By Madeline Marriott ’24

Throughout January, successful Lafayette alumni from dozens of companies/organizations across the country introduced students to their professions and industries through the Gateway Career Center’s Career Tracks program held during the winter break.

A person stands in front of a large screen in front of an audience.The program, which allows students to gain insiders’ perspectives on working in particular industries and cities, included 120 hosts and 161 student participants. Alumni spoke to students about their experiences at their companies, their paths within their industries, and their time at Lafayette. In addition, some organizations shared their internship programs and timelines for application.  

With the exception of the finance track, which took place in person in New York City, the sessions were virtual, providing greater access for students and hosts. Since many workplaces are now hybrid, sending students in person would make it more difficult to connect with employees. And for companies like Google, which has offices across the country, more employees can now participate from multiple locations.  

Students on zoom.Additionally, holding the sessions online removes several barriers to participation. Virtual sessions allow for greater participation from international students, student-athletes, and those unable to fly to different regions of the country to join in-person programs. 

“Developing a support network of alumni can be an intimidating process, which is why the Gateway Career Center hosts programs like Career Tracks,” says Josh Walker, associate director of employer relations and outreach. “The alumni our students meet, and the relationships they build from this experience, help them explore the multitude of opportunities they have as Lafayette students and future graduates. Additionally, hearing firsthand industry insights from our amazing alumni allows us to remain at the forefront when coaching our students for their future career journeys.”

“The Career Tracks program is an amazing experience for our students, and it would not be possible without our very generous and committed alumni,” says Holly Akers, associate director of employer relations and outreach. “I don’t know what is more enjoyable, the actual tracks and seeing the student and alumni engagement or the thank-you letters from students as they share how Career Tracks has positively impacted them as they consider areas of study and career.”

Providing a Distinctive Edge

  • Sponsored by the Marquis Parents Council Catalyst Fund, a special session was held for students during the Finance Career Track in New York at the June Jacobs headquarters in midtown Manhattan Jan. 18. Learn more.

Here’s what some hosts and participants had to say about the program:

Computer Science and Software Engineering | West Coast

Farhan Ahmed ’05, head of TPM, Instagram Home

“As someone who distinctly remembers how overwhelming it can be to navigate career decisions in college, I was more than happy to lend a helping hand. Not that the students needed it. I was blown away by their curiosity, thoughtfulness, and understanding of the tech industry. The future is in good hands.”

Kizuki Koyasu ’24

“It was a great opportunity to learn how people have entered into such great tech companies and what each of the companies are looking for in students. I really appreciated everyone’s willingness to help, and they have given us great advice that you cannot simply just look up on the internet.”  

Sidath Chandrasena ’25

“Although I had participated in the Career Tracks program as a first-year student, I chose to partake in the program again, because as a sophomore, I still felt that I had a lot to gain. As a first-year student, I was unsure about what career path to take and still considering what major to take at Lafayette, so I asked questions that were primarily centered around why the speakers chose their major and how they took advantage of different resources and clubs at Lafayette. After a year of taking a variety of courses at Lafayette and pursuing an internship and research during the summer, I was more aware of my interests in interdisciplinary learning and knew more of what I wanted to do as a career, so as a sophomore I was interested to hear about how some of the speakers who were involved in interdisciplinary roles or had interdisciplinary interests applied these skills and were able to combine their interests in different areas in their daily lives.”

Media and Entertainment | New York

Colleen McNamara ’24

“Career Tracks seemed like the ideal chance to learn and engage in discussions with some of the most successful Lafayette College media graduates. The five media speakers offered interview, career, and life advice to the small group of current Lafayette students. Josh Oshinsky ’00, senior director of Global Communications for PepsiCo., emphasized living it up at Lafayette before entering full-time jobs. ‘Once you get that job, do it with heart, passion, and authenticity,’ he said. His words resonated with me to be present and enthusiastic about where I’m at now. Oshinsky and others have had several media jobs from their time as Leopards until now. Currently, I’m set on the professional sports team reporter path, but I valued hearing the many avenues a sports media career may take.”

