WASHINGTON, Pa. (April 25, 2012)—When Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) junior Ben Cecchini stopped in W&J’s Office of Career Services, he had no idea it would be an appointment that would send him halfway around the world. Cecchini was paired with W&J alumni mentor and 1965 graduate Dick Crosbie, who was a lead chemist at Nike for more than two decades.
A math major with an interest in bioengineering, testing athletes and designing sports equipment based on the research, Cecchini was excited about receiving guidance from Crosbie and they began to correspond by email. Cecchini asked Crosbie what classes he thought would help him in this field, or what internships to apply for, because, as Cecchini admits, there isn't a distinct path for his field of interest.
“The information Mr. Crosbie had been providing me really helped me and calmed me down because I thought, being a math major, that I wouldn't have the credentials to land a job in the field. So after a couple years of emails and phone calls he asked me if I wanted to go on a trip with him to Korea,” Cecchini said. “Of course, I wasn't going to turn that down. I actually had never met him face to face, which added to my understanding of the mentor program because he simply was all about helping someone.”
While in Korea, Cecchini visited a couple of factories, where they saw presentations on the manufacturing process and enjoyed tours, allowing them to examine machinery and processes.
During these visits, Crosbie arranged for Cecchini to spend time with the chairmen of these companies. Cecchini found them to be “very informative about how they started out and what they've done to become so successful.”
“I also was fortunate enough to meet some of the Nike executives from the United States who happened to be there on a business trip at the same time. They also answered some questions I had for them about Nike and the shoe industry in general,” Cecchini added.
Roberta Cross, director of career services at W&J, said more than 100 W&J alumni are registered as mentors through the College Central Network, designed to connect W&J students interested in finding an internship, job or mentor.
“In this case, Ben saw Dick as a wonderful resource,” Cross said. “This connection has been very helpful to Ben. This is an ideal example of what we are trying to accomplish through this initiative.”
What has the experience meant to Cecchini?
“I was just so thankful to Mr. Crosbie for providing me with such a great opportunity. He had told me that the reason he was doing all of this was because when he got out of school, he needed some help to start off in the real world, and someone helped him out, so he wanted to do the same thing for someone else,” Cecchini said. “That's how I feel all of these mentors are thinking or else why would they sign up for it? They want to help students so I really try to tell everyone on campus about this opportunity hoping that their experiences are as enjoyable and educational as mine.”