by Jackson Rioux
“It was all frustrations and roadblocks, and there was one moment of happiness and that’s when you get a job.”
Those candid words were spoken by Central Connecticut State University alumnus Ian Mangione at “The Road Taken,” an event hosted by the CCSU English Department on Oct. 27.
“The Road Taken” offered the chance for current CCSU students and faculty to gain insight from recent graduates’ experiences in the “job search.” The event allowed alumni to, “discuss their current employment, additional training or education that helped them realize their career goals.”
“The Road Taken” ran from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Room at Mid-Campus Hall. There were two panels of English alumni, with the first one taking the floor at 7:30 p.m.
The first panel featured four alumni who found their jobs as educators through varied paths. The panel was called, “Many Roads Leading to Rome: Divergent Paths to Careers as Educators.” Each speaker took the time to discuss his or her current position, former experience and other related career factors during the 45-minute panel.
The first panel drew plenty of responses from the audience as the panelists talked about odd or completely unrelated prior jobs.
For instance, panelist Mike Rebeschi formerly worked in a kitchen as a chef. Rebeschi enjoyed being able to play music in the kitchen, although he did say, “I got sick of crepes really fast,” as laughter rang out throughout the room. Rebeschi, who graduated from CCSU in 2015, has moved on from the kitchen, as he is now a master’s degree candidate in elementary education at Southern Connecticut State University.
The first group of panelists also took time to discuss their differing personalities and teaching methods before taking questions from the audience.
The second panel was titled, “Many Romes: Paths Leading to Diverse Careers.” Each panelist had taken a career path toward Government, Health Management, Industry, Librarianship, Public Relations or Writing.
This panel discussed specific skill sets hiring teams look at. They also gave advice regarding resumes and networking among other topics.
Nicolas Phillips, who graduated from CCSU in 2011, placed a significant amount of importance on one skill set.
“If you have great grammar skills and you can write, there’s always a place for you at a company,” said Phillips. “Everyone needs good writers.”
Phillips has been able to translate these skills into a Corporate Communications position at Alexion Pharmaceuticals.
The other panelists agreed with Phillips as they cited other helpful skills that were acquired through majoring in English.
“It’s good to have the English skills to know how to communicate to a broad group of people,” said Kimberly Gierla. “It’s good to know how to communicate and get your point across.”
Kassondra Mangione cited her journalism background as a beneficial asset toward her Communications and Public Relations Manager role with Girl Scouts of Connecticut.
“One way I marketed myself when interviewing for the job was I know how the reporter’s mind works,” she said. “I know what it takes to get a press release picked up by the media.”
Mangione’s example aimed to further show that a student’s major does not necessarily restrict a student to a narrow field upon graduation.
As a whole, the panel provided insightful advice to an audience that may soon be finding themselves in the shoes of the panelists.