"My education at Bryn Mawr has definitely not been a linear experience,” said Alexa Gjonca ’17. “I have had changes and pauses and times when I’ve run forward at full speed.”
A Posse student and first-generation American from Worcester, Ma., Gjonca started college expecting to go into the sciences. She tried biology, math courses, computer science, but the pieces weren’t coming together.
“My mind would just keep going outside of these boxes, and I kept asking questions that would go beyond one topic,” she said. “Then I took an economics course and a political science course, and I was fascinated. I found that so much of what I was learning was connected.”
Gjonca decided to follow her interdisciplinary nature and major in international studies, pursuing an interest in how small businesses and private industry can support sustainable and socially conscious development.
Her studies led her to participate in two study abroad programs. In spring semester of her junior year Gjonca traveled to three cities in India, Brazil and South Africa for a cross-comparison program. Immediately after returning, she headed to China to study urban ecology.
An internship in Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Ma.) office allowed Gjonca to see what working in the public sector was like and gave her experience handling constituency services. Gjonca assisted Warren’s regional directors by taking phone calls from constituents to learn their stances on issues and sending the feedback to Washington, D.C.
Now in her final semester at Bryn Mawr, Gjonca already knows her post-graduation plans. She’ll move to Washington, D.C., and in July, will begin work in Deloitte Consulting’s federal division as a business analyst in strategies and operations. She’ll work with agencies in the federal government to tackle complex business issues.
Gjonca credits the Leadership and Innovation in the Liberal Arts Center (LILAC) with activating her job search, providing more than just resume and cover letter assistance. At the beginning of this school year, she participated in a job search “boot camp” over the course of several days.
“This program gave me the motivation to start my job search early,” she said. “Networking, job search ideas, resume and interview feedback, even a professional women’s roundtable event – it all helped me envision being in the professional world. If it weren’t for this program, I wouldn’t have a job right now.”
Looking back at her time in college, Gjonca realizes that her Bryn Mawr experience has been about leaving her comfort zone and making her education – and ultimately her career trajectory – work for her.