As the end of the school year approaches, many students are searching for internships and jobs that will begin their transition from college student to professional employee. Students apply to job opportunities, attend job fairs and schedule interviews while still enrolled in courses.

Because this may be a stressful and overwhelming process, distinguished alumni from Stony Brook’s 40 Under Forty list of 2015 have provided advice for students currently seeking a job or internship. These young Stony Brook alumni share their experiences as college students entering the job world and what they did to succeed after graduation:

  1. Daniel Kivatinos graduated with a Bachelor of Science in computer science and psychology in 2001 and a Master of Science in computer science the following year. He is now the chief operating officer of drchrono, Inc., a healthcare tech startup that he co-founded with his Stony Brook roommate Michael Nusimow. “Don’t follow money or accept a job that you feel isn’t a good fit. If you do something you love, the money will come. Life is short. Be sure to pick things that are important and have meaning to you. Take time and get to know who you are and what you love. Talk to as many people, startups and companies you can. Network at events, go to job fairs, meetups and learn from everyone you meet.”
  2. Chris Vaccaro graduated with a Master of Arts in public policy in 2011. He is now the editor-in-chief of Topps Digital, an adjunct journalism professor at Hofstra University and the author of five books about Long Island sports history. “I had this idea that Long Island was it. I was dead set on being able to just work on the island and not even consider the city. Meanwhile there are more opportunities in New York City than anywhere else. And it’s just a train ride away. I was fortunate to land my first journalism job while I was a senior at Hofstra, and it was as a sportswriter for the Southampton Press. I was happy. But I’m sure I could have had more offers in various disciplines had I considered applying for gigs within the five boroughs.”
  3. Kara Thomas graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in English in 2011. She is the author of four novels and the writer and co-executive producer of the upcoming television series “The Revengers” on The CW. “‘No’ is not the final answer. I have been writing books since I was 20, my first year in college. My first book got rejected a hundred times. My dad always told me that I had to have a backup plan and that I had a better chance of being struck by lightning than getting published. It was finally the third book I wrote that sold to a publisher as I was graduating college. I would tell college students not to listen to people who are complaining about the job market and saying that it’s so miserable and there’s no point. If you keep at it, you don’t know what could happen.”
  4. Dani Klupenger graduated with a Bachelor of Science in business management and Bachelor of Arts in journalism in 2013. She was also a Division I basketball player in her time at Stony Brook. She is now a reporter for the Los Angeles Rams, host of “Rams Nation” on Fox and co-host on the “What the Hekk” radio show on ESPN. “Dig deeper. My first job out of college was not a job that was posted online. Rather it was a connection that led to a job being created for me. When looking for job opportunities, don’t just give up because you don’t see a position that fits your interests. Send personal emails, call your connections, sell yourself and your skills to an employer and make sure they understand how you can help their company.”
  5. Dimitrios Kilimitzoglou graduated from Stony Brook’s School of Dental Medicine in 2002. He is now a clinical assistant professor in the School of Dental Medicine, founder of the Pioneer in Dentistry Scholarship at Stony Brook and dentist at E.S.I. Dental in Smithtown. “In the beginning, I was naïve and employers would promise me all these beautiful things, but they would never come to fruition. I would accept a job that wasn’t the best fit for me. Be critical, but don’t blow yourself out of the water and out of the market. The employer is interviewing you, but at the same time you’re interviewing them and seeing what they have to offer.
  6. Heather Berlin graduated with a Bachelor of Science in psychology in 1997. She is now a cognitive neuroscientist and assistant professor of psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She is also a TV presenter for Discovery Channel’s “Superhuman Showdown” and CUNY TV/PBS’s “Science Goes to the Movies.” “There’s hardly anybody I know who has the same job that they had when they were straight out of college. It’s not the ‘end-all, be-all’ if you don’t get a particular job right out of college. I feel like it’s an evolving process that what you do can morph or change over the years. You should never be disappointed for not getting a job, just always be grateful for the opportunities you do get and let it guide your way.”


Anisah Abdullah

Anisah is a senior sociology and journalism double major. She joined The Statesman as a news writer in Fall 2015 and two semesters later became the arts and entertainment editor. She was an intern for the Arts and Living section at The Southampton Press in the summer of 2016. Guam-grown, Port Jeff-based. Find her wearing a black apron at Union Starbucks. Contact Anisah at: [email protected]

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