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Don’t be afraid to take chances. Get involved on campus. Think creatively.
That was the advice alumni gave students during a recent "Sundays with Alumni" networking discussion. The series brings alumni to campus from different fields -- this time it was new media -- to talk about their education and career paths.
Kathryn Whitney '07, a YouTube specialist for online media sales at Google Inc. in Boston, told the packed room that she thought it was risky to move to "the middle of nowhere" for a job with Google in Ann Arbor, Mich., after she graduated. But she realized in hindsight that it was a great move.
Whitney, a religious studies major, and her fellow panelist Lauren Matison ’06, an English major; and Richard Kappler ’04, a film studies major, have all forged themselves successful careers.
Whitney said she never imagined herself working for Google. “I found my job through CELS [the College's career office]. I saw an ad for Google around campus so I went. Next thing I knew I was being flown out to Ann Arbor to be interviewed,” she recalls.
And although it may seem unlikely that a religious major would be successful in sales, Whitney explains that her studies provided a good foundation because some religions essentially use marketing to grow.
Kappler, a programming-planning manager at VH1, provided students with a different view of life after college. He did not go through the CELS program, which he now regrets. After graduating, he found a temp position at VH1 and worked it into a full-time job.
Similarly, Matison, now at offManhattan.com, wishes she had done a few things differently to kick off her career earlier. “I would have started my own business before even graduating, started my own website,” she said.
The panelists advised students to get involved across campus. “Nobody wants to hire someone who is socially inept. Be friendly,” said Kappler.
Matison added, “make the most out of these four years. Make an image for yourself. Take a risk. Try to do something that you really love. Really enjoy your time."
The alumni advised that even though it’s been years since they have graduated from Connecticut College they miss food from Harris, have bumped into people they meet at the famous Cro dances, and still keep up with professional relationships they made through CELS.
-- Zully Jimenez '15