Mar. 29, 2017

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Kalamazoo, MI

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Est. 1877

Alumni Update

Laura Manardo Reflects on Post-Grad Life

By

One of Kalamazoo College’s most recent graduates is enjoying life in Chicago.

Q: Can you tell me a bit about how you’ve been spending your post-grad life?

A: I’ve been living in Chicago working at Yelp since graduation in June. I’ve also started an Etsy shop where I sell watercolor paintings of [mostly] whales.

Q: What do you do for Yelp?

A: A simple answer [is] I sell advertising. But really it’s much more than that. I help small businesses grow. I have territories in Georgia and New Jersey so I’ve been making friends all over the country.

Q: Can you tell me a bit more about Etsy? What sparked your interest in starting the shop? How do you read most of your customers and conduct sales?

A: Professor Andy Mozina gave me a Barnes & Noble gift card as thanks for being a teaching assistant in his fiction classes and instead of buying a book, I bought a watercolor kit. I began sending little paintings to my friends and a few of them told me to start an Etsy shop. Since starting I’ve sold 11 paintings and even did a request order of a cat and a shark in the same painting.

Q: How do you think K prepared you for what you’re doing now? For your job, but also living on your own in Chicago and the Etsy shop?

A: Studying abroad in Madrid definitely helped me transition to living in Chicago. I had never lived in a big city before so I would get lost and fall all over the place on the metro. I’m glad that I dealt with that in Madrid because now I am able to find my way around Chicago and stand up nice and tall on the trains. K helped me grow a lot in four years. Every single year was a transition and so this particular transition didn’t feel so overwhelming.

Q: Do you have idea where you will be in three years?

The only thing that I can say for certain that I want in the next three years is a dog. With that said there are a few things that I could see myself doing. I would like to go back to school to get my MFA in creative writing. I would also like to stay at Yelp and see where it takes me. I would also love to move back to Madrid and teach English. So as far as my future is concerned I have a lot of ideas and that’s why I am trying my best to live in the present and enjoy Chicago.

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