The years since graduating from Wheaton in 2008 with a major in Sociology have been rewarding, scary at times, and full of possibilities. I spent nearly four years working in the sustainability industry, first at the US Green Building Council and then at Green Education Foundation. These jobs inspired in me a passion for the environment, as well as a deep appreciation of the value of sustainability, or how well the needs of the environment, society and the economy are balanced. When those three elements are considered equally in any scenario — a classroom lesson, a business decision, or every day life choices – both a more holistic understanding of our situation as well as more responsible policies become possible.
Recently, I had to decide whether to continue my work in the sustainability industry or to shift gears to another major interest of mine: marketing. I chose marketing because I thought that marketing would develop transferable skills that would provide me with more options for my career.
I am currently the Marketing Specialist at Genscape, a company that works to make the notoriously opaque workings of energy markets visible through proprietary technology and fundamental energy data. I found that what the company stands for – transparency, innovation and technology – offered a comfortable transition from my previous work. I’m looking forward to the ways in which my experiences with sustainability will help me bring a new perspective to the company and my department in the future.
My job choices – to be honest – were never part of any grand plan. But they have always felt right at the time they were made and have enabled me to build new skills, grow my network, and discover my passions.
Before coming to Wheaton I had it in my head that I wanted to ‘do marketing.’ Of course, I didn’t know what marketing was all about, nor what I really wanted to do, so I wisely opted for a liberal arts degree. I understood that a solid training in the liberal arts would make it possible to pursue a career in marketing without limiting my options in case it turned out that marketing wasn’t for me.
Today, I now know that my sociology studies helped me develop invaluable skills that are especially useful in marketing. In all the jobs I’ve held my supervisors have expressed relief and surprise that I know how to write, a talent that I took for granted since, at Wheaton, I was surrounded by students who were amazing writers and professors who always pushed me to do better. I’ve also found that all the practice I’ve had thinking holistically, critically and with empathy about how people live their lives has made an easy transition to marketing and a great fit for me. Making my employers and colleagues aware of my writing and analytic abilities is something I wished I had highlighted sooner, when I first started working.
In addition, the time I put into activities beyond my regular class schedule has helped me stand out in a highly competitive job market. As a January freshman, I found time during the summers to catch up on my credits and graduate with my class in May. Also, thanks to the Filene’s Center I spent one summer interning at Smith Barney and a semester working part time at Wilde Direct Marketing. When it came time to look for a job, I found that employers quickly realized that I had a lot of experience, had learned many skills and had a really strong work ethic. Having these experiences opened many doors for me.