Tuesday, June 25th, 2024
Review Magazine

The Winding Road to Finding Your Path

Millersville alumni share how they started out on our campus and where they ultimately ended up in their professional careers.

College is an important time of self-discovery. Some students know right from the get-go what they want to study and who they want to be: a nurse, a teacher, or maybe even a meteorologist. For others, the road is a bit more winding. Here, Millersville alumni share how they started out on our campus and where they ultimately ended up in their professional careers. From getting a degree in anthropology to becoming a candlemaker or going from therapist to owning a business, it’s been quite a journey for this group of grads.

JORDAN EVANGELISTA ’13, ’15M: I received my undergraduate degree in psychology in 2013 and a master’s degree in clinical psychology in 2015. Since then, my career path has taken many twists and turns. I started out utilizing my degree as a mental health therapist. Although I was putting my degree to good use, I felt drawn to the higher education world, which I was exposed to during my graduate assistant position in the registrar’s office at Millersville. I eventually made the transition to higher education and started working at Lebanon Valley College. Several years later, life took another turn. My husband and I started a family in March of 2019 and decided to start a business soon after in order to provide more flexibility and possibilities for our daughter. We are now the proud owners of HQ Water Solutions, a water treatment company in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. I left the higher education world and joined the business full-time in 2023, and we just reached $1 million in sales. We now have two daughters, business is booming, and we live a life full of purpose and joy. Although it wasn’t the path I envisioned, it’s a path I am beyond grateful for. It’s a path that wouldn’t have been possible without my education at Millersville University.

BECKY FUNK ‘99, ‘04M: I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in math education in 1999 and earned my master’s in math education in 2004.  I had wanted to be a teacher all my life and loved every minute of working with the students at my first job at a local high school. From there I taught for several years at a local college. I quit my teaching job to stay home and focus on my own boys but knew I wanted to get back into the workforce when they were older. When that time came, I wanted a career that gave me flexibility while allowing me to work with teens. A friend of mine suggested life coaching. I never saw myself owning my own business, but being a certified confidence coach allows me to do what I truly love: helping teen girls and young women love who they see when they look in the mirror. The educational and psychological components of my degrees still help me in this new career path.

CATHERINE HOGUE ‘13: When I first became a Marauder, I had high hopes of being a high school English teacher. However, two years into my college education, I realized that teaching was not the right path for me, so I dropped the education portion of my degree and completed my B.A. in English, thinking I would go the reporting and journalism route. While I did a bit of reporting for some local newspapers during college and after graduation, I fell into a digital and social media marketing role with a professional sports team in Charlotte, North Carolina. It turned out to be a slippery slope because I have stuck with that career, going from professional sports to a small family business and now, into higher education, serving as the digital ad and social media content creator at Lancaster Bible College

SANDIE KRAMER ’89: As a freshman, I entered MU as an early education major and quickly learned that being a teacher was not for me, but I did enjoy reading and writing. I majored in speech communications with a minor in public relations. I graduated and was offered a job at a local Bucks County radio station, making $5 an hour. As much fun as that was, I could make $9 an hour as a temp at a pharmaceutical company in their accounts payable department. I did not want to work in finance the rest of my life – my degree was in communications, so I went on and worked to get my master’s in instructional design (adult education), which felt kind of full circle. Then life got in the way; I had two kids and became a stay-at-home mom. One day my husband spoke with our tax accountant, and she explained that she was opening her own business and was looking to hire someone. My husband said, “Sandie is looking for a job!” and the rest is history. I have been a tax accountant for 20 years now at the same company and have loved every minute of it.

JORDAN KUHNS ’12: It took radical acceptance to understand that my dream job spiraled into a nightmare. I spent my undergraduate years at Millersville preparing for a career in the sports broadcasting field. All told, I spent 10 years in the industry. The lifestyle became increasingly unstable and unsustainable the more time I devoted to the craft. I had to adapt and change my goals.

I spent a few months after the dust settled charting my new course. I chose to serve as a multimedia professional for a behavioral school. I knew I possessed the qualifications to take this position and run with it. One year into this life change has proven that my decision was the right one.

