Student Spotlight: Karel Raska C’21

Karel Raska C’21 

Where were you born and raised?

I was born and raised in Morristown, New Jersey but I have very close ties to the Czech Republic, where most of my family still lives.

What attracted you to Drew?

I transferred to Drew my sophomore year, and immediately fell in love with the small, tightly-knit campus and professors who wanted the best for their students. I walked onto the tennis team, which may have been my best decision ever, and now I have a group of friends for life.

Did you know what you wanted to major in when you started at Drew and why did you choose Business as a major?

I started college as a Pre-med student, but after confusing soap and water in the chemistry lab, I quickly discovered I was not cut out for a career in the hard sciences. Uncertainty about my major ensued.

My sophomore year I ended up taking a few Economics classes, which fascinated me and opened my eyes to the world of business. The breadth of subjects a business major offered, from psychology to statistics, was very appealing to me.

What draws you to photography?

I started taking photographs when I was 10 on a small camera phone. The idea of being able to capture a moment in time and immortalize it is incredible to me. Initially, I took photos of family and pets, then moved onto nature and landscapes, and now I enjoy shooting in series to tell some kind of story.

How long have you been writing and how has poetry played a role in your life?

I started writing poetry in high school as a way to express my thoughts and observations about the ever-changing world around me. Some poems are about my personal feelings about a topic or issue, and others are based on a photograph I’ve taken. Poetry is an outlet through which I can express my deepest emotions.

(See more photos and read Karel’s poems HERE)

Have you done any internships?

Over the last few years I’ve been exposed to various dimensions of branding, marketing, and PR through internships across several industries. I am currently interning with Fire&Spark, a digital marketing agency based in Boston that focuses on authority-first SEO strategies in the midst of Google’s shift to AI algorithms.

This past fall I interned part-time at AplusA Bell Falla, a global leader in the healthcare market research space. I learned the fundamentals of the market research process and was able to audit questionnaires before submission to clients and vendors.

Over the summer of 2020 I interned remotely with Ford Motor Company, working cross-functionally with the Lincoln product and brand marketing teams to create a competitive benchmarking database for Lincoln’s line of 4 SUVs. I also performed a millennial deep-dive regarding emerging technology and sustainability features. It was incredible to work for one of America’s oldest and most admired companies in an industry I am extremely passionate about.

Throughout my time at Volvo Car USA in 2019 as a network and social media marketing intern, I conducted an auto industry-wide competitive YouTube analysis and acquired experience with owned channels including Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. I also created social-first photography content for Volvo’s LinkedIn page to support HR employer branding initiatives and assisted a professional photographer during trips to retailers to update their digital content.

During my first internship with NJ TRANSIT in public information during the summer of 2018, I honed my oral and written communication skills, from interviewing employees and writing articles for the company newsletter to auditing station alerts for the passenger communications department.

The internships I’ve been able to do have been invaluable in preparing me for the real world.

Do you have any mentors at Drew?

My three all-time favorite professors are Dr. Miao Chi, Dr. Alex de Voogt, and Dr. Sarah Abramowitz. All three are extremely knowledgeable, kind people with awesome backgrounds.

What issue in the world means the most to you?

I want people to stop comparing themselves to others and value their own unique strengths and qualities.

What are a few of your favorite memories of Drew?

I fondly remember getting Commons brunch with pals over the weekend and the annual spring break tennis trip to Hilton Head.

Do you identify with any Launch identity/affinity communities?  If so, how has this identity affected your journey?

My freshmen year of college I found out I have mild dyslexia, which explained why I disliked reading and had trouble processing information. I came to understand my own strengths and weaknesses, and tailored my education at Drew to those strengths.

What advice would you give students who are just starting out that you wish you had when you started?

Be open to exploring new interests and hobbies, don’t live in the library but study enough to be successful, and get Nutella in your crepes at the Commons.

What are your career goals? Where do you hope to be in 5 years?

I want to be healthy, happy, and comfortable financially, wherever that might be. I hope I’ll still be dating my girlfriend.

Any Fun fact (s) you would like to share?

I love building Legos, listening to podcasts, and playing disc golf and ping pong.

I am fluent in Czech and Polish, and was an intermediate German speaker while I was still taking German classes. Gotta step it up with Deutsch!

Karel Raska Portfolio: See HERE

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