Exploring Careers through CLAS Alumni Panels

The CLAS Alumni Panels are an excellent opportunity for CLAS students to learn about potential careers.

Check out some of the advice shared by CLAS alumni:

The Exploring Political Science panel featured Steve Casey ’74, retired employee from the State of Connecticut’s Department of Information Technology, Rick Forsberg ’77, Vice President and Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer for Kaman Corporation, and Lisa McGuire ’83, Assistant Director of Corporate Partner Relations at the UConn Center for Career Development (previous lobbyist and director of public affairs for the CT Business & Industry Association). The panelists chronicled their career paths and provided industry insights. Attendees left with valuable information about potential career fields and general career development advice. Rick spoke to the benefit of having a liberal arts education, and how his company seeks out these students for their written and verbal communication skills. Lisa helped to demystify the concept of networking for students, “volunteering or interning exposes you to a variety of people…and that’s networking.” Steve’s words of wisdom included urging students to get involved and to “follow your bliss.”

The panelists for Exploring Careers in Science were Matt Berberich ’00, Senior Research Technologist for the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT, and Harvard, and BrieAnna Hamel ’08, R&D Project Planner at Alexion Pharmaceuticals. Many career counseling professionals would agree that networking is key to getting an interview, but it is your previous hard work and credentials that get you the job. Matt’s experience illustrated that this can work the other way around as well. By networking within his industry he met a post-doctoral scholar at a social function who ended up being on the hiring committee for his current position. Both Matt and BrieAnna stressed the importance of connecting with professionals in your desired field, and finding a mentor within your first company. BrieAnna also stressed taking initiative and being able to articulate and sell your skills. She noted that for women especially, it is important to be confident in what you have to offer, from your first interview, to negotiating a position, to carrying out a new role. For students considering graduate school BrieAnna and Matt agreed that you should always know what you specifically want to study before investing in further education, and to be prepared for your career path to change as you grow.

Both of the CLAS alumni panels mentioned the value of gaining direct experience in your desired field. Learn how to prepare for internship, or find internships in your industry.

By Emily Merritt
Emily Merritt Career Consultant, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Emily Merritt