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In a season when so many future plans have been put on hold, young graduates from Lycoming College continued moving forward, thanks to the connections made possible through the College’s Center for Enhanced Academic Experiences (CEAE). Although the COVID-19 pandemic delayed fulltime job offers for many young grads, in the summer of 2020, now-alumna Mackaella Goodwin began a fulltime position at New York Life Insurance Company following a successful corporate internship with the same company.
Lycoming graduate Courtney Watson (Class of ’18) laid the groundwork for Goodwin’s internship by collaborating with the CEAE. He was working as an investment accountant at New York Life when he heard of the competitive corporate internship program his company was offering.
“When I was in my junior and senior years at Lycoming, this kind of opportunity would have been extremely appealing,” said Watson. “So, when I landed the job at New York Life and heard about the amazing internship program they offered, all I could think about is how great it would be for some of my college peers who are in the same position I was.”
The CEAE and its career advisors utilize Lycoming’s robust network of 16,000 alumni to make opportunities like this possible for current and future students. Goodwin was in her junior year of studying actuarial science when she learned of the intern program at New York Life, applied for, and was selected as one of 150 students in the company’s 2019 summer internship program.
Soon after graduation, Goodwin was offered a fulltime position as operations consultant, handling day-to-day operations, compliance, internal communications, and IT. “I enjoy my position because it has exposed me to so many different aspects of the insurance business at the beginning of my career, allowing me to consider a wide variety of paths for my future,” said Goodwin.
Goodwin’s success after Lycoming speaks to the meaningful connections made through the CEAE. Founded in 2016, the CEAE ensures that all Lycoming students have the opportunity to graduate with a unique professional experience, such as internships, study abroad opportunities, fieldwork, and collaborative research. The CEAE makes it possible for students to directly apply the skills they learn in their classes to professional practice, all while bolstering strategies for writing résumés and preparing for compelling interviews and graduate studies. Thanks to Lycoming’s growing alumni connections — the most recent having participated in an enhanced academic experience themselves — more diverse opportunities for students are on the horizon as alumni continue to reach out and give back.
As for Watson and Goodwin, they’re forging ahead in these interesting times. Watson has since moved on from New York Life to a position at an asset management company, Jennison Associates, where he is working as a revenue analyst. He has also begun investing in real estate, but he remembers his experience at New York Life fondly. “I loved my time there and learned so much from the amazing people they employ. To this day it is still my favorite workplace,” he said. “I will for sure be in a position to give back to those who lack the means and resources to further themselves as individuals.”
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has altered some plans, Goodwin is still looking ahead with optimism. “As I move forward through 2021, I plan to continue preparing for and attempting actuary exams. My goal is to pass a few exams, apply for NYL’s actuarial rotation and hopefully be accepted; however, I’m in no rush. I will continue working hard in my work position, studying hard in my free time and looking forward to whatever lies ahead.”