Career insight

Wheaton to the World 2019 "Life After Wheaton" panelistsAlumni panelists offer advice on work, life

The Filene Center for Academic Advising and Career Services presented the annual Wheaton to the World professional development event during the fall semester. Juniors and seniors had an opportunity to spend the day gaining valuable insight on a range of topics—from financial literacy to social justice in the workplace. Several alumni shared their expertise, including author Trish Ryan ’91 and Susan Beard ’90, Wheaton’s director of financial aid programs. Assi Coulibaly ’17, Mehreen Khan ’17, Allison Mosier ’19 and Andres Ripley ’18 were on the panel “Life after Wheaton.” We asked the four for their best advice to students preparing to enter the working world. Here is what they had to say:

Assi Coulibaly ’17

    • Majored in psychologyAssi Coulibaly ’17
    • Adjunct choreographer-in-residence at Trinity Academy for the Performing Arts, Providence, R.I.; and teaching artist and performer with Pushed Learning and Media, a Boston-based nonprofit that specializes in diversity, privilege and racial justice education

Every experience counts: “Make use of every opportunity, because each experience is a lesson learned. I got involved in a lot of things after I graduated that helped me to make stronger connections and build new relationships. I created a large network of people from various areas of expertise, and those relationships and opportunities led me to where I am now. When I graduated, I knew that I was highly interested in youth work, social justice work and the arts. I spent my first year post-grad as a college access AmeriCorps VISTA at Blackstone Academy Charter School. I networked at a lot of different events and was acting as the bridge between many community partners and the student body. This led me to begin writing grants for Pushed Learning and Media. I also got involved teaching dance after school at the Trinity Academy for the Performing Arts. Without having been open to those seemingly little opportunities, I would not have found my way to a career that has allowed me to combine all of my passions.”

Mehreen Khan ’17

    • Majored in biochemistryMehreen Khan ’17
    • Associate scientist at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals

Cast a wide net: “Apply to as many jobs as possible and don’t limit yourself in the types of jobs you are searching for. Even if you have a strong idea of what you would like to do, it’s very possible that the first job you have after graduating may not directly fall under your interest, but it’s a first step in getting to know the field better. Keep an open mind and be flexible to different opportunities. A piece of advice that I got from talking with different professors at Wheaton is to showcase any relevant experience you have, even if it seems insignificant. Whether you learned something from a lab, an internship or volunteer experience, indicating some familiarity with a particular skill can be more helpful than not mentioning it at all.”

Allison Mosier ’19

    • Double majored in anthropology and international relationsAllison Mosier ’19
    • Graduate student in health administration at The Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University

Develop your people skills: “My coursework and the professors I had while I was at Wheaton did a great job preparing me for this next step. I am currently at Rutgers, which is a large institution. I can clearly see that the people skills that I developed and the opportunity to get to know my professors while at Wheaton has helped me stand out. The best advice I received at Wheaton was from Executive Dean of Student Success Andy Brereton—that there is no limit to what you can achieve if you develop a good foundation. This advice was career-based, but I think it applies to so many facets of life.”

Andres Ripley ’18

    • Majored in biologyAndres Ripley '18
    • Natural resource specialist for the Neponset River Watershed Association in Massachusetts, collaborating with the community to increase green space in Boston, teaching fifth graders about water conservation and water pollution, and leading citizen science programs with volunteers

Leave the comfort zone: “The best advice I would give to students is be willing to stretch out of your comfort zone. You might not find your dream job right away; you might end up doing something or working somewhere you never imagined you would. But make the best of every experience you get. This was the best advice I got while at Wheaton from my advisor, [Teaching Associate in Biology] Shari Morris.”