By Laurel Bennett, Staff Writer
On Friday Feb. 24, the Office of Multicultural Engagement, Alumni Relations and the Gettysburg Alumni of Color Council partnered to present a Black History Month panel discussion titled “From Student to Professional.” The event was held from 2 to 3 p.m. on Zoom.
Assistant Director of Multicultural Engagement Mauricio Novoa gave opening remarks. He encouraged attendees to take advantage of the cultural programming events and clubs available to students on campus.
Jasmine Fedrick from Alumni Relations greeted participants as well, and she urged students to visit the Alumni House to learn more about different programs.
The panel featured three Gettysburg alumni who are now in the workforce.
Tiarra Riggins ’17 majored in globalization studies and minored in Spanish. She received a JD, then an MBA after attending law school and now works for the American International Group.
Edmund Hardy ’09 studied computer science and mathematics while at Gettysburg. Currently, he works for Penn Entertainment as the manager of software engineering at the company’s corporate headquarters.
The third panelist was Deonte Austin ’11. He double majored in Africana Studies and women, gender, and sexuality studies. Austin works as a part-time real estate agent and also works for the Johns Hopkins Health System as a senior instructional designer.
Following introductions, the panelists discussed how Gettysburg prepared them for life following graduation. They emphasized the importance of networking and participation beyond the classroom. Hardy explained how he faced “a lot of responsibilities and different positions with both coursework and extracurriculars at Gettysburg, which helped with post-graduation.”
The speakers also talked about the experience of moving to a new city or back home following graduation. When searching for a place to live after leaving Gettysburg, Riggins noted the importance of managing money.
Riggins reflected on the necessity of “doing as much research as possible before moving and saving money to have an emergency fund.”
Additional conversation centered around what the panelists wished they knew before attending Gettysburg. Austin highlighted the need for a balance between extracurricular activities and academics to ensure delegating time wisely.
Riggins agreed with Austin and said, “You can’t do too much in college, but say yes to everything that you possibly can so that you can gain a better exposure for yourself and what’s available out there.”
The panelists also reflected on influential faculty at the college, such as Executive Director of the Center for Public Service and Assistant Dean of College Life Gretchen Natter and English Associate Professor McKinley E. Melton.
Following the end of the facilitated part of the panel, students had the opportunity to ask questions. This portion of the event allowed participants to learn further about overcoming fears in the process of networking and the importance of meeting new people.
Austin and Hardy reiterated the necessity of advocating for oneself with regard to networking to help students in the search for jobs and internships.
At the conclusion of the meeting, Novoa thanked the alumni and the attendees for the time.