Meeting a Mentor: Brandon Marcucci ’21 finds opportunities through professor connection

Created: November 18, 2020
Last Updated: November 18, 2020

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WASHINGTON, PA (Nov. 18, 2020)—When Brandon Marcucci ’21 came to Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) as a freshman, he didn’t know how much he would accomplish.

Now thanks to the consistent support of his advisor Jason Kilgore, Ph.D., and the wealth of opportunities presented at the College, Brandon can confidently take his next steps as he begins to think beyond his time at W&J.

It was serendipity that brought Brandon into an environmental studies course with Dr. Kilgore during Brandon’s freshman year. He enjoyed the course’s focus on the outdoors and Dr. Kilgore’s passion for the subject. Soon, he decided to pursue environmental studies as a major and connected with his new mentor.

Under Dr. Kilgore’s wing, Brandon has become the W&J Arboretum Information Specialist, working closely with the professor to document the growth of some 1200 trees on campus. Brandon has also joined Dr. Kilgore in his research in the Allegheny National Forest on the invasive Emerald Ash Borer, documenting the process for measuring ash tree plots for future student leaders. On Dr. Kilgore’s recommendation, Brandon secured an internship with Widmer Engineering, where he assisted the company in MS4 stormwater outfall inspections.

“I’ve grown so much and learned so much from Dr. Kilgore,” Brandon said. “I like his enthusiasm; he’s not just dull or monotone—you can tell he’s really excited about what he’s teaching, and that threw me more into the subject matter.”

The small class sizes at W&J made Brandon come out of his shell throughout his education. As an introvert, he’d previously found it difficult to ask questions and was wary of taking advantage of his professor’s office hours. W&J made his professors more accessible, and now he’ll tell you that those relationships are the best thing about his college experience.

“I think with every professor at W&J, you can develop that close relationship like I’ve formed with Dr. Kilgore. They’ll help you out with anything you need,” Brandon said. “If you’re in a 100-level class here, your professors know you. I don’t know if that’s the case at those big universities. Every professor here is really passionate about their subject and their students.”

Brandon is considering his career options following graduation with the support of Dr. Kilgore, who has shared multiple job and internship possibilities that Brandon is pursuing. While his next steps are still coming into focus, one thing is abundantly clear: the relationships he’s formed at W&J will stay with him for years to come.

About Washington & Jefferson College
Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.

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