Alumni launch careers at alma mater

A few familiar faces have returned to campus along with the incoming first year students. In the face of a difficult job market, some recent graduates have accepted jobs at the college while they contemplate their next move.

Zeben Ashton, an alumnus of the class of 2012 with an extensive undergraduate background in admissions, accepted a position as an admissions counselor at the suggestion of Vice President of Enrollment Brian Dalton.

“I kind of moved up the ranks in the admissions office,” Ashton said. “It was a good opportunity to learn what I learned working in the office previously and apply it in a real-world, professional sense.”

Ashton currently recruits high school juniors and seniors from Washington D.C., Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and central and eastern Pennsylvania.

“I would be able to develop a lot of enrollment strategies in the territory that I’m in charge of,” said Ashton. “It sounded really interesting, and it’s only for a year.”

Ashton also pointed out the difficulty of moving immediately into the workforce without the aid of post-graduate degrees.

“I applied to a lot of different schools, probably about 40 or 50 different schools, and was just kind of waiting to hear back from these places,” said Ashton. “But with the current economic market, a lot of places were hiring students with either masters degrees and I only have my bachelor of arts.”

Despite the state of the economy, Ashton remains optimistic, viewing his position as both an opportunity to further his career while introducing high school students to consider Allegheny.

“I was able to come into an office that already knew me, knew what I could do,” said Ashton. “It was just a good transition to get experience under my belt before I went off into grad school or another institution.”

Admissions also hired another class of 2012 graduate, Marianna Kreidler, as a videographer in the Web Communications and Marketing department, after her work as a student impressed the office.

It’s actually kind of a funny story,” Kreidler said. “My comp ran over, because I did something crazy, so I was here over the summer just comping, and they had an opening for a student-level position.”

“They ended up creating a position for me because they liked the work, and I pitched a lot of ideas that they enjoyed, too,” Kreidler added. “And they’re thinking about extending my contract.”

Other former students took permanent positions at the college.

Entrepreneur-in-residence Chris Allison encouraged Miguel Bolanos, another recent graduate, to apply for an advancement officer position on the annual fund team, which solicits alumni for donations.

Bolanos turned down an offer from an investment firm in order work full-time and travel the country, meeting with fellow alumni and encouraging them to contribute to Allegheny’s annual fund.

“It’s a sales job for me, so that’s how I saw it and that’s how I approach it,” Bolanos said.

“I saw the job description and it was very interesting, because we’re selling something that’s not tangible. It’s an education. It’s the college. It’s the people. It’s an idea, said Bolanos. “It was just something that was very intriguing for me.”

The job market did not daunt Bolanos.

“Allegheny definitely prepares you for the real world if you take advantage of what Allegheny offers,” he said. “I feel that there’s a lot of students feel that Allegheny is just going to set you or put you right into work, place you right into a career. I think that there’s a lot you have to do on your own. The resources are here. You just have to seek them out.”

“The only difference between this and being on campus taking classes is that I can take afternoons off,” added Bolanos.