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Mike Dell'Aquila

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'04 English | Creative Director, Recyclebank | New York, NY
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Mike Dell'Aquila

Liberal Arts Major: English

Hometown: State College, PA

Current Location: Brooklyn, NY

What enrichment activities did you participate in as a student?

I completed a study abroad program in Italy during the summer of 2004. It was based in a town called Todi, which is located in Umbria. I took courses in Art, Art History, and Italian during that time.

What was your first job after graduating from Penn State?

I worked as a copywriter for a small cable network called The Outdoor Channel.

Who was your favorite faculty member?

It's a tie between Charlotte Holmes and Michael Berube. Both Charlotte and Michael were incredibly generous with their time, always making themselves available to me after class or during their office hours. They even continued to help me navigate life through the years immediately following my graduation, as I tried to find a way to balance my nascent career with my desire to keep writing fiction. More than anything else, their encouragement really kept me going while I struggled to find my way.

How did your liberal arts education and skills prepare you for your life after graduation?

My liberal arts education helped me become a more dynamic writer, combining creativity with an analytical side.

What networking advice would you share with current students?

Building friendships in the workplace. I'm very skeptical and wary of people who transparently try to advance their own careers rather than build authentic relationships.

What role have mentors played in your career progression?

They've been good sounding boards, allowing me the freedom to explore and make whatever choices I've needed to, with some sense of the ways to measure whether or not they were the right decisions.

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