GS Alumni and Staff Share Advice for Navigating Career Options During COVID-19 Pandemic

This past February, the GS Development and Alumni Relations team, in concert with the General Studies Student Council (GSSC) and General Studies Alumni Association (GSAA), held two events for current GS students and recent graduates about graduating during the COVID-19 pandemic and launching new careers during a changing and challenging job market.

March 11, 2021

Graduating During Uncertain Times: A Conversation with GS Alumni featured panelists Jesse Dean ’08, David Engle ’07, Kasia Mello ’09, and Molly Ola Pinney ’09. In this conversation moderated by GSSC Senior Class President Safia Southey, GS alumni spoke about their experiences graduating in the late 2000s and how they leveraged their Columbia education in order to not only get through a challenging world event, but to also establish the foundations of a successful career across a variety of fields. 

“While it’s easy to look around and say this is a really challenging time and things are really hard, there is a ton of opportunity right now. You can literally work for places all over the world that you couldn’t necessarily work for before. Jobs that we never thought would be virtual, are virtual now,” said Molly Ola Pinney ’09.

Navigating Your Professional Pivot During the Pandemic was co-hosted by the GSAA Recent Alumni Committee, and featured GS’s Associate Dean of Students and Director of Academic and Learning Initiatives Sara Remedios Bloom, along with GS alumni Crissy Darmstadt ’14, Senior Tech Recruiter at ViacomCBS, and Katharine Celentano ’16, Software Engineering DEI Student Support Program Manager. The panelists discussed various opportunities available to recent graduates, including continuing their studies at graduate school, participating in internship programs, and exploring entry-level positions within the 2021 job market.

“One thing that works is a lot of networking. Get to know who you know in a company, or who can connect you with somebody at that company. Go to events like this! I met a couple people through these types of events while I was at Columbia that helped me land my first internship,” said Crissy Darmstadt ’14.

To learn about upcoming alumni discussions, or connect with our vast network of GS alumni, please visit the Alumni section of the website, and contact