Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Jon Huss ’98 debuts album

Jon Huss ’98When Jon Huss ’98 first arrived at Wheaton, he was a shy person. That changed during his freshman year once he found an outlet for his passion for music after attending a party at a house on campus.

The party was on the first floor, but Huss, who plays the guitar, drums and keyboard, was drawn to the sounds of a jam session going on down in the basement. So, he went to take a look.

“I watched and listened for a few minutes and realized they were mostly playing covers of classic rock bands like Led Zeppelin, the Who, the Grateful Dead and Rush, which is the music I and many musicians of that time had spent hours on end learning and practicing as teenagers,” he said.

When one of the seniors at the party invited Huss to join in on the drums, he was happy to oblige. [Read more...]

Jasmine Sewell ’99 coordinates painting of Crutcher

Jasmine Sewell ’99In celebration of his decade of leadership at Wheaton College, the college’s Board of Trustees commissioned a portrait of President Ronald A. Crutcher, which is now displayed on campus in Park Hall.

Instrumental in helping to make this happen was Jasmine Sewell ’99, founder of Sewell Fine Portraiture, LLC. Last December, the board turned to her to find the perfect artist for the job. Based in New York City, Sewell’s company helps to connect those seeking to commission portraits with some of the world’s leading portrait painters and sculptors.

“More than one hundred years ago, with the advent of photography, many people wondered whether painted portraits were outmoded,” said Sewell. “Artists remain busy with commissions, however. Portraiture is still very much alive and well.” [Read more...]

Trading corporate life for culinary bliss

Molly Marzalek-Kelly ’06I graduated from Wheaton as an economics major, paired with a management minor, and my goal was to eventually obtain my M.B.A. and keep climbing the rungs of the corporate ladder until I was the next big CEO. However, when I discovered that the path I was on was not the right one for me, I changed direction.

Today, I am the head pastry chef at Baked, an award-winning neighborhood bakery in Brooklyn, N.Y. My goal now is to one day own my own bakery. This is my second act.

Second Acts

Life is a work in progress. Sometimes the career path is a meandering adventure. Here, in her own words, Molly Marzalek-Kelly ’06 tells us about her road to happiness in our occasional ongoing series featuring alums who have rethought their ways forward.

Tricolor_Sliced_01_originalImmediately after graduating from Wheaton, I moved to New York City to work at a law firm auditing cable companies, domestically and abroad, on behalf of the major motion picture studios. It took me almost four years at the firm before I realized this was not where I wanted to grow old, and that I needed to switch gears and do something that I actually wanted to do, something that brings me joy.

For me, the “aha” moment wasn’t, “I want to quit my day job and be a baker;” it was, “I’m not happy here.” The work didn’t excite me, and I realized that your work should contribute to your happiness.

So I enrolled at the International Culinary Center in SoHo while still working at the firm, received a degree in classic pastry arts, and said goodbye to my corporate life. [Read more...]

Newsmaker: A multimillion-dollar idea

Colin Fahey ’11Unsure of what to do after graduation (but pretty sure he didn’t want to work in a cubicle), ColinFahey’11 started brainstorming ideas with high-school pal Scott Pirrello, a Merrimack College grad. After “rattling off bad idea after bad idea,” they thought of renting televisions to college students. “I had a good feeling that there was a need for it,” says Fahey, an economics major. “Wheaton has a lot of international students, and when everyone’s moving out, a lot of them end up having to throw away valuable stuff because it’s such a pain to ship it back home or try to sell it. We thought, people rent micro-fridges; why not TVs?” He and Pirrello established a partnership with electronics producer VIZIO and launched CampusTVs in fall 2012, starting at seven schools, including Wheaton. The next year, they expanded to 50 colleges nationwide. This fall, they expect to rent to students at 300 institutions. CampusTV partners with a national moving and storage company that delivers the TVs to campus for move-in, and campus reps install the TVs. It’s a business model that seems to be working. As noted in an April 2014 BostonBusinessJournalarticle, CampusTVs has attracted $2.2 million in funding from Boston investment firm Nauta Capital—money that is helping CampusTVs expand its workforce and relocate from a small office in Weston, Mass., to a larger place in Boston. It’s also enabling Fahey, the chief operating officer, to finally take a salary. So what has he learned from this venture? “The most important skill when starting or running your own business is the ability to problem solve. Every day I’m solving hundreds of large and small problems,” he says. “At Wheaton I took a wide variety of classes that taught me to look at problems through many different lenses. I believe that skill has carried over to my business career and allows me to be a better leader.”