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DelVal alumni offer advice to students

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Posted on October 8, 2014 by Lynn Carroll, director of alumni engagement.

Courtesy: Lynn Carroll A panel of alumni provided career advice for students.

Five Delaware Valley College alumni joined a faculty member on campus Sept. 17 to share advice with students considering careers in food science and technology. Their tips ranged from the universal "keep building your network," to industry-specific ideas, such as joining the local chapter of a professional association.

Carly Bombolevicz ’11 is a research and development scientist with Blommer Chocolate Company. Originally an intern at Blommer, Carly was invited to join the company after graduating from DelVal. Carly advised students to take business classes, because she found it challenging to grasp financial information and budgets in her first few years at the company. Carly also urged students to take advantage of the Center for Student Professional Development for feedback, resume preparation and advice. She joked that even on tough days, "I'm still making candy, so it can't be that bad!"
 

Jesse Fellows ’10 is a food technologist at Campbell's Soup Company. Fellows highlighted the importance of staying informed about developments in the industry. He suggested food technology majors attend the Institute of Food Technologists annual meeting.
 

Donna Hayek ’88 originally got a degree in biology, but after years in the pharmaceutical industry she was laid off.  She went back to school to study nutrition, and now works at Jersey Shore University Medical Center as a registered dietician. She offered her career trajectory as evidence that life may take you in a different direction than you originally planned, suggesting students be open to new possibilities.
 

Steve Sosienski ’10 food safety manager at Bimbo Bakeries USA, gave practical advice about keeping resumes brief, networking with alumni (that's how he landed his job), and exploring the growing field of auditing and compliance. He also talked about the critical management skills needed in his position. "I'm 25, but I might need to ask someone who is 55 with much more experience to work differently," he said.
 

Kimberly Wyszkowski ’12, came to her job as a quality systems specialist at Nestlé Purina Petcare after initially pursuing a career in information technology. She got her bachelor's degree in food science as an adult student at DelVal and is now pursuing her MBA here. She talked candidly about the challenges she faces being a relatively new employee collaborating with coworkers who have worked in the company for decades. She advised students to find experienced mentors to rely on as a sounding board during the first few years in the industry.
 

Michael Kanter, a DelVal instructor, added his perspective as an executive chef at the restaurant Puck. He stressed the importance of work ethic and a positive can-do attitude, sharing his experience working his way up from an unpaid position to sous chef at Le Bec Fin.  All of the panelists agreed that students should never hesitate to ask questions – whether in an internship or in the full-time workforce, asking questions is the best way to gain insight and to improve professional skills.