By: Margaret Wilson 

Over winter break, more than 200 Lafayette students tried potential careers on for size, shadowing members of the broader Lafayette community in their chosen fields to learn more about the day-to-day of professional life. 

The world is wide open for Lafayette students, and thanks to the externship program through Gateway Career Center, students can move toward achieving their professional goals with more certainty than ever. 

Over the January 2024 break, 216 students participated in externships across the country, taking two to five days to shadow Lafayette alumni, parents, and friends in fields ranging from medical science to nonprofit and finance. The externship program gives students the chance to experience daily operations of their potential careers and allows them to make informed decisions about their future after graduation.  

According to Alexis Leon, assistant director of experiential learning, the externship program isn’t only a path to job opportunities—it’s also a way for Lafayette students to take advantage of a unique chance to build connections with the College community.  

“[The externship program] is one of our premier programs for which Lafayette stands out among our peer institutions and with students. I love reading in this year’s feedback how students chose the College knowing this program existed and the reputation it has among students,” Leon says. “I also love when I hear similar stories from alumni, who will mention the program without any prompting and speak to how beneficial it was for them as an undergrad. Having that history and continued support is incredible, and is illustrative of the College’s community at large.”

“The majority of our hosts are alumni, and it is their continued support, as well as the support of parents, that makes this program possible,” Leon continues. “They are acutely aware of the skills our current students can bring to the table, and they are uniquely positioned to affect change for their externs and their future alumni network. They are building the Lafayette community in real time!”

From companies in our own backyard to headquarters in major cities, students and hosts spent these externships learning from each other. Here’s a look into their experiences.

Touchstone Theatre

Bethlehem, Pa.

Host: Lisa Jordan, managing director and Sam Beedle, community liaison 

Extern: McKenna Graf ’26

Touchstone Theatre is a not-for-profit theater located in Bethlehem, Pa. Founded in 1981, Touchstone commits itself to the presentation of original theater works, as well as educational programming centered around nurturing the creative voice and training the next generation of artists.


Over three days, Graf was able to engage with almost every member of Touchstone’s company. From meetings with MFA students to working with ensemble members and the Southside Arts District team, this externship provided the opportunity to observe both the operational and emotional work of the theater. She was also able to sit in on the first script reading of an upcoming musical, subsequently creating a social media caption for the event. Connecting closely with Touchstone’s community, Graf observed both the passion for the work and the tools necessary to manage creative spaces.

Student POV

“Learning from such like-minded, passionate artists and watching them tackle such ambitious projects was incredibly inspiring and validating as to how powerful the arts can be,” Graf says. “This externship really solidified this wandering idea in my brain about searching for a career in managing creative spaces. I’ve always been interested in the more artistic careers, and after some classes at Lafayette (but especially since this experience at Touchstone), I’ve been able to see how they are applicable in the real world.”

Host POV

“Getting the chance to engage with emerging young minds is always a delight for us. One of our foundations as an arts organization in the Lehigh Valley is making connections and building relationships,” Beedle says. “Hosting the Lafayette externship here opens up new doors to meeting people who are excited about what we are doing. While students embark on the journey of ‘What am I going to do with my life?,’ it is important to try new things, ask questions, and to be curious about the world. You never know where a path will lead you and exploring the world through supportive programs like this could help bring something to life that you never knew was possible.” 


New York, N.Y.

Doug Prusoff ’12, Victor Hernandez ’25 and Goodness Obadofin ’26 pose in front of a light up LinkedIn logo sign

Host: Doug Prusoff ’12, account executive

Externs: Victor Hernandez ’25 and Goodness Obadofin ’26

The world’s largest professional network, LinkedIn connects the global workforce. Founded in 2003, LinkedIn’s diversified business model includes Talent Solutions, Marketing Solutions, Sales Solutions, and Premium Subscription products. Aiming to make professionals more productive and successful, LinkedIn hopes to create economic opportunity for every member of the global workforce.  


Focusing on the Learning Sales team at LinkedIn, externs spent their time learning about the behind the scenes of enterprise technology sales. In the company’s Empire State Building office, Obadofin and Hernandez were afforded the opportunity to listen in on meetings, as well as network with professionals across LinkedIn’s various business engagements.

Student POV

“My favorite part of the externship was hearing Doug’s inspirational background story,” Obadofin says. “He talked about how he was unsure what he wanted to do in college but ended up figuring it out later. It reminded me that it is still possible for me to find what I love and enjoy doing even after a period of uncertainty, as well as the importance of networking. Doug spoke about how he wouldn’t have obtained the opportunities he currently has if it weren’t for the people he knew.”

