For Manning School of Business graduate Emily Lara ’20, not even a global pandemic could derail her dream of starting her career in California.
“I literally woke up everyday thinking, ‘I want to be there. I want to be there,’ ” says Lara, a Lawrence, Mass., native who is moving to Santa Monica, Calif., in the fall to begin work as a business development representative in Oracle’s NetSuite division. “I see myself becoming a very successful professional, and I think California is a great place with so many opportunities.”
Lara, who earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with concentrations in marketing and management, is joining a one-year training program with the cloud computing company. She’ll then have the opportunity to advance to a higher position.
“I am so grateful that I was able to find a job during the pandemic because I know a lot of companies are freezing their applications,” Lara says. “That’s one of the benefits of working in tech: Employees can work from home, so it doesn’t really upset the business as much.”
Lara graduated alongside her sister, Yariana Clas ’20, who earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from the Kennedy College of Sciences and is planning to attend dental school. The sisters both transferred to UML from Northern Essex Community College.
Their mom, Belkis Fermin ’12 ’13, is a Double River Hawk who earned bachelor’s degrees in psychology and women’s studies and a master’s degree in criminal justice. A native of Puerto Rico, Fermin has worked as an educator with the UMass Extension Nutrition Education Program since 1995.
“She didn’t know English when she came here from Puerto Rico,” Lara says. “She definitely motivated me to get my education. She’s the epitome of a star woman to me.”
During her two years at UML, Lara joined the Joy Tong Women in Business student organization and volunteered on a service learning trip to Houston, where she helped victims of Hurricane Harvey rebuild their homes as part of the Organizational Behavior in Action course.
“It was such an eye-opening experience,” Lara says. “One of the biggest things UMass Lowell has helped me with is learning how to work in teams with other people.”
Lara, who worked part-time as a product specialist for Apple at its Burlington Mall location while in school, transitioned to an at-home service specialist role with the company after graduating. She enjoys the work so much that she hopes to continue in a part-time role after moving west.
The transition to a full-time job in California will be a big one, but Lara feels prepared.
“UMass Lowell has definitely given me the tools that I need to start my career,” she says.