Liberal Arts Students in DC Learn About Career Paths

Liberal arts students learned about career opportunities from alumni in Washington D.C. during a recent trip with faculty.

“We wanted students to see the possibilities of a liberal arts education,” said Sean Condon, dean of the School of Liberal Arts. “There are meaningful and rewarding jobs when they graduate.”

The 15 juniors and seniors, representing several majors, accompanied Condon and professors Laura Pruett and Anne Flaherty for the three-day trip in April.

Students were hosted by alumni at their offices: Dara Conroy ’95, chief human resources officer at Tax Analysts and Stacey Dion ’98, managing director for government affairs at The Carlyle Group. Robert Kirk ’88, partner at Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP, hosted a panel of alumni that also included Ashley Sarris ’12, meetings manager for the American Society for Cell Biology, and Greg Canrick ’04, vice president of Gephardt Government Affairs.

“Graduating and entering into the workforce can be a stressful next step in life,” said Sarris. “I hope the students were able to take away from our panel discussion that sometimes your career isn’t exactly what your degree is in, that paths change, technology changes, and so do society’s needs. Having a well-rounded education from Merrimack, I always feel ready for whatever may be coming down the pipeline.”

The trip also included a networking event with more than 30 Washington-area alumni. College trustee Alvin Chapital ’86, who built a career in a global marketing and management, updated alumni and students on the College’s momentum and the progress of the Together for Good capital campaign.

“I believe that a rigorous training in the liberal arts is an excellent way to prepare our students for a complicated present and an uncertain future,” Condon said at the reception. “It can provide students with the critical thinking, creativity, and communication skills that are needed, and it also provides a grounding in cultures and traditions that help our students better appreciate what it means to be human and therefore better equipped to understand themselves and their place in the world.

Participating were seniors Jillian Blanco, Sabrina Hartnett, Mary Levine, Sam Tankel and Eric Uhl and juniors Karly Bowen, Evan Bowie, Amanda Gallagher, Taylor Galusha, Brendan Gilmartin, Haley Mallett, Eden MacDougall, Quinn O’Sullivan, Victoria Rego and Elizabeth Wilson. Along with Condon and the faculty, they were joined by Merrimack Senior Vice President Sara Brazda and Christina Novak of the Office of Development and Alumni Relations.

“I was happy to see the number of LinkedIn requests I had received from students after the event,” Sarris said. “We tried to stress to them the importance of networking, and how one connection, one phone call, one professional post can be the difference when it comes to getting your foot in the door at an organization.”

A gift from retired political science professor Marguerite Kane funds the annual Washington trip.


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