Manchester University
Oak Leaves

November 9, 2018

From left to right - Chris Cecil, Traci Fuqua Perkins, Joseph Myers and Sarah Dillon Lochner.

Alumni Panel Discusses MU Experiences, Careers

Kaleigh Gabriel


A panel of young accomplished alumni returned to Manchester on November 1, 2018, to give advice and recount experience for students with questions about careers.

Students in Cordier Auditorium listened with open ears as four Manchester alumni recalled their most helpful tips and important facts they learned in the workforce. The panel consisted of professionals from all different backgrounds and job titles. Joseph Myers, ’14, works for Teach for America and brought insight into all the jobs provided to education majors. Traci Fuqua Perkins, ’12, works for Calumet Specialty Products as an accountant for oil purchasing and sales. Sarah Dillon Lochner, ’04, is a member of the Wabash County Probation Department and informed criminal justice majors of all the opportunities the field has to offer. Chris Cecil, ’10, works passionately for Visit Indy and provided stark insight on what it means to truly enjoy work.

After the panel was introduced, they answered a list of questions on which they elaborated using their experiences and knowledge gained. The questions covered a variety of topics including what activities at Manchester prepared them for the workforce along with who their strongest motivator was at Manchester.

First-year Anthony Harris recalls a statement from Myers where he was recounting how Manchester’s Activities Council prepared him immensely for his job because it taught him how to work well with a group of people to achieve goals, as well as the give-and-take that is required from the entire group.

However, Myers also cautioned students to find a healthy balance between school-work and extracurriculars. First-year Braxton Dewey said, “Despite the push for first-years to get involved, academics are most important because after all, that is what we’re here at Manchester for.”

Upperclassmen also in attendance resonated with the advice of Lochner. Sophomore Tara Conley remembers Lochner telling students to keep in mind the people who pushed them and helped them to achieve their goals because those people will always be important in their lives, whether they be family or outside mentors.

First-year Lilli Cook also found Lochner’s advice to be the hardest hitting as she described the multitude of opportunities in the criminal justice field. “She advised us to always keep learning and never just assume we know it all because we don’t,” Cook said.

Many students in attendance also heard first-hand that loving one’s job really is important, as Chris Cecil explained his move from a well-paying job to one that was not. However, the money was nothing compared to the joy he felt to get out of bed and go to work every day of the week.

First-year Ashley Steel appreciated that lesson. “Cecil encouraged us to be passionate about our careers despite money or the fear of it not working because sometimes the reward is worth the risk,” she said.

Many students left with eyes open to all the possibilities for the future ahead of them. Armed with the advice of those in the trenches, students begin to plan and adjust their time here at Manchester.