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Senior Spotlight

Despite an earlier-than-expected end to their time at Virginia Tech, we are so grateful for the positive impact that each of these seniors has had on CWIB and the Virginia Tech community as a whole. This group of ambitious, powerful, talented, and intelligent women has learned and grown so much and we know will find success in whatever life throws at them. We are so excited for these women to take on their next adventure in the fall. I’m very thrilled to showcase some favorite memories and lessons learned during their time in CWIB as well as important pieces of advice that remind us our time here is valuable and we must make the most of it.

After years of hard work and great networking, these women have left their mark here at CWIB and have found their next big adventure. Erica Sullivan, one of CWIB’s wonderful CEO’s, will be joining the Kayo Conference Series as a Marketing Associate after graduation. Some may remember the CEO, Lindsay Burton, was our February monthly meeting speaker. In the fall Emily Vang, our CFO, is excited to start work at IBM as a Federal Consultant in their Digital Strategy sector. Additionally, Abby Mercatoris-Morrison, our CMO, plans to intern at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. this upcoming summer. This internship will be in an online format where she “will be creating exciting online content for the Gallery Shops, developing a retail social media strategy, generating email marketing campaigns to drive revenue, and copywriting compelling product descriptions that relate merchandise to the Gallery’s collection and mission.” Then she plans to stay in Blacksburg to finish her last year of graduate school at Virginia Tech in the Material Culture and Public Humanities program. Despite these crazy times, Abby says that “As the world is filled with uncertainty, I can be certain of the hope I have for the future. I’m proud to be a Hokie and proud to call VT my home.”

How we choose to spend our time at Virginia Tech can be impactful. All three women feel that their time in CWIB has influenced their college experience as well as paved a path for their futures. Emily feels that her experience with CWIB has played a huge role in helping her become the person she is today. “When I first came to VT I actually started out as a Communications major and I had no idea what I wanted to do,” Emily says, but CWIB led her to so many wonderful opportunities such as her very first internship in IT. CWIB has also left her feeling empowered and a lot more prepared to take on the real world. “I know I've grown a lot because of all that I've learned from CWIB both as a member and from serving on leadership this past year,” Emily remarked. Abby also feels that CWIB has opened so many doors for her as well as giving her the incredible opportunity to hone in on her skills as a marketer. “Treks, workshops, and monthly meetings are all so inspiring and I have loved working with my fellow leadership members to propel this organization forward,” Abby says. Similarly, Erica believes her time with CWIB truly has been the highlight of her college years, saying she is “forever grateful for this organization and the amazing women that make it all that it is.”

CWIB’s pillars, empower, prepare, and connect, are the foundation of our organization and foster an atmosphere of professionalism and many lessons learned. Erica says that the most important thing she’s learned from CWIB is that "when women support one another, amazing things happen." Emily told the Chronicles that if she had to choose one important skill she's learned, it would be stepping out of her comfort zone. “At the beginning of college, I was super shy and incredibly unsure of myself. Joining CWIB and pushing myself to meet new people was the first step I took outside my comfort zone. Then I started to apply this mindset to everything else I was doing, whether it was signing up for a case competition or taking on different projects at internships. This allowed me to have confidence in trying new things (even if it was a failure!) and eventually helped me discover what I'm passionate about,” Emily said. Additionally, Abby believes networking has been the most important skill because it was something she was not at all comfortable with coming to college. “I come from a very small town in Northwest Pennsylvania, where everyone knows everyone. I needed to step outside my comfort zone and put myself out there to meet professionals without embarrassing myself. CWIB has given me that and I am so thankful!” said Abby.

Along with learning important skills and lessons for the real world, our seniors have had many defining moments and unforgettable memories along the way. “When I transitioned into the role of CMO and had my first marketing meeting with my team, it validated my efforts in working arduously to get to this point as a leader. I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with a passionate and wonderful group of marketers. The experience of working with them has been rewarding and I have learned lessons along the way that will stay with me as I move forward,” Abby says when recalling her most defining moment in CWIB. Similarly, Erica has had the honor of serving on the CWIB leadership team from sophomore until senior year, remarking that “choosing the most memorable moment is nearly impossible, because every trek, workshop, and the monthly meeting has offered tremendous value.” Emily remembers her most defining moment in CWIB as the first Pumpkin Patch event she ever went to, recalling she “didn't know anyone in the organization at this point and I felt so out of place. But I ended up meeting two inspiring women who have been super influential in both my academic and career life. This helped me realize how important it is to build a good network but more importantly how awesome it is to surround yourself with strong women who lift each other up.”

Though they face an unprecedented end to their senior year and may not be able to walk across the stage side by side, these seniors do leave behind words of wisdom for the rest of us to consider and embody in what time remains for the rest of us.

Emily Vang: Never doubt yourself - you are so capable and deserving of anything you put your mind to!

Erica Sullivan: Connections matter. Never burn bridges. You never know what a connection from networking will turn into a job opportunity. That's how I got my full-time job!

Abby Mercatoris-Morrison: Even though I am a business major, I love everything creative and artistic. During my freshman year, I felt a void in my life. I was so used to my art classes in high school and being surrounded by the art community. When I came to Tech, that changed and I felt that something was missing. I added my minors, which helped with that void, but when I entered my graduate program I truly felt like I was whole again. Take a chance by looking into accelerated graduate programs (saves you time and money), make meaningful connections with your professors, and engage in your passions. Network within the CWIB community!

Along with Erica, Emily, and Abby, the Chronicles would like to congratulate our other amazing seniors on the leadership team! Class of 2020, we are so proud of you!

Ashton Hughes

Mel Christ

Elizabeth Sweeney

Kaelyn Petrides

By: Lindsay Barnes

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