The Pandemic Can’t Stop Us!

Hello! My name is Vanessa Kern and I am an incoming freshman at the University of Pittsburgh.  I am from Manalapan, New Jersey and went to Freehold High School. In high school, I played soccer and ran track for four years. I hope to continue my athletic training in college by joining an intramural soccer team (if that’s even possible this year). I also look forward to exploring the city and finding the best restaurants to eat at. In my free time, I also enjoy listening to music, watching movies, and travelling. Even though I wasn’t able to go to Dublin this summer, I hope to visit sometime in the future!

Going into my freshman year, I am unsure of what I want to major in within the business school, but I am interested in learning more about human resources management and marketing. I anticipate emerging myself into different opportunities as they present themselves so that I can get a better feel for a major that is best suited for me. I have also heard and researched a lot about earning a certificate in leadership and ethics which is something I would love to explore further and possibly pursue. In high school, my participation in my chapter’s DECA club is what influenced me to work in the business field. This year, I was supposed to compete in the national DECA competition in Nashville, but unfortunately, it was cancelled. Since my DECA experience was cut short, I hope to join Pitt’s DECA club. In addition to DECA, I hope to explore some of the other extracurricular clubs offered, such as joining a business fraternity.

Professionally, although I am unsure of what specific major I would like, I have a pretty good idea of what I would want my future job to look like. Of course, my view of the future is subject to change as I explore the business world further, but as of now, I think I would enjoy working with smaller businesses and maybe even startups. I would love to work as a manager of some sort and overview a businesses decision making and help implement plans to effectively maximize their profit and productivity. The reason I would like to work with smaller companies is because it is important to me to have personal connections with the people I work with in addition to the clients I work for. Since I am not exactly sure how this description would translate to an actual job, I hope to become involved in different internships to gain an understanding of what different jobs would look like in action. On top of interning, I also hope to expand my network by meeting Pitt alumni and working with multiple different companies.

The international program that I am currently involved in is the Haller Global Honors Fellowship. This program involves typically travelling to Dublin to work with startup companies on different projects to help grow their business. In the beginning of my application process around January, before I had even decided to go to Pit, I received a letter in the mail about the Haller Fellowship. I read the letter and immediately got excited about the opportunity to study abroad the summer before my first year of college. The fact that the program was in Dublin, a place I have always wanted to visit, definitely added to my excitement. When I officially committed to Pitt, I remembered the letter and applied for the program. Once Covid hit, I knew that my unique study abroad experience would be no more. But, I was wrong. I had a video conference with Anthony Gomez who explained to me that the program would not be cancelled and would instead be held virtually this year. He explained that a small team of students would be working with a startup company from Ireland and we would have virtual meetings for two weeks. It is such a unique opportunity to be able to work under these conditions and be involved in a new method of communication for this program. On top of the experience, I knew that joining would be beneficial considering how closely the description matched what I see myself doing in the future. It has only been a day, but I am already very glad I joined.

This virtual fellowship has so much to offer, even if it is not what I initially imagined. Meeting virtually is teaching me how to maneuver online platforms that I have never used before. I am learning to communicate professionally through video chat which is a skill that is very important to learn, especially in these times. Academically, having any kind of internship to put on my resume and talk about will give me a leg up in career fairs and applying for other internships in the future.

I am very grateful for this opportunity and I look forward to the rest of the program in these upcoming weeks as well as seeing Pitt for the first time in August!