Alumni returned to Rowan to give students advice on successfully navigating the professional world after graduation. Speakers included Elizabeth Palmer ’12, Sarah Misenko ’12, Ashley Kalena ’07 and Jose Calves ’12.
Student Alumni Association members Alexis Dobron and Courtney Hopper hosted the event in the Student Center Pit on Nov. 8 at 6 p.m. Students that attended the panel were greeted with a voucher for a free hot or cold beverage at Peet’s Coffee in the pit.
“Sips ‘N’ Tips is an opportunity for Rowan alumni and current Rowan students to come together and network while talking about their future career paths,” said junior marketing major Michael Viola who helped run the event and welcome students.
The event started with an introduction of all the speakers, who went down a panel individually, offering advice from their experience in their respective fields.
Jose Calves was first to speak. Calves, a former history secondary education major at Rowan, is now a first year associate at Parker McCay Law Firm. His advice centered around workplace balance, which he thinks is extremely important in terms of success.
“Part of being balanced is that you focus on school a lot, but that you also get out as much as you can and meet people and get involved in social clubs, Greek life, student government, whatever it is as long as you’re out there,” Calves said. “If you’re only staying in and studying or working or you’re only ever going out, you’re just going to be good. That balance is what makes you go from good to great.”
Ashley Kalena was second to speak. Kalena was a journalism major at Rowan and received her master’s in broadcast journalism from Syracuse University in 2008. She now works for National Geographic Partners, running the strategy and content production for their three Youtube channels. Kalena’s advice focused on staying true to your personal brand and career goals.
“Passion is the fire that keeps me going and will keep all of you going,” Kalena said. “There are so many people that are going to try to stop you. But, with that fire inside you, you will keep going. Be flexible, that’s very important. Things change. Technology changes, the industry changes, you will change, so you have to be able to adapt while also staying true to your personal brand.”
The third speaker was Sarah Misenko who was a biochemistry major at Rowan and now works as an investigator in BioAssets Management at GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals. Her speech gave advice on taking ownership of your career path.
“You will do your best work if you’re doing something that you’re passionate about. It is important to know your strengths, what you’re good at and what you’re not good at,” Misenko said. “Be proactive and an advocate for yourself. In a lot of careers, my major especially, it can be very straight and narrow, so be willing to take the risk to pursue what you want.”
Last to speak was Elizabeth Palmer. Palmer was a political science major at Rowan who now works as a principal at True Search, an international executive search firm. Her topic was making the most of professional curve balls.
“When I was at Rowan, I thought I knew it all,” Palmer said. “I wanted to go to law school and I was going to be a lawyer. I was relentless in the pursuit of a very singular goal. You can work hard, and you can do all the right things but sometimes life just isn’t going to go according to your plan. You have to rise up to these occasions when things don’t go your way, and your plans are going to change, but that’s not an excuse to give up on yourself. Rise to the occasion and all things will come around in good time.”
At the conclusion of the speeches, students had time to ask questions to the panelists. After a Q and A, students had the opportunity to talk to and network with the speakers while enjoying light refreshments.
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