Host POV

“I always find the externship experience an easy and fun way to stay connected to Lafayette. I enjoy hearing about different paths to getting to Lafayette, what students are involved with on campus, and provide some advice on career paths after leaving College Hill,” Prusoff says. “I’d encourage any student to participate in the externship program because it helps broaden your perspective and your network. The externship is a low-pressure opportunity to be curious, learn more about what’s out there, and narrow down what you are or aren’t looking for in a career.”

Olympus Corporation of the Americas

Center Valley, Pa.

Host: Krista Ortwein ’05, director, corporate social responsibility

Externs: Elle Lansing ’26 and Charlize Cramer ’24

A leading global medical technology company, Olympus Corporation of the Americas delivers innovative solutions, precise manufacturing, and advanced technology to health care professionals. Committed to making people’s lives healthier, safer, and more fulfilling, Olympus is passionate about technology that helps detect and treat disease.


Shadowing the Corporate Social Responsibility team, Cramer and Lansing learned about many aspects of Olympus’ commitment to community impact over their two-day experience. Tailoring their schedule to their academic interests, specifically environmental sustainability, the externs met with the Environment Health and Safety director and spoke about how Olympus is reducing its carbon footprint. Their experience also included a meeting with a Girl Scouts of Eastern PA event committee to learn about Olympus’ commitment to community STEM education. Externs were afforded a glimpse into diversity, equity and inclusion efforts at Olympus by meeting with the African American Employee Resource Group, as well as the Corporate Communications team. Surrounding the theme of employee engagement, the externs were also able to shadow the rollout of Olympus Gives, a new software program to promote and execute philanthropic efforts.

Student POV

“This externship has helped me inform my future career goals by providing me with a glimpse into the corporate world. My favorite part of the externship was being able to talk to Krista and ask questions about her position and her career journey,” Lansing says. “Talking with her and other employees of Olympus gave me an understanding of what it’s like to collaborate with others in a professional setting, and it was interesting to see how Olympus is able to support local initiatives and nonprofit organizations. I could envision myself working at a similar company in the future because of this experience.”

Host POV

“Hosting externship students annually is how I personally give back to Lafayette, by inspiring students early in their career paths to recognize the power of learning and networking. I’m honored to host students with a variety of majors and from diverse backgrounds to share my story, and express how Lafayette prepared me for a rewarding career,” Ortwein says. “I’ve also learned throughout my years of hosting externs that I leave every experience feeling inspired. Today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders, and Lafayette matches me with brilliant students who have the ambition to be influential leaders.”

The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Broad Clinical Labs

Cambridge, Mass.

Nicholas Kolker ’25 and Luca Gianakopoulos ’25 stand with Dan Goodman ’20 outside near the sign for The Broad Institute

Host: Dan Goodman ’20, clinical laboratory lead

Externs: Nicholas Kolker ’25 and Luca Gianakopoulos ’25

The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard is a nonprofit research organization that brings together researchers from MIT, Harvard, and affiliated hospitals to better understand the causes of disease and improve results for patients. Broad Clinical Labs, a subsidiary of The Broad Institute, provides a range of research and clinical services, including sequencing of genomic data and analysis, to clients and partners around the globe. For over 10 years, Broad Clinical Labs has been the largest producer of human genomic information in the world.


Externs at Broad Clinical Labs were able to experience a typical workday, shadowing Goodman and his team as they processed RNA samples and loaded sequencers. They were introduced to equipment like automated liquid handlers, as well as scientific concepts like next generation sequencing, data analytics, and automated biotechnology processes, which helped them establish an understanding of the specific functions of the job. While some of their time at the lab was focused on routine meetings and observing lab workflows, externs were also given the opportunity to attend a company-wide town hall event. These meetings, which occur only twice a year, provide major research breakthroughs along with organizational updates.

Outside of scientific processes, students were also exposed to business principles that are essential to the lab’s function. They learned how lean manufacturing principles, continuous improvement, and production boards underlie the way the lab’s work is organized, expanding their on-the-ground knowledge beyond the theoretical and into the practical day-to-day.

Student POV

“Not only did this experience show me what I wanted to do as a career, but it also gave me insight into what type of workplace environment I’d like in the future. I also enjoyed how much new information I was able to learn,” Kolker says. “My favorite part of my externship experience was meeting Dan and his co-workers. Everyone was kind, knowledgeable, and took the time to answer my questions. This was an invaluable experience that not a lot of students are fortunate enough to have, and I took away advice and insight from them about their career paths and backgrounds.”

Host POV

“As a student, I was completely unaware that my current career was a consideration or even existed,” Goodman says. “Being able to show students the wide range of job opportunities that exist outside of the ‘traditional’ paths that one can pursue after college with a biology degree was great, and I know that they were very receptive to these new possibilities. An externship is a great way to utilize Lafayette’s alumni network and broaden your horizons at the same time. These externships allow you to experience career paths that you may be completely unaware of, or that you may be on the fence about pursuing.”

