Suffield’s College Counseling and Alumni & Development Offices hosted college-to-career virtual discussions on May 5 and May 17. The program invites alums to speak with interested students about their careers, college major choices, and experiences at Suffield. As part of the junior-year Leadership Program curriculum, students are asked to attend at least three of eight sessions offered each academic year. The goal is to expose current students to life beyond Suffield and provide guidance from alumni professionals working in various fields.
On May 5, Dr. Kachenta Descartes ’11, a first year resident doctor training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Connecticut, shared her experiences with the junior class. She cares for patients at three different hospitals in Connecticut. She graduated from the Frank H. Netter MD Medical School at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut last year and transitioned into residency during the COVID-19 pandemic. She has fond memories of her time as a Suffield student. She feels she formed many leadership abilities and built confidence at Suffield. She later went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience and Behavior from Columbia University in 2015 and a Master of Biomedical Sciences from Rutgers University in 2016. Kachenta is originally from Brooklyn, New York and is a first generation, college student, and physician. Prior to becoming a doctor, Kachenta worked as a Perinatal Health Coordinator and Doula (labor support coach) for a federally qualified health center in the Bronx, where she coordinated and led CenteringPregnancy and CenteringParenting group visits, and she also provided one-on-one pregnancy counseling. She is currently enjoying working as an OB/GYN and being able to care for patients through their pregnancies and medical conditions, and perform gynecological surgery. Kachenta has a passion for women’s health care, specifically women being empowered with knowledge and understanding their bodies.
On May 17, Peter Derby ’14, an Associate on the Carlyle | AlpInvest Co-investments Team based in New York, spoke to Suffield's juniors. Prior to joining AlpInvest, Peter was an Investment Banking Analyst at Guggenheim Securities in the Restructuring Group, where he advised companies and stakeholders across a range of industries on complex restructurings, financings, and mergers and acquisitions. Peter received a B.B.A. in Finance with a specialization in Alternative Asset Management and a minor in Mandarin Chinese from the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University. When it came to choosing a college, Peter spoke about how his ultimate choice was different from his initial plan, and encouraged juniors by saying, "The search process should be organic and you can make decisions as you're going." Then when it came to getting his first job, his main piece of advice was, "You should think hard about what you want to do, but...for the first 3-4 years out of college, you should really not pigeonhole yourself into one niche."
Juniors preparing for the college application process are heavily supported by Suffield's college counselors and alumni mentors. While it is an important decision in their lives, the mentoring sessions provide insight into many unanswered questions. It is made very clear that communication is a key to success and there is more than one way to accomplish a rewarding future.