Jerrod Howlett ’09 provides an excellent example for students who seek to one day work at a destination employer such as Google.
Howlett works in New York City as a technical advisor to third-party programmatic advertising platforms to help advertisers optimize the monetization of their advertiser/agency campaign investments. Kalamazoo College helped set him on his path toward his success.
At K, “you’ll get pushed outside your comfort zones in multiple ways,” said Howlett, who majored in computer science with an economics/computational math minor. “You’ll find ways to do things you didn’t think you’d be capable of. I’ve been able to succeed through any challenge I’ve faced.”
Howlett had never heard of K when he began researching colleges as a high school student in Holt, Michigan. His high school counselor, though, spoke highly of the school, noting its academic rigor. In Howlett’s words, the counselor told him, “It’s going to be difficult, but if you really want to challenge yourself, Kalamazoo College would be a great place for you.”
The key for Howlett when he arrived was the K-Plan, which is Kalamazoo College’s integrated approach to an excellent education in the liberal arts and sciences. It emphasizes rigorous academics, leadership development, international and intercultural engagement, and independent scholarship. That allowed him to seek outside-the-classroom activities such as intercollegiate athletics including tennis; arts experiences such as Premium Orange, an a capella group; a summer internship through Compuware, a software company; and personal access to faculty.
“The relationships I built with my professors and the level of care they took to invest in me were the pinnacle experience of attending Kalamazoo College,” said Howlett, who added he also benefited greatly from relationships with peers and the College’s Financial Aid Office. The faculty “always ensured they could take time out of their day so we could learn more. I know I could always go to them to ask questions.”
The internship at Compuware was beneficial, too. Howlett said it taught him that a direct correlation to information technology helps businesses run. “This is how I applied classroom lessons to my professional goals. I took those learnings and made them even more meaningful.”
Today, Howlett maintains his relationship with the College as a member of the Board of Trustees, where he helps guide the College with budgets, strategic planning and investments, all to ensure K can continue to serve current and future students.
“I have no idea if I’d be in the same place without K,” he said. “I know it helped me get here.”