Name: Elena Marinelli
Class of: 2012
Position: Assistant Director of Student Life
Employer: Daniel Webster College
Summary: When Elena first arrived on campus she hesitated becoming involved in campus activities, having never participated in clubs during high school, over time she decided being active on campus was important to her. Elena became aware of the many organizations available on Riv’s campus through her Work Study position as a Campus Tour Guide. She eventually joined the Student Government Association (SGA), Student Programming Board (SPB), became a Peer Mentor, and over the summer an Orientation Leader. During Elena’s junior year she was elected Vice President of SGA, became a Peer Mentor Coordinator and New Student Coordinator for Orientation for the summer. Elena took on three new leadership roles her senior year by being elected Chairperson of SGA and President of SPB and by becoming Assistant Coordinator of Orientation.
What made you decide to major in Sociology?
Originally, I started out as a Nursing major at Rivier. After a rough start, I learned that nursing was not my true passion and that I would be much happier majoring in something else. When I began exploring other majors, I knew I still wanted a degree and career that would allow me to help people. That led me to Sociology and the many opportunities it presented. Once I chose Sociology, I decided to add a Social Work minor because I felt the two went hand in hand. I could not be happier with the path I chose!
What skills did you obtained from participating in campus clubs and organizations?
I gained a great deal of knowledge and skills through those experiences. I never dreamed I could take something that I had so much fun doing in college and turn it into a profession. I was able to develop great time management, delegation, and leadership skills. Thankfully, all of the clubs and club leaders taught me just how important having time management skills and the ability to delegate are for any strong leader. Also because of my participation in these clubs, I was given and took advantage of the opportunities to attend a dozen or so conferences that helped me to improve and gain more skills.
How did gaining those skills help you to prepare for your current position?
The skills I gained by participating in clubs and collaborating with students, staff and faculty directly correlate to the job I have now, which I could not be more thankful for. I was the type of person who would continue to take on task after task until I’m in way over my head so learning how to delegate and let others help has been very beneficial for me. Also, the knowledge I gained from the conferences I attended have greatly helped me in my new role as an advisor. But most importantly, being around such strong leaders and advisors who were so knowledgeable make me strive to be like them in my new job.
What Career Development Center services did you utilize?
I used the Career Development Center twice throughout my time at Riv. Both times it was incredibly beneficial to me. When I first switched my major my mother came up to the college to meet with my Academic Advisor and discuss my options. After this meeting my mother still had a great deal of unanswered questions so my advisor directed us to the Career Development Center. Marie was wonderful. She met with us for a long period of time explaining how she could help. After that appointment, Marie and I agreed to meet on a regular basis to complete different activities in order to learn more about my Sociology major and the options associated with it. After this series of meetings, I felt much more comfortable with my decision. The next time I met with the Career Development Center was when I began writing my resume. Again, Marie met with me for weeks from the beginning until the end of my resume writing experience. When I first went into the Center I didn’t even know where to begin with my resume! I am so grateful to Marie and the Career Development Center, without them I would have had no idea where to begin! Who knows what my resume would have looked like if I hadn’t sought help.
What job search techniques did you find most valuable (i.e. internships, networking, student activities/involvement, etc.)?
I found my involvement on campus was instrumental in finding a job. The faculty and staff told me about different job opportunities they had heard of and by suggesting a variety of organizations to research for jobs. I was also able to network with the connections I had made off campus which ultimately helped me acquire my job.
What was your most important accomplishment while attending Rivier?
My most important accomplishment at Riv was becoming involved on campus and meeting the wonderful staff who helped me. If I had not joined the Student Government Association and the Student Programming Board, I would not be where I am today. I am very grateful for all of the options Rivier gave me. I believe at larger institutions you do not have the opportunity to make as much of a connection to staff members or have as many options to excel. Rivier was a blessing to me and I will be forever grateful.
Based on your experience, what advice would you give current students to be better prepared for their careers?
I think the best advice I can give; is to find something you love and stick to it. If you are truly passionate about something there is a good chance you can use it for your future job. I never imagined that I would be where I am today when I was a freshman. If I had not stepped out of the box and tried something new, I can honestly say I don’t know where I would be. If I did not fall in love with Riv, I would have ended up moving home and pursuing less interesting and challenging career opportunities. There are so many jobs out there so never stop pushing for what you truly want to do!