteOlivia Neal
Major: Interior Design

Presently excelling as an honors student in the Interior Design-BA program at the Art Institute of Charlotte, Olivia has earned a 3.95 GPA and is scheduled to graduate in the fall of 2016. Olivia has also served multiple terms as the Student President of the ASID (American Society for Interior Designers) Chapter at her school and was recently elected the Student Representative to the Board for the ASID Carolinas Chapter. In addition to her numerous recognitions and volunteer work, she has maintained a successful full-time position with her current employer, A2Z Field Services, for over four years. A2Z is a nationally recognized, women-owned, mortgage field service provider dedicated to assisting loan servicers, government agencies and real estate auction companies. Says Olivia, “Creativity is something that as an Interior Design student, I am able to explore constantly. I feel that this translates into real estate as well and allows me to construct innovative ideas and creative solutions to problems.” Olivia is confident that both her work experience and education will serve her well as an interior designer in the real estate industry.

Brittany Schmoll »


Hometown: Saint Cloud, Minn.
University: Junior at Saint Cloud State UniversityBrittnay Schmoll
Major: Real Estate

Brittany has been interested in a real estate career since a young age when she originally aspired to sell homes. Since then, she has grown to love commercial real estate and is pursuing a degree in real estate at Saint Cloud State University. There she upholds a strong academic record, maintaining a 4.0 GPA which has also named her to the Dean’s List every semester. Brittany has been highly involved on campus throughout her academic career. She is a member of the University Honors Program and has also participated in the Honors Club serving as the secretary in her sophomore year. However, her favorite campus organization to be active in is the Real Estate Association. Within the association, she has held an executive position as not only the club’s treasurer, but also the secretary. Brittany plans to stay active in both organizations as well as within the University Ambassadors Program she was recently selected to join. She additionally looks forward to mentoring freshman business students this fall. She attributes her growing knowledge in the industry to not only the real estate courses SCSU provides, but also to experience working with a property management firm as a leasing consultant. She tributes her internship at a credit union with providing her insight into the financial aspects of the commercial real estate field. Brittany looks forward her future career and development in the commercial real estate world and hopes to inspire other women to join the industry.

Amy Smith »


Hometown: Hillsboro, Mo.
University: Junior at Saint Louis UniversityAmy Smith
Major: Organizational Studies with a minor in real estate and community development

Supplementing her college course work, Amy is also taking courses to obtain her Real Property Administrator designation. She also works full time as a real estate manager for Health Care REIT, Inc. Amy has shown an interest in real estate since she was a child. She decided to pursue a career in commercial real estate when she accepted a position as a property administrator in 2012. It was then that she decided to further her education and pursue her career goals. Amy enjoys the fast-paced environment of her work and the ability to act as a problem solver on a daily basis. As a non-traditional student, Amy has learned to balance the demands of school, a career, and a family. She credits her determination and success to her supportive family who has always urged her to pursue her goals. Her long term goal is to earn her graduate degree and continue to succeed in her career.

Jenna Stoeltje »


Hometown: San Antonio, Tex.
University: Graduate student at the University of Texas at San AntonioJenna Stoeltje
Major: MBA - Real Estate Finance & Development

Jenna’s passion for the built environment can be traced back to her childhood when she would hand draw residential floor plans for fun. During her years in undergraduate school at the University of Southern California, she completed a B.A. in International Relations along with a Minor in Architecture. Jenna revels in travel, which has allowed her to see and experience great cities across the nation and around the world. She lived in Paris, France, where she studied Urbanism at Sciences Po. This was followed by an introductory program to architecture, planning, and preservation at Columbia University in New York City. She is now focused on her goal of working in the field of real estate development. Jenna believes that her visits to foreign cities have provided her with a unique insight into development projects and planning that she hopes to bring back to her hometown. Since returning to San Antonio and enrolling at UTSA, she has gained practical knowledge in the real estate industry by working as a real estate assistant at a commercial brokerage firm. She is currently interning in the finance and development departments of a local development company that specializes in building office space. To compliment her studies and professional endeavors, she is also an active member of the San Antonio Conservation Society, the Urban Land Institute, and now CREW Network. Jenna finds the world of real estate to be exciting and she is overjoyed to be immersed in it each and every day.

Jessica Yoon »


Hometown: New Orleans, Lou.
University: Graduate student at Columbia UniversityJessica Yoon
Major: MS - Real Estate Development

Jessica’s journey in commercial real estate can be traced back to her undergraduate education in Urban and Regional Studies at Cornell, where she became interested in how real estate developers shaped the built environment and contributed to the economic health of their cities. She gained experience working as a teacher in New Orleans before taking on the role of Marketing Manager at a design/build firm with in-house development. At Columbia, she is working to develop a full set of skills to lead new development projects to fruition. In the long term, Jessica sees herself utilizing public-private partnerships to develop large tracts of underutilized land for higher and better uses. Says Jessica, “Because development projects have a physical manifestation, their impact is much more than financial returns to a developer’s debt and equity partners. There is real potential to create value for cities and positively transform neighborhoods. I hope to be a leader in creating that value.”