Abby Donnelly ’24 navigates success through career services at Elon

Donnelly has successfully secured an internship with TRC Companies, an accomplishment that highlights the invaluable support she received from Elon's Student Professional Development Center (SPDC).

Abby Donnelly ’24 is an environmental & sustainability studies major with a minor in business administration and sustainable enterprises.

Her story is a testament to the power of determination, collaboration and the abundant resources available at Elon University. She has successfully secured an internship with TRC Companies, an accomplishment that highlights the invaluable support she received from Elon’s Student Professional Development Center (SPDC).

Her journey at Elon is not just about pursuing a degree; it’s about carving a path toward a successful and fulfilling career in sustainability. Donnelly’s career aspirations have always revolved around sustainability planning and consulting. However, her story to this point had its own twists and turns. Initially, she envisioned a future in wildlife conservation as she started her freshman year majoring in biology. Little did she know that her path would evolve and unfold in remarkable ways.

From the beginning of Donnelly’s sophomore year, she began working closely with Senior Associate Director of Career Services for Elon College, the College of Arts And Sciences Laurie Judge. Donnelly consistently sought help with her resume, and cover letters, and navigating the internship application process. Her collaboration with Judge provided her with valuable insights and advice to be confident in her experiences and pursue a career that genuinely interests her and leaves a lasting impact.

One significant challenge Donnelly faced was interview anxiety. She arrived at Elon with a constant dread of public speaking and formal interviews. However, with practice and guidance from SPDC advisors, coupled with the use of resources like Big Interview during her “Life After Elon” course, Donnelly overcame her anxiety and gained confidence in her interview skills.

Donnelly’s thorough preparation paid off and made her interview-ready, eventually leading to her remarkable internship opportunity with TRC Companies which resulted in a full-time job offer upon her graduation. Furthermore, she has the opportunity to continue working for TRC throughout the fall semester, further honing her skills and knowledge in her chosen field.

Reflecting on her journey, Donnelly acknowledged that her understanding of professional development evolved over time. Initially, her goals focused on building a strong resume and LinkedIn profile, but they eventually expanded to securing an internship and, ultimately, a fulfilling career.

She emphasized that her collaboration with career services at Elon has not only made her a more confident employee but has also prepared her for real-life experiences. She plans to continue utilizing the resources offered by SPDC even after graduation.

Donnelly has some valuable advice for her fellow students — “Start utilizing career resources early, take full advantage of what’s available on campus and trust that the advisors genuinely want to see students succeed.”

Looking ahead, Donnelly envisions herself gaining valuable experience in the first few years after graduation, with a focus on continual learning and staying updated in the ever-evolving field of environmental science. She also hopes to explore sustainability-based research and environmental fieldwork.

Donnelly’s inspiring journey at Elon, marked by determination, resourceful engagement with career services, and a passion for sustainability, serves as a shining example for her peers. Her success story underscores the transformative power of utilizing career services and showcases the boundless opportunities available to students at Elon.