Juniata’s alumni network is a powerhouse of connectivity, a continuous circuit with infinite capacity for expansion — and Career Day provides a prime opportunity for students and alumni to plug into that powerhouse.
Just ask Adena Delozier Mertz ’16, who remembers her surprised first impression upon attending Career Day as a student.
“There were so many employers represented. The whole gym is filled with recruiters,” said Mertz, recalling that learning to network was a bit daunting initially. “You have to go out and embrace the discomfort of walking up to someone you don’t know, introducing yourself, and starting a conversation.”
First introduced to Juniata’s vibrant alumni community as a first-year student, she was encouraged to join the Student Alumni Association by Stephanie Strauss ’11, an assistant coach for women’s volleyball at the time.
Mertz followed up on Strauss’ suggestion, connected with David Meadows ‘98, now executive director of career development and alumni relations, and found a circle of advisers, cheerleaders, and champions. She also deepened her connection by becoming a student assistant in the alumni office.
“I was hooked. After working in the alumni office and being a part of the Student Alumni Association, I got to meet a lot of alums who would regale you with the stories of their time at Juniata,” said Mertz. “I was intrigued to learn about what Juniata College was like in the past. I would learn of all these bygone traditions or traditions that had morphed and changed over the years. That would naturally lead to more conversations.”
Those conversations were invaluable to Mertz as she explored future career paths.
“The alumni I met were so welcoming and helpful and tried to help guide me in terms of where I wanted my career to go and future classes I should take while I was at Juniata,” said Mertz. “Everyone was so kind and friendly.”
Through Alumni Council events, she found mentors like Nicole Close ’92 and Roxann Binner Yon ’84.
“Nicole was highly influential. She had an awesome, varied career at Juniata and became a successful researcher and businesswoman — someone you can look up to,” she said. “Roxann is so friendly and has been part of the alumni council for many years. She always wants to help and guide students any way she can.”
Faculty mentors like Kathy Baughman, Dom Peruso, Lynn Cockett, and Sarah Worley ’00 partnered with Mertz as she found a passion for business and communication. Introductory business, psychology, and communication courses allowed her to hone her interests and evolve her career path to focus on business management.
Well prepared, Mertz attended Career Day during her junior year seeking internship opportunities.
“A huge piece of formative advice from the Student Alumni Association and David Meadows ‘98 and his team was to go to these networking events,” she said. “It’s a good experience to get in front of recruiters, introduce yourself, have your elevator pitch prepared, and your goals ready.”
Through Career Day, she secured an internship at Lake Raystown Resort. She later interned as an economic development intern at Huntingdon County Business and Industry. With these experiences on her resume, Mertz was well-prepared when she attended Career Day during her senior year, seeking a full-time opportunity.
“The alumni I met were so welcoming and helpful and tried to help guide me in terms of where I wanted my career to go and future classes I should take while I was at Juniata.”Adena Delozier Mertz ’16
“I’m walking through the aisles and see Colton Hallabuk ’15 representing Olympus. We had a couple of classes together, so I asked him about Olympus,” said Mertz.
Mertz learned about the medical device manufacturer’s two-year rotational development program for young professionals through her former classmate. He encouraged her to apply; the rest, she said, is history.
The next Career Day, Mertz joined Hallabuk on the recruiter side of the table and marked her first return to campus as an alum, bringing her alumni mentorship journey full circle. Since then, she has served on Juniata’s Alumni Council, shared her experience with current students, regularly attended campus events, and participated in career panels.
“I’m drawn to this place. It’s such a beautiful campus,” Mertz said. “It’s a life-changing institution where I found myself. That’s what keeps me connected.”