By Madeline Marriott ’24

For some Lafayette students, there’s no better time than winter break to explore industries, connect with alumni, and for some, solidify their future career plans. Throughout the January interim, dozens of motivated Pards connected with alumni in a variety of industries through Gateway Career Center’s Career Tracks program

The program, which gives students the opportunity to learn about the daily lives of those working in their industry of choice, included over 120 alumni hosts and 150 students. Aside from the New York-based finance track, the programs take place virtually, eliminating barriers to joining for students of all backgrounds and locations. 

“Lafayette’s alumni network is so ready and willing to support students with advice, mentorship, and when possible, support in their search for internships and careers,” says Josh Walker, associate director of employer relations and outreach. “Building a network of Lafayette alumni connections is a vital step in a student’s undergraduate experience that has benefits well beyond seeking career guidance. By engaging with alumni early and often, students can hear their stories and learn lessons from folks who have been in their shoes before.“

“Our hope for students is that they have an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of what type of career they really want as they are gaining insight into the reality of what a job is and what it requires,” says Holly Akers, associate director of employer relations and outreach. “We also hope that our students learn about the culture and expectations within an industry as well as gain professional etiquette skills through exposure to our alumni.”

The program has run successfully for several years, providing long-term and fruitful connections for students. 

“Students have consistently had positive experiences, and they are very appreciative of meeting our alumni,” Akers says. “Students are required to write thank-you notes to our alumni, and throughout the notes we see time and time again that this experience sparks a deeper interest in a career within an industry or organization. Many students establish alumni connections that result in realized internships and entry-level career starts.” 

It takes the interest and dedication of many volunteers to ensure these experiences are successful for students. 

Here’s what some hosts and students had to say about their experiences:

Computer Science and Software Engineering – West Coast

I not only received insightful and thoughtful advice from inspiring Lafayette alumni, but I also formed valuable connections who have graciously offered their support beyond the program. From book recommendations to LinkedIn connections to life advice, I think that this program has provided much more than just perspectives on different companies and careers.” 

~Sevara “Jasmina” Frederico ’27

I loved the atmosphere the alumni and students achieved during our time together. The alumni provided a lot of information for our success and planning for the future!”

~Anthony Lin ’26

“I really appreciated the students’ intentional and well-researched questions. When I was a student at Lafayette, I found the advice and mentorship that I received from Lafayette alumni absolutely invaluable. If it were not for the connections and resources of Lafayette’s career services and alumni network, I would not be where I am today.” 

~Barker Carlock ’17

Northeast Computer Science and Technology

“As a first-year student, people have been telling me since I got here that there are opportunities I shouldn’t miss out on. But hearing it from the alumni in my Career Track helped hammer in that advice. Aside from the opportunities Lafayette provides for things like jobs and internships, there’s so much understated value in the classes offered—especially the ones outside your major. I heard two Amazon engineers praise the value of art history and sociology classes. One of them even said he regretted not taking them during his time at Lafayette, and talked about the importance of being able to understand the people and context behind the tech problems. Overall the experience was very insightful.” 

~Kwame Otoo Appiah ’27

“I’ve been a speaker for Career Tracks for three years. The students are always prepared. They listen but also ask great questions, and they follow up afterward. I have been delighted by their level of engagement. Participating in Career Tracks is one of the ways I give back to Lafayette. The friends and bonds made at Lafayette was one of my first professional networks. While I didn’t have similar experiences as a student, Lafayette and staff have always been incredibly supportive. I’m proud to be a Pard.” 

~ Lisa Martinez Gilpin ’96, director, privacy partnerships, Google

“I look forward to the Career Tracks program at Lafayette. It’s an opportunity to share what was special about Lafayette for me and how it positioned me to be successful in my career in computer science. I’m gratified to see the recognition from students when I talk about those things that make Lafayette special: small classes, the intersection of liberal arts and engineering, the accessibility of professors, and all of the opportunities on campus to explore interests. On top of that, I am always impressed with the engagement and curiosity exhibited by the students during Career Track sessions.” 

~Gabe Gagliano ’93, principal engineer, Amazon

Media and Entertainment – New York

“Participating in the Career Tracks program helped me expand my understanding of possible career paths while also reinforcing my current academic and potential career goals. I enjoyed learning about alumni experiences involving travel through both studying abroad while at Lafayette and in opportunities offered in their careers.” 

~Emma Li ’27

“I was thrilled to be asked to participate in the Media Career Tracks program this year. As a student, it was my experiences speaking to alumni and friends of the College that ultimately led me to discover the field of video production, and ultimately to a career in it. I am always more than willing to help afford those opportunities to current students to hopefully shed some light and lead them to discover the possibilities of their own future careers.” 

~Alyson Shumeyko ’14, director of content production, Lippe Taylor

“Lafayette’s Career and Alumni Services departments have had a strong impact on my career journey. Plus, at several of the companies where I’ve worked, Lafayette alums have guided me and given great advice. I’m fortunate to be part of such a strong, supportive network and was thrilled to do my part for our next generation of talented Leopards by sharing my career insights.” 

~Michael Levey ’02, director, global media relations, Merck

Life and Health Sciences – Northeast

“Gateway Career Tracks was eye-opening to the broad range of jobs available in the field I’m interested in. It also gave me an idea about where I should be looking for future opportunities.

