How have your career aspirations changed over the years? While I have known that I wanted to work with the military since early high school, what I wanted to do within the military itself changed repeatedly throughout my college career. Much of this was due to meeting new people and learning about their career fields. This was especially true of individuals in the military intelligence career field, which is where I ultimately had my heart set on by the time I was graduating from college. Plans ended up working out differently, but the career field that I ended up with still fulfilled many of the goals and desires that I had for military work.
What impact/influence did ZF have on your academic career? Your professional career? The stability, mentorship, and guidance provided by ZF had a large impact on my motivation to succeed in college following my less-than-spectacular first semester. My ZF coach helped me to refocus and push forward, ultimately learning and succeeding in areas where I had come up short during my freshman year.
What drew you to ZF? Why did you choose to apply? The mission-focused attitude of ZF and their dedication to helping students with an emphasis on fiscal responsibility and planning for the future is what ultimately encouraged me to apply to join the program.
What ZF services and/or resources were most helpful to you? The financial and career planning tools were hugely beneficial during my time in college, as they helped me develop plans and hold myself accountable to follow through with them.
What is your favorite thing about your job? I personally really enjoy both the mission and the environment of working in the DoD. Many of the professionals that I work with have incredible stories and storied careers, and spending time with them in the office is always a great time.
What is something that you have learned about yourself since starting your career? I have learned that personal investment in a project or position is essential to preventing burning out. If I can’t find something to get excited or interested in, I will struggle to remain focused and committed to a job.
What hobbies/interests do you have outside of work? I’ve found an incredibly rewarding hobby to be hiking. Over the past year, I have hiked every prominent peak across Massachusetts, including most of the Berkshires. It’s an excellent way to stay in shape, meet new people, experience nature, and take some time to distance yourself from the stresses of modern life, such as social media. Not to mention, the views can be incredible! What piece of advice would you give to your younger/high school self? Understand that while you may have done well in high school, college, the “real world” that comes afterwards is a totally different animal. Be adaptable, resilient, and ready for change, because it will come, whether you are ready or not (and that is often a good thing!