Institute of International Education

New York, N.Y.

Host: Roxanna Kobziar ’08, assistant director, Fulbright student and scholar programs, Europe and Eurasia

Externs: Dina Azar ’25 and Lydia Braasch ’24

The Institute of International Education (IIE) is a nonprofit organization that implements global education initiatives across borders, conducts research, and promotes the international exchange of ideas. Founded in 1919, IIE administers 200 programs and initiatives. One of the largest initiatives that IIE administers is the Fulbright Program, on behalf of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Led by the United States government in partnership with 160 countries worldwide, the Fulbright Program is an international educational and cultural exchange program that allows students and scholars to teach, study, or research internationally.


During their externship, Lafayette students learned about the administration of the Fulbright Program while interacting with various professionals in the field of international education. Liaising with the IIE CEO, as well as additional Lafayette alumni employed by IIE, students were exposed to a wide variety of professional duties at the nonprofit. By attending various team meetings, externs were able to observe the different types of work available within the field, as well as expand their knowledge of IIE’s mission. 

Student POV

“The externship was really amazing for me because I’ve always been looking to find a way to combine my background in engineering with my interest in cultural exchange and language learning,” Braasch says. “Prior to this externship, I didn’t know much about the field of international education, but my experience at IIE was amazing, and the work seems incredibly fulfilling. I left the internship wanting to come back to work there! Multiple people we met also made us aware of internships and different opportunities we can take to get involved in the future, so not only did I gain a new sense of direction but also actionable steps with which to move forward.

Host POV

“I find it rewarding to offer an outlet into the field of international education, to provide students studying international relations with an idea on a prospective path in this dynamic and important arena. Mutual exchange and intercultural competencies are extremely important in any profession and professional setting, but I feel most proud when externship students get excited about considering a career fostering and promoting these areas,” Kobziar says. “An externship experience provides an opportunity for students to imagine life after Lafayette, and what best practices or next steps they should consider for their professional trajectory.”

One Financial Services

Allentown, Pa.

Jack Morrone P’14 and Joseph White ’25 pose in front of the One Financial Services sign

Host: Jack Morrone P’14, principal and co-founder

Extern: Joseph White ’25

With LPL Financial-affiliated advisers, One Financial Services offers independent financial guidance, strategies, and advice through personalized care and attention. Offering a complete range of services in the areas of retirement, estate, special needs, education, and taxation, their team represents decades of experience and the highest qualifications for financial professionals.  


During an externship with One Financial Services, students were able to observe all levels of the company’s operation, shadowing both advisers and associates. Meetings with client relationship coordinators, clients and their advisers, and the tax team allowed students to gain an understanding of the variety of positions, resources, training, and skills required to run a successful financial services operation. With the opportunity to sit down with one of the firm’s owners, externs learned to understand the perspectives of multiple layers of the business, as well as the on-the-ground reality of financial planning. 

Host POV

“We enjoy the opportunity to share our processes, standards, and expectations of running a successful firm while supporting local college students. Our goal is for students who participate in our externship program to gain knowledge from their experience in our office that they could not get from a classroom,” Morrone says. “We also believe we are giving back. I am the parent of a Lafayette alumna, and this externship allows me to acknowledge the profound impact of my own daughter’s externship experiences by providing ongoing opportunities for others. This externship will allow a student a glimpse into the multiple career opportunities available within this field, as well as to make connections with individuals in an industry of interest.”

Philadelphia Phillies

Philadelphia, Pa.

Host: David Buck ’86, executive vice president

Externs: Courtney Campbell ’25, Jeremy Frankel ’24, Anna Gonella ’25

A major league team in the National League East Division, the Philadelphia Phillies have won two World Series championships. Founded in 1883, the team has played numerous venues before settling at Citizens Bank Park in 2004. 


Over their two-day experience, externs were able to experience the back-end of sports management, meeting with a variety of departments within the Phillies organization. The students learned about the daily tasks and backgrounds of team members from departments such as Ballpark Operations and Security, Business Analytics, Baseball Operations, and Video Productions.

Student POV

“My favorite part of the externship was being able to ask questions to each of the departments. It allowed us to get to know the employees better and made the externship more personalized to us,” Campbell says. “We were able to see how close-knit and family-like the organization is. Because of the wide range of departments we met with, this externship allowed me to see into the business side of a sports organization. There are a lot of moving factors and departments I never realized were needed, but are actually really important in order for the organization to run smoothly.”

Host POV

“We’ve hosted Lafayette externs for at least the last 15 years,” Buck says. “It’s a great way to keep a connection with the College. I know of at least three former externs who now work in the sports field, which is awesome.”

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.