Alums find career success by pursuing their passions
Finding your passion and making a living at it is the key to a successful career — from both a professional and personal standpoint. Here are five young alums who took advantage of campus opportunities to explore and dive deeper into their interests, leading to great career options after graduation.
- Bridget Cummings '15, College of Saint Benedict
- Jake Kohl ’12, Concordia College (Moorhead)
- Nancy Silva ’14, University of St. Catherine
- Kunal Chauhan ’15, Macalester College
- Idee Udo '15, University of St. Thomas
After Bridget Cummings spent a summer in Washington D.C., she wanted to go back.
And back again.
The 2015 graduate participated in two internships over two summers in Washington. When she graduated from the College of Saint Benedict in May, she started working full-time at the White House in August.
As Cummings adapts to a new role in the White House, she credits her previous internship experience for preparing her for the position.
Following her sophomore year at Saint Ben's, Cummings participated in the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University Summer Washington, D.C., Study Program, where she interned at the U.S. Department of Justice.
"I learned so many valuable lessons about public policy and what it is like to work in the government," Cummings said.
The way we communicate with one another today barely resembles the methods of staying in touch employed by previous generations. But one interpersonal holdout from the era of pay phones and pagers still causes anxiety: the icebreaker.
Jake Kohl '12 is ready to bring the icebreaker into the digital age. His app, Klink, is designed to help take some of the chill out of the cold open by matching users into pairs and giving them a preloaded getting-to-know-you style question to answer. Answer the question correctly by chatting with your partner and voilà, you’ve broken the ice.
“It’s really hard to cold-approach; [Klink] sets up the opportunity to get to know someone,” Kohl says.
Developed as part of Fargo’s Startup Weekend in 2015, Kohl and five partners earned the event’s honorary “Just Do It” award.
Aiming to make America the healthiest nation in one generation seems daunting, but that is the theme for this year’s National Public Health Week . . . Nancy Silva, a St. Catherine University alumna, is helping to reach that goal by caring for Minnesota’s youngest residents.
As a health program representative for the Minnesota Department of Health’s Newborn Screening Program, she helps hospitals across the state ensure that every child has access to a Newborn Screen. The program tests for over 50 rare but treatable genetic conditions. Silva works closely with pediatricians to ensure every baby gets a hearing screen and follow-up care, if necessary.
But National Public Health Week is about more than just providing access to health care. Public health’s intersection with the many aspects of life is one thing that drew Silva to the field.
As a sophomore, Kunal Chauhan ’15 (Stockholm, Sweden) decided to enroll in a popular introductory Investment Banking course taught by Professor Joyce Minor. He entered the course without knowing exactly what Investment Banking was; today, he works on Wall Street as an investment banking analyst at Lazard, a financial advisory and asset management firm.
The introductory course enthralled the economics major. Minor, noticing Chauhan’s interest in the industry, introduced him to Macalester alum and Lazard employee Tristan Loiselle ’12.
“Tristan and I clicked immediately,” said Chauhan. “I was fortunate enough to become his mentee for the next few months, a time period that involved intensive coaching from Tristan and multiple in-person interviews with Lazard. I was offered a summer internship with Lazard after my junior year, which led to a full-time offer that following September.”
“As a strategic planner, I help out with conducting research, creating brand stories and piecing together observations to arrive at a key human truth. This human truth is then used to develop an insight that will take the brand to the next level through its advertising.
St. Thomas prepared me for my internship because although I did not have advertising experience on my résumé when I applied, the skills I learned while being on the Tommie Ambassador Team Leadership Board, the American Marketing Association Executive Board, the Undergraduate Business Council and a Marketing Research Assistant all translated quite literally for the role I was hoping for.”