Recent Allegheny College graduate Natalia Buczek finds herself taking her first career steps with one foot in the marketing world and the other foot in the medical field.
Buczek, an Erie native who graduated in May 2019, has started her full-time job as a project coordinator handling client concerns and overseeing marketing tasks at the Pipitone Group in Pittsburgh.
“In my free time, however, I will be continuing with my research and development for my communications app called Aid Memoir with professionals from the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center,” Buczek says. “I cannot wait to be working with both teams to further my knowledge in marketing for my job as well as the medical world for my app.”
Buczek was on the co-winning team in Allegheny’s 2019 Zingale Big Idea Competition for her app, Aid Memoir, a communication app and website for patients with verbal and memory impairments and their caregivers. Her partner in the co-winning project, fellow graduate Christopher Miller, provided technical expertise for the application, she says.
“Starting this project was difficult because it was inspired by my father’s disease, Frontotemporal Degeneration (a form of dementia), but my passion to help him and millions of others with similar conditions is what made me strive to achieve it,” says Buczek.
“Natalia’s experiences epitomize the liberal arts experience when it works well, which it does so often at Allegheny,” said Chris Allison, entrepreneur in residence in the College’s Economics Department. “Here you have a studio art major, who as a result of taking elective courses, created a software application that is close to marketability. She channeled the design sensibilities that she learned through her art major and commercialized them using what she learned in her entrepreneurship classes. Then she explained what she learned to a prospective employer and secured a job in one of the most creative marketing firms in the country. Pretty brilliant.”
Buczek, who also was a psychology minor, says she spent three valuable years as an art gallery assistant for the Art Department. “I cannot express just how rewarding the experience was for me. From helping curate exhibitions to meeting the visiting artists, it helped shape me professionally as well as show me a passion for curating that I didn’t know I had,” she says.
Buczek credits Ian F. Thomas, assistant professor of ceramics and sculpture, with helping her bridge the gap between her art and developing a computer application. “He opened my eyes to not only the technical possibilities in my work but also encouraged the confidence in myself as an artist,” she says.
Buczek also was a member of Alpha Delta Pi sorority, spending some time as its director of standards and ethics and helping to raise awareness and support for Ronald McDonald House Charities. She also volunteered at the Meadville Soup Kitchen. “I wanted to be able to use my time outside of academics to help others,” she says.
“From my experience at Allegheny, I learned to always follow your passions even if it means stepping out of your comfort zone,” says Buczek. “You are not a number at this school, you are a member of the family. Embrace that.”