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Hannah Purnell

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’18 Economics | Economic Analyst, Tourism Economics | Wayne, PA
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Hannah Purnell

Liberal Arts Major: Economics

Liberal Arts Minor: German

Hometown: Wells Tannery, PA

Current Location: Philadelphia, PA

What enrichment activities did you participate in as a student?

I had the wonderful opportunity to study abroad in Germany in 2017 for a semester, completing 20 credits under the University of Marburg International Undergraduate Study Program, half of which were taught in German. While abroad I interned online through Virtual Student Federal Service with the USDA, leading to my second application and acceptance with the USDA for another internship in the summer of 2018 as an Agricultural Statistician, funded partially by Penn State's Chapel Executive Internship Program.

What was your first job after graduating from Penn State?

I began my first position after graduating as an economic analyst with Tourism Economics, a consulting company within Oxford Economics, which produces economic impact, market analysis, strategy, and policy assessments. I also am a member of our data analytics and visualization team, which showcases key tourism metrics and insights for business and market development.

What were your favorite classes?

My favorite class is tie between Labor Economics (ECON315) with Dr. Jadrian Wooten, and Art History: Renaissance to Modern (ARTH112) with Dr. Charlotte Houghton. Both professors had exceptional expertise and passion for sharing their knowledge with the students which made me enjoy the lectures, whether they were at 8:00 a.m. or asking me to memorize 100+ works of art.

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

My liberal arts education gifted me the appreciation for areas outside of my major that continue to enrich my life. German language classes brought me a new world of content and communication to partake in, as well as an entry point to exploring Dutch. These skills give me an advantage in an international workforce, as well as in furthering my education.

What networking advice would you share with current students?

Networking is crucial to finding the "next jump" in your career and life. Without my "in" to the USDA through the VSFS program, I would not have been as competitive or known employees to reference me for a second internship with the USDA.

What role have mentors played in your career progression?

Mentors have played less of a role in my career progression, as I tend to lean toward being independent in my goals, though there are plenty of people I admired along the way and took inspiration from.

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