Career connections

Inside a Huskies@Work company visit at PEMCO

1,286 students helped. 615 alumni engaged. 425 companies represented.

These are just some of the stats for Huskies@Work, the UW Alumni Association’s job shadowing program. Huskies@Work has brought together career-curious students with alumni in the field since spring 2016.

Students and alumni meet up in-person or virtually if the alumni lives outside the Puget Sound region. This fall, the UWAA introduced company visits. While most Huskies@Work matches bring one or two students together with an alum, company visits can accommodate up to 20 students.

When the folks at PEMCO Insurance heard about the company visit, they didn’t hesitate to sign up. “We’re rooted in education so we’re always looking for opportunities to give back,” said Nate at PEMCO, referring to the company’s origin as a teachers credit union. “We love helping students with their careers, and we’re rooted in being local, from the northwest, so this was the perfect partnership.”

Students tour the PEMCO office

Students begin the day with an office tour.

A day in the life

On Oct. 9, students Jaylen and Ulrica from UW’s Seattle campus and Amber and Justin from UW Tacoma gathered at PEMCO’s office on Lake Union in Seattle. The students came from different backgrounds but shared similar career interests. Ulrica, a sophomore majoring in classics, heard about Huskies@Work by email. “I was curious about how someone from the arts can work in business,” she shared. As the day went on, Ulrica asked a lot of questions about office culture and other topics that could help her find the right fit.

Over coffee and pastries in the morning, the students and staff, who came from the human resources, marketing and community engagement teams, had the chance to get to know each other. After an office tour, they sat down for a presentation about the company’s brand and culture. Amber was impressed to hear employees can take eight hours of paid time each year to volunteer for a cause they care about, reflecting how PEMCO’s purpose-driven mission extends to their employees as well as their customers.

Jaylen has a one-on-one meeting with Brent at PEMCO

Jaylen has a one-on-one meeting with Brent.

Students were then paired with employees for one-on-one time. Jaylen was quick to identify who he wanted to meet up with. An informatics major, Jaylen is interested in UI/UX and has interned at Amazon. During the office tour, Jaylen met Brent, one of only a few people doing UI/UX work at PEMCO. Jaylen talked with Brent about his experience and what it’s like to work on a smaller tech team within a non-tech company. In a company like Amazon, you’re more likely to be one of many, with a more specialized role. Jaylen walked away with a better sense of his career options.

It’s about the journey

Students then gathered for a panel discussion, exclusively featuring employees under 30. From the value of networking to strategies for standing out to general advice, the panel shared their own career journeys and lessons they learned along the way.

Recent graduates share their career journey as part of an employee panel.

Recent graduates share their career journey as part of an employee panel.

Logan had a story that might sound familiar to students. He interned at PEMCO and entered the workforce in the middle of the recession. After joining a startup, which eventually failed, he ended up at PEMCO 10 years after his internship. Someone Logan knew from his internship was on the hiring committee.

Josh, another panel member, summed up that experience in his advice to students: “There’s not always a clear, straightforward path in your career.”

The day came to a close with an overview of the company’s internship program, giving students the opportunity to learn more about careers at PEMCO, followed by lunch in the cafeteria.

Not only did students walk away with a window into a day in the life at the office — they got the chance to ask all their burning questions. “I appreciate that it wasn’t too much of a presentation about their company the whole time,” Jaylen reported. “They actually asked us what things we were interested in and were able to provide an employee that correlated. I felt comfortable and welcomed enough to share my thoughts and ask questions.”

“With finding your path, it’s often not what you go to school in, but what you have exposure to,” said PEMCO panel member Josh. With Huskies@Work, the UWAA is proud to give students exposure to the career world and insight into life after college.


Interested in taking part in Huskies@Work? The UWAA pairs students with alumni and organizations each May and November. To learn more, go to