W&J opportunities led 2018 grad from internship to employment

Created: October 17, 2018
Last Updated: October 17, 2018

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WASHINGTON, PA (Oct. 17, 2018)—In the spring of 2018, Erica Ankney ’18 wasn’t sure what she was going to do after graduating from Washington & Jefferson College (W&J). She’d considered Ph.D. programs and graduate school before taking a chance on a bus trip sponsored by W&J’s Office of Career Services to visit Mylan, a pharmaceutical company in Southpointe, Pa., and learn more about what they had to offer.

Erica, a native of Jones Mills, Pa., majored in communication arts with a concentration in conflict & resolution studies and had a strong interest in working in the compliance side of the pharmaceutical industry. At Mylan, she met the leader of the compliance department and later struck up an email correspondence with her as she waited for the opportunity to apply to their internship program. During spring break, the application finally went live. 

“I remember being in Colorado and getting a phone call. We had been corresponding online about the application and she called to let me know it was up. She sent it to me via email and I applied online,” Erica said. “She called me the next day for an interview. 

In May, just days before W&J’s graduation ceremony where she presented the Senior Award to an outstanding staff member, Erica started her internship. In August, she received a written offer to join the staff and a week later, she became a full-time employee. She’s been able to get involved in multi-part projects and has enjoyed the work she’s doing.

Erica said W&J played a big role in preparing her for the internship and subsequent job. She highlights Professor of Biology Candy DeBerry, Ph.D., and Professor of Communication Arts T. Scott Frank, M.F.A., as encouraging her to learn across her interests in biology and rhetoric and find a job where she could combine them. 

“W&J creates an environment where professors are your best resources, and it never felt like they weren’t there supporting my best interest,” she said.

While she’s enjoying her time in the workforce, Erica is also still considering pursuing a Ph.D. in bioethics. She wants to encourage current and prospective students to pursue all their options, and to do so without fear, because they have the support of the faculty and staff at W&J.

“I hope that in general, looking at my story as a young alumna, people realize that they can have a job right after graduation,” Erica said. “It’s possible [to achieve your goals] if you have an open mind, learn about your interests and commit to that path. It’s working out for me, and I’m definitely glad to be here.”  

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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