Despite Coronavirus Setbacks, Seniors Are Graduating into Careers

Emily Barrett and Jessica Reyes, Assistant Directors of Communications
Senior nursing students worked along perioperative nursing at UPenn
Senior nursing student Kelcey Stanton (third from left) used her clinical experience in the perioperative unit at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania to secure a job as an operating room nurse.

Kelcey Stanton began the spring 2020 semester with big expectations. 

The senior nursing student was one of eight accepted into the new perioperative clinical rotation at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP). The clinical, created in partnership with the School of Nursing and HUP, is the first-of-its kind at Widener designed to give students an introduction into the specialized role of an operating room (OR) nurse. 

“It was great to see the roles of nurses in the operating room because there are multiple roles they could be doing,” said Stanton. 

Like most clinical experiences this semester, however, Stanton’s time in OR was cut short due to COVID-19. Luckily, for Stanton, the brief experience left a big impact on her career outlook.

It really helped me form an interest in the operating room and I ultimately was able to get a job because of my observations and my experiences. —Kelcey Stanton '20

In March, Stanton accepted a position as a clinical nurse in the OR at Beebe Hospital in Delaware. The role comes with on-site specialized training to enable Stanton to function independently in the OR. 

Stanton is one of many seniors who through the connections and experiential learning gained at Widener secured job opportunities with time to spare ahead of graduation.

Internships Turns into Jobs

Electrical engineering senior Angela Herb secured a position at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, which manufactures electrical protection products and solutions, since August. 

Angela Herb pictured in front of her poster at the 2017 Summer Research Symposium
Angela Herb will put her engineering degree to work at Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories.

The opportunity arose after a multi-year internship at Schweitzer facilitated by Professor Sohail Sheikh, chair of the electrical engineering department. In addition to leading the classroom, faculty bring industry-level connections that help students like Herb get a foot in the door. That one-on-one support and career guidance is a staple of the Widener experience.

“There are a lot of professors, especially in the electrical engineering department, whose doors are always open so I’ve gone into professor’s offices to ask questions about classes, even about careers,” Herb said. 

Emily Garofalo stands in front of the Selective Insurance sign.
Emily Garofalo will join the team at Selective Insurance after graduation.

Similarly, Emily Garofalo, a senior in the School of Business Administration whose concentration is in marketing, interned four times at Selective Insurance in Branchville, New Jersey. The internship and her Widener courses helped her develop a strong understanding of the different departments, from human resources to marketing.

Now, she’ll be joining the corporate trainee program, followed by a position in the marketing department in January.

“I’m lucky to be starting a job where I already feel comfortable in the environment and know a lot of other employees,” she said. “I don’t have to be nervous about meeting new people on my first day.”

Ready to Enter the Workforce

Jasmin Koshy, a business analytics major and operations management minor, will be doing a similar career starter program at SAP, followed by a full-time position as a business process associate consultant with the S/4HANA Team.

Jasmin Koshy smiles in her senior portrait
Jasmin Koshy secured a position at SAP.

Koshy learned about SAP after a representative visited campus to speak to students about job opportunities. Widener’s business school has a strong relationship with SAP and other companies, giving students early-on connections to industry insiders.

“I was intrigued by everything the representative said about the company and the different positions the offer,” Koshy said. “It stood out to me that they have a career starter program.”

A co-op experience at Comcast during Koshy’s junior year also solidified her interest in working “behind the data.”

Koshy described it as a relief to have the position lined up before graduation.

That is because the 2020 graduates are unlike any class before them. Their careers at Widener come to an end during an unprecedented time fueled by COVID-19. From clinicals and internships, to time on campus with classmates and friends, this epidemic has taken so much from the soon-to-be alumni, although most don’t see it that way.

“It wasn’t something that anyone was anticipating, so it was definitely a little disappointing,” said Herb. “But it’s going to be a story to tell later.”

For Stanton, she’s not disappointed by the circumstances. In fact, she’s inspired to join the health care industry as it continues to battle COVID-19. 

“For the past four years this is what I’ve been training to do, this is what I want to do. I want to help.”

In just a few short weeks, she’ll be able to do just that.

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