Nearly three dozen Loyola Marymount students visited with alumni and explored potential careers in government, public policy, international relations, sports marketing and more during recent trips to Washington, D.C., and Sacramento.
The spring semester Career Treks – planned over separate weeks in March by LMU’s Career and Professional Development office – bring students into the workplaces of well-positioned and successful alumni across the country. By connecting LMU students with working professionals who once walked in their shoes, the program broadens the students’ understanding of various industries and occupations, in line with their interests and majors.
While in Washington, D.C., March 4-8, 20 sophomores, juniors and seniors met with LMU alumni from government agencies, nonprofits and businesses, including the Center for American Progress, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Peace Corps, Pentagon, Department of State and Team Rubicon, a nonprofit disaster response organization made up predominately of former military service members.
For Valentina Baccianella, a sophomore international relations major, the experience in D.C. is helping to shape her plans for life after LMU. During a visit to the Peace Corps’ headquarters, Baccianella listened to a panel discussion with individuals who served in the corps or completed international service work – including an LMU graduate – and realized soon after that it had made an impact on her.
“After I went to D.C., I got a clearer picture of what I want to do,” said Baccianella, who has set her sights on the Peace Corps following graduation, and later, the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies for a master’s degree. “I liked being able to talk to the alums, just because they’re more relatable.”
Lourdes Tiglao (’11), met with students in Washington, D.C., to discuss her path from the United States Air Force, serving more than a decade as a member of a Critical Care Air Transport team, to LMU, where she completed the Pre-Medical Post Baccalaureate Certificate Program.
Tiglao then went on to graduate from Georgetown University’s Experimental Medical Studies program and earned an executive M.B.A. from George Washington University. Today, she serves as Team Rubicon’s global strategic partnerships officer – forging ties with other countries that one day might need the organization’s assistance – and as a member of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs advisory committee.
Tiglao, who turned down a full scholarship to join in the Air Force, said her advice to the visiting students was to remain open to the possibilities ahead of them and follow their passions. “Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean that’s what you should be doing,” she said. “Don’t follow the money, but follow what you love.”
The Sacramento Career Trek on March 30 and 31 offered a similarly busy schedule for the 13 participating students. The itinerary included a trip to the Greater Sacramento Economic Council and visits with executives working for the Sacramento River Cats minor league baseball team and the Sacramento Kings of the National Basketball Association.
“LMU alumni are pursuing fascinating careers in every imaginable industry, and our job is to make sure students hear these stories and benefit from their career advice well before graduation,” said Branden Grimmett, associate provost for Career and Professional Development. “As industries change and new technologies emerge, we want our students to be on the cutting edge of knowing what employers need. Through Career Treks, alumni provide valuable insight for students into the world of work.”
The Washington, D.C., and Sacramento trips marked the fifth and sixth Career Treks, respectively, for Career and Professional Development.
Past locations include Los Angeles/Silicon Beach and San Francisco, and the office hopes to add New York City, Seattle, Phoenix and others cities into the mix in the future.