Learn where some 2022 grads are headed and how Gateway helped along the way
By Stephen Wilson
Meet a few members of the Class of 2022 and find out what they are doing after they turn their tassels to the left.
Maria Padilla ’22
Biology with a minor in Spanish
Technical research assistant under the supervision of Matthew R. Ramsey, Ph.D., at Brigham and Women’s Hospital
In her first year at Lafayette, Padilla presented at the 11th Annual SEA-PHAGES Symposium and since that moment has been involved in various regional and national conferences, including ABRCMS and NURVS II. For the last two years, she has worked in the lab with Tamara Stawicki, assistant professor of neuroscience. That work, along with tutoring on campus and in the community, helped her with her applications and interviews. She applied to many positions, but the one at Brigham and Women’s brings together all that she seeks: strong mentorship in a small lab, critical scientific study on melanoma research, and opportunities to shadow medical professionals in a variety of specialties. Padilla plans to go to medical school and pursue a residency in internal medicine.
Padilla didn’t think Gateway would be a significant part of her college career during her first year on campus until she attended a pre-professional advising session for students interested in careers in health care. She then saw Gateway as a partner in finding shadowing opportunities and securing clinical hours. Melissa Schultz helped her to think broader than a single track, provided good pointers, and helped with cover letters, personal statements, references, and a steady stream of questions.
Emma Krasinski ’22
Film and media studies with a minor in psychology
Destination: Junior account executive at Novità Communications (shoutout to Christine Abbate ’85, president)
Pathway: Krasinski knew she wanted to work in marketing and public relations in the New York City area. During her junior year, she began to search for internships with marketing firms. Her Gateway counselor, Alana Klass, mentioned that Novità was looking for interns. Krasinski contacted the company, earned an interview, and landed a summer role. She loved it. While the position was hybrid, going to the office was a pleasure as she soaked in the office culture. Her video skills were put to use as well as her creative writing. During the January interim, she returned to the company. While she dreamed of returning again after graduation as a full-time employee, things were up in the air until spring break. That’s when she got the call asking her to come on board.
Gateway: Krasinski heard great things about Gateway and got involved during her first year. She was there often enough for programs and sessions with her counselor that she applied for a social media and marketing student position at the center. She has attended career fairs and secured other internships through the center—for each of those, she took advantage of Gateway’s stipend program to help offset the costs of living, commuting, and working in great places and cities.
Sydney Appel ’22
Neuroscience and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies
Level II teacher at New England Center for Children
Pathway: During high school, Appel would spend her summers working at a camp for children with autism and intellectual and developmental disabilities. It was work she loved. Naturally, she continued it when coming to Lafayette through the Best Buddies program. With a goal of becoming a board-certified behavior analyst, Appel took her career ambitions to Gateway for help. Her counselor, Melissa Schultz, mentioned the New England Center for Children. This Massachusetts native liked the sound of it. After a few rounds of interviews, she was offered a position in January (on her birthday—great gift!). She will work with a team of teachers and caregivers in a one-to-one ratio with children who reside at the center. After her first year, she will then move into a three-year program, where she will earn her master’s degree in applied behavior analysis at Western New England University while working at the center.
Gateway: Her advice is to get the ball moving sooner than later and meet with your counselor. Schultz was a great resource who kept her updated, reviewed her résumé, and was always willing to help.
Emily Richter ’22
Neuroscience with a minor in health, life sciences, and society
Destination: Dual Ph.D. program in neuroscience and cognitive science at Indiana University
Pathway: It started with a love for the television show Grey’s Anatomy, which prompted Richter to pursue a pre-med career. But time during COVID made her ask herself what she really wanted to do. That’s when she moved from medicine to research, specifically how the brain responds to drugs. It was inspired by her time in the lab with Luis Schettino, David M. ’70 and Linda Roth Scholar and associate professor of psychology, where Richter studied the brain’s response to neutral and emotional stimuli. She then was paired with a Lafayette alumni neuroscientist at Villanova during the summer through the LEARN scholarship. At Indiana, she will work with two primary investigators on cannabinoid therapy research.
Gateway: During her first year, Richter was eager to get started in pre-med and worked to build her résumé, shadow professionals, and participate in mock interviews. She met with her Gateway counselor, Melissa Shultz, to explore all the paths available to her instead of the single pre-med track. By senior year, Richter felt like she was at the center every day for two weeks straight as she prepared her applications, personal statement, résumé, and interview techniques.
Alexis Ruiz ’22
International affairs with a minor in Spanish
Destination: Tax consultant specializing in the employee retention credit at alliantgroup
Pathway: Plans to graduate in December were drastically altered when Ruiz was in a major vehicle accident with family and classmate Elle Cox ’21. While he focused on recovery and supporting others in their recovery, Ruiz worked with career counselor Alana Klass on refining his LinkedIn profile and résumé. He knew he wanted to work as a consultant after externing with ScottMadden in Atlanta. He enjoyed how he could apply all his knowledge and skills in a specific context. While he began to review a long list of potential employment positions, he was contacted by a recruiter from alliantgroup and moved through three rounds of interviews before being offered a role.
Gateway: He describes Klass as a mother figure who displays her deep care and attention to detail during each meeting; she even taped a four-leaf clover to some papers he needed for his third-round interview.
Kyle Flanagan ’22
Destination: Aviation officer in the U.S. Army
Pathway: As a child, Flanagan liked to look at flight manuals. That hobby will come in handy when he reports to Fort Rucker in Alabama to begin several years of training, which includes flight school. When training ends, he starts his 10-year commitment to the Army. That commitment kicked off as a first-year cadet in the College’s ROTC program. On top of a demanding engineering curriculum, he added three days a week of early morning physical training followed by class twice a week and an evening lab. While COVID moved some of his ROTC to Zoom and fitness apps, his team, when reassembled, still won the coveted Ranger Challenge his junior year. Last year also had him attend a five-week leadership boot camp at Fort Knox, where he had to pass several exams as well as lead a platoon to gain entrance into the aviation program and commision as an officer.
