In high school, Jonathan Vervoort ’97, an Associate Director in Global Marketing at Merck, had little interest in academics. After earning his diploma, he chose to join the Marine Corps, where he served for four years before leaving as a Corporal.
It was after the Marine Corps that Vervoort elected to give academics another shot, enrolling at the University of Connecticut. He majored in physics, took on a large course load, and found that he was struggling. Not willing to give up, Vervoort decided to give Eastern a try. “I’m thankful they accepted me,” he says.
As an Eastern student, Vervoort discovered that he actually enjoyed academics. “I took a small course load and focused on learning how to learn.” He found his way into the biology lab, where he would spend much of his four years doing research. He also encountered faculty who were willing to nurture their students and who gave him the confidence he needed to become successful. “Eastern ignited my passion for learning.”
Vervoort excelled at Eastern and graduated cum laude with a degree in biology. He earned a spot in Yale’s graduate school and went on to receive his master’s degree in molecular biology. “Certainly Eastern is the reason I got into Yale,” he says.
After Yale, Vervoort began his career working in outside sales for Merck. A few years later he left and once again returned to the classroom, this time to receive his MBA from Cornell. When he finished his MBA and Merck offered him another job, he happily returned to the company. “I feel that they approach the business in a very ethical way.” In his current position, Vervoort finds himself combining his MBA experience with his background in Biology and research. “My research experience at Eastern helped my understanding of market research at Merck.”
Vervoort is married to Eastern alumna Lucy Vernali ’97, who works as a science teacher. The couple lives in Pennsylvania and credits Eastern for much of their success. As Vervoort concludes, “Eastern helped me to achieve and to grow, personally and professionally.”