In the not-too-distant future, you may find yourself engaging the services of an accounting firm whose accountants do their work with integrity. Or interacting with a representative from a study abroad program coordinated by an ethics-minded staffer. Or receiving care from a nurse who was trained to treat her patients holistically.
And all of them might be Catholic University graduates.
As the school year winds to a close and the class of 2019 prepares to take flight, students with plans already in place for jobs or graduate school are taking with them valuable lessons they learned in the classroom, during internships, and while shadowing professionals in their fields.
Some have known since before freshman year what they wanted to do with their lives, while others discovered their passion with the help of a parent or professor who recognized that their talents might lie in an unexplored direction.
While students and parents often worry in this economy about job prospects and the value of their education--and wonder if they should prioritize being practical over being passionate--the outcomes for this year’s graduating class suggest that students who pursue their dreams will land on their feet.
“Students graduating from Catholic University have had a clear history of success in obtaining their goals after graduation,” said Anthony Chiappetta, co-director of the Center for Academic and Career Success. “This not only includes obtaining well-paying, high-profile positions and admission to prestigious universities, but also in landing opportunities that match the mission and vocational interests that students have been intentionally seeking.”
For Jerry Rodriguez Laureano, a degree in philosophy is the first step on the path to becoming a lawyer, his longtime dream. But first, three years in the Air Force, where he will train to become an intelligence officer and hopes to do some interesting travel along the way.
Why philosophy? “It gives you an open mind and teaches critical thinking,” he said, noting that many of his classmates will go on to teach or enter seminary.
But to him, doing research and making complicated arguments are a natural segue to intelligence work, and ultimately the courtroom. “It gives you a perspective in life that you can apply to many different career fields and do more than people think you can.”
Justin Smith will be starting at PwC in early October, auditing private companies and hoping ultimately to work in one of their international offices where he can use his French minor. He didn’t enroll at Catholic as an accounting major, though.
“I started in international business,” he said, but halfway through sophomore year, he was approached by the head of the accounting department because he’d shown an aptitude for the field. “They said you’re really good at this, and you don’t have to give up your dream of living abroad,” he said. “It was like I found a skill.”
An internship on Capitol Hill and guidance from the Center for Academic and Career Success only confirmed James Holden’s interest in accounting. He’ll be starting a position in the government and public services division of Deloitte late this coming summer.
He credits the preparatory interviews he did with helping him to ace the competitive process.
“There were four separate half-hour interviews, which was a little intimidating,” Holden said. Noting that the competition included many equally talented applicants, he followed a piece of advice that helped him ace the interviews and land the job.
“What Catholic tells us to separate ourselves from the crowd is to talk about Catholic social teaching,” he said. “At the end of they interview, they always ask, ‘Why should we hire you?’ I told them you’re looking for two things: someone who is competent, and someone who has integrity.”
Confidence is contagious. Kelli Murphy is completing the Master of Science in Business Analysis (MSBA) program and going to work for Education First, selling international education and travel programs to high school teachers in the Southeast United States.
“My classes exposed me to all facets of a business, which allowed me to discover my interests and really focus on the aspects of the business world I want to be a part of,” said Murphy, who also interned in the Busch School of Business Career Development Office doing employer relations and events.
She didn’t just cultivate personal and professional confidence. “I was drawn to the program because I wanted to gain business experience,” Murphy said, “but I wanted that experience to be through a moral and ethical lens, as well. That’s what the MSBA program has been able to provide me.”
Two nursing students who will be working at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital credit their training at Catholic with teaching them to look at each patient as an individual.
“They really teach you about caring for the whole person,” said Isabella Wermuth, who will be working in the emergency department after completing a three-month internship at the hospital last summer and a practicum during the school year. “It’s not just seeing the injury, but making sure they feel safe and you care about them as a person, not a number.”
That feeling extends to the hospital’s mission, said Samantha Jones, who will be working on a medical/surgical IMC (intermediate care) unit. “It has Jesuit values, which I really like, including Cura Personalis—care of the entire person,” she said. “That really drew me to want to pursue a nursing career there, because they care for the patient in a holistic way.”
Jones did a 10-week externship on a labor and delivery floor last summer and a clinical rotation one-on-one with a nurse her spring semester senior year. Both Jones and Wermuth profited from the nursing program’s emphasis on getting as much real patient experience as possible before beginning their careers.
“Everyone is really in your corner and wants you to become the best version of yourself,” Wermuth said. “They lift you up. I could be doing the same thing at another school, but it wouldn’t be worth it.”