Ellen Horn ’09 is Associate Manager-Communication, Store Operations for American Eagle Outfitters in the Greater Pittsburgh Area.
Why did you choose La Roche?
When I was looking at colleges as a high school senior, everything felt impersonal. La Roche felt like home as soon as I toured the campus. The feeling of family and a personal connection was something I felt immediately, and to this day still feel when I go back to campus. The one-on-one connection with faculty and professors was very important and helped shape the professional relationships that I have today.
What impact did La Roche have on you as a person?
No matter where I go or what I do, La Roche will always feel like home! I think that's powerful when you talk about a college experience. The relationships with both my professors and the friends I made while at La Roche had a profound impact on my life and career.
Going to La Roche gave me a chance to meet, study and work alongside students from all over the world. This directly impacts my current job, and I truly feel like I wouldn't have been as culturally prepared for my current job if I hadn't gone to La Roche.
How did La Roche prepare you for your position at American Eagle Outfitters?
The classes I took that prepared me for that portion of my job were invaluable, but honestly I think it was the fact that I was encouraged to think outside the box. My professors encouraged "coloring outside the lines," which gave me an edge on being a solution-oriented individual.
How did your degree from La Roche help you advance your career?
I work in an international sector at American Eagle, so going to a college that strongly welcomes and encourages cultural diversity gave me a massive edge over other people I work with. La Roche gave me a chance to develop those relationships and cultural experiences that are so important in today’s workplace.
What moments at La Roche impacted you the most?
This might seem like a strange answer, but the most positive impacts were the ones that made me stop and think about what I was doing— what I was thinking. Professors who care enough to challenge you because they believe you can be more, you can be better, are rare. Looking back, I wouldn't change any of those moments or challenges. Those were the best, most impactful moments. They allowed me to grow, to change and to ultimately be a better person.
What was your favorite memory as a La Roche student?
There are too many to put in here! I was lucky to meet my lifelong friends while at La Roche. My professors became mentors and then upon graduating became friends, cheering me on from the sidelines.
Would you recommend La Roche to a prospective student?
The smaller class sizes and individual attention given to students is something that I think is invaluable. The personal connections that I made with my professors made me feel like I wasn't just another number in the crowd. The College truly cares about all of its students and stands behind their development.
What are you most proud of when you look back on your La Roche experience?
I think it was all the growth that happened. I think about being a freshman versus a senior and the amount of growth that happened is staggering! I'm proud of the fact that not only did I grow personally within my time at La Roche, but I started to shape into the type of professional I wanted to be.
What advice do you have for our current and future students?
Be patient! I think most of us graduated and thought we'd land our dream jobs immediately. Life doesn't always happen that way. You might need to take a job that's a stepping stone to something bigger, something better. Trust yourself that you're making the right decisions, trust the timing— you'll end up right where you belong. It doesn't all happen overnight. It might feel like you aren't making any progress, but as long as you don't give up and you continue to put yourself out there, you're farther along than you think.
How do La Roche activities enhance your college experience?
Getting involved is more than just a resume builder. Joining clubs and organizations allows you to meet people you might never had thought to speak to. Every chance gives you an opportunity to learn something new. Meeting different people and seeing different ways of life will truly benefit you in the long-run. Don't wait, get involved as soon as possible!