Senior Spotlights: Post-Graduation Plans

Compiled by Laurel Bennett, Features Editor

Christopher Mergner Jr. '24 (Photo William Oehler/The Gettysburgian)

Christopher Mergner Jr. ’24 (Photo William Oehler/The Gettysburgian)

Christopher Mergner Jr. ’24: Teach for America Hawai’i

Throughout my time at Gettysburg College, I have gained a great deal of knowledge from formal academia such as my coursework and lectures. Yet, another key takeaway I often reflect upon is my interactions with professors, other students, and general faculty. I have noticed that because Gettysburg is a smaller institution, the sense of community feels stronger. Seeing the same faces most days has encouraged me to build relationships and care more for our shared spaces. This small additional effort has provided me insight as to how impactful each member of a community can be. I am very thankful for this perspective while I prepare to enter Teach For America Hawai’i as a corps member following graduation. This specific region has a large focus on their core values of kuleana (responsibility), ‘ohana (family), and aloha (love). These principles resonate deeply with me, echoing the importance of a tight-knit community I’ve cherished at Gettysburg. I’m eager to bring this ethos to my teaching, fostering a sense of kuleana, ‘ohana, and aloha in my classroom, which will ultimately aid in achieving our goal of providing education equity to underserved communities.


Sarah MacDonald ’24: Medical School

Sarah MacDonald '24 (Photo Sofia Gutierrez/The Gettysburgian)

Sarah MacDonald ’24 (Photo Sofia Gutierrez/The Gettysburgian)

I will be starting medical school in August after graduation. While I haven’t officially decided on which school I’ll be attending, the support and opportunities I’ve had at Gettysburg have played a crucial role in guiding my path toward medical school. My time in the biology department, particularly my research experience with Dr. Powell, has not only broadened my ability to analyze scientific questions, but has also strengthened my confidence when tackling new and complex challenges. The guidance and encouragement from my professors have fostered within me an excitement for learning and a love of science that I will carry with me throughout medical school. I am incredibly grateful I get to continue studying something I am passionate about, and I am excited that one day I’ll be able to apply my knowledge to making a direct impact on patients’ lives. I hope to have a medical career that incorporates an understanding of how individual experiences and circumstances shape health outcomes so that I can address the healthcare needs of underserved populations. While I am sad to be leaving Gettysburg, I am excited for the next part of my life, knowing that my experiences here have equipped me well to take on this next challenge.


Carly Jensen ’24: Master’s Program in Library and Information Science

Carly Jensen '24 (Photo William Oehler/The Gettysburgian)

Carly Jensen ’24 (Photo William Oehler/The Gettysburgian)

As I enter my final semester at Gettysburg, I find myself reflecting on how grateful I am for my incredibly supportive network of faculty and professors. I embarked on my college career knowing I wanted to study history and potentially attend law school. However, as I immersed myself in my courses and the Civil War Institute, I discovered a new path: public history. Public history introduced me to ways to connect with people and spread my love for the past. The Gettysburg network set me up with internships at the Seminary Ridge Museum, Musselman Library’s Special Collections and College Archives, and a paid research fellowship. These experiences provided a holistic view of public history as I used my talents to spread knowledge through online databases and published research. My internships introduced me to my passion for archival work, which I plan on studying further after graduation through a master’s program in library and information science with an archival concentration. I am immensely grateful to my history professors and the staff at the Civil War Institute for their constant support and for helping me discover the world of public history.



Ilana Subramanya ’24: Master’s in Animal Science

Ilana Subramanya '24 (Photo Annie Bolenbaugh/The Gettysburgian)

Ilana Subramanya ’24 (Photo Annie Bolenbaugh/The Gettysburgian)

After I graduate from Gettysburg College with a biology degree, I’m off to graduate school to pursue a master’s in animal science, all while continuing my work as a vet tech. I will be completing this one-year before heading to vet school, where I aim to specialize in either equine or small animal veterinary medicine. The hands-on research experience I’ve gained through labs at Gettysburg has been invaluable, teaching me how to gather, analyze, and interpret data effectively—a skill set essential not only for my upcoming academic endeavors but also for my future career. Being part of the pre-vet club has also been a game-changer. Since my freshman year, the club has provided opportunities to meet with veterinary schools, discuss the application process, and offered support that has been nothing short of invaluable. I’m looking forward to what the future holds and am deeply grateful for the pivotal experiences, the solid foundation, and the lifelong friends that Gettysburg College has provided me.



Emily Jumba ’24: Graduate School and the National Park Service

Emily Jumba '24 (Photo Annie Bolenbaugh/The Gettysburgian)

Emily Jumba ’24 (Photo Annie Bolenbaugh/The Gettysburgian)

When I first arrived on campus, I knew that I wanted to go into some history-related field, but was unsure how to narrow that into a job that I would love. During my sophomore year, I began working as a Fellow for the Civil War Institute, which introduced me to public history. Through my fellowship at the CWI over the next several years, my eyes were opened to the sheer breadth of the field, including jobs at National Park Service sites, museums, archives, and in the private sector. Last summer, I worked at Gettysburg National Military Park as an Interpretation Intern (another position which I gained through the wonderful programs at the CWI). I enjoyed the opportunity to research, write, and regularly present five public-facing programs on topics including the historical memory of the Gettysburg battlefield and the daily lives of Civil War soldiers. This experience confirmed my love of public history and upon applications opening, I applied to several seasonal jobs with the NPS. I also hope to continue studying the Civil War Era and public history in grad school, having applied to related programs with the eventual goal of earning a Ph.D. in the field.

This article originally appeared on pages 8 to 9 of the February 2024 edition of The Gettysburgian’s magazine.

Author: Laurel Bennett

Laurel Bennett ‘24 is the Features Editor for The Gettysburgian. She previously worked as a staff writer for the news and features sections. Laurel is a political science major and an English minor from Carlisle, PA. Outside of The Gettysburgian, she is a member of the service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega, serves as co-president of Pre-Law club, and is an avid horse-back rider.

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