Role Model

When Rebecca Redfern ’17 began evaluating colleges while still in high school, she had AIC on her radar, but a charming incident during her campus visit sealed the deal. “During our tour, someone interrupted the tour guide to chat for a second. I later asked who it was, and the tour guide told us it was the president of the college, Dr. Maniaci,” Redfern recalls. “My mom couldn’t believe it, that the president knew the students’ names. Then we met more people on campus and learned that it was a very tightly knit community, and that’s why I decided to come here.”

Redfern (formerly Gray), an economics and finance major, found the adjustment to college academically to be smooth. “I grew up in Hampstead, New Hampshire,” she recalls. “It was a small town, but the high school I went to was academically rigorous.”

On other fronts, she had to surmount some of the same hurdles that others who are first in their families to attend college often face. “My mother was a stay-athome mom, and now works in real estate,” says Redfern. “She didn’t know about the college experience, and we had to be proactive and figure out a lot together. Things like FAFSA and financial aid, registration, and figuring out what was needed in a dorm were entirely new to us.”

Proactive is, if anything, an understatement to describe Redfern. From her arrival at AIC, she launched herself into a dizzying array of academics and activities, becoming a noteworthy student leader in the process. She got involved with Model Congress as a freshman and served as general chairperson for three years. “The general chairperson is kind of the conference coordinator, who ensures everything runs smoothly,” she says. “It was one of the most rewarding experiences of my time at AIC. I loved everything about the program.”

Redfern was also a key player in the student government at AIC. She was the student body president as a senior, overseeing the drafting of a new constitution. Her experience in student government—learning to work fruitfully with peers, resolving disputes productively, and navigating factions to reach a common goal—have given her a professional maturity beyond her years and provided an edge in her career. “I’ve been able to take on roles of increasing responsibility. And I think it’s because I kind of learned how to manage a lot of different tasks all at once,” she says. “I would say it’s shown through in my performance at work.”

While a senior, Redfern’s economics professor, John Rogers, was contacted by an AIC alumnus at United Technologies who was looking for a promising candidate for their Financial Leadership Program. Redfern was recommended, landed the post, and recently completed the two-year program of rotations through key divisions of the company, including a stint in Wolverhampton in the United Kingdom. Now based in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, Redfern is continuing her rise at United Technologies and was recently promoted to a senior analyst position at Collins Aerospace, a subsidiary. “I love working for such a global company,” Redfern says. “It has given me great opportunities and the chance to work in different cultures and meet people from all over the world.”

 

By Chris Quirk