Rebecca Cook '15 was a sociology and International Studies major at Bryn Mawr and is now a senior programs manager of research initiatives at Nephcure Kidney International.
She recently returned to campus as part of the Career & Civic Engagement Office’s Alumnae/i in Residence program.
In the below Q&A, Rebecca talks about her burgeoning career, her advice for current students, and more.
How did you get involved in your current field?
As a sociology and international studies major, I was interested in applying my analytical skills to how people interacted with systems of inequality. I knew I would thrive in an environment where I was contributing to serving an unmet need. I turned to government work, nonprofits, and B-Corporations, and I ended up building my career in the nonprofit sector.
What part of your Bryn Mawr experience has been most important to your professional development?
During my time at Bryn Mawr, I had an internship through Profugo, an international development-related nonprofit, that helped me flex a number of my skills in an invigorating and challenging way. I had experience with writing articles and social media content, with developing an organization system for inventory, and with speaking to others about the importance of the organization’s mission. At Bryn Mawr, I was used to a fast-paced environment and was looking for work that required me to face new challenges each day instead of always doing the same thing. Nonprofits are infamous for keeping you on your toes and exercising all of your different professional muscles.
What career advice do you have for current Bryn Mawr students?
What’s important about approaching a new job is your capacity for learning and perseverance, which as a Bryn Mawr student, you absolutely possess. Anything you don’t know that you need to know you can learn on the job if you focus and work hard in the same ways you do at Bryn Mawr. Make sure to keep in touch with your friends who will help you navigate the “real world”—there can be a certain degree of culture shock leaving Bryn Mawr. If you are looking to work immediately after College: after you recover from not having homework, make sure you continue to challenge yourself and learn in your spare time for your own advancement (not just professionally).
What made you choose to attend Bryn Mawr?
Bryn Mawr was perfect for me for three reasons. First, my paternal grandmother got in to the school during the Depression, but couldn’t afford to attend. My maternal grandmother lived the last few years of her life on Bryn Mawr Road in College Park, Maryland. My two middle names are the same as these incredible women. Second, I received a personal note in my acceptance letter from Peaches Valdes ’99 who worked in the admissions office and who appreciated my essay “as a fellow [Myers Briggs personality type] ENFJ.” Lastly, I met people on my overnight who were unabashedly themselves, and I wanted to go to college somewhere that fostered that spirit in me.