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How Massachusetts Schools Have Helped Cantrip Thrive

August 21, 2022

It’s back-to-school season, and three of Cantrip’s earliest team members are here to share how their experience at Massachusetts schools contributed to their path to Cantrip. UMass Amherst, Bentley University, and Brandeis University all played an integral part in Cantrip's success through the education of their alums, featured below!

Adam Terry, Cantrip CEO and Co-Founder

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Major: Chemical Engineering, Biochemical Engineering concentration

Since reading on the Renaissance in high school, I had some pretentious idea that I wanted to be a well-rounded human. I had stronger natural skills for writing and reading than hard math and reasoning, but I was still deeply interested in math and science, so I chose to study chemical engineering in an effort to hone my weaker skills while I could elsewhere exercise my interests in art and literature. Some part of me couldn't even conceive actually working as an engineer at the time. Still, I wanted to know what engineers know - how the world works, how things are put together, and the secret language of the universe that is mathematics. And I did have a knack for chemistry.

Everything I do at Cantrip is informed by everything I've done in the past. Taking chemistry and biochemistry in college ended up being an asset in developing our cannabis-in-water technology, but I also spent most of college working at the coffee shop and bar that taught me the world of tasting and beverage. In many ways, Cantrip is my life's work, the thing that puts together the essence of who I am - a bartender, an engineer, a weed guy, and an entrepreneur. Ultimate synthesis.

I would recommend UMass because: a.) the Amherst area and Pioneer Valley are truly one of the most beautiful natural areas in the world, and many, many great people through history have spent some of their years there (Carl Sagan, Kurt Vonnegut to name two), b.) it is a phenomenal school with great resources c.) it's public and let's face it, you aren’t going to learn that much more for twice the price anyway, and d.) you should spend your college years both learning to be and learning to be with, which is something you get at a huge public school like UMass.

Jess Brandon, Cantrip Creative Director

Brandeis University

Major: Studio Art, Painting concentration

I grew up in the south, and when I started looking at schools, I knew I wanted to move up the coast. I was looking specifically for a small, queer-friendly, and top-rated school in the Northeast. I had never heard of Brandeis when I saw it in the college guidebook, but I instantly was drawn to everything I read about it. Students, alums, staff, and faculty all talked about Brandeis in a way that seemed so genuine and personal. The university was ranked in the top 50 schools in the country (and still is!), so I visited the campus. 

Look - Brandeis is a weird-looking place. The buildings are odd and mismatched; some are shaped like random objects (ask your tour guide). But I loved it. It was quirky and strange and unique, just like me. And I knew that was where I belonged. 

Over my four years at Brandeis, I struggled to figure out what I wanted to study. Art was my passion, but I didn’t believe in the practicality of just studying painting. I needed a job when I graduated. Lucky for me, Brandeis prides itself on delivering a robust and fully-rounded education to each of its students. I took computer science, sociology, and language classes and realized that I could learn and grow my artistic passion while still being fully prepared for life after school. 

I learned the strengths of good composition and color. I learned how to take criticism and make yourself and your work stronger through discussion and different opinions. I learned that psychology and emotion all play a part in the interpretation of something visual and that art can’t exist in a vacuum. Through my time at Brandeis, I became a stronger artist and person, and the lessons and skills I internalized have propelled me through my career. 

Before coming to Cantrip, I worked at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Northeastern University, and Georgia Tech. I eventually started my own company doing brand, web design, and graphics work for small businesses around the Northeast. Through that work, I met Adam, who one day asked me to design a logo for a new company he was thinking about starting. And that’s how Cantrip’s visual identity began.

If I hadn’t become a confident creator at Brandeis, I would never have had the nerve to branch out on my own and make the connection to people like Adam, that have helped get me here. Working for Cantrip has been a true pleasure, and being able to design a brand I feel so strongly about is something I wouldn’t trade for anything. 

Colin Curran, Cantrip Sales Development Manager

Bentley University

Majors: Marketing; Media Arts & Society 

Minor: Sports Management

I applied to 13 schools during my college decision process and was lucky enough to get into 12 of them. Out of my top two choices, Bentley University was the only school that felt like home to me when I toured the campus; it was the summer when no one was around, but I fell in love with the small campus feel and the school’s proximity to Boston. It didn’t hurt that Bentley was a top business school in the country and that over 95% of students graduate with a job. 

Growing up, I was always interested in how products and services were sold to customers. That interest, combined with my love for sports, made me want to pursue a marketing career in sports. Since I was not athletic enough to play any sport professionally, working for a team seemed like the next best thing. My double major and minor would position me well to pursue this career and open me up to other career paths.

Throughout college, I had multiple internships and jobs. One with the Somerset Patriots, a minor league baseball team in New Jersey, one with Puma in their marketing department, and a couple in the alcohol industry with Harpoon Brewery and Beatbox Beverages. Bentley prepared me well for all these opportunities and gave me a well-rounded background in all aspects of business, not just my major of choice. My ability to understand accounting and finance practices and different management styles while excelling in marketing helped me stand out among other interns.

These skills also helped me get a job right out of college with MolsonCoors. After a few years with them and a short stint with Sazerac, I am lucky to find myself at Cantrip Seltzer. Working for a start-up is very different from the large companies I was initially at, but Bentley also prepared me for that. Through numerous group projects, especially our General Business 320 course during my junior year, I was ready for the fast-paced nature of a start-up. These group projects also helped with my research skills and provided data to back up any suggestion I made. 

I am currently back at Bentley, pursuing my MBA in Business Administration with a concentration in marketing. The fact that I am in an MBA program while with Cantrip has been highly beneficial. Learning how to build the foundation of a marketing program and provide that blueprint to our team has helped us outline an exciting path forward. I have no doubt that as I finish up my MBA program, I will learn even more information that will prove to be invaluable to Cantrip in the long run and become a double Falcon!