Eric Aquino

Eric AquinoMajor: Cross Cultural Studies
Hometown: Jacksonville, FL

Describe your current job role:

I have the privilege of working for a fast growing church in South Florida and providing leadership over the areas of volunteering, local outreach, and international missions. It sounds like a lot and it is but I work with a tremendous team and the church itself is unlike any community I’ve been a part of. In my role I handle a wide array of responsibilities such as operating our church database system, developing partnerships with local organizations to serve Palm Beach county, and planning short-term mission trips.

What professional experience(s) did you have prior to your current job role?

I got a lot of professional work experience while at PBA. I worked in Campus Ministries from my first semester until I graduated all while working part-time at my church and an additional retail job. Before PBA, the most “professional” job I had was running a skate park at a summer camp so I really got my first exposure to “real work” in college.

What do you know now that you wish you had known about being a working professional?

This is something I feel we all learn at our own pace and really depends on your working environment as well. If I could go back to my 19-year-old self I’d say, “Humility is a prerequisite of adaptability.” It’s always good to be flexible but to really learn how to best serve those you work for and with, you really need to be humble, open and teachable. That and get more sleep.

"... you really need to be humble, open="open" and teachable."

How did PBA prepare you for the world of work?

My time at PBA taught me what grit is and how necessary it is to “make it” in life. Working 3 jobs, doing school full-time, being away from my cherished hometown really took a toll on me but through all of that I grew in my faith, I made lifelong friendships, and I was prepared for the exponentially increased pace of life once school was over.

What advice would you give to current PBA students and/or young alumni who are about to start their first professional full-time job?

You are about to learn so much you thought you should’ve already known. You build up an expectation of how the world should work while in the college bubble but as Luke Skywalker says, “This isn’t going to go the way you think it is.” But that’s ok because even if you are dead set on one career or life plan or you don’t have a clue of what you should do and are taking whatever job or jobs that pay the bills, roll with the punches. Opportunities, just like seasons of life, come and go so just roll with it.

Have you been mentored by anyone in your professional field since entering the workforce? 

Absolutely. I am 100% the product of those that have poured into me. I still meet regularly with Mark Kaprive. I like to say that I have the church version of his job so from day one I’ve constantly bounced ideas off of him, prayed with him, and just staying connected. I can unequivocally say I would not have my current job without his influence. So yea, pretty impactful.

Spotlight posted in January 2018.