From coast to coast, more than 85 students got the chance to explore possible careers when they were matched with alumni and parents for a day of job shadowing during the recent winter break. The Career Center’s A Day in the Life provides participants with an opportunity to learn about a career area as well as make professional connections with alumni and parents.
Juniors, sophomores, and first-year students spent a day with an alumnus/a or parent in a career area of interest in locations from New York to California. Here’s what some participants had to say about their shadowing experience.
Lynn Kim ’21 shadowed Deanne Katz ’08, an editor at Chronicle Books in San Francisco. “She was kind enough to set up meetings for me with several of her colleagues in different departments so that I could get a grasp on the entirety of publishing – editorial, sales, publicity & marketing,” said Kim. “I’m passionate about reading, writing, and creativity so it was a surreal opportunity to learn about the process of creation and production of a book from so many different points of view.
“Deanne showed me what her day-to-day work consisted of, and even allowed me to experience it for myself; I was able to practice writing catalog copy and editing a manuscript, both for actual Chronicle books. Although it was only one day, through shadowing Deanne, I gained insight into the inner workings of a publishing house and learned so much about the industry itself.”
Griffin Kearns ’20 spent the day shadowing Catherine Iannitto (Ferrara) ’11 in the New York City Planning Department. “Thanks to my sponsor's forethought and careful preparation, I was able to observe meetings and network with employees across several different departments beyond her own,” Kearns said. He learned that “In addition to completing coursework in a particular major, it helps immensely to build a ‘toolbox’ of analytical skills that can be applied even beyond the discipline of one’s major.”
Yeo Jean Song ’21, a pre-health student, shadowed two alumni physicians for a day each: Dr. Mike Healy ’69 and Dr. Jean LaCombe ’77. Dr. Healy, a nephrologist, is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the Inglewood, Calif., area and does private practice (Pacific Nephrology Group). “I followed him from patient to patient and site to site, taking notes and asking questions when appropriate. It’s cliché, but it really was amazing to see how he approached and interacted with patients, to see the evidence of the long-term relationship he built with each,” Song said.
“Dr. LaCombe (franchise owner/CEO at American Family Care) had a much more complicated path to medicine and I shadowed him in an Urgent Care Clinic in Riverside, Calif. One site only, but same deal: I followed him from room to room throughout the entire day and watched as he did his work,” said Song. “It was a different experience because these patients were mostly unfamiliar people, coming in for all sorts of health complaints, and they were of all ages, genders, ethnicities, etc., it was incredible. There were 51 patients that day, not including those who tagged along, the clinic was busy. In between everything I had the chance to talk with Dr. LaCombe and also with the rest of the staff, who were MAs or radiologists and very familiar with the medical industry. A greatly different day overall but still immensely illuminating,” she said.
Yvenide (Yve) Belizaire ’21 shadowed Usman B Ahmad ’96, an immigration lawyer with his own law firm in Long Island, New York. “Due to the government shutdown, the courts were closed and so my experience was limited. But despite not being able to go to a court hearing, my experience was great. I was able to listen in to an attorney's affidavit interview phone call and I was able to sit in a paralegal interview,” said Belizaire.
“The interview helped me to know what law firms look for when hiring; I'm going to use that information to help build up my resume. I especially loved hearing about Mr. Ahmad's process to the career field that he is now in. Through that I learned that it’s okay not to have everything figured out now,” she said.
The Day in the Life program is designed for first-year, sophomore and junior students who are early in their career exploration process. Alumni and parents are asked to volunteer as sponsors and plan a one-day experience for students at their place of work during winter break.
Conner O’Reilly ’22 shadowed Christopher King ’86 in the New York City Law Department where King is senior counsel for environmental law. “I learned that pursuing a career in law requires excellence in writing, logic, and oral communication,” said O'Reilly. “While the foundations for these skills are crafted during college and law school, these skills are maximized as one gains experience in the profession.”
Laura Hornby ’20, who shadowed Kevin Welsh ’15 in the New York City Mayor’s office, said “I connected with many professionals and learned about their distinct role in the office operations, and now am aware of various ways I can use my government studies at Hamilton on my career path.”