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  • Writer's pictureBaker Institute Team

"Learn how to learn in college."

Alex Woods '21 | Start Up

Major | Economics

Minor | Real Estate and Entrepreneurship

Hometown | Gladwyn, PA

There is so much that made me curious today. It was my first time being inside of the Lehigh building of the Nasdaq Entrepreneurial Center, which completely exceeded my expectations.

At the center, we were privileged to hear two incredible women speak about their journeys in the workforce. Each of these women gave valuable advice that I hope to implement in my future endeavors. Sandy Stelling ‘91, an engineer for Alaska Airlines, talked about her extremely complex career and how she is constantly solving perplexing problems. Among realizing the importance of creativity and autonomy, she emphasized what her skill sets were and how she has been able to discover her strongest skill sets throughout her life. By utilizing her strongest assets, Sandy has been able to consistently lend her expertise to her team of employees in order to unlock their potential.

This day was themed around finding our personal strengths and assets that allow employers to understand our skill sets when hiring. Sandy mentioned that you want to be in a place where you can bring yourself to work, which truly resonated with me. Many employers care less about what is written on one’s resume, and care more about what kind of person you are, and what skill sets you use at work to positively contribute to the company’s goals. I realized that what is written on my resume is not what is most important, but it is the story and the skill sets I used in my experiences that really matters to an employer.

Ann Lewnes ‘83, another Lehigh alumnae and the Executive VP; CMO of Adobe talked about the importance of advocating for oneself, which is a top asset that I possess. Before working at Adobe, Anne worked at Intel for several years, and there were times when she effectively advocated for herself when she needed to. Advocating for oneself can be an extremely difficult thing to do, especially in an intimidating setting. In high school, I had difficulty advocating for myself when a teacher was not accommodating my academic disability. However, when I arrived at college, I learned how to respectfully advocate for myself to professors, and it has been extremely effective as every professor that I have had at Lehigh has been accommodating to my academic disability. As Sandy said, students “learn how to learn in college,” and this speaks volumes to how advocating has allowed me to place myself in an environment where I can learn and succeed.

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