Millikin's CJ McCullum '23 helps others find their entrepreneurial spirit
The women’s basketball starter also has a jewelry-making business
by Matthew Flaten
DECATUR – When Millikin University senior CJ McCullum isn’t focused on her coursework or at practice on the basketball court, you can find the senior Digital Media Marketing and Spanish double major spending her free time making jewelry.
Along with being a starting guard on the Big Blue women’s basketball team, where she averaged 8 .7 points and 2.4 rebounds per game this past season, she also operates the “Made By CJ” online jewelry boutique, offering hand-made pieces for sale.
“I have been making jewelry since I was a kid. I didn’t get into more of the wiring and seed beading until my sophomore year in college,” CJ said. “I think of myself as a flamboyant person and I love wearing jewelry. I wanted to make things for other people that I would see myself wearing. I thought I would make jewelry for them and see if they like it.”
As the Marketing Chair of the Women In Business student organization, McCullum helped put on last weekend’s Millikin Makers Market event, which showcased crafts and services offered by Millikin students. The event featured 30 student vendors and had an estimated 400 customers attend the market.
“You don’t realize how many people have that entrepreneurial side to them, and I wanted to help bring that out on Millikin’s campus,” CJ said. “There is also the Performance Learning side. If you are an Entrepreneurship or Business Major, you’ve got to know how to sell your stuff, so you might as well start here. Overall, the turnout was great, and people were pleased with the results.”
McCullum, who is originally from Oswego, Ill., is set to graduate in May and already has post-graduate employment lined up as a Marketing Associate at Ecolab in St. Paul, Minn.
On the basketball court, McCullum earned CCIW All-Conference Second Team honors and was also named to the 2022-23 Academic All-District® Women's Basketball Team, selected by College Sports Communicators (CSC), which honors student-athletes for their combined performances on the field and in the classroom.
The Blue Blue returned to the NCAA DIII Tournament for the second consecutive season, finishing 24-5 and posting an undefeated 13-0 mark playing at home on Lori Kerans Court in the Griswold Center.
“(This season) was bittersweet, but to be able to play four years with my teammates, I was very happy with the way it ended,” CJ said. “Making another NCAA appearance, that was what we were trying to do for the past four years, and hopefully, when the new (first-year students) come in, they will be able to see that magic happen as well.”