Laura Parks '18 '20G | Bethlehem, PA Major | Marketing ('18), Technical Entrepreneurship ('20G)
Tonight, the participants of the LehighSiliconValley 2020 program were able to attend an alumni event at the Lehigh@NasdaqCenter to celebrate a new exhibit featuring photos of Lehigh students in a silhouette of Asa Packer and an interactive corkboard demonstrating how the Lehigh community wants to impact the world. The evening consisted of mingling, networking, and listening to speakers and a video that highlighted how Lehigh’s relationship with its West Coast alumni has strengthened over recent years. As a native of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania who stayed in the Lehigh Valley for college, the West Coast has always felt like a magical faraway land that only exists in movies and books, but today, I realized that I could also be apart of this Lehigh West Coast community.
The LSV2020 cohort spent the day listening to different Lehigh alumni talk about their journey from Bethlehem to Silicon Valley, specifically how they ended up working in venture capital. I loved how the speakers we listened to, no two paths were the same and no two alumni have the same responsibilities even though they work in the same field. The biggest takeaway for me was that each of these Lehigh alums leveraged the Lehigh alumni network to help get to where they are today. It really opened my eyes and I realized how much Lehigh alums want to help current Lehigh students achieve their goals and follow their dreams.
As I enter the final semester of my master's program at Lehigh, I have been constantly thinking about what my next chapter will be. Some things are definite - I know I want to move away from the Lehigh Valley so that I can explore someplace new and grow independently. I also know that I want to work in marketing and help a company tell its story. I am only two days into the LSV program and I am blown away by how many people have offered to help me make connections to find a job, specifically in the Bay Area! Prior to this trip, finding a job and moving to the West Coast seemed like a scenario that only existed in my dreams. After talking with alumni and friends of the Lehigh community this evening, I can't picture myself anywhere other than the Bay Area after graduation.
How lucky am I to have stumbled into such a supportive community like this? Was it fate that I was accepted into the LSV2020 cohort? I don’t know exactly what the future has in store for me, but I do know that I will continue to leverage the network that Lehigh has given me access to during the remainder of my stay in San Francisco. I will continue to be kind, be curious, and not be afraid to ask others for help, which are just a few takeaways that some of our speakers have touched on over the last two days. My hope is that I am able to create a career for myself on the West Coast with the help of the Lehigh alumni network and someday, be able to create that same opportunity for a Lehigh student down the road. So thank you, Lehigh, for creating these amazing opportunities for us students and providing all the necessary resources to help us be successful at whatever we choose. I promise I won’t let you down!