Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Externship Reflections: Sara Barton '11

Sara Barton, '11, was this year's student coordinator for the New York City Externship. In addition to networking with alumni and visiting NYC companies, Sara helped to guide the 15 other externs through the experience. This guest blog post from Sara details the great experiences she had on this trip.

The New York City externship was an action packed week full of fascinating visits and generous alumni- not your average college spring break! We arrived on Saturday night with more luggage than we could handle on New York City Streets. Kevin Rank ‘04, Jason Capili ’99, and Annalisa Emmaman ‘95 helped us settle in at the Fashion Institute of Technology and then treated us to Famous New York Pizza! Yumm. And it’s not easy to get a reservation for 18 on a Saturday night near Times Square.

The next 5 days were packed with visits and activities. We were lucky enough to explore so many fields through our generous alumni hosts. We visited with a Time Inc. human resources representative hosted by Annalisa Emmaman ‘95. We watched the opening statements of a felony case at the the New York County Criminal Court House (where Law & Order is filmed!), hosted by Jaci Flug ’98 and Andy Zakrocki ’97. Michael Wanderer ’98 took us onto the floor of the New York Stock Exchange for the opening bell (rung by Tyra Banks!). A proud Geneseo parent, Ruby Marchand, hosted a visit for us at the Recording Academy, where I harmonized with one of Madonna’s back-up singers. Chris Munnelly ’86 taught us about fashion merchandising at Aeropostale. On our final visit, long time extern host Ken Rende invited us to Neuberger Berman to learn more about wealth management.

When we were not suited up and traveling in packs, we had the chance to have one-on-one visits with successful alumni in our fields of interest. While I sipped a coffee and she enjoyed a diet coke, I took in the wisdom and experiences of Elisa Fischer, the VP of Matrix U.S. Marketing.

In addition to welcoming us into their companies, alumni added to our trip in different ways. We began our week with a delicious brunch hosted by Carla Warne-Marino ’85.  This was a fun way to start the week and also hear more about raising a family in the city. Jason Capili hosted an alumni panel for us at Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC). Here, we had the chance to ask a panel of alumni about just about anything related to living or working in New York City. It was fun to hear about their college experiences and how they carried over into their current positions. In addition to planned activities, we had other opportunities to see the city. Kevin Rank took us to the best pizza in Brooklyn and we walked the Brooklyn Bridge. Visits to Bryant Park, the New York Library, the Natural History museum and Central Park filled our free time.

The entire week got me very excited for graduation. I really enjoyed the corporate culture of New York. I have visited the city many times, but always as a tourist. Visiting PWC is a lot different than visiting the empire state building! Plus when you wear a suit on New York City streets, everyone thinks you live there, so it's easy to walk through the crowds with a purpose. It’s very different than our Geneseo lifestyle, but something that I feel ready for.

At the end of the week I felt so proud. As student coordinator, I was responsible for establishing meeting times, giving directions, doing head counts on the subway, and getting us into all of the visits. At the beginning of the week I was armed with more knowledge due to the preparation I had been doing for the weeks prior. At this point I was a resource. But over the quick 5 days, my peers seemed to become more independent and proud as young professionals. The externship was an excellent way to experience life after college with generous alumni who wanted to share their own experiences. I made connections that will be very helpful when I move next year, and I look forward to giving back to the program in the future.

For more information on how you can participate in future externships as an alum, visit the externship website or contact Michelle Worden at worden@geneseo.edu or 585.245.5506.

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