In April 2008, the Career Network held an event in Portland that shined a light (literally) on the fascinating and unexpected career paths Willamette undergraduate alumni have taken. After reviewing the nominees for the 2008 You’re Doing What with Your Degree Awards, the Career Network honored these six alumni at the event. For those of you still wondering what to do with that French degree, read on for inspiration.
Rob Aragon ’99 parlayed an art degree, along with retail experience and snowboard instructing, into a career as manager and buyer for Exit Real World, a company created by Melissa Samiee MBA’93 as a master’s thesis. Aragon manages four Portland-area locations, as well as the website, for the specialty snowboarding and skateboarding store.
Minda (Hedges) Seibert ’94, MBA’08 majored in business economics and minored in art before joining the Peace Corps and teaching high school economics in the Solomon Islands. She continued her international career doing humanitarian aid work with International Rescue Committee and Mercy Corps in hot spots such as Kosovo, East Timor, Iraq and Kuwait. She earned her MBA from Willamette this year.
Charlie Wolff ’01, MBA’08 was a French major with minors in Spanish, economics and physics. Intrigued by a career with perks like independence, flexibility and potential, Charlie went into real estate, became a broker, and is now an entrepreneur. He earned his MBA from Willamette this year, and he also trains ski instructors on the side.
“Treat every client as if they were your mother.”
— Charlie Wolff ’01, MBA’08
Kelsey Bunker ’78, who graduated with a biology degree at age 19, considered medical school but decided on law school instead. After practicing law for a few years, she took a workshop on ancient Toltec wisdom and spent six months in Spain with her three children. The Toltec training has been an asset in her latest business venture as co-owner of the swanky ’60s Jupiter Hotel in Portland, which played host to our event.
Justin Klure ’98, MBA’03, an environmental studies graduate, is at the forefront of the movement to bring wave energy to Oregon — likely the first state in the nation to utilize this new technology. Justin worked for the Department of Energy for about 10 years before starting his own consulting firm. He also served as executive director of Oregon Wave Energy Trust, but now spends most of his time consulting on wave energy.
“Gain knowledge, then experience. Stay focused on your objectives and, most important, be patient for the right opportunity.”
— Justin Klure ’98, MBA’03
Lisa Tran ’95, a double major in English and politics, earned a master’s degree in English literature at Mills College, then decided to try life on the other side of the classroom by teaching English in Vietnam with Volunteers in Asia. Returning to the States, Lisa spent three years with Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement and now is an optician in Portland. She recently appeared in her first bilingual commercial on Vietnamese cable television.
“Always be open to the opportunities that arise, and never fear jumping into the unknown.”
— Lisa Tran ’95