At a career crossroads, graduate student Natalia Okon ’17 planned to apply to medical school. But first she wanted to work for a pharmaceutical company to learn more about clinical trials and bringing drugs to market. In search of guidance and perspective, she visited the Northwestern Network Mentorship Program website to find an alumni mentor. Her search pulled up a pharmaceutical executive from the Chicago area.

The executive was Lola Asensio ’00, ’14 MS, a 19-year communications and business operations veteran who works at Shire, a global pharmaceutical company based in Dublin. Weeks after the two met in person for the first time, Asensio’s valuable industry knowledge and coaching helped Okon land her first job as a clinical studies assistant at AbbVie in North Chicago, Ill., in May. “The mentorship program allowed me to log on and pinpoint exactly whom I wanted to reach out to, and Lola was eager to talk, give advice and share her story,” Okon says. “I am where I am right now — with a fantastic job — because of her guidance and enthusiasm.”

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Mentorship Program Helps Alumni and Students Build Connections