Schreyer alumni show students variety of pathways to success

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Roughly 40 alumni of the Schreyer Honors College provided career advice to more than 120 current students on Saturday, March 24, at the college’s annual Connect alumni career networking event in the Forest Resources Building.

That advice included telling the students not to make their whole lives about their careers.

The 16 different panel discussions during the event, sponsored by the Schreyer Scholar Alumni Society Board and MACOM, focused on startups, consulting, STEM careers and graduate school. Others focused on alternative career paths or careers that Scholar alumni carved out that had little to do with their majors. Also discussed were “side hustles,” or how alumni pursued or made time for interests outside of their primary vocations.

“I thought it was significant to hear about how some people find fulfillment within their career, and then some people find it outside of their career,” said sophomore Kate Sweeney, a double major in English and community, environment, and development. “It was nice to bring that all together."

Scholar alumnus Derek Gerberich, a senior manager for account services at Metric Theory, a digital marketing agency, talked about how he uses his interest in college basketball analytics to make impressions during interviews. Asia Grant, a digital consultant for IBM, pursues her passion of reading the children’s book she published to kindergarten classes. Boyoung Kim, an equity research associate at Bloomberg, plays in an orchestra once a week.

“Your life is always going to have a menu of things that make you happy,” said Scholar alumna Jenna Knapp, the director of sourcing and production at Thread, a company that produces fabrics from recycled materials. “And your job is just one of them.”

The alumni were impressed with the questions they received from students and pleased at how many were first-year students who were already thinking about networking even if they weren’t exactly sure what they were planning to study.

“Someone might have met someone here today that’s going to give them a job in a couple years,” said Scholar alumnus Alec Galanti, the director of finance and analytics at BrandYourself, “and I think that’s awesome.”

Sophomore Himavath Jois, an aerospace engineering major, said he gleaned good insights about the kind of research he is working on from the graduate school session.

“As a student, whenever you’re trying to go forward and see out in the future, the No. 1 thing you need is context,” Jois said, “and we got that today.”

The mantra that came through to students in many of the sessions and in the networking session that followed, where they had a chance to talk to alumni one-on-one, was the kind of career and life success that can come from pursuing passions.

“To see these alums who have been in this position and have applied that to their own lives, it’s very inspirational,” said Scholar Pragya Singh, a senior majoring in risk management. “It gives you the courage to go and apply that to your life.”

Last Updated March 28, 2018