Six alumni offered advice about preparing for life after graduation as they reflected on their past experiences at the college Feb. 18 in Clark Lounge for the “Five under Five – Looking Back, Moving Forward” event.
The event, hosted by the Students Today Alumni Tomorrow (STAT) as part of “I Love IC Week,” featured panelists Kylee Roberts ’19, Brandon Schneider ’17, Katrina Grein ’17, Imogen Mills ’18, Melinda McGill-Carlison ’15, MBA ’16, and Harmony Malone ’15. The panelists all graduated within the last five years and represented each of the five academic schools at the college.
Seniors Rachel Cutsumpas, president of STAT, and Francesca Cherchio, vice president of events for STAT, led the discussion by asking the panelists questions about their experiences at the college and their current professional positions.
Cherchio said the event was held as an outlet for the alumni to share lessons that they have learned since graduating with faculty and current students.
Senior Abby Wizel said she attended the event in hopes of finding a source of guidance for preparing for life after graduation.
“I’m a senior graduating in May, and I am very confused about my future,” she said. “So it was nice to hear from alumni who have kind of gone through the same thing that I’m going through right now.”
Cherchio asked the panelists what the greatest obstacle they had to overcome was.
In response, Roberts said she started working approximately one month after graduating in Spring 2019. The transition into a professional career was smooth overall, but she faced difficulties adapting to the new environment, she said.
“I think learning different people’s styles of how they work is definitely a new thing,” she said. “In [the communication management and design major] especially, you’re working with people who have been trained to work the same way, … but when you’re walking into an organization that has been around for 20 years, … they have a certain working style.”
While at the college, Roberts co-founded Passion Project and is currently the communications and development associate for The Lower Eastside Girls Club of New York. Passion Project is a multimedia online publication that offers students an outlet to voice opinions and personal stories.
Cherchio also asked the panelists what piece of advice they wish they had gotten in college.
Schneider said he valued the opportunities he had after graduation to explore and discover new interests outside of his Bachelor of Music program.
“You’re allowed to do other things that make you happy,” he said. “I’m working on my personal trainer certification now. I have a running coach certification. None of these things are things I ever could have imagined for myself, but that’s okay.”
Schneider said he currently works as executive assistant to Stephanie Klemons, the associate choreographer and global dance supervisor of Hamilton. He is also the director of operations of Katie’s Art Project. According to its website, Katie’s Art Project connects children facing life-threatening illnesses with emerging and established artists.
Senior Olivia Levin said she attended the event as a way to feel more connected to the campus community and hear different perspectives regarding life after graduation. She said what resonated with her the most from the event was when Schneider discussed how he discovered his passion for running after graduating.
“I sort of feel like after college, I’m at this standstill,” Levin said. “I don’t know how much more I can learn. So hearing what [Schneider] said was something that I really needed to hear.”
Senior Ryan Buchanan, vice president of internal development for STAT, said he believes the event helped students prepare for their futures and understand what they want to do with their degrees.
“Hearing about the different panelists’ life stories, a lot of them came from different backgrounds, and it was pretty cool to see how they navigated their paths after IC,” he said.