As a college student trying to prepare for her future, Gianna wanted to make sure she gained as much knowledge and experience as possible. “Communication Studies is extremely broad and I wanted to gain a taste of all realms to determine which field was right for me.” So, she did exactly that and then some with not only one but three different internships throughout her time at West Chester! From working in PR with the founder of a local company to an internship with Major League Soccer's Philadelphia Union to her last position with QVC, Gianna gained valuable and learned the value of hard work. With hands on experiences in media coverage reporting, drafting press releases, and covering feature stories and events, Gianna is prepared to make a difference anywhere she goes.
The choice to be a collegiate student athlete was one of the easiest and best decisions Lex ever made. She'd been playing field hockey for 15 years, and loved everything about the sport. So, when she had the opportunity to continue her career at WCU, she jumped at it. Being a student athlete has helped Lex stay focused, manage her time better, and become more physically and mentally fit.
"Being on the field hockey team has given be some of the best friendships. Even our families became very close throughout the years."
That fitness must have come in handy because in Lex's time on the team, WCU won a National Championship, two Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Championships, and appeared in the NCAA Final Four three times! Even with classes, practices, and tournaments, Lex found time to study abroad in Italy with other Nutrition students over spring break. Lex found a home away from home at WCU, and a team that feels like her second family.
Ann always loved math and science, and when she got to WCU, she put her interests together as a chemistry major. Ann was a member of the Alchemists Club, the Society of Physics Students, and was inducted into the Physics Honor Society. Thanks to her involvement on campus she built personal relationships with faculty member, which allowed her to spend two summers immersed in research projects. She even had the opportunity to present her research at the American Chemical Society National Conference in San Francisco, and at the International Symposium on Clusters and Nanomaterials in Richmond. Next up? Grad school! Ann has already been accepted with full tuition and teaching assistantships to the University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins University, and three other universities!
The college search process can seem overwhelming-choosing a college, a major, and moving away from home for the first time. Darius considers himself lucky that he had guidance from his favorite high school teacher who told him to choose the major that would make him the happiest. So he did-Theatre Performance. Darius chose WCU for the reputation of the performing arts program, the safe campus, and the location-walking distance to class and downtown! Today, he's also dance minor and choreographed his very first dance piece in the spring. Darius takes advantage of every opportunity he's presented with.
Desiree had been interested in working with babies and maternal health for as long as she could remember, so when she heard about an internship with the March of Dimes, she knew it was a perfect match. Already a Public Health student, Desiree had been studying community health and communicable diseases as well as wellness and health promotion. Thanks to her internship, Desiree also gained clinical experience by shadowing doctors in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), and planning and logistical experience by planning the Transportation Building and Construction Awards Luncheon, the largest March of Dimes fundraiser in the Philadelphia area.
"If I had to describe WCU in one word, I’d call it remarkable. I visited a lot of different colleges trying to search for the right one; I loved WCU immediately. I loved everything about WCU. The professors made a huge impact, and were always there to guide me. They engaged all students, and were very helpful."
Desiree worked on the awards luncheon from start to finish, and learned more about two very different, but exceptionally important sides of working in public health-the funding and the hands-on work. Desiree graduated in May with both her B.S. and her M.S. in Public Health thanks to WCU’s accelerated program, and already has a job lined up-Community Director at March of Dimes!
The best advice Julie can give you as a WCU student? Say yes! An education major, Julie wasn't sure she'd be able to fit study abroad into her curriculum, but just a few meetings, some paperwork and a passport later, Julie was on her way to Prague in the Czech Republic. Why Prague? Julie thought the Czech Republic would have a different feel to it than some of the more traditional study abroad locations.
"I learned the importance of saying yes to things and being open to new experiences. I learned that it's okay to feel uncomfortable when you are starting something new. It's important to open yourself up to things and experiences you weren't sure about before; that is what I did by studying abroad."
It turns out-she was right! And, Prague was the perfect starting point for all of the adventures and new experiences that Julie said yes to. She made new friends and memories every weekend as she traveled--visiting Switzerland, Amsterdam, Dublin, Barcelona, Munich, and Italy's Amalfi Coast. Julie opened herself up to new experiences, and had the time of her life.
Sarah always loved the environment and knew that she wanted to do something to help others – so she decided to major in Geography and Planning. After hearing an in-class presentation by a member of the Forest Service, Sarah was hooked. After the presentation, Sarah reached out to the worker, aced her interview and landed an internship as a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) intern with the United States Forest Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
"This internship gave me professional experience in the workplace and I know that will separate me from other candidates when it comes to job searching."
Sarah gained valuable experience in the workplace that will help separate her from the crowd after graduation. She learned to run commands on her computer and how to properly analyze data. Sarah will be putting all of her newly gained knowledge to good use after graduation-as a member of the Geography Honor Society, she's already secured scholarships for grad school!
For as long as she can remember, Tabitha loved the ocean and believe it or not-sharks. So, biology with a marine bio concentration seemed like an obvious choice when she arrived at WCU. Tabitha learned from hands-on experiences in the lab, and through her time as the president of the University's biology club.
"I think my favorite part was having such an amazing group of faculty and peers to be around. I feel like I learned just as much in the classroom at WCU as I did outside the classroom."
Tabitha primarily focused on organismal marine biology as an undergraduate; now in her graduate studies, she is focusing on invertebrate animals. She is also working to determine how global climate change is directly affecting the oceans. She plans to pursue her Ph.D. in biology and conduct her own research on sharks.
A Marine Corps veteran, Tyler transferred into WCU after serving in the Gulf. He had a unique perspective given his service to the country, and the lack of services he found upon his return. Tyler wanted to make a difference in the lives of other veterans, and to help them transition back into civilian life. Along the way, he also helped the University by creating a cultural awareness training for faculty and staff to help them understand the veteran experience. He's been presenting around campus ever since! Today, Tyler is also a Mental Health Therapist with Holcomb Behavioral Health Systems where he is making a difference every day.