TYLER LONGENECKER ’11: I’m a 2011 Millersville graduate with a degree in secondary education (social studies & economics). I was initially drawn to connecting with struggling students and fostering interactive learning, and Millersville empowered me to teach various social studies subjects to diverse age groups.

The relationships and support from several Millersville professors challenged me to lead with energy and passion. Eventually transitioning to the sales industry, I found similarities between teaching and selling, adapting to different products and audiences. Millersville underscored the significance of interpersonal connections in my career, and my time on campus proved to be an enormous building block for the career I didn’t know I would follow. With several promotions, I discovered my passion and now serve as a sales leader in an infection prevention company prioritizing healthcare safety. I’ve been mentored, mentored others, and now lead a national sales team for a community-oriented organization.

MISSY MCKELVEY ’93: After getting married and moving to Philadelphia, I knew I did not want to teach. I was hired for customer service. With my degree in math, they put me in charge of accounting items such as credit memos and chargeback clearing. This led to my getting an MBA in accounting from La Salle University. I took time off to have kids and moved to Reading, Pennsylvania. I went back to work as a staff accountant with Brentwood Industries. They were converting their system and found themselves in need of a financial person who understood the computer side as well. I transitioned into an IT role, where I learned the backside of a software package used to track and plan resources called Enterprise Resource Planning. I now work as a consultant implementing and training on the SyteLine ERP system. It uses both the teaching side and the logic side from my original degree in secondary mathematics education.

ADAM MENTZER ’05, ’09M: I obtained my license in social work in 2013 and worked as a school social worker for a private school until the pandemic shutdown of Pennsylvania schools in March 2020. In August 2020, I started my own handyman business, and in April 2021, I made it an official LLC. I now have a crew of eight, and we serve three counties as Adam’s Handyman and Contracting. I absolutely love the change from social work to home improvement contractor. I am able to better provide for my family, and having a crew of skilled workers in their respective fields allows me more time off than a social worker would have.

ANDREW NEWELL ’12: After graduating from Millersville in 2012 with a computer science degree, I briefly ventured into website design and Android app development. However, when I relocated to Richmond, Virginia, in 2013 with just $50, necessity led me to thrifting. Balancing retail jobs, I reinvested my earnings from reselling thrifted items. By 2015, I committed full-time to this enterprise, later diversifying into selling unclaimed mail. My passion project “Smalls” emerged in 2021 as a retail store echoing Millersville’s black-and-gold color scheme. Today, in 2023, we flourish in a 10,000-sq.-ft. space. My Millersville education was pivotal in my ability to adapt and seize diverse opportunities. Moreover, my store, while a hub for unique finds, also showcases my love for nature photography, particularly from my national park explorations. Every photo sold supports the National Park Foundation. From computer science to “Smalls,” my journey epitomizes the versatility a Millersville education offers.

HARMONY TODD ’12: I graduated from Millersville University in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology with a focus on archaeology. I went on to graduate school at Arcadia University, where I received my master’s in international peace and conflict resolution in 2014. It was that summer after I finished college that I began exploring old hobbies, including candlemaking. What started as a hobby grew into a small business and a table at the Trenton Farmers Market in New Jersey. My plan to continue on with my doctorate in international relations was completely blindsided by all the fun I was having while challenging myself to learn business and marketing skills. My company, Old Soul Artisan, eventually grew into a thriving candle business, where I now spend my days developing candle fragrances inspired by literature, folklore and fairy tales. Entrepreneurship is challenging, but the artistic freedom it allows me is worth all the hard work.

NELLY VELEZ ’13: I am forever #MUPROUD. I graduated in May 2013 with a bachelor’s in English education. I was unable to find a local teaching position that year but was blessed with the opportunity to work for a foster care agency while studying finance in the evenings and getting licensed for financial services. I became very curious about how my 401k and investments worked, since I never had the opportunity to take a financial course. I met my husband in 2015, and together, we opened up our own financial branch with over 65 licensed agents who we mentor and work alongside each and every day. We’ve helped the families we serve become debt-free, invest for retirement, get preapproved for mortgages as well as become properly protected to be able to leave a legacy for generations to come.

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