Colleen Straub: Class of 2020 success story

Despite challenges of pandemic, business major perseveres to get job with Amazon by using Career Education Center resources and leveraging her education

February 3, 2021
Ingrid Peterson P'20, P'22
Director, Career Education Center

Colleen Straub ’20

Graduating from college during the pandemic required students to drastically adjust their job search plans. The Career Education Center dove into research, webinars and conversations with employers to understand what our students would be facing. The Center encouraged these graduates to be flexible and open to a wide range of opportunities. With a limited job market and employers trying to make plans in an unknown and uncertain environment, recent graduates had their work cut out for them. In the past 11 months these graduates have faced many challenges, but Colleen Straub ’20 demonstrates that hard work, using her resources and mixing in a healthy dose of persistence can lead to success.

An interview with Colleen:

Where are you from?

Hamden, Connecticut.

How did you end up at Saint Michael’s College?

I know family that had several people go to SMC and they talked highly of it so I took a trip up to Vermont to visit. After being on campus for five minutes I knew this was the place for me.

What was your major? 

Business Administration

What was it like for you to be graduating during the COVID-19 pandemic?

It was challenging for sure. One day everything was normal and the next we had to pack up to go home not knowing when we would be able to come back. Our class was supposed to be experiencing the best part of our college years that alumni always talked to us about. I am glad for the group of friends I was able to make at SMC because having a solid group of friends helped us get through it together. Even though we couldn’t be together in person at school, our close friendship really helped me succeed through all the stress of the experience.

Were you particularly worried about your job search at that point?

I was worried because it was all over the news — how the rate of unemployment was growing daily. I had some moments of panic because I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do.

How did you land your first job and what was it?

This summer I was able to get a job at an Amazon fulfillment center as an essential worker (it was nice to get out of the house even though it was hard work). While I was there my boss pulled me aside to talk to me about the opportunities Amazon has. With my degree I was eligible to apply for a management position, so I did just that. It was a long process but I am glad I had the opportunity to apply, proceed through the interview process and receive an offer.

How did that job lead to your current position?

I am now an area/operations manager at a brand new Amazon site.

How has the Career Education Center helped you throughout your college career?

The career center helped me in so many ways and still did for the months after I graduated in May 2020. During my college career Ingrid Peterson helped me with resumé advice, internship prep and search, interview skills, and advice in general about landing a job. I was able to attend a networking event back in January 2020 that was sponsored by the career center and it helped open my eyes to possibilities and advice from SMC alumni. Without the help from the career center, I would not have had the positive outcome that I did.

How does your St. Mike’s education contribute to your current job?

I have had a well-rounded education thanks to St. Mike’s. Because SMC is a liberal arts college my eyes were really opened because of the classes I took. Some I probably would have never taken if they were not required and I am grateful I took them. My business classes really pushed me to be the best I could be and get out of my comfort zone and that now helps with work.

Make an appointment with a Career Coach via Handshake to take advantage of your Career Education Center resources to help with your job, internship, post-graduate service or graduate school plans. We are here for you!



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