Since landing her first job at Google, Annie Gianakos '08 has thrived at the innovative web giant, working her way up from an AdWords operations associate to a senior analytical lead in just five years.
I got a lot of help from the Career Development Office, which pointed me to the Selective Liberal Arts Consortium, a group of 13 top colleges (including Kenyon) that organizes recruiting events in cities around the country, to connect students to employers.
Ben Locke of the music faculty was one of my primary mentors and inspirations. He helped me realize that I'd be okay if I shed a lot of baggage in terms of doing things that met other people's expectations and that I would end up happier if I figured out what I like and followed that path.
The summer before my senior year, I stayed in Gambier to do field research on a local foods project with Kimmarie Murphy of the anthropology department. I was taking the life histories of older people, talking specifically about experiences with food and food culture before the time of industrialized farms. It allowed me to step out of myself, to see how my own behavior and beliefs were part of a culture, and to realize how my day-to-day choices about eating have a worldwide impact.
Kenyon values high performance and hard work, but also passion for what you're doing. I think Google saw me as someone who's versatile and uses different parts of her brain—someone who's intellectually flexible, interested in experiencing new things, and being a lifetime learner.
I love the people with whom I work. There's such a drive here to "do it better"; it's an environment where everybody is constantly trying to improve. It's very much like the study groups I joined to prepare for big music tests at Kenyon—you're doing better for yourself but also for everyone.