Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Kara Colangelo
Friday, August 20, 2021
Written by: Laura D. Schumacher
Photo: Dr. Kara Colangelo with her husband, Adam Colangelo, a Seminole State alumnus, and their two children.
Name: Dr. Kara Colangelo
Title and Company: Senior Learning Partner, Learning Campus U.S., Siemens
Years Attended Seminole State: 1994-1996
Degree pursued at Seminole State: Associate in Arts degree
What factors played into you deciding to attend Seminole State College?
A few factors drove this - I knew I could meet all of my bachelor's degree prerequisites in a setting that offered much smaller class sizes for my first and second year in college, I had a great job opportunity that I could align around my classes at Seminole State, and my grandfather (Dr. Earl Weldon) was the founding president!
What were your steps after leaving Seminole State?
I transferred to UCF to finish up my bachelor’s degree in psychology and followed with my master’s degree and Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. I have been with Siemens for the past 15 years, in a mix of local and global HR roles. I currently work as a senior learning partner - I am responsible for our U.S. Digitalization and Diversity Learning Portfolios, partnering with our largest U.S. businesses to identify their learning needs and help them make progress toward those goals and drive a company initiative to build learning habits for our U.S. employees.
How are you staying involved at Seminole State?
I serve on the Alumni Leadership Team in the marketing subcommittee - the last year has proven interesting in our efforts, as engagement is almost exclusively virtual. We are excited to launch some new Facebook features to keep our alumni engaged, while we are using virtual connection points more than ever before! My husband is also a Seminole State alumnus, having completed both his associate degree in May 2015 and most recently the Law Enforcement Academy in 2020.
How did your time spent at Seminole State help prepare you for where you are now?
I enjoyed foundational classes in psychology and mathematics that prepared me for intensive studies in these areas in graduate school.
Who or what class was your greatest influence at Seminole State College?
Strangely enough, because it is unrelated to my current career path, Deborah Mead’s Organic Chemistry class. Every time I smell almond-scented products, I can see her beautiful drawings of the chemical structure and when I see artificially created food products, I remember why my body is not designed to digest these components. She related science to the everyday and I take that lesson with me in all my endeavors in learning and people development.
Professionally and/or academically, of what are you most proud?
In 2018, I took a leap of faith with a global program manager role where I was the only employee located outside of Germany. Despite being thousands of miles away from my manager and teammates, I was a strong contributor to the teams’ initiatives and built amazing professional and personal relationships that I still maintain and cherish even though I am no longer in that role.
What advice do you have for current or prospective Seminole State students?
Research suggests that more than 75 percent of jobs that will exist in 2030 have not yet been invented! Don’t stress about knowing or not knowing your specific future role - instead, think about how you can flex your skills and capabilities to meet the opportunities that are in your path.Dr. Kara Colangelo.
Focus on the skills and capabilities you are building and always be mindful of the strengths that you bring to the table. Research suggests that more than 75 percent of jobs that will exist in 2030 have not yet been invented! Don’t stress about knowing or not knowing your specific future role - instead, think about how you can flex your skills and capabilities to meet the opportunities that are in your path.
What do you like to do for fun?
I enjoy watching my kids create their own games and spend time being silly - I try to lean into the silly because I know that season with them is short!
My husband and I have season tickets to Theater West End and enjoy time there about once a month. Immersing myself into another reality has been an absolute treat over the last few months. The owners do an amazing job of keeping the arts alive during this challenging time and prioritize employee and performer safety to make us all feel as comfortable as possible.
For my “me” time, last year I challenged myself with reading a book a month. I enjoy a blend of professional topics that excite me (neuropsychology, workplace collaboration strategies) and whole-person development that serves as a bridge between my personal and professional lives.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Enjoy your now and have faith that the story will make sense as you look back on it. Like Steve Jobs said, “You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So, you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”
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