Alumni Talk STEM

By Brian L. Brink

Thiel College alumni held of panel talking about the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professions on Friday, Oct. 13, at Thiel.

The panel was moderated by Delbert Abi Abdallah, assistant professor of biology and director of the Greenville Neuromodulation Center Faculty/Student Research Institute. The four alumni speaking were Alex Johnson who is an actuarial consultant at CBIZ Benefits and Insurance, Rachel Wills who is a graduate student and research associate at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Bobby Hritz who is a database developer at Cross IT, and Nathan Glotzbach who is a lead interconnection engineer at Duquesne Light.

Throughout the hour-long panel many questions involved the non-science classes they took during their time at Thiel. Glotzbach joked about the most useless class he took was bible studies. However, he agreed with his fellow panelists when they said there is no such thing as a useless class.

They also agree some of the most useful classes to take include philosophy and communications. The reasons were similar across the panel, being that those classes teach skills that make it easier to translate your knowledge while working. Having a well-rounded education, one will be able to make good conversation by being more interesting. Glotzbach explained that he is a, “jack of all trades” because of the non-science classes he took at Thiel.

Other questions asked about failures and how to come back from them. Wills explained that failure can be a sign letting one to know that they’re not ready for success. Hritz went on to say that failure is a chance to reevaluate why the failure happened. And Glotzbach said that with a strong network of friends and peers, coming back from failure is easy.

The panelist also all agree that working or doing athletics through college is important to develop certain skills that will be needed later in life. When doing athletics, the coach, or boss, will make sure students stay focused on what is important, according to Hritz. Glotzbach and Wills both said that doing either will help teach time management.

Each panelist had advice for the students who were at the panel, along with all those not. Wills told the audience to do something that makes them uncomfortable while at college, to grow as a person. And, Johnson stressed to take advantage of Thiel and all it has to offer, both in academics and student life.

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