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Meet Gabrielle Werner

Drexel University English Student Gabrielle Werner

Degree: BA English '21, Honors Program
Certificate: Writing and Publishing
Co-ops: Office Manager, Art Sphere Inc.; User Success Coordinator, Springboard Collaborative
Extracurricular Activities: Concert band flutist
Awards: Performing Arts Scholarship; AJ Drexel Scholarship; College Bowl Grant; published in The 33rd

Tell us about your recent co-op.
I am currently doing my second co-op, and I love it so far! I work at Springboard Collaborative as the User Success Coordinator. The company organizes reading programs for schools, and I work on the systems team — not a very English major-y job, but it aligns with my personal interests, and I'm learning so much about technical work in a real job environment. We’re very busy supporting the sites that have started summer programming, and though the work is stressful and high-stakes, I thoroughly enjoy what I’m doing.

What have been some of the most important elements of your experiences as an English major?
Most important have been the decisions I've made for myself outside of what is required for the major. While I'm not on co-op, I work in the Writing Center. In addition to helping students with their writing, which has helped me improve my own, we spend a lot of time discussing writing center and English language rhetoric. I highly recommend anyone take WRIT 210, the course required to work in the Writing Center, to get a taste of the in-depth discussions we have and how help with reading and responding to any kind of reading.

I've also taken screenwriting courses and participated in the concert band. These have had no bearing on my degree but have been extremely important to my career at Drexel. Playing the flute has been a part of my life for a long time, and it was something I was not willing to lose coming to college. The screenwriting courses were a new experiment for me. One day, I'd like to write for video games, so I'm trying to get involved in a lot of different fields related to that — including composing music, creating pixel art sprites, and learning programming languages! It would've been easy to float through college, take the necessary courses and get my degree, but the most important experiences I've had have been for my personal development.

What elements of your Drexel experience do you identify with most, and why?
I most identify with my experience in the Drexel concert band. Not only do I thoroughly enjoy playing music, but it is also how I’ve felt the most tangible growth in myself. I have improved so much in my abilities there. It has made me realize that, even though I may not feel it, I have grown so much throughout my experiences at Drexel. When I said my tearful goodbye to our conductor, Dr. Broadnax, after our last concert with him before he would leave Drexel for Colorado, that is the one thing I wanted to make clear to him: I have grown so much.

What motivates you?
I’m motivated by the knowledge that I’m making a difference. Both of my co-ops have been for nonprofit companies that work with children. After my freshman year of college, when my parents had just moved to a new area, I took a summer job as a camp counselor. I ended up working with two- and three-year-old kids for two months with no prior childcare experience. It was a lot of hard work, and I won’t lie — I was kind of miserable. However, one kid in my group absolutely adored me and was very specific about me doing things for him instead of the other counselors. At the end of the summer, I got a handwritten card from his mother to tell me all about how he would always talk about me and only mention me when asked about his friends at camp. She thanked me for being his best friend for the summer. I cried. While I don’t think I would work directly with kids again, this experience motivates me to work for companies that organize programs benefitting children.

What advice do you have for a high school student looking for an undergraduate program?
If you can, go for Drexel’s five-year, three co-op program. Most people I talk to have a much better experience with their second co-op than with their first co-op. My first co-op gave me the relevant experience I needed to land a job with my current co-op, and I’m enjoying every day of it! Even if you try three different co-ops and don’t like what you do, then when you graduate, you will know what fields you don’t want to go into or what companies to avoid.