Hard work pays off for UNI student

When people think of Amela Andelija, they typically think of a hard worker.

Andelija's hard work at UNI paid off, she's currently participating in Principal Financial's prestigious Leadership Development Program.

Andelija, a marketing major from Urbandale, has always had a strong work ethic. She was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina before her family relocated to Germany. She moved to the United States in second grade, and at the time she only knew two phrases in English: "My name is Amela" and "I don't speak English."

Today, no one would ever know English wasn't Andelijas's first language. She graduated from Urbandale High School at the top of her class and spoke at her graduation ceremony. Last year, Andelija passed the test for U.S. citizenship while studying for spring finals. She typically worked around 30 hours a week doing three different jobs, and she played major roles in five different extracurricular organizations. She was even on the Dean's List every year she attended UNI.

After all of her hard work, Andelija has moved on to her next big step: life after graduation.

"My time at UNI was a great experience," said Andelija. "I think what I'll remember the most are the relationships that I made on campus. I had the opportunity to form relationships with my professors, as well as faculty, in both an academic settings and on a more personal level. I really like that UNI is a special environment that allows students to do that."

After graduation, Andelija began work at Principal Financial in Des Moines, where she's closer to her family. She's part of Principal's prestigious Leadership Development Program.

"Working for Principal has always been a dream of mine, and I'm just so humbled that I have this opportunity," said Andelija.