Olivia Combs ’26

“In my three Career Tracks, I was able to get a comprehensive view of the media and pharmaceutical industries. It was exactly what I was looking for in the Career Tracks. They are a valuable resource for someone who has the ability to spend their day networking and engaging with experts in the field.”

Health and Life Science | Greater Boston

Dr. John Andreassi ’94, principal research scientist, Vertex Pharmaceuticals

“My motivation for participating in the session was to present real-world examples of a career in industrial research and provide information on exactly what type of graduate and postgraduate school training are required for these types of roles. I hope that the information is useful to students to help determine whether this type of career might be a good fit for them. I was genuinely impressed with the very thoughtful questions that were asked during the session by the students. In addition, I received a lot of positive feedback from the students about how fortunate they were to have direct access to alumni in the biotech industry to discuss potential careers.” 

Abigail Harr ’25 

“Participating in the Gateway Health and Life Sciences Career Track exposed me to careers I didn’t even know existed, but that I now want to learn more about. Hearing from professionals with many different stories and in different places in their careers helped me to consider not only what fields I am interested in, but also what kind of workplace environment I want, what jobs allow you to work in different locations, etc. Every alumnus/na there had something to say that benefited me, even if their job was not in my exact area of interest. I highly recommend Career Tracks for anyone looking to explore future career options.”

Pharmaceuticals | New York Metro Area 

Dr. Tim Hylan ’88, vice president, Internal Medicine Field Medical Director Group, Pfizer

“When I was at Lafayette and got to my senior year, I had wished I was more prepared about thinking of options after graduation. I credit a couple of my professors with helping me figure things out, for which I’ve been forever grateful. And my career path and journey has been a bit nontraditional—an economics/history major ending up in medical affairs in a large biopharmaceutical company. Because of the opportunities that opened up for me from Lafayette, I’m always inspired to help current students learn more about careers in health care and especially what kinds of skills and experiences outside of the classroom that students should also invest in while at Lafayette, which are equally (if not more) important to their success as whatever they learn in the classroom.”

Analisa Coppa ’23 

“Last week, I participated in the Life Science Career Tracks for New York and Boston. As a Gateway intern, it’s so gratifying to see these events come to fruition. We met with alumni from

Pfizer, Merck, Bristol Myers Squibb, GSK, J&J, Dana-Farber, Mass Gen, Vertex, and Medtronic, and gained insight into their academic and professional journeys. Some of the panelists, Dr. Tim Hylan and Chris Seckar ’96 have been my former intern- and externship mentors, so it was great to see them again. The Gateway Career Center has been integral in furthering my professional development and network, and I always encourage fellow students to participate in their immersive programs like Career Tracks, externships, and industry weeks. I learned so much from the alumni’s stories and advice, and I am all the more excited to pursue a career in the life sciences after Lafayette.”

Lindsay Dewar ’24 

“I saw Career Tracks as an opportunity to solidify what I want to pursue as a career while also potentially giving myself the opportunity to open new horizons about careers I wasn’t aware of. I thought hearing from all of the Lafayette alums was incredibly informative and rich in information across an array of different industries and fields. The structure of Career Tracks fostered a very relaxed and welcoming environment for anyone of any class or major to ask questions to the alums. Josh Walker did a fantastic job in mediating and organizing the event, and I thought it was a very enjoyable experience, even though it was all on Zoom. I feel as though for anyone who could potentially participate in the next Career Tracks, I’d highly recommend it as a unique resource and chance to learn more about what each industry has to offer.”

Finance and Consulting | Boston

Quincy Miller ’97, president, Eastern Bank

“I thoroughly enjoy participating in the Finance Career Track as it is a very well-designed program that provides students a deeper understanding and exposure to career opportunities in finance. As an alumni, it’s important to invest in today’s students and support their Lafayette experience. They benefit and I do, personally, as it’s inspiring to connect with our future leaders and help guide their careers.”

