Alumni Speaker Series kicks off for the fall

Marina Boyle, Features Editor

The Alumni Speaker Series is a new program on campus, set up to engage current students with Mercyhurst alumni in an effort to help them discover career goals and tips.
This series is a joint effort between the Office of Alumni Relations and the Career Development Center.

Starting Sept. 20, Mercyhurst will begin welcoming five alumni over the course of the year to speak with students about where their education has taken them and where they plan to go next. The talks will span different majors, topics and areas of advice that alumni in the workforce can offer to students.

The two opening talks will be from Kaleigh Vinesky and Melanie Titzel, both of whom graduated from Mercyhurst — in 2013 and 1980, respectively.

The Career Development Center has distributed posters and is working to inform students of the alumni who will be here.

Vinesky studied Biology at Mercyhurst and continued her education in the Physician Assistant program at Daemen College, near Buffalo, New York. She now works as a Physician’s Assistant for OB/GYN Associates of Erie. Vinesky will speak to students about applying to graduate schools after Mercyhurst, finding the right job and exploring the PA profession.

This will be followed by a presentation from Melanie Titzel on Sept. 26. Titzel is the Director of Senior Living Communities at LECOM and majored in Business at Mercyhurst.
Her talk will concentrate on the topic of leadership and importance of a clear career path.

Michelle Benedetti, sophomore Business & Competitive Intelligence Studies major, is particularly looking forward to Titzel’s talk.

“I am truly excited for this talk because it pertains to my future in business,” Benedetti said. “Melanie has firsthand knowledge of the local business environment and the skills it takes to secure a fulfilling career here in Erie and in the business world overall. I am looking forward to hearing her discuss the concept of leadership and how this school helped her to develop strong leadership skills.”

More talks will occur through November and February, with alumni Sandra Larson, Sean Fedorko and Eden Mishler Ihrig returning to present later on in the year.

All talks are free of charge for students and will be advertised throughout campus before the event.

Emma Kovacs, Career Counselor at Mercyhurst, looks forward to hearing what graduates can teach students today. “I think that the Alumni Speaker Series is valuable because it gives direct insight from professionals in the field,” Kovacs said. “There is more validity with that current knowledge, and more connection over a shared time at Mercyhurst. It is a great way for our students to network and meet alumni.”

A central focus of this series is allowing students to understand the flexibility they have in terms of their career, and the power of using their degree to find a fulfilling job that helps them to meet core Mercy values in daily life.

All featured alumni will discuss which Mercyhurst programs, clubs or activities were most helpful to them in terms of finding, retaining and enjoying employment.
Lindsay Frank, director of Alumni Relations, encourages all interested alumni to volunteer and help to grow this program.

Applications, as well as other options for alumni wishing to get involved, can be found online.

“I am most excited that we have had a great level of interest from our alumni who are not only willing, but also very excited, to return to campus and share their experience and knowledge with our students,” Frank said.