I grew up watching and reading the superheroes of Marvel Entertainment. From Captain America, Doctor Strange to Iron Man, all of them were more than works of fiction to me. They were the friends I grew up with and what I wanted to be. I don’t know about you, but saving the world and defeating villains like the Red Skull, Baron Mordo and Crimson Dynamo didn’t seem like a bad gig to little me! I always dreamed of visiting Marvel’s headquarters in New York City; to see the creators of my heroes and geek out over everything there. I even took my love for Marvel to St. Lawrence University in the form of my comic book collection and the desire to keep up with everything Marvel. Little did I know that while at St. Lawrence my dream of visiting Marvel would come true through the Laurentians Investing in Networking and Careers (LINC) program.
Part of Career Services, the LINC program is designed to pair first- and second-year students with alumni mentors to build their professional, industry, and networking skills through a yearlong relationship. The program provides students like me with valuable opportunities like networking events, professional preparation workshops, and more. During every spring break, LINC invites its participants to New York City for networking events and site visits. I was overwhelmed with excitement this year when I learned that visiting Marvel Entertainment’s headquarters was on the list! I immediately signed up for the trip.
I knew before coming to St. Lawrence that the school had a Marvel connection: Dan Buckley ’89, Marvel’s president of TV, publishing and brand management. When the other LINC members and I arrived at Marvel on the 7th Floor of 135 West 50th Street in Manhattan, I was trying to contain my joy and excitement. On the outside, I was a professional St. Lawrence University student visiting Marvel Entertainment, but on the inside I was being a total comic book nerd!
We were given a tour Marvel and I was pointing everything out with my nerd knowledge of the company’s superheroes. I was having the time of my life! There was artworks and there were statues of all of my favorite superheroes around me. I was taking it all in when the tour ended and we finally met Mr. Buckley and Sana Amanat, one of the creators for the new Ms. Marvel (a new favorite hero of mine!) and the director of content and character development for the company. Before we settled down to talk to them, I had the chance to introduce myself and shake hands with Mr. Buckley.
I said, “Thank you for having us here, this is a dream come true for me.”
He replied, “That’s what we do here.”
I couldn’t believe it; here I was, speaking with one of the most important people at Marvel, and he happened to be a Laurentian!
During our Q&A session, we asked both Mr. Buckley and Ms. Amanat a lot of questions. My biggest takeaway? Your college major doesn’t necessarily have to reflect the career you choose because the skills you learn matters more. While Mr. Buckley studied economics at St. Lawrence and Ms. Amanat was a political science major at another liberal arts school, their current positions don’t fully reflect their majors but they do use the skills they learned from them. My St. Lawrence experience is not about what degree I will graduate with but the skills that I can use in my future careers.
My dream of visiting Marvel and gaining valuable career advice would never have happened if it were not for programs like LINC and alumni being so willing to help students out. For me, not only did I get to meet some of the people I’ve admired for a long time, but I realized that Laurentians everywhere are superheroes because they help make students’ passions, goals, and dreams become realities.