Alumni Career Panel at Refinery 29

On June 30, 2016, Apex for Youth hosted a career panel for former mentees with speakers from a wide range of industries including finance, journalism/fashion, technology, hotel/restaurant management and healthcare at Refinery29, located on 225 Broadway. Jian Dong, MD (Mt. Sinai Residence Physician and Graduate of NYU Medical School), John Zhang (Software Engineer – Google), Maggie Liu (Associate Corporate Development & Strategy, CBS Corporation), Connie Wang (Fashion Feature Director at Refinery 29) and King Chow (Entrepreneur, Eatery Startup Coach) were invited to share their fields of study and their experiences in their professions.

Each individual guest speaker had a lot of knowledge in their respective industry and shared with us some personal anecdotes. They also discussed the courses they took in high school and in college, and how some of them decided to pursue a different major in the middle of their career. An example was when Jian Dong, an avid physicist and astrodynamics fan, decided to change his career path and pursue medicine and become a physician. Another example is King Chow, who one day decided to start a restaurant entrepreneurship, now known as Banhmigos, in the middle of pursuing a finance major. At the end, each panelist gave one piece of advice or suggestion for students who expect to enter the field. Our mentors and mentees who attended this panel gained a lot of insight in each career path, and many found the panelists’ experiences helpful in learning about the industry!

After the group interview with the panelists, our student alumni broke up into smaller groups by fields of interest to learn more about a career panel speaker and his/her career experience. These small groups facilitated a more personal discussion and allowed the students to ask more in-depth questions regarding their profession, their education and career history, how they acquired their position, etc. As an aspiring computer programmer and communications major, I was a part of John’s group and Connie’s group and learned more about computer engineering at Google and journalism at Refinery29, respectively. I learned a lot about their education history and what they do at their job, so the small groups were incredibly helpful in providing me with a genuine perspective in the major I want to pursue!

The event concluded with a lunch session with the panelists. Thank you guest speakers Jian, John, Maggie, Connie, and King for attending this Alumni Career Day and sharing with us all your occupations and experiences. We definitely learned a lot from the panel! Special thanks to our special projects coordinator, Kam, for orchestrating the whole event, and to Refinery29 (and Courtney and board member Patrick Yee) for hosting!

-Celine Yan, Apex Development Intern