Alumnus talks with student about careers


Daniel Baker, Staff Writer

The opportunity for alumni to return and share their story with current Gannon University students is a great opportunity for those students to learn about their options after college and what to prepare for in the real world.

One such alumnus did just that Thursday at The Knight Club, as part of a program hosted by the school of Public Service and Global Affairs.

Lou Shernisky, a NASA lawyer and 2008 Gannon graduate, has used the knowledge that he attained at Gannon to propel himself into a successful career with a family of his own.

After his time at Gannon, Shernisky took two years to partake in the AmeriCorps Vista program while studying for the law school entrance exam. From 2011-2013, he attended the University of Virginia School of Law, participating in activities associated with the Legal Aid Society and the Animal Law Society on campus.

While at Gannon, Shernisky was active with Model UN and WERG radio as well as his fraternity. Shernisky originally chose Gannon’s 3+3 program with partner Duquesne University; however, he opted out and chose to add a series of minors to complete his senior year.

He felt that he benefited most from the opportunity to take a fellowship in Washington, D.C. with students from around the country. He networked with many students who had worked on large campaigns including those involving presidential candidates.

Shernisky said he felt that he needed a balance of work and time for himself, a dilemma which he struggles with even today, especially while juggling fathering a toddler. He stressed that when deciding what you want to do in life, ask yourself the question, “How much do you want your career to define you?”

Several students selected from the PSGA program were also given the opportunity to attend dinner with Shernisky at Jekyll and Hyde’s. Among the invitees were freshmen, juniors and seniors who were given a chance to ask questions and get feedback from Shernisky.

Randall Sutter, a Gannon senior and past secretary general of Model UN, was among those invited out to dinner.

Sutter said he found talking to Shernisky as someone in the same field of study “oddly scary and reassuring.”

“During the dinner Lou was big on letting us know that the beauty of the social science field was what you make of it,” Sutter said. “He couldn’t exactly explain how he got his specific job or how to replicate his story, but he truly thought that he was only able to do so because he spent the time getting to know himself and getting to know what he wanted.”

Although the event was run by the School of Public Service and Global Affairs, many other students attended to hear from someone who works for NASA. Philip Tran, a freshman software engineering major, enjoyed the opportunity to hear Shernisky’s story.

“The presentation was great,” he said. “Louis Shernisky said he didn’t like speaking in front of people, but he was pretty good at it.

“I got some great life advice from his experience at Gannon and the process of how he got to where he is now. Louis seemed very knowledgeable and aware on the topics he was speaking on from experience.”

The event venue offered a more casual environment for students to ask questions. Tran liked the fact that the event was held at The Knight Club.

“The casual atmosphere was perfect, especially for my first time being there,” he said.

Advisers of the PSGA school also attended the event, often adding notes on stories and follow-up questions to opportunities that Shernisky took advantage of during his time at Gannon.

Mark Jubulis, Ph.D., an associate professor in the political science program, said, “It’s always good to see students go out, do great things and come back to share their experience.”



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