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Vanessa Youngs ’07 (Mt. Vernon, N.Y.) and Huong Nguyen ’08 (Hanoi, Vietnam) gained first-hand knowledge of human resources and finance at the international accounting and consulting firm Ernst & Young.

Diversity Recruiting Consultant Gioia Pisano ’90 hosted them at the firm’s Iselin, N.J. location, allowing the students to attend several recruitment strategy meetings, including a teleconference with the firm’s global recruiting group in London. Pisano also discussed a typical day, which involves collaborating with her team, and explained the various computer programs she uses.

Youngs and Nguyen were among more than 275 Lafayette students who served externships with alumni and other experienced professionals in the business, arts, education, healthcare, law, engineering, science, government, and nonprofits. The students shadowed the professionals at their workplaces, learning about careers they may consider entering after college, developing professional networking contacts, and building their resumes.

In addition, Pisano introduced the students to audit and tax professionals in the firm.

“Knowing that you’re there for such a limited amount of time, you should make the most of the experience. Gioia did a really good job with that for us,” says Youngs, an anthropology & sociology major with a minor in economics & business. “Also, I think the fact that she is a woman in the corporate world was helpful to us. We were able to ask her certain questions about how she was managing a family and work.”

Youngs applied for an externship to learn about what career opportunities are available to her. She was particularly interested in shadowing Pisano to see how she was using her double major in anthropology & sociology and economics & business.

Nguyen was also interested in the careers she could pursue after college as an economics & business major with a minor in mathematics.

“I realized that with my major I could not only do tax or auditing, I could go into human resources too,” says an enthusiastic Nguyen. “I’m really happy that I did the externship.”

Youngs is also pleased with her experience. She realized that human resources might not be the field for her, but working for a company like Ernst & Young, with its comfortable work environment, might be right up her alley.

“I would push for more students to apply,” says Youngs. “Lafayette does a really good job offering a different range [of externships]. I was able to list four priorities as a sociology major.”

Nguyen agrees that freshmen and sophomores who are unsure which major best complements their interests would benefit from Lafayette’s externship program.

As a senior in college, Pisano was undecided about her career. By offering this externship to Youngs and Nguyen, she hoped to provide them with a chance to be more prepared for the job market.

As a recruiter, Pisano was also excited for the chance to meet potential Ernst & Young employees.

“The externship program is a great way to identify talented students for our Master’s of Accountancy program at the University of Virginia and the University of Notre Dame,” she says. “We have had 10 students over the past few years participate in the program and they have gone on to do well at the firm.”

Hosting Youngs and Nguyen was Pisano’s first externship experience, but certainly not her last.

“I am impressed with Lafayette’s efforts in diversity and look forward to working with [the College] in ways that will help promote the many career opportunities for talented students,” says Pisano.

After graduating, Youngs plans to attend law school. She is a third-year sprinter for the track and field team, secretary for the Nia women’s support group, and a member of Students for Social Justice.

Nguyen is a math teaching assistant and peer tutor. She is also the peer adviser of International Students Association and treasurer of Asian Culture Association. In addition, Nguyen is conducting EXCEL Scholars research on “Oil and the Macroeconomy or Inflation Expectations and Core Inflation” under the guidance of Julie K. Smith, assistant professor of economics and business.

Categorized in: Academic News