Gateway: While his path was fairly fixed, his career counselor, Laura Wallace, still helped out as Flanagan sought summer positions and completed an externship at ExxonMobil. While his next career step is a decade away, he knows he can return to the center for help when he’s ready to combine his degree and his experience in aviation.
Cole Dutton ’22
Economics with a minor in architecture studies
Destination: Post-baccalaureate premedical program at Bryn Mawr College
Pathway: Dutton committed to the College as a freshman in high school because of his talent on the lacrosse field. The two-time Lafayette captain took his commitment seriously and pursued a career in finance like his father, worried that balancing a Division I schedule alongside a pre-med major would not allow for a full commitment to both off- and on-field excellence. So he put his dream of being a doctor on hold. But after an externship in investment banking and internships in commodities and insurance, he knew he had to follow his heart. He turned to his career counselor, Laura Wallace, and pre-med adviser Simona Glaus so he’d be ready to answer the main question he’d face at most post-baccalaureate premedical programs: Why economics? Now that he has hurdled that obstacle, he is considering a career in orthopedic surgery based on the various injuries he has navigated as an athlete, which has given him a lot of exposure to the field.
Gateway: Dutton feels Gateway worked hand in hand with his lacrosse coaching staff and engaged lacrosse alumni as they prepared each player for life after the field. Wallace was a huge help and seemed available at a snap of the fingers, emailing him with opportunities and responding to a variety of needs.
Mike Hughes ’22
Economics with certificate in finance
Destination: Virtual engagement associate at Morgan Stanley
Pathway: With a degree in economics, Hughes knew he had many options available to him in the future. With his career counselor, Laura Wallace, he explored finance and wealth management paths, which included an internship at a boutique investment bank. Through all of this he realized that what he liked the most was working with clients. As he networked with alumni contacts, Mark Suffredini ’93 encouraged him to apply to the position at Morgan Stanley.
Gateway: Hughes participated in the New York City finance Career Track, where he gained valuable contacts and built up his networks. There he learned to get comfortable with going outside your comfort zone. He took that advice to heart and, with Wallace’s help, approached a variety of opportunities, sent emails, and fine-tuned his résumé.
Emily Ross ’22
Chemical engineering with a minor in environmental science
Destination: Electrical planning and design assistant associate with National Grid Ventures
Pathway: Passionate about renewable energy, Ross hopes to make the most positive impact she can at a progressive company. She began her search as an extern, shadowing an alumnus in the financial sector of the renewable energy industry. Next came an internship at Alliant Energy in Iowa, where she gained a glimpse into its work in solar energy. Then she began the search process. While she was offered a position back in Iowa, she wanted something more cutting edge—novel technologies at the bench level. Ross leveraged alumni connections through GatewayLink and maxed out her search options on LinkedIn; she wanted to find the right company and the right position. Introductions to professionals at National Grid led to conversations, interviews, and opportunities on two teams.
Gateway: The career center, with its unique offerings and willing alumni, was one of the reasons Ross selected Lafayette. What she heard as a prospective student on tour has lived up to the hype. She had résumé help and counselor sessions as a first-year student, which by her senior year moved into weekly meetings where she could garner advice and share stress.
Chidiebere Nwankpa ’22
English with a minor in government and law
Destination: Master of Arts program in Ethics, Peace, and Human Rights at American University School of International Service
Pathway: Nwankpa’s parents came to the U.S. from Nigeria and worked extremely hard. He appreciated all of their sacrifices and relished family trips back to Nigeria, a place he loves. But as a young man he could see what his homeland lacked in infrastructure and government leadership to help move the country and its people forward. He wanted to help. Initially, he thought that help might come in the form of a career in medicine, coming to the College as a neuroscience major on the pre-med track. But he didn’t love medicine. As a sophomore, he switched to an English major on the pre-law track. But again, he didn’t love law. What ignited a new direction was an Ilan Peleg class, a deep dive into the political, religious, cultural, and ideological divisions in the Middle East. That’s when he knew that the change he sought to inspire would come from political science when united with his passion for equity—each person having access to opportunities.
Gateway: He came to the career center at the end of his first year, where Maureen Walz became a great sounding board as he moved through the ups and downs of his academic journey. When he had clarity, Walz showed him the next steps and helped with lists of potential graduate programs and with completing applications, crafting a personal statement, and gathering recommendation letters. “She was always checking up on me, making sure I had a plan in place,” he says, “which illustrates the care and compassion they have for all of us.”
Bryan Soder ’22
Psychology with a minor in writing
Destination: Business development consultant at Oracle
Pathway: Soder’s first job in sales was at the local bike and ski shop in his hometown. He enjoyed it enough to remain there in high school and part of college. When he ventured on campus, he dove into all aspects of Gateway. He externed at Twitter. A second externship with a counseling psychologist morphed into an internship that lasted over a year. He also had an extended internship at a public relations firm in Philadelphia, where he managed social media, wrote for its newsletter, and assisted with crisis communications. Still, sales beckoned. He liked the pace and competition of it. His career counselor, Alana Klass, helped guide him to sales opportunities in various industries, but technology felt like the one with the most challenge and room for advancement. Oracle’s training program will help him get ready for the B2B marketplace—and is only a short drive to the bike shop where it all began.
Gateway: Soder came to Lafayette to learn, but he also wanted a job upon graduation, so he started working with Gateway his first year. Gateway helped him to find out what he liked to do and didn’t like to do. Klass went out of her way to connect him with key contacts and prepared him for interviews through each stage of the process.