What was it like being at home and doing remote learning?
Very, very repetitive. Every day was exactly the same. At the time it made the days go by so slowly, but looking back on it now it feels like the remote learning period only lasted a week or two. I appreciate all of the work that Lafayette and my professors put into ensuring our classes continued smoothly. I’m glad we were able to finish out the semester and get credit for our classes, but I’m also glad it’s over.
While the circumstances for the second half of the semester were difficult, what positives did you discover in the situation?
A few, actually. I have a treadmill at home, and I found it easier to incorporate running into my daily routine when I was at home than when I’m on campus. At a time where I couldn’t go many places, it was nice to stay active. I was also really happy to spend time with my family. As much as I would’ve rather had time at school to be with my friends, I recognize that I only have a few more years living at home before I move out. This situation made me slow down and appreciate the time I get to spend with my parents.
Even though I was able to make light of the situation and see the positives in it, I also learned that remote learning can never truly replace the Lafayette experience. I’m ready to get back on campus!
What was your favorite class or two last school year?
I really enjoyed my Cross-Cultural Psychology class taught by Professor Susan Basow and my Industrial-Organizational (I-O) Psychology class taught by Professor Andrew Vinchur. Within the field of psychology, they are two topics that interest me a lot. In Cross-Cultural Psych I learned a lot about how our individual culture can change the way we think, act, and even perceive the world around us. Learning the science behind it all was fascinating. I also loved I-O psych, which is the scientific study of behavior and mental processes in the workplace. Not only do I find the topic interesting, but I learned a lot of practical information about how humans operate within organizations. Applying scientific theories to increase human productivity and effectiveness in the workplace is knowledge I hope to carry into my career.
What was the highlight of the school year for you?
It wasn’t technically during a school session, but over winter break I participated in both an externship and a career track sponsored by the Gateway Career Center. Both were in New York City. Since I live in New Jersey, I’ve been to the city way too many times to count, but I’ve always questioned whether I could see myself working there one day. After participating in these programs I have a much deeper understanding and appreciation for what it’s like to work in a large city. I also met so many amazing people to learn from. Hearing about people’s jobs and professional experiences helped me narrow down my own personal interests. It was a great way to grow my LinkedIn network too!
Can you share a funny story that happened this past school year?
In the fall semester, I had mono for about a month before I was diagnosed. Every day I would think, “It’s fine, I’m sure I will feel better tomorrow!” so I kept going to class. After not feeling well for so long and getting progressively worse, I wound up going home the morning of the Lafayette-Lehigh football game and ended up in the emergency room because I was so dehydrated. Although it was scary at the time, and I was disappointed to miss the game, I look back and laugh about it now. I somehow didn’t miss a single class despite having mono. I definitely took a lot of naps that semester!
Who’s a staff member who has really made an impact on you?
The first time I met Jodie Frey, the director of recreation services, I was interviewing for a position as a facilities monitor at the rec center. During my interview, I had mentioned my previous experience with video production, design, and leadership. A few days later she asked to meet with me to discuss a few other positions. It was at that meeting that she presented me with an opportunity to become the chair of the Media and Marketing Team for Rec Services. At first, I didn’t know what to think. I had never done marketing before, let alone lead a marketing team. Suddenly coming in and taking charge of an already established team was nerve-wracking, but Jodie Frey had my back through it all. She helps me fill the gaps in my marketing knowledge while also helping me become a better leader. I am still learning every day in my new position. Learning more about marketing, more about leadership, and more about myself. I have Jodie Frey to thank for that growing knowledge.
How did you get started in marketing, and what are your experiences in it?
My first exposure to marketing was through an e-commerce class I took at my high school. Unfortunately, there isn’t much opportunity to formally learn about marketing at Lafayette because there is no marketing major. Instead, to practice and get experience in the field, I joined the Media and Marketing Team for Rec Services last semester. As the chair of the team, I run our weekly meetings, learn alongside my team members, and make sure we stay on track with our goals. I’m learning a lot as I go, but sometimes that’s the best way to learn.
What is it about marketing that interests you?
I love that there are so many different aspects of marketing. It involves creativity, numbers, analytics, planning, customer relationships, and more. I think that most people fall into the trap that I did growing up, thinking that marketing is all about advertisements and promotions. Marketing is so much more than that. Marketing is all about creating, communicating, and delivering value to customers. Advertisements are just one part of the communication aspect.
These different aspects of marketing mean that there are a variety of jobs and positions in the industry. I could be the person creating advertisements, the person communicating with customers, the person creating financial forecasts, or the person managing and overseeing it all.
What are you doing with your time this summer?
My original plan this summer was to study abroad. Seeing as that wasn’t an option anymore, I decided to deem this as the summer that I “learn things I otherwise wouldn’t have learned.” To get myself started, I enrolled in an online Intro to Marketing course held by my local community college. I figured it would be a great opportunity to learn more about a field I’m interested in as a career. In addition to my course, I signed up for the MADE Mentorship Matching Program through the ANA Educational Foundation (an opportunity presented to me by my Gateway counselor!) where I was matched with a mentor in the marketing industry. We had our first video call last week, and I’m excited to keep growing that relationship and expanding my knowledge of the industry. Lastly, I was recently informed about the free resources available through LinkedIn Learning, and I intend to make use of it to continue accomplishing my summer goal.
