Student Spotlight: “Very Powerful Women” 

Maddy Laurash hadn’t considered using the Career Center until she was employed by it. The spring 2022 graduate was hired during the spring semester of her sophomore year to be a mentorship program assistant for Pitt Link, a program that partners undergraduate students with alumni who have similar interests or career paths. The goal of the program is to help students figure out which roles are available in their respective fields and form key networking connections.

Laurash worked as a Pitt Link administrator until her graduation, helping facilitate relationships between mentors and mentees.

“It was a really fun experience,” she says. “It opened my eyes to the opportunities available at the Career Center. Before I started working there, I hadn’t thought much about using those resources.”

After discovering those opportunities, Laurash’s involvement with the Career Center increased. She was scheduled to work a Resumania event, checking people in, and decided to stop in for a consult herself.

“It’s always helpful getting new, fresh eyes on your resumé,” she notes.

Laurash also met with career consultant Erin Wheeler.

“She was so helpful to me,” Laurash expresses. “At that point, I wasn’t yet in the business school and I wasn’t sure I wanted to enter it. Erin helped me figure out what my path could be there and what my career could look like after that.”

After that meeting, Laurash officially decided to study marketing and supply chain management in the business school. Looking to get into the sports industry, Laurash pursued a brand ambassador internship with Highmark, a healthcare company, after her junior year.

Based in her home state of New Jersey, the position required Laurash to attend various sporting events as a Highmark representative and inform spectators of the company’s insurance policies. The role cemented Laurash’s love of New Jersey.

Aside from internships, Laurash also joined an honor fraternity in undergrad. Through Phi Sigma Pi, she made friends, did volunteer work, focused on philanthropy, and attended social events.

“That took up 99% of my time at Pitt, but it was the perfect balance of everything I was looking for in college,” Laurash notes.

All of these experiences helped Laurash secure a job after graduation working in New York City at Kyle Cavan Jewelry, a brand specializing in collegiate-themed jewelry.

Laurash began at Kyle Cavan as an intern during the spring semester of her senior year, but now works there full-time as an operations manager, focusing on the supply chain and working with suppliers and manufacturers to make sure each product arrives on time and that the store is ordering enough of each item.

One of the job’s highlights for Laurash is that she lives across the river in Hoboken, NJ while working in New York City.

“I’ve always wanted to work in NYC,” Laurash expresses. “It was a main goal of mine going into college. I would love to continue on this path in the jewelry industry and stay in New Jersey. I’d love to have a family here since I love New Jersey.”

Despite her current success in the male-dominated business field, Laurash wasn’t always as confident as she is now.

“At first it was intimidating and I would get discouraged because I’d think that only men had held these positions before me,” she explains. “I looked to women mentors in business and it really opened my eyes. At first, I really wanted to go into the sports industry and I spoke with a lot of women who worked for the Pirates and the Penguins and I’d just assumed before that only men had those positions. It was a relief to see women in that field, too.”

Laurash notes that while women are able to hold the same roles as men in the business field, women often have to work harder to secure those positions.

“We do have to work harder and do more than men do, but it’s all possible. You can have the same opportunities if you fight for them. I’m currently employed at a women-owned company now, and we are very powerful women.”

To Laurash, success is less about others’ opinions and more about your own goals.

“It doesn’t matter what others think of your job,” she says. “It’s about what you want and need and what fulfills that for you.” 

By Dionna Dash
Dionna Dash Nordenberg Scholar