Ginnie Poveromo ’07 headed west from Charleston following her graduation with a psychology degree. She and a fellow alum moved to Wyoming for the summer to explore Yellowstone National Park and the Grand Teton Mountains, among the state’s other natural offerings. Now Poveromo works for Grand Classroom, a company that allows teachers and student groups to travel, primarily in the American West but also internationally. The coolest part? She occasionally gets to accompany them as a guide on these unforgettable adventures.
Q: What is your position title and what are your responsibilities?
A: I’m an account manager. I work with teachers who are offering a trip to their students. Generally I’ll work with a teacher throughout the year to help get students all the information they need. Once everyone is signed up I’ll work on the itinerary and develop the details of the trip.
I may work with 35-or-so traveling schools each year, and out of those 35 I might accompany five as a guide.
Q: How do you decide which trips you get to go on?
A: We’ve got a great network of guides and I will be placed on trips based on where I can best help out. Normally I am on a trip to help facilitate logistics and activities while we have experts in the area that provide the educational background for the student groups.
Q: Which trip that you attended was your favorite?
A: My love for the outdoors really reached a whole new level when I lived in Wyoming after college. So I love going back there on our Yellowstone and Grand Teton trips, it almost feels like going back home for me.
I also got to go to the Galapagos Islands last year, so swimming with the sea turtles was one of the top-five best moments in my life.
Q: How did you end up in Wyoming after college?
A: My college roommate and I weren’t sure what we were going to do after college so another coworker of mine at a restaurant mentioned seasonal work she used to do in Wyoming at marinas and lodges. We were like, ‘let’s do that!’ We figured, “why not?”
Q: What is your favorite part of your job?
A: I love being on a trip and getting to know the students that travel with us, knowing that I’m providing what can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for them. We work with kids in schools in very low-income areas all the way up to top-notch private schools, so our groups run the gamut. Some of these kids may not have the opportunity to go to places like this again, so knowing that I’m helping them experience these amazing locations and hopefully develop a deeper love of nature is very rewarding.
Q: How did you find out about the position?
A: I was interning in Richmond, Va. with a nonprofit organization that was focused on outdoor education. The interim director at the time is related to some of my now-coworkers and she mentioned that there were some openings at Grand Classroom, so I followed up on that lead and the rest fell into place! I’ve been here now for about three years and it feels like one big family. In fact, one of my co-worker’s sons will be attending the College starting this fall. We’re all very excited for him.
Q: How did the College help you prepare for this position?
A: I’m so glad my freshman advisor strongly encouraged me to take an intro psychology course. I was reluctant at first but it changed my path completely, in the best possible way. A psychology degree is so useful for learning how to work with people and develop strong relationships, which is key to my job’s success. I have to develop the trust of teachers and parents to provide a great trip for their kids.
Additionally, being at the College gave me the confidence to pursue some great adventures, which ultimately led me to my current position. As a student at the College, you feel like you’re part of the larger community in Charleston, you’re not just walled in on campus. That gives you the confidence to spread your wings a bit.
Q: What advice would you give to current students?
A: Don’t worry about the unrealistic pressure of trying to figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life. Take classes that interest you, try something out of the box, and stretch yourself to do things outside of your comfort zone. College is a time for exploration.