Alumni advise using Willamette professors, Career Services while in school

What can a Willamette University student do with an economics degree?

According to Maia Hoover, ’07, anything.

“I actually think it’s a great major if you know what you want to do for the rest of your life and if you don’t know what you want to do,” said Hoover, who works as a financial aid coordinator for Stanford School of Medicine in California. “Economics teaches you to ask the right questions.”

Hoover was one of four alumni who took part in an economics panel Nov. 4 in the university’s Montag Center, where they shared their expertise with more than 40 Willamette students.

Besides working as a financial aid coordinator, Hoover was admitted to a master’s program in applied economics at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, D.C.

Collin Siu, ’08, double majored in Spanish and economics. He plans to graduate next spring with a master’s degree in public policy and management from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Chris Platano, ’10, works as a customer business analyst for Intel Corp. in Sacramento, Calif., and Sammy Campillo, ’09, is working for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention while pursuing her master’s degree in public health at Emory University in Atlanta.

“No matter what you go to grad school for, economics is a great foundation, “said Campillo, who worked in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors before returning to school.

The graduates attributed much of their success to the benefits they received while enrolled at Willamette – from the small class sizes and engaged professors to the tight-knit alumni community and guidance from Career Services.

“Your professors push you to think outside the box all of the time,” Platano said. “Talk to your professors, go to Career Services. Ask alumni how they got to where they are. A lot of alums are willing to share their experiences with you. It’s pretty awesome.”

Hoover agrees, adding that students shouldn’t hesitate to learn new technology and take challenging classes.

“Being a jack of all trades is desired by employers,” she said. “The more you know, the more employable you are.”