Through its strong liberal arts and sciences curriculum, Gettysburg College invites all of its students to expand their minds, be actively engaged inside and outside of the classroom, and critically explore their interests. Within this environment, they are challenged to think critically and lead a lifelong journey of positive impact, even beyond Gettysburg.
Annette Aguilera-Gonzalez ’18, who majored in economics and minored in business and now works at investment banking company JPMorgan Chase & Co., has experienced this lasting value of an explorative education first-hand. It prepared her for the world of business.
During her time at Gettysburg, Aguilera-Gonzalez was actively involved in the Center for Public Service (CPS) and the Admissions Office. She was a program coordinator for CPS, through which she successfully led two immersion project trips to the Dominican Republic and Guatemala, and during her senior year, coordinated an after school tutoring program. She was also an Admissions Tour Guide and Ambassador. Reflecting upon these experiences, she is glad she got involved in those leadership roles because they not only helped her improve her leaderships skills, but they also taught her to not be afraid of trying new things.
“I think what’s important and needed in the workforce are skills such as writing skills, analytical skills, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, the ability to speak to things and connect with people, and I think that Gettysburg does a really good job at helping students build those interpersonal skills,” said Aguilera-Gonzalez, who was a first-generation college student. “Gettysburg let me try a lot of things. It gave me the sense of ‘I can do this,’ and not be afraid to be a responsible risk taker.”
By virtue of these diverse experiences at Gettysburg College, Aguilera-Gonzalez developed a strong interest in social and public services and a passion for helping communities through an economic lens. She wants the work she does to foster a better economy and healthier communities. And that change-driven mindset is what lead her to the work she does today as a Corporate Responsibility Analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Co.
“I first heard about corporate social responsibility in my finance class at Gettysburg with [Economics] Professor Murphy, about the way corporations can help communities thrive through investments in younger generations, small businesses, and nonprofits that works for the community or care about environment,” Aguilera-Gonzalez said.
Not only did she build on the Gettysburg-taught concept of corporate social responsibility in the work she was doing with CPS, but she continues to explore it in the work she does today. At JPMorgan Chase & Co, Aguilera-Gonzalez focuses mainly on philanthropic and human capital investments for small businesses and nonprofits by analyzing the problems and challenges those nonprofits and entrepreneurs face. She also works to strategically engage senior leaders in the corporate responsibility agenda and strategy. Through the help of financial grants, knowledge, expertise and skills training in business, finance, and technology, her work is able to strengthen small businesses and nonprofits across the country.
Reflecting on all of her experiences at Gettysburg College, Aguilera-Gonzalez is glad that she took advantage of the many opportunities she came face to face with at Gettysburg, because that’s what prepared her to pursue the work that she is passionate about after graduation. Her advice to students is the same.
“Pursue anything that you want to know more about, find the time to try different things, explore all your different passions, take advantage of the opportunity and leadership roles that are given to you,” Annette said. “It’s worth it.”
By Sokuntheary Heang ’24
Photos courtesy of Annette Aguilera-Gonzalez ’18