Students Launching Students: The Unsung Heroes of Success After F&M
Preparation for life is built into the DNA of Franklin & Marshall College. A vast network of advising and support at the faculty, residential, and cocurricular levels ensures every student has a place to turn when they inevitably start to wonder, “What is in store for me after my four years at F&M?”
Senior Armina Emami is part of that network. She is a career peer assistant with F&M’s Office of Student and Post-Graduate Development (OSPGD), a division of the College dedicated to helping students and alumni forge successful paths through a combination of mentorship, advising, networking opportunities, and life-skills workshops.
Emami is joint majoring in public policy and business, organizations, and society. She also is a member of Kappa Delta sorority, the Benjamin Franklin Financial Services Honor Society, the Marketing Club, and Alumni Leaders of Tomorrow. At OSPGD, she leads training sessions on best practices in building effective resumes and cover letters, during which current students come to listen, take notes, and ask questions in an effort to put their best selves forward in the job-search process.
“I saw a job posting in the fall (of 2023) and knew I wanted to be a mentor,” she said of her current role. “I wanted to build my network, get to know new faces on campus, and share my knowledge with younger students.”
Emami’s supervisor, OSPGD Director of Career Development Ashley Fry, said students like Emami — one of 18 student workers OSPGD employs — provide a critical peer-to-peer viewpoint.
“Having a student adviser on our staff allows for increased relatability and approachability in the career development journey,” Fry said. “A fellow student can empathize from a unique perspective from which to say, ‘I understand. I have just experienced that, too. Let me help.’”
We asked Emami a few questions about her work in OSPGD, advice she frequently shares, and how she came to choose F&M when deciding where to enroll four years ago. Here is what the Wayne, Pa., resident and graduate of The Baldwin School shared with us.
F&M: You conduct weekly workshops and drop-in sessions for fellow students on best practices in resume writing. What is the toughest question students bring to you at those sessions?
Emami: The hardest question people ask me is, “what do I put on my resume if I don’t have any job experience?” When I was a first-year, I had the same issue. So, I tell them to include club and research experience. Then, after sophomore year, I tell them to lean into internships, jobs on campus and other skill-building experiences.
F&M: Say I am a current F&M sophomore or junior. What advice would you offer me as I begin to look ahead to my life after F&M?
Emami: Definitely use your connections. For example, the True Blue Network (a career path network exclusive to F&M). I didn’t realize what a great resource that is to have. That’s how I got my first summer job, through an alum who owned a hedge fund. I have been able to network with so many alums, and they have connected me with more and more people. They’ve helped me out with the job process, with getting referrals, and building knowledge about different fields on the whole. Also, don’t be upset if a hiring manager says “no.” Internships are very hard to get as a first-year. I applied to maybe 50, heard back from five. Keep on applying. I’ve gotten so many nos, but some yeses. Something will turn up, and if they say no, it wasn’t the best role for you.
F&M: What’s the best advice you would give a student considering enrolling at F&M?
Emami: When it comes to picking where you want to go, figure out what you value in a college. I really liked the idea of a small community, having come from a smaller high school (one of 53 in my graduating class). I visited F&M four or five times.
F&M: What is the biggest reason you chose F&M?
Emami: The liberal arts education — and how personable everyone was. When it’s a small school, everyone gets to know you. It’s a more holistic approach. F&M values differences in people and new ideas. I realized that as much as I love business, I also love economics, government and philosophy. F&M was the best mesh of my values and interests.
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