The journey to your career or even first job after college graduation isn’t always linear. Breely Peterson ’20 was a political science major and thought she would pursue a political career. By contrast, Ella Massaquoi ’22, an English major, and Elena Welsh ’22, an English and feminist studies double major, wanted writing to be at the forefront of their future jobs. After spending two years in Washington, D.C., working as a press secretary in the House of Representatives, Peterson discovered a newfound passion for marketing. An industry she never thought she would be interested in. Massaquoi, however, had a more traditional route to her future job. First as a copywriting intern for Story Amplify, then as a full-time staff member. She even recommended her classmate Welsh when she was looking for employment after graduation.

Located just a few blocks from Southwestern’s campus, two new companies are building something extraordinary. Story Amplify is a boutique marketing agency offering full-service branding and marketing services, while Bodewell is a video platform that provides custom video creation for financial advisors and realtors. Story Amplify assists all sorts of companies, from financial institutions to startups, with everything from web development to social media. Peterson is an account manager at Story Amplify and the marketing manager of Bodewell, while Massaquoi is a writer and content manager, and Welsh serves as a writer for both companies.

Although Peterson never envisioned herself in marketing, she credits her time at Southwestern with developing the skills she would need after graduating to flourish anywhere. She said the University taught her how to apply and adapt what she learned to a variety of fields, first as a staffer on the Hill and now in her marketing pursuits.

“The writing skills that I learned at Southwestern and how to adapt to different formats really helped me with the communications part of the job,” Peterson remarked. “I also think the psychology classes I took greatly influenced my ability to market because I understand what people are drawn to.”

As an intern at Story Amplify, Massaquoi saw the beginnings of Bodewell, Story Amplify’s new brainchild. When she started over a year ago, she was brought into the initial discussions on what Bodewell could be. The company began building its platform of services, which includes a script library, teleprompter, and publishing tools to help its subscribers communicate with their clients and followers online. Massaquoi was integral to this process as she wrote scripts covering dozens of industry-specific topics. Each script is compliance-reviewed and easy to edit, so Bodewell subscribers can personalize them to their needs and audience.

As a student, Welsh always knew she wanted writing to be at the forefront of her career. She worked in the writing center, assisted Assistant Professor of English Rebecca Evans on a research project, and spent her last semester in school penning an honors thesis. Like any successful Southwestern student, she has had many Paideia moments in her new job. Welsh saw how her interdisciplinary studies prepared her to succeed in an industry she didn’t know much about.

“The foundation of a Southwestern education, my degree, and working on long-term projects equipped me to synthesize information across different topics and to different people,” Welsh said. “I could jump in, ask questions, and learn a new writing style quickly.”

The three alumni often reminisce on how their experiences at Southwestern helped them flourish in any endeavor they pursue. Each said learning how to write creatively and effectively has been the most transferable skill they learned as students. Massaquoi also credits her professors with instilling confidence in her and treating her as someone who would one day have a job in the real world rather than just a student.

“My professors taught me to think about work-life balance and that a job is more than a paycheck,” Massaquoi noted. “It’s also about making sure you’re working someplace where your values matter and somewhere you can thrive.”

Along with their writing skills, the three women exemplify the Southwestern value of lifelong learning. Peterson is enrolled in a master’s program for strategic communications and public relations at Sacred Heart University. Massaquoi has added to her copywriting job description to include content management, creating websites, working with AI, and utilizing newfound coding skills. While Welsh ultimately wants to work in publishing, she says learning the ins and outs of research and marketing will serve her well.

Although Peterson, Massaquoi, and Welsh are recent graduates, they have sage advice for current students. Peterson wants students to know that it’s okay to change their minds. She says Southwestern will teach them how to think and adapt to any environment. Massaquoi encourages students to ask for help. Many people at the University are willing to assist students in getting to where they want to be. Welsh says to take advantage of all the opportunities and resources available. Whether visiting the Center for Career Professional Development or fostering relationships, what you invest your time in will guide you to reaching your goals.