When I graduated from high school, I enlisted in the Navy to get real world experience instead of pursuing my degree right away. During my time in the Navy, I completed two 7-month deployments on the USS Gonzalez, a guided-missile Destroyer. The first deployment was to the Mediterranean where we performed multi-national exercises with other members of NATO. This was a unique deployment where we were able to pull into many different ports in the Mediterranean, including Israel, Greece, Italy, France, Spain, and Turkey. It was a great experience to learn other cultures and visit parts of the world that I would have only dreamed of seeing before. My second deployment was an anti-piracy operation off of the Horn of Africa. This was a very different but interesting deployment, which consisted of boarding merchant ships and operating drones to monitor the area and provide deterrence to the high volume of Somalian Pirates.
As my six years in the Navy were coming to an end, I started to research schools to begin the next chapter of my life. Growing up in Central New York, Syracuse University was always number one on my list. I sent my application in before going out to sea and when we pulled back into port I rushed home, checked my mail and found my acceptance letter waiting from Syracuse University. It was a dream come true.
Syracuse University is notoriously known for being veteran friendly (ranked the number one private school for veterans by Military Times in 2016). After being accepted, I was immediately contacted by Keith Doss, Assistant Director of the Veterans Resource Center, to help with my transition from military to civilian life. Keith and the rest of the Veterans Center played a crucial role during my time at SU in both academics and career assistance.
When I took my first accounting class with Whitman’s John Professor Petosa, I knew that it was the field in which I wanted to build a career. Whitman provided me with face-to-face interaction with members of Big 4 and regional firms on a weekly basis. It was very beneficial to be able to pick the brains of professionals from different areas and industries, and it helped narrow down my choices of what I wanted to do when I graduated. The network that I built at Syracuse through the faculty, the Veterans Center, and networking events helped build a framework for me to succeed in my career.
Walking into Fust Charles Chambers, I immediately got that close-knit feel that I was looking for in a firm. The partners are all very approachable and they are willing to help with any issue–work related or otherwise. This culture that the partners establish trickles down to the management positions and creates a very positive environment. The firm has a strong presence in the healthcare industry, and I was presented with a great opportunity to become part of the Healthcare Consulting Group. Our group provides services in the areas of Reimbursement, Revenue Cycle, Financial, Long-term Care, 340B Drug Program Compliance, and Physician Practices. As a consultant, I am able to work on various types of jobs that can change every few months. I love the challenges and the continuous learning environment.
I am so thankful for the opportunities that I have had through the years and Whitman has played a major part in every one of them. For current/future Whitman students my advice is to take advantage of everything that the school has to offer you. Don’t just go to get a diploma, talk to your professors, network with other professionals, and utilize the career center. You will get out whatever you put into it and the more effort you put in while in school, the better your chances are of getting into a job that you actually like. I look forward to continue to be involved with Syracuse University through the Whitman Alumni Association, mentorship, networking, and teaching, GO ORANGE!