Pedro Argueta (he/him/his) earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychological Sciences from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences in May 2019. Since graduation, Pedro has secured employment with Aetna – CVS Health as a Talent Development Associate. Hear Pedro’s story and some of the challenges navigating the college experience as a first-gen student.
How did you choose your major, program, and/or minor?
Late in my high school experience, my interests in the social sciences peaked, and as a senior, taking my first psychology class, I quickly found that it was something I loved. At the time, I did not know that I could dedicate a whole undergraduate career to studying this discipline, so it was a pleasant surprise when I found out about the major at UConn. I began to understand more about the broad scope of psych as a field; there were clinical, practical, academic routes, and among those, so many nuances. Upon wrapping up my schooling with a focus on Industrial and Organizational Behavior Psychology, I realize now I could not have made a better choice.
How did you find out about your current position?
I found out about Aetna’s Human Resources Leadership Development Program at a career fair. As a Center for Career Development (CCD) intern, I had worked at many fairs as an employee, but the Fall 2018 Career Fair was my first one attending as a student.
What experiences during your time at UConn contributed to your current success?
My first professional internship was with the CCD at UConn. I started working there as a sophomore and loved it so much I returned every year until I graduated. Getting the opportunity to work directly with students on their résumés made me realize how much I enjoyed the one-on-one coaching practice. Not only that, at the CCD I learned so much more about being professional.
The second Internship I attribute a lot of my success to is the experience I had at Darien Wellness, a behavioral health private practice. There I got a lot of firsthand exposure to the clinical theory that I was learning about in school. On top of that, I learned a lot about running a small business, and took on responsibilities that sharpened all my professional skills.
What academic, career preparation, or job search obstacles did you need to overcome and how did you do so?
Being a first-generation college student, I had to overcome obstacles as far back as figuring out how to even apply and get into college. Once at UConn, things became easier, but it has always been uncharted territory for me. As a first-year student, I was studying and going to classes because that is just what you do; I had not even started considering what a “career” might look like. A lot of it came down to not knowing even what questions to ask. Where can my degree take me? What does a good opportunity look like? How do I market myself? I needed to figure out answers to my questions, but I did not know what or who to ask.
What groups, organizations, or other resources at UConn contributed to your career success?
The biggest factor for my success at UConn was really that I landed the opportunity at the CCD. That experience put me right in the middle of the group of people whose job is to help students figure out these big “career questions.” The resources were now available to me and I had the best support system you could ask for. In the end, by helping the CCD help other students, I was also getting all the guidance and tools I needed to be successful myself.
What advice would you give to current UConn students who are looking to follow the same career path?
The biggest advice I would give is this: every opportunity is a learning opportunity. Even if you are not doing what you would like to do long–term, you are still learning. Whether it is developing a skill or plainly building up a résumé, whatever opportunities you are involved in right now can help propel you forward. You must think critically about what activities and groups you get involved in and, more importantly, how you can market those experiences. Your experiences should tell the best story about why you should be considered for any job or opportunity. And if you cannot connect the dots yourself, ask for help and use your resources – there is so much at your disposal.
Please feel free to share recent accomplishments and achievements in the workforce.
A recent accomplishment in the past year is being selected to be part of the leadership team for our local Connecticut Chapter of the Latino Employee Resource Group at my company. This opportunity has given me the chance to collaborate with a cross-functional team to design and lead various events with the goal of building community and providing professional development resources to our Hispanic/Latino colleagues.