An Intergenerational Dickinsonian Team

drawing of people climbing

by Patricia Collins '71

Hunter Tuccio ’18 is preparing to graduate from Dickinson with a degree in economics. He’s looking to land that first postgraduation job. So we’re doing what we’ve done since his first year at Dickinson when we first met: We’re brainstorming. I’m providing my support and sharing my professional experience and network connections; Hunter is sharing his knowledge, goals and characteristic energy and determination. We are two generations apart in age, collaborating as an experienced team.

Back in the spring of 2015, Hunter was looking for a Dickinson alum who could provide a little coaching on his resumé, as he was determined to obtain a summer internship that would give him a true business learning experience. He reached out to me and thus began our mentoring relationship that’s become a friendship. Over the previous 10 years, I had taught graduate school, including courses in high-tech business management. I had coached and encouraged graduate students who were eager to grow professionally. Previously, I’d worked in industrial research as a manager, with some hiring responsibilities. I brought that experience to bear in listening to what Hunter wanted to accomplish.

Something Hunter and I share is the belief that flexibility is essential to having a clear goal. That’s enabled us to take advantage of serendipitous circumstances in pursuit of Hunter’s academic and professional goals.

With his resumé ready, Hunter and I began brainstorming possible places for him to intern. I contacted some people in my professional network in search of some leads. It was at about this time that my own startup was ready to move forward with its business plan development. The startup, which would help first responders by improving their ability to do their jobs safely, was co-founded with a 33-year veteran firefighter and paramedic (our chief visionary officer), a senior consultant to the U.S. Pacific Command’s work in humanitarian aid and disaster relief (our chief technology officer), and me, with a strong background in high-tech and management (our chief operations officer). I talked with my co-founders about bringing Hunter on as a summer intern and developed a job description. Before long, Hunter flew to California to begin his internship.

With that internship came many fortuitous situations. Hunter stayed at the home of our chief visionary officer. Almost immediately, a strong friendship developed—one that went beyond mutual respect. In my experience, business ventures require caring about the business’s collaborators. But caring was not a business goal; it simply happened, and it improved the quality of our collaboration.

Time flew and Hunter flew back to the East Coast to begin his sophomore year at Dickinson. I happily acted as a sounding board as Hunter thought about his long-term professional goals and the experiences he wanted to be sure he had before graduation. From the vantage point of someone who’d thoroughly enjoyed her professional career and was now enjoying experiences I did not have when my career dominated my life, I encouraged Hunter to take advantage of enriching opportunities that are so accessible while attending Dickinson.

Most of our communications over the past few years have been via email. I’ve supported Hunter in his approach to his academic goals, his subsequent summer internships in another business industry, and his two study-abroad endeavors (Australia and South Africa). We’ve shared news articles relevant to Hunter’s professional interests, expert analysis of relevant industry trends and topical information about the countries in which Hunter has studied. We exchange our personal and generational views, all in that Dickinson spirit of learning from as many perspectives and disciplines as possible.

We take the time to reflect with each other on experiences that we’re having—my work with entrepreneurial mentoring and my fondness for cooking and writing; Hunter’s takeaways from his internships, life experiences, exposure to other cultures and his love of golf.

For me, this is what being a Dickinsonian is about: a shared love of learning, an eagerness to support others by understanding their unique desires and abilities, a reflective approach to life, and a joy in continuing to grow as a person.

Patricia Collins ’71 graduated from Dickinson with a degree in mathematics and philosophy—and she was just getting started. She earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering at Stanford University and studied in master’s degree programs in mathematics and education at Fairleigh Dickinson University and in creative writing at San Jose State University. She spent 20 years working for Hewlett-Packard before moving into teaching and entrepreneurial endeavors.

Read more from the winter 2018 issue of Dickinson Magazine.


Published January 23, 2018