Jan. 22, 2014

Shadow program provides students with sneak previews of careers

Martel and Camarella

Sixty-six students spent time  with professionals through Geneseo's Winter Break Alumni Shadow Program. Here, Gillian Martel '16 learns about finance with Michael Camarella '98, senior vice president and senior portfolio manager at OppenheimerFunds Inc. /PHOTO BY KEITH WALTERS '11

Gillian Martel ’16 is switching her major to business administration and curious about career opportunities. She’s not sure what she will pursue, but she is interested in finance.

Earlier this month, Martel spent the day learning about what professional life in that field is like with Michael Camarella ’98, vice president and senior portfolio manager at OppenheimerFunds Inc.

“It gave me a look into how classes I’m taking are made relevant and it showed me a different career that I hadn’t considered before,” says Martel. “I discovered is that I really enjoyed the process of stock trading and all that it took to create the trades.”

Martel got the inside peek through Geneseo’s Winter Break Alumni Shadow Program, which pairs students with alumni and parent volunteers from around the country who work in a variety of careers, including law, finance, education, law enforcement and healthcare. The program is in its second year and is run by the Office of Career Development.

Stacey Wiley, director of the Office of Career Development, said 200 alumni and parents volunteered; based on student preference and interests, 66 students were paired. In the western New York area, students spent a day or several days with professionals from many areas, including journalists, a principal, business owners, a market manager, a speech therapist, teachers, and healthcare practitioners and administrators.

At OppenheimerFunds, Camarella manages and acts as a trader for 20 tax-exempt mutual bond funds, with $27 billion dollars in assets. With 15 years in the finance industry, he was happy to share his expertise with Martel.

“There are so many different professions in the business field,” says Camarella, who serves on the Business Advistory Council, is a member of the Student Managed Investment Fund advisory board and on the Alumni Council’s Career Advistory Committee. “It’s a great experience for students.”

He encouraged Martel to arrange other information interviews to find what suits her best.

Geneseo hopes to attract even more volunteers next year, especially in the fields of financial services and banking, medicine and law. Feedback from hosts and students will help improve the program, says Wiley.