I’m also reading more this summer! Recreational reading is something I haven’t done much since I was in middle school, but having a lot of free time this summer allows me to get back into it. I’m reading all of the Harry Potter books for the first time. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for years, and now I finally get to do it.
What's been your involvement with the Dyer Center? Why is it important to you?
Back in October, I saw a flyer in Rockwell for a digital media marketing workshop held in the Dyer Center. I thought it sounded interesting, and I was hoping for a way to get involved, so I signed up. The workshop was led by a senior named Chirag Nijjer, and I found it fascinating. I introduced myself to Chirag afterward and told him that I was really interested in the subject and wanted to learn more. A week later I ended up joining his team on a startup project called Cignature MBA. Cignature MBA is a multimedia project aimed toward making business knowledge and education more accessible to small and medium business leaders. Working on a startup gave me the opportunity to see how an idea grows from the ground up. The small size of our team also allowed me to gain experience in multiple areas and roles throughout the process. Our team would meet in the Dyer Center every weekday and for multiple hours on Sunday to collaborate and work on the project. Chirag has now graduated and is working for Google, but I hope to continue working on the project with him in the future. As for the Dyer Center, I plan to continue going to workshops and events that they hold. Who knows where it could lead me next?
As a side note, I encourage anyone and everyone to check out the workshops in the Dyer Center if you haven’t already, even if you know nothing about the subject being presented! It’s a great way to learn, get involved, or find a passion.
What's been your involvement with the Gateway Center?
I couldn’t speak highly enough about the Gateway Center. They have so many helpful resources that I can’t even list all of them. Meeting with a career counselor early on in your time at Lafayette is crucial. My Gateway counselor, Maureen Walz, has helped me narrow down my interests and recognize how my strengths translate into a job. In addition to meeting with your Gateway counselor, I highly recommend looking into the externship and career track programs over winter break. This past year I had the opportunity to participate in an externship hosted by Barry Bregman ’77 at Korn Ferry (a global organizational consulting and executive search firm) and the Media and Communications Career Track program in New York City. During the Career Track I got to visit and hear from professionals at Deloitte, Fox Sports, Hearst, and NBCUniversal—many of whom were Lafayette alumni. The career fair, lunchtime workshops, and networking events hosted by the Gateway Center have also helped me learn more about myself and what I want to pursue in the future. Interacting with the Gateway Center has done so much to prepare me for my impending job search, and I couldn’t thank them enough.
What's been your involvement in Ultimate Frisbee?
I have been a member of Lafayette’s co-ed club Ultimate Frisbee team, Aflicktion, for as long as I have been a student at Lafayette. My college experience wouldn’t be the same without it. I played lots of sports growing up, but I didn’t even know that Ultimate Frisbee existed until I got to campus. I joined because I heard that the team got to practice on the football field at night under the lights. That sounded pretty cool to me, so I went to the first practice. My teammates have been like family ever since. One of the coolest things about being a part of the team is its size. We have about 40 active members on the team and even more who occasionally come to practice throughout the year. Being part of such a large team makes everything interesting. I’m never playing on the field with the same six people or getting lunch with the same four. I’m constantly engaging with a different mix of people, which keeps it refreshing. As a team, we also get to play at a tournament in Myrtle Beach every spring break. Unfortunately, it got canceled this year, but last year it was the highlight of my freshman year. Out of 28 teams across the country (many of whom practice every day and have a coach, unlike us) we came in third place. It was a great accomplishment for our team!
Besides Ultimate Frisbee, what else are you involved in on campus?
I’m excited to be a member of Lafayette’s co-ed service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega (APO). I joined this past year, and I love it! My favorite volunteer opportunity that I have discovered through APO is called LifeChurch at Paxinosa Elementary School. Wednesday nights we hang out with toddlers and elementary school students while their parents attend a Bible study. I love interacting with students in the Easton community. Knowing that they look up to you is intimidating but inspiring.
In addition to APO, I participate in the Easton Elementary Pen Pal Program (Lafayette students are matched with elementary school students in Easton to write pen pal letters back and forth), I am the chair of the Media and Marketing Team for Rec Services, and I host prospective students for lunch in a program called Leopard for a Day.
Who is the most interesting person you've met at Lafayette?
That’s tough, but I would probably say the president of the frisbee team my freshman year, TJ [Zahn ’19]. His real name is David, but everyone on our team knows him as TJ. I was sad to see all of the seniors graduate last year, but he is one of the people I miss the most. As our president, he was a strong leader and loved by all. His music knowledge exceeds anyone I’ve ever met, as well as his vocabulary. He keeps an index card with a different word and definition in his pocket every day. I’ve never met a person quite like TJ before, and I’m glad to have met him at Lafayette.
What did I miss about you?
I absolutely love film photography! For high school, I went to a vocational school called Communications High School. We had all of the same core classes as a regular school, but our electives were based solely in the communications field (and our teachers were professionals in the industry!). In addition to taking classes like journalism, TV and radio, digital video, visual communications, print production, and many more, I had the opportunity to take two black and white film photography classes. I had access to lighting equipment, unlimited rolls of 35mm film, a darkroom, and all of the equipment and chemicals needed to develop film and make prints. I wish it were a hobby I could continue on my own, but unfortunately, the equipment and chemicals are too expensive.