Kelly Henning ’09, principal and wealth manager, Modera Wealth Management

I’ve participated in the Boston Finance Career Track for the past couple of years, and I’m continually impressed by the caliber of students participating in the sessions. They are engaging and are truly interested in how my firm and I work with clients. I am very passionate about helping individuals and families with their financial futures, and I hope the Lafayette students can see how this career path of helping others with their finances is a very rewarding one.”

Paraskevi Briegel ’26

I learned the importance of connections, especially at Lafayette. Many alumni are willing to help assist Lafayette students. If you ask questions, do research beforehand, and stay in touch, career connections and lifelong friends can be made.” 

Ami Figueroa Urrutia ’25

“Participating in the Finance Career Track definitely helped me solidify my decision to pursue a career in finance, to be more specific, which career in finance to pursue. There are millions of paths in the finance industry, and a lot of these paths were represented in the sessions. Hearing from alumni in sales and trading, corporate banking, technology, research, and more talk about their experiences made me realize in which divisions I see myself.”

Government, Policy, and Law | Washington, D.C.

Amy Emerick Clerkin ’03, chief of staff, Office of U.S. Congressman Raul M. Grijalva

“Lafayette is the reason I’ve made a career and a life in D.C. over the past 20 years. When I was a student, it was the alumni who generously offered their time and mentorship that gave me the experience and confidence to pursue internships, and eventually jobs, in this city. I participated in Career Tracks because I wanted to reach out to current students and demystify the process of getting involved in government and politics, and let them know myself and other alumni are here to help guide them.”

Mike Merola ’92, founding partner, WSW Winning Strategies 

“There was a pivotal point in my career where a Lafayette alum made the difference in me being hired for my first job in politics, and I am always on the lookout for ways to pay that forward to the next generation of Lafayette students who are looking to break into Washington, D.C. It was my pleasure to participate in the D.C. Career Tracks event, and I was very impressed by the caliber of the students who I met with. I really enjoyed our time together, and I hope they found it beneficial. I look forward to continuing to serve as a resource for them.”

Ashley King ’24

“I decided to participate in the D.C. Policy and Law Career Track because I am a junior pursuing a policy studies degree with a concentration in education policy. I believed Career Tracks would offer me firsthand experience and insight into the career field I will eventually be joining. This Career Track did an excellent job of exposing students like myself to the possibilities one can have if they are interested in policy and law. It was not only very informative but engaging to have a varied set of hosts with different life experiences, interests, and career journeys—one of which was working on Capitol Hill, something I had never entertained before this track. Nevertheless, learning that Lafayette alums, former Pards, were making strides on Capitol Hill was inspirational and made me ponder the possibility.”

Finance | New York City

Sebastian “Benny” Crapanzano ’97, managing director, Morgan Stanley

“It was wonderful to continue the Career Tracks program in January. It has become a key program in the suite of opportunities Lafayette alumni provide to current students. It was even more rewarding to have the students again in person after being virtual for the past few years.”

Justin Morales ’18, enterprise relationship manager, Bloomberg LP

“The program was a great success, and it was a privilege to be able to contribute to the growth and development of the students. Overall, hosting the career panel was a fantastic experience, and I am grateful for the opportunity to give back to the Lafayette community. I think I speak for all the Lafayette alums at Bloomberg when I say I look forward to hosting students again in the future.”              

Griffin Rooney ’24

“I learned that Lafayette alumni want to hire and help out students, so never be intimidated to reach out for help during your career search. The ability to see seven banks on Wall Street and learn about their recruiting process, culture, and more, all in the span of two days, was a one-of-a-kind experience. Career Tracks has helped me narrow down my search for what banks I want to pursue for employment, and I am glad I signed up for the experience.”

Joshua Weintraub ’25

“Attending the Career Tracks program in NYC was a terrific experience, as it taught me about multiple financial sectors and the wide range of jobs that exist. It was incredibly motivating to walk around these top-tier banks, knowing that a Lafayette alum made it there. Every single alum who spoke stressed their desire to want to help us, whether with interview prep or networking. Hearing the alumni speak about the importance of being an active listener and asking the right questions really resonated with me.”

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