~Regan Thompson ’27

“What I enjoyed most about the Career Tracks experience was the opportunity to connect with professionals in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries who attended our school! I loved hearing about how Lafayette supported their academic and professional pursuits during college, and how they were well equipped to enter their respective fields after graduation. Each alum left us students with parting wisdom that really resonated with me.” 

~Renee Pascoe ’25

“I was fortunate to participate in Lafayette’s externship program as a student, which helped catalyze the beginning of my scientific career. The opportunity to shadow at the National Institutes of Health with Dr. Balaban (a Lafayette parent) allowed me to pursue and win my first ‘real’ interview with Pfizer’s Research & Development Summer Student Program my junior year. These real-world experiences during my undergraduate years were invaluable to landing my first position post-graduation at Harvard Medical School/DFCI. I am very happy to ‘pay it forward’ to our next generation of problem solvers and leaders, as I continue to benefit from the wisdom and coaching from mentors, family, and colleagues throughout my career.”  

~Tara Mayo ’10, manager business transformation, life sciences sector, Ernst & Young

Pharmaceuticals – New York Metro Area

“As a biology student with a passion for innovative biological technologies, I could not be more grateful for the New York Metro Pharmaceuticals Career Track experience. The exposure to such a diverse range of industry professionals broadened my mindset to just how many career opportunities are waiting for students with intersecting interests of biology and business. Being able to directly interact with talented individuals in my field of interest was truly motivating, and I feel lucky to attend a school with such a dedicated Career Services Center.”

~Caillin Burke ’26


I enjoyed how the Career Track program helped me to learn about a variety of potential careers by allowing me to talk to alumni in such a wide range of positions in the pharmaceutical industry. It was made even better by the alumni being very kind and willing to help, and I am looking forward to keeping in touch with them in the future.”

~Max Gianakopoulos ’25

“I really enjoyed participating in Lafayette’s Career Tracks virtual program, as it was a great opportunity to engage with students who may be interested in pursuing a life sciences career in pharma and to share with them my passion for bringing transformational medicines to patients. I would not be in the field I am today if it were not for the knowledge and encouragement I received from the faculty at Lafayette (like Professors Leibel, Waters, Husic, and many more); it feels good to share my experiences and advice with the next generation of Lafayette scientists who are exploring different careers after college.”

~Rick Gontarek, Ph.D., senior director, precision medicine, GSK

Finance and Consulting – Boston

“Hearing about different experiences in finance from Lafayette alumni from diverse backgrounds allowed me to see how anyone interested in a career in financial services can find a place in the industry. It was empowering and inspiring to see that the finance stereotypes don’t apply to everyone as we got to listen about unique experiences and career paths varying from investment banking and consulting to wealth management.”

~Nisan Basciftci ’27


“The Career Tracks enabled me to connect my academic experiences and skills with professional aspirations. It was exciting to explore how alumni leveraged their experiences at Lafayette to position themselves to be industry leaders, informing students’ perspective as they chart their own journey.”

~Hasnat Aslam ’27


It is always a pleasure to be part of the Career Tracks program, which I have joined as an alumni for the past seven years and also participated in as a student. I was very impressed by the students’ interaction and great questions, especially coming from freshmen/sophomores. Developing one’s network so early is key to students’ career and internship/full-time job searches, so I highly encourage the College to continue expanding and improving this program.”

~Othman Guennoun ’17, consulting manager, wealth management strategy and business transformation, Ernst & Young

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

“The Government and Law Career Tracks program provided substantial advice on career paths and worthwhile experiences while at Lafayette College. I appreciated the perspective of professionals who have also experienced the overwhelming process that I am currently undergoing!”

~ Beaux Lizewski ’27

“I enjoyed learning about alumni experiences involving travel through both studying abroad while at Lafayette and in opportunities offered in their careers.”

~Emma Li ’27

“I wouldn’t be where I am in my career if it weren’t for Lafayette. Lafayette helped me identify the  Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship, which launched my career as a foreign service officer, and helped me prepare for the interview. I’ll take any opportunity to pay it forward to Lafayette students by sharing my experience and knowledge.”

~Samantha Jordan ’13, foreign service officer, U.S. Department of State

Finance – New York City

“I found the in-person NYC Career Track trip to be one of the most beneficial experiences I’ve had so far at Lafayette. Our alumni and hosts were enthusiastic to share insights on their roles, frequently used skills, career trajectories, and the workplace culture at their companies.”

 ~Kathryn Duane ’26 

“The opportunity to visit several financial institutions in New York City and engage in discussion with Lafayette alumni across a diverse array of roles provided incredibly valuable insights. As someone interested in the prospect of a career in finance, it was fascinating to learn about the experiences of professionals navigating the dynamic landscape of the industry.” 

~Nathan Rashkind ’26 

“I was very impressed by the Lafayette students. They were interested and interesting, engaged, and asked thoughtful questions. I hope they will think of JPMorgan as they begin their career journeys.”

~Leslie Perkins ’P26, managing director, J.P. Morgan

Categorized in: Alumni, Careers, Featured News, News and Features, Students

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use basic HTML tags and attributes.