By Sadie All
Feb 16, 2022
A passion for marketing began early for Bo Turner. She knew she was destined for the field after her high school DECA class at Terre Haute North.
“It was my first business class and I loved my DECA class,” Bo said. “Marketing was so cool because it incorporates psychology, business, creativity. It’s diverse and always evolving in research, graphics, social and strategy.”
Bo (’17) majored in marketing at Indiana State where she also “fell in love with business” during her full gamut of collegiate experiences.
When applying for college, Bo, a Terre Haute native, wanted to branch out. Indiana State wasn’t her first choice, but that changed once she started looking at potential scholarships. During her application process, she found that State had more to offer than the competition.
Bo qualified for the President’s scholarship.
“They told us the odds: 200 people interviewed, only 20 people get picked,” she recalled.
Bo didn’t think she stood a chance, but she got a call saying she’d made the cut.
“I just remember thinking afterwards like, ‘Oh my God, they’re going to call me back and say, sorry, we got the wrong person.’”
That didn’t happen. Instead, Bo’s start to college was pretty bright. Her full tuition, room and board were no longer her expense.
“That was the best news ever.”
Bo also qualified as a Networks scholar. Upon embarking on her college career, she enrolled in the Scott College of Business and got a student job working in the University Marketing department. She helped generate social media content, making videos and monitoring analytics.
“Combining class, on-campus job and getting that practical experience was phenomenal.”
Looking back today, Bo says there was no better option for her than State.
“I loved my time as a student. I wouldn’t change anything about it. If somebody asked me to go to a different school, I would tell them absolutely not.”
Bo loved her mentors in the marketing office and learning from her professors.
“You are surrounded by so many smart people at a university,” Bo said, “Learn your professors’ stories, because they are some of the most unique experiences and they’ve learned so many lessons.”
A full-ride scholarship allowed Bo to choose where she spent her money. Today, she’s an avid world explorer, with the social media accounts to back it up. Bo credits State for opening her eyes to travel.
Until college, the farthest Bo had traveled was Florida to go to Disney World. Through the Networks program, she went on her first international group trip to Italy the summer after her freshman year.
“I got the first taste of being abroad and it was seriously amazing. Ever since that, it really sparked my travel bug.”
Bo also traveled domestically through the President’s Scholarship. They went to Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Las Vegas. She also was a part of the planning team for a trip to New York.
A guided tour is now a must for Bo when traveling. She learned to love history through her travel experiences at Indiana State.
Adopted from China, Bo was also able to explore her homeland for the first time through university travel. She stayed in Shanghai for six weeks under the President’s scholarship. Bo also took a completely solo trip to explore Japan. She had to navigate the language and travel system barriers, among other challenges. Traveling solo is something she wants to see other women embrace.
“A really big passion of mine is helping encourage women to solo travel.”
Bo was brought up, like most women, to be aware and overly cautious of her surroundings when alone. She even earned a camouflage belt in taekwondo to learn self-defense. She’s earned some knowledge through solo traveling and now uses her TikTok account to share tips with other women.
When the pandemic hit, Bo was working as full-time staff in University Marketing. The university was sent to work from home, a lifestyle Bo quickly learned to love. She first heard the term ‘digital nomad’ through TikTok and knew this was the way she wanted to live moving forward.
“Some people will work a bunch and then they’ll take time off for travel. I want to work while I travel and not be location-dependent, and I wanted to find a job that allowed me to do that.”
In 2020, Bo took the leap to leave Indiana State and become co-owner of a marketing service called BoCo Collective. Her company serves other small business owners in the Terre Haute area, among other locations. Bo called her departure from State ‘bittersweet.’
“It was the people I met there who encouraged me to be very independent and to believe in myself,” Bo said. “I never thought of being an entrepreneur going through college. That was never a thing that I thought about.”
Luckily, Bo was still able to use helpful resources on campus, like the Scott College of Business’ West Central Small Business Development. The center helps connect starter businesses with marketing services.
Bo has mostly been able to take her work on the road with her.
“I love social media, and I love how it allows you to not be tied down to a location, and that’s something that was really important to me was to build a job that works with my lifestyle.”
Bo definitely sees social media work as a part of her professional future. She also has some ideas she hopes to implement one day, such as featuring food diversity and travel.
See Bo’s TikTok account, LittleAsianBigTravels.
Despite all of her ongoing adventures, Bo’s roots will always be in Terre Haute and with Indiana State.
“Indiana State really gave me the confidence to do what I wanted to do because of the mid-sized school and I was able to connect with a lot of the different professors and office people, staff, faculty and hear their stories.”
An inspiration that still fuels Bo’s love for exploration.