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By Stephen Wilson

The slump. Not at home plate in the middle of baseball season. Not on Wall Street during a sustained economic slide. Not on a mountain curve with a dropping mass of rock and soil.

This slump occurs in sophomore year, following the excitement and energy of a first-year on campus. To cure that slump? Gateway Career Center offers Sophomore Surge, a program specifically designed to help second-years meet with alumni from leading companies and industries whose backgrounds illustrate the power of career exploration and the Lafayette connection. 

“Sophomores are in a unique place in their career exploration,” says Alana Albus, senior associate director at Gateway Career Center. “Many jump into résumé building and seeking advice on a major as first-years, but they are not actively seeking internships like the juniors or interviewing for positions or applying to graduate programs like seniors. Sophomore Surge is designed to inspire them to keep exploring.”

The event makes exploring easy. 

Over the course of an afternoon March 7, nearly 70 students listened to a keynote presentation by Mike Baumwoll ’09, lead client account manager at Twitter and co-founder of Minque.

“Guys like Mike are so relatable to our students,” says Mark Choquette, assistant director at Gateway Career Center. “His double major in economics and psychology, his active involvement in Greek life and community engagement, his time as an orientation leader, and his love for entrepreneurship—he co-founded three companies in his junior year—all resonate with today’s sophomores.”

Following the keynote, students dove into alumni panels on topics like career paths, experiential learning, and pursuing an advanced degree. Panelists ranged from recent graduates to more seasoned alumni.

“It’s important for students to learn how opportunities like externships, career tracks, internships, research, study abroad, and leadership can help shape their career paths,” says Albus. “Or that majors don’t always dictate what a student does after graduation.”

Alumni participants included:

William Bohrod ’79, P’17

Ayleen Correa ’19

Carly David ’13

Fanessa de la Rosa ’19

Sydney Edelson ’19

Adam Grey ’14

JJ Houldin ’12

Sara Kreisel ’07

Daniel Kucz ’07

Joseph Luke ’99

Nalishha Mehta ’98

Kelly Nguyen ’06

Matthew Pagano ’09

Blake Rhood ’11

Stephanie Stawicki ’04

Michael Whitman ’82

Sophomore Surge program is a joint effort between Gateway Career Center, Alumni Relations, and the Annual Fund.


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