What does John Gentile ’12, co-captain of the Lafayette baseball team, think is the best part of the game?
That it’s unpredictable. “Once the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand,” Gentile says, “you never know what’s going to happen.”
Gentile (Downingtown, Pa) would know. He’s been playing baseball since he was six years old and is a pitcher himself. A government and law major with an English minor, Gentile is gearing up to make a lot of important decisions, especially when it comes to launching his career. Luckily, he has a Lafayette alum helping him pick the pitches.
This summer, Gentile interned with Kevin McKernan ’98, the senior manager of oncology at Cephalon Pharmaceuticals in Frazer, Pa. Like Gentile, McKernan also captained the baseball team during his senior year, and not only that: both Gentile and McKernan graduated from Malvern Preparatory School in Malvern, Pa.
At Cephalon, one of the world’s top 10 biopharmaceutical companies, Gentile worked in the regulatory affairs department. This department works closely with the FDA on getting the company’s drugs approved for market, as well as with the legal department on fine-tuning labels and packages. Gentile personally collaborated with the FDA, scientific reviewers, administrative staff, and management to get the company’s regulatory applications approved. He also assisted in the development of regulatory strategies for global product development, labeling, and promotional issues.
“My favorite part of the job was participating in the end meeting that saw five major departments come together—marketing, financial, regulatory, and legal—to decide if certain drugs were ready to be sent to the FDA or needed to be revised,” Gentile says. He also enjoyed working with McKernan, who he says made sure there was never a dull moment. “We have a lot in common concerning baseball and Lafayette, so it made for a good relationship,” Gentile says.
Gentile is looking go to law school after graduation. “This internship certainly helped to bring me closer to my goal, as I got to see the inner workings of a multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical company at its highest levels,” says Gentile. “It helped me see how lawyers operate in a business setting as opposed to a courtroom.”
“John’s got a great focus,” McKernan says. “He went out there and hustled.”
McKernan, who started during all four years of his Lafayette baseball career, was an economics major and the president of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. His favorite things about Lafayette were the friendships he forged with his fraternity brothers and teammates. The hardest thing, he says, was figuring out which direction to take his career.
“The way I got around that challenge was having mentors within my fraternity house and on the baseball team,” says McKernan. He remembers that two older Lafayette grads—another baseball player and a basketball player—set him on the right path by opening doors to internships and guiding his decision-making.
A member of the Maroon Club and the Friends of Lafayette Baseball, McKernan sees Lafayette alumni as a family capable of providing opportunities and teaching the power of networking to current students just launching their careers.
“It’s a chance to give back,” McKernan says. “People helped me out, and that’s where I started my story. That’s what I told John—you’ve got to start your story somewhere.”