Getting a Jump Start on the Real World
New externship program gives students insight into career options.

Amy Crumpler, Arts & Sciences Class of 2010, spent her Spring Break learning the ins and outs of the publishing business from alumna Lisa Sharkey (below). (Photo: Joe Angeles)

Every student looks forward to Spring Break. Amy Crumpler, Arts & Sciences Class of 2010, used part of hers to investigate the ins and outs of the publishing business from Lisa Sharkey, AB ’80, senior vice president and director of creative development at HarperCollins in New York.

Crumpler was one of 13 undergraduate students who participated in the first-ever Alumni Career Externship (ACE) Program at Washington University.

“I have always been interested in the publishing industry, and because of my externship, I see things in a new light,” says Crumpler. “I like the idea of reading something and determining if it will sell. My dream job is to read all day, but I learned there is a lot more to publishing.”

Lisa Sharkey, AB ‘80, is senior vice president and director of creative development at HarperCollins; she served as an externship host to WUSTL undergrad Amy Crumpler. (Courtesy Photo)

The ACE Program, sponsored by the Washington University Alumni Relations Office and the Career Center, gave freshmen, sophomores, and juniors the opportunity to shadow an alumni sponsor in his or her place of business for two to three days. The program gave externs a firsthand glimpse of what it takes to thrive in various industries, such as advertising, law, manufacturing, entertainment, and journalism. Externships took place in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, St. Louis, and Washington, D.C. Externs attended meetings, worked on projects, and met with key staff members to gain an understanding of the company.

During her externship, Crumpler helped edit a book, went to an editorial board meeting, observed as CNN interviewed her alumna host, and attended an event where she mingled with influential power brokers. But it was the access to thousands of books in the office that intrigued the English major. Crumpler says: “It was like being a kid in a candy store.”

Sharkey has worked with many interns throughout her career and feels a personal obligation to help students make that first step on their career paths. “There is nothing more important than helping to prepare the future leaders of our country,” she says. “It was just a few days of my time, and it was time well spent. The ACE Program offers a rewarding experience, not only for the student, but for the host as well. It is gratifying to give to others.”

For more information about the externship program and to learn how you can become involved, please contact the Alumni Association at (314) 935-7378.

Alumni reconnect during Reunion 2009.

Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton (right) presents Richard Hughes, AB ’59, Class of 1959 executive committee chair, the award for the Reunion class with the highest increase in participation.

Each year, hundreds of undergraduate alumni converge on the Danforth Campus for a few days of fun and fellowship. During Thurtene in April, nearly 950 young alumni and their guests gathered to celebrate their 1st, 5th, and 10th Reunions. The Class of 1999 had 120 classmates come back to campus for their 10th celebration—more than doubling last year’s attendance of the Class of 1998. More than 800 alumni and guests attended Alumni Weekend in May. And the participation did not stop there.

As of June 30, 2009, Reunion gifts and pledges from alumni totaled more than $10 million. Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton presented the 50th Reunion Class of 1959 the award for the highest increase in participation.


Alumni Career Externship (ACE) Program Hosts
Joyce Barnathan, AB ’75, MA ’76
President, International Center for Journalists

Mitch Berger, BSBA ’81
CEO, Howard-Sloan Search, Inc.

Susan Block, BFA ’76
Owner, The Designing Block

Hunvey Chen, AB ’96
Architect, HOK

Marshall Curtis, BSEE ’68
Attorney, Whitham, Curtis, Christofferson & Cook, PC

Jon Feltheimer, AB ’72
Co-Chairman and CEO, Lionsgate Entertainment

Jay Heller, AB ’78
Partner, Heller and Richmond Ltd.

Michael Isikoff, AB ’74
Investigative Reporter, Newsweek, Inc.

Barbara Levy Landes, AB ’71
Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, PBS

Ken Makovsky, AB ’62, JD ’65
President, Makovsky + Company

Andrew Moger, AB ’92
Chairman and CEO, Branded Concept Development

Matthew Seiden, AB ’78
President and CEO, The Seiden Group

Lisa Sharkey, AB ’80
Senior Vice President and Director of Creative Development, HarperCollins