Arden Pray, a business administration senior with real estate career aspirations, has been recognized by the Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW) Network Foundation as one of 25 international collegiate female scholarship recipients. Pray will receive a $5,000 scholarship, an internship and other benefits.
CREW is “dedicated to transforming the commercial real estate industry by advancing women globally,” according to its website.
Pray, who is enrolled in the Real Estate Investment Management Concentration, said her first Real Estate Club at UT Dallas event “was a CREW panel. So this was a full-circle moment for me. [That event] shaped my view of the real estate industry. I always assumed it was such a male-dominated industry. Seeing those women so successful” was very formative.”
Pray’s real estate experience started early.
“From a really young age, I really looked up to my mom [a residential real estate broker] because she could be her own boss,” Pray said. “I always told her, ‘I want to be a boss. I’m going to be a leader.’ ”
Pray said that knowing she would study real estate before entering college was unique. It helped her seek out all the opportunities available at UT Dallas.
“The most formative experience I’ve had in college is joining the real estate club,” she said.
The club excited her interest in commercial real estate and gave her more opportunities to be mentored and led by women in the industry, she said. This year, she is the club’s vice president.
“Women have shaped my whole professional career. I feel really lucky to be able to say that. A lot of women are kind of turned off from the industry because of the male dominance,” Pray said.
To other women wanting to enter commercial real estate, she says, “Try to not be intimidated by the industry. Find a mentor you trust who can guide you in the right direction, preferably one who matches your career aspirations. I am so thankful for what my mentors have done for me, and I couldn’t imagine starting my career without their insight.”
Julie Lynch, associate director of the Herbert D. Weitzman Institute for Real Estate and a Jindal School associate professor of practice in finance, has been a mentor to Pray, encouraging her to apply for the CREW scholarship and supporting her in the real estate club.
“Arden provides an excellent representation of the caliber of students we have at UTD,” Lynch said. She is “serving in the real estate club, driving results and holding an internship position at a real estate company while attending classes full time.”
Vicky Gunning, 2020 CREW Network Foundation Chair, agreed. “The selection committee was very impressed by [Arden’s] clear drive to have a career in commercial real estate, as shown through her undergraduate studies, her employment history and her dedication to leadership in the UT Dallas Real Estate Club,” she said.
Pray is interning at LINC Commercial Realty, conducting market research, finding properties for LINC clients and showing properties. Through the CREW scholarship, she will have the opportunity to intern with CBRE next summer. Both internships will give her some of the experience she needs to eventually open her own real estate brokerage, she said.
— Sarah Ganbat