When did you graduate – and with what major? I graduated in May 2020 (beginning of the pandemic) with my BA in Psychology, and a minor in Health Sciences

What inspired or drew you to choose that major? Between the summer of my junior and senior year in high school, I took an intro to Psychology course at my local community college. While I originally took the course with the intention of simply knocking a GE out of the way before college, I ended up thoroughly enjoying the class. I became passionate about the topics we were learning and was able to apply the content to my personal life. For the first time, I felt excited to learn and research current events/read textbooks on my own will. 

Did you have any favorite classes, professors or mentors that helped you or inspired you at Chapman? I had the opportunity of taking a variety of classes at Chapman University. The ones I enjoyed most are Physiological Psychology (w/ Dr. Jess Walker), Diversity in Marriage and Family Relationships (w/ Dr. Seima Diaz), and Social Psychology (w/ Dr. Brynn Nodarse). The professors and mentors that helped and inspired me the most would be Dr. Jessica Walker and Heidi Girolamo. Their commitment to students succeeding is unmatched and they both bring so much joy and energy to learning/growing. 

Can you describe your job that you have today and perhaps how your Major or experience at Chapman helped you obtain it and thrive in your profession? I currently work at a tech-startup, called CloudKitchens, as a Global Executive Recruiting Associate. As a Recruiting Associate, I work with the Executive Recruiting team to find high-performing senior leaders (across functions) who can take our company to the next level. I sit in on meetings with hiring managers, source quality candidate profiles, and schedule/conduct multi-round interviews. I also remain as their first point of contact throughout the interview process and give tours of our facilities when they come onsite.

Throughout my time at Chapman, I became passionate in organizational psychology (psychology within the workplace). In addition to learning about it in my classes, I created relationships with my advisors who helped me obtain internships that gave me real-world experience in the field. During my senior year in college, I was an HR Intern at the Orange County Sanitation Department. There, I was exposed to the various departments of HR: recruitment and selection, learning and development, benefits, and payroll. While I enjoyed working across departments, I realized I thrived within the recruitment function the most. The internship taught me what it’s like to source and recruit candidates through a government agency lens and I’ve brought the skills I’ve learned there into all my following roles and opportunities.

What do you enjoy most about your current job? I really enjoy the impact that recruitment has on both candidates and the company. There’s no better feeling in the world than when you offer a great candidate an opportunity for them to make an impact on a booming business. As a Recruiting Associate, I know that my coaching and guidance throughout the interview process has helped candidates secure the job that they’ve been searching for.

Do you have any advice for incoming freshmen or current students on navigating their college years and then transitioning to a profession? My advice for incoming freshmen or current students is to use this time to try any and every new opportunity. College is a time to experiment intellectually with what you like and what you don’t like. Don’t be discouraged to explore different types of internships, join different clubs, and/or take a variety of classes. No one has it all figured out. In fact, you’ll likely appreciate the internships and opportunities that show you what you don’t like. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to get it right. Just take time to absorb new information and experience new things.

Did you have any internships that Crean helped you land that ultimately led you to your current job or gave you invaluable experience? Like mentioned previously, my first paid internship was with the Orange County Sanitation District, which Heidi Girolamo helped me obtain. After several mock interviews and resume drafts, I got the opportunity of being OCSD’s HR student intern. Additionally, way after the pandemic hit and life took a pause for a second, I worked closely with Heidi once again in search for my first full-time job. While it was a tough time for everyone, she was very pivotal in my career trajectory in helping me through the entire interview process for the nonprofit organization I started out in. The ongoing and consistent mentorship she has given me, in addition to the many professors and faculty members at Chapman, has helped me flourish and step into my own potential. I’m very grateful for her and others at Chapman who helped me on my journey and believed in me.

Thank you Naina for sharing your story with us!