As the semester is coming to a close, graduating senior Katie Work knows exactly where she's going next.
By: Kristen Doerschner
CENTER TWP. – During her time at Penn State Beaver, senior Katie Work not only has managed to pick up a new sport, get involved in a variety of student activities and travel the world, she’s also landed a job for after she graduates.
Work, 22, of Hookstown, will have a job with Amazon as an area manager in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, after she graduates in May with a degree in management and marketing.
Her degree and job are the culmination of four years of hard work, determination and exploration.
Work came to Penn State Beaver intending to study business. She said everyone on her father’s side of the family works in business, and she watched her father and uncle run a business and work with other companies. Eventually her mother got into business, too.
Work said she was involved in “everything” in high school, so once she got on campus and saw students participating in activities, it didn’t take long for her to get involved here, too. Her first club was the Fightin’ Beavs inline hockey team. She had never played before, but the team needed a goalie, so she learned how to play.
This year she became the first-ever female team captain. She became a Lion Ambassador and then joined the Campus Activities Team, where she eventually became president. From there she joined the Business Club, Peer Leaders and the Student Activity Fees group. She’s also a member of The Roar newspaper staff.
Work’s initiative didn’t stop there. She said since high school she knew she wanted to study abroad and had talked about it all the time. She started looking into programs. Initially she wanted to go to Ireland, but she talked to an adviser at University Park who suggested a program that would give her the chance go to three locations: Italy, France and Germany.
She spent the spring 2018 semester in Europe, where she took business-oriented classes at universities in each of the three countries.
Work – who learned to speak Arabic “to challenge myself,” she said – took language classes during her time abroad as well, though her other classes were taught in English.
She said the experience taught her to appreciate different cultures and to be adaptable since it was challenging to switch between three different countries with distinct cultures.
A random message on LinkedIn from an Amazon recruiter put the next step of Work’s life before her.
A recruiter saw her profile and that she attends Penn State University. The recruiter liked the experiences Work had and thought she had the qualities the company was looking for.
“I didn’t have an internship. I didn’t expect to have a job lined up,” Work said. “I was surprised to get the email. To be honest, I thought it was a scam at first. I didn’t think it was real.”
Once Work realized the recruiter was legitimate, she applied for a job, went through an assessment, and Amazon flew her to Boston in September for interviews. A few days later she got a call offering her the job at the distribution center in Carlisle, where she will manage a team of 50 to 200 associates.
Her duties will include maintaining policies and safety procedures, setting goals and guidelines for the team, and working with upper management to ensure quality controls and basic customer satisfaction.
“I was surprised I was put in Carlisle to begin with because it is one of the state’s biggest distribution centers, and it distributes to the entire northeast,” Work said.
Preparing at Penn State Beaver
Work credits her time and professors at Penn State Beaver for helping her get to this point.
“I had so much support through the campus,” she said.
She works in the Continuing Education office on campus as an aide, directing guests and helping prepare for classes.
Professors helped to guide her in the right direction.
“Dan Smith, he really boosted by confidence, to be honest,” Work said of her business professor. “He told me I was good at project management and negotiating. He made me think maybe I could pursue what I wanted to do.”
“Dan Pinchot helped me through so much. He kept pushing me saying I had so much potential, and saying, ‘I’m so proud of you. You’re going to do so many great things.’”
“Katie is a tremendous student,” said Pinchot, who is the director of enrollment, a lecturer in communications and an adviser of The Roar.
He said Work is determined and has worked hard to achieve her accomplishments.
“She’s embraced everything that Penn State Beaver has offered her, from her major, to activities, to sports, to study abroad. And she’s been so successful in each,” Pinchot said. “To have the honor to see someone grow and mature and be so successful at graduation is incredibly satisfying.”
Work said she is a “little nervous” about starting her new job after graduation. “But honestly, after traveling the world by myself and gaining the tools that I have so far, I know that I can do it.”
“Amazon is obviously one of biggest companies in the world. To become a part of that after growing up in a small town … I made my family proud,” Work said. “l always said I was going to be a big-time manager, like a CEO. I guess this is a great step towards that … I really think I can hold onto the dream of being a CEO.”