Villa Maria alumnae from across four decades came to campus on January 29, 2016, to share their wisdom and experiences with students on Career Day. Each speaker described her own career path, some noting unexpected twists, and discussed how their time at Villa Maria had prepared them for the work world.
The day began with a keynote address by Carmen Twillie Ambar, J.D., the president of Cedar Crest College, a women’s college located in Allentown, PA. Ms. Ambar inspired the girls with the story of her upbringing in Arkansas and her path to her present position. She focused her talk on the characteristics of strong women leaders, telling the girls that, “Success is a planned event… You need to think about it.” She encouraged the students to give their best at every occasion, volunteer for the tough assignment, and combat inexperience with over-preparation. “[Leaders] discover that all the rewards in life come from when you give your best and go that extra mile,” Ambar said.
After the opening talk, the girls dispersed to hear panel discussions focused on overall career areas. Alumnae in the STEM group discussed their careers as engineers and scientists. The Liberal Arts group featured alumnae working in law, communications, and the Philadelphia police department. The business panel alumnae work in financial management, government contracting and clinical research. The health sciences professionals are doctors, nurses, and a medical legal strategist. A panel for alumnae working in fields that students cited as interests included a veterinary oncologist, a clinical neuropsychologist, a physical therapist, a pharmacist, and a professor of sports management.
Throughout the day students heard several key messages: don’t fear failure, accept the hard challenges, and don’t worry if you don’t have it all figured out by the time you graduate college. Villa Maria thanks our alumnae for sharing their stories with the girls who now sit where they once did, and for showing them that there are many paths to success built on a Villa Maria foundation.