Alina was born in Moldova (part of the former U.S.S.R.), moved to Brooklyn, NY when she was a child and moved to Morris County, NJ when she was in high school. She chose Drew because she received a generous scholarship and looked forward to getting attention from faculty and staff in a way that she would never get at a large university.
She majored in Sociology after taking the intro course because she felt it was a good fit since she was interested in pursuing a career in matrimonial law. She realized later after taking the LSAT, that a career in law was not for her.
What do you do as Account Relations at California Casualty?
California is an affinity carrier which means we handpick who we work with which is higher education professionals, K-12 educators, police, firefighters, and members of the community who serve the community. I manage their accounts. I set up those relationships and maintain a territory so I intend employee benefit fair, I visit schools and set up in employee lounges, manage websites, negotiate contracts, I’ll work with National Safety accounts. I do a little bit of everything. I do analytics in terms of financials looking at where we need to look at rates, or change the marketing plan.
COMMUTING TO DREW
How was your experience commuting to Drew?
I always felt I didn’t get the full college experience. Commuting made my degree transactional because I wasn’t able to do the social aspect of college. I also wasn’t able to do the self-awareness growth that’s part of a college experience. Some of the positives of commuting is that I learned autonomy and how to be organized and efficient. In a way Covid has been helpful for commuters in that now they can ZOOM into class during bad weather for instance. Of course, if that becomes too readily accessible, we remove the human connection and that becomes detrimental. There is value in efficiency but if you become too efficient you become a robot. You lose the free thinking, the creativeness. Whenever group projects were assigned at 7 p.m. it was a nuisance because it was hard for me to get back to school at that time.
What advice would you give students who are commuters?
You need to work hard not to make your time at Drew transactional. For many people, the mindset is I’ll just get a degree and graduate, but commuting students should embrace their current environment and maximize their relationships, their education, and their experiences. When you graduate, what do you want to remember? Setting those goals early on will help a lot of students. They should ask themselves why do I want this degree and what is it going to help me do?
What were some of your best memories of Drew?
My favorite memory was my study abroad with Prof. Occhipinti in Florence, Italy one summer. I feel if you’re going to commute, you need to treat yourself to at least one semester by studying abroad. It forces you to embrace being a young adult and to connect with people. It’s a valuable life lesson that you can’t get in a classroom.