Berkeley Today Stories
A Supportive Learning Environment at Berkeley College Prepared First-Generation College Graduate for Career Success
Nancy Drepaul was just 7 years old when her parents emigrated from Guyana in pursuit of a better life for their children. Despite financial struggles, Ms. Drepaul was enrolled in a private elementary school where she excelled. When it came time to choose a college, she knew exactly what she wanted.
“As a first-generation college student I was looking for a supportive environment with a strong focus on business education,” Ms. Drepaul said. “I wanted a curriculum that was taught by faculty who had experience in the business world and could set me up for career success. I received all of that and more at Berkeley College.”
Ms. Drepaul thrived in the small, close-knit college community where she studied alongside a diverse body of students. She served as President of the Student Government Association and represented Berkeley College at Career College Association meetings on Capitol Hill.
“My instructors emphasized the importance of public speaking, strategic thinking and research,” said Ms. Drepaul, who graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in International Business in 2010. “These are valuable skills that are necessary for success in today’s workforce.”
Ms. Drepaul was given the opportunity to practice these skills while working in the Berkeley College Office of External Affairs. While there, she developed an important connection with Teri Duda, Berkeley College Senior Vice President of Government Affairs.
“Having a female mentor is crucial for a young woman when she is working to develop her career,” Ms. Drepaul said. “Teri is an amazing individual who has accomplished so much in her life. She continues to be a wonderful role model for me and has impacted my life in so many ways.”
Ms. Drepaul served her internship – a requirement for graduation – as a Corporate Communications Intern at The New York Times Company in Manhattan. This internship led to a contracted position at the company as a Functional Account Analyst.
“The opportunity to be part of this dynamic company allowed me to gain exposure to the corporate environment and enhance my communication skills,” Ms. Drepaul said. “When I knew it was time for me to move on, I reached out to my network of professional contacts for advice on how to advance in my career.”
That outreach led to a job as a Scheduling Coordinator, Global Talent Acquisition, at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals. Less than a year later, Ms Drepaul was promoted to her current role as Talent Acquisition Coordinator, University Relations, at Pfizer.
“In my current position I frequently speak before diverse groups of undergraduate and graduate students. My objective is to help them think about opportunities and possibilities at Pfizer. I really enjoy this interaction,” Ms. Drepaul said. “My comfort level with public speaking and relationship building is a direct result of my experience at Berkeley College.”