How did you manage your stress during finals week while at Purdue?
What most helped me manage my stress during finals week was understanding that I needed to take breaks—even it if was just to make a coffee run to Starbucks. Getting that mental break and pulling yourself out of Hicks can make all the difference when you try to focus again. And if none of this is convincing, use your ‘break’ to see what you can remember when you’re waiting in line. And don’t forget that a Peppermint Mocha will always be worth it.
How did those stress management skills transfer to helping you deal with stress at work?
In my job, I am constantly on tight deadlines. Every project that starts is essentially due yesterday. The client wants it next week along with the 30 other deliverables that all happen to fall in the same tight timeline. Now I’m not complaining, I signed up for New York City, but removing myself from stressful situations and taking a break is something that I do on a regular basis. It allows me to clear my head, get a bit of fresh air, and come back into a project with a new perspective. I can’t tell you how many times just sleeping on it has made the headline I couldn’t seem to get right suddenly make more sense. Don’t underestimate the power of your own personal refresh button.
What additional ways have you discovered to help handle stress in the workplace?
I work with writers of varied seniority level and thus expertise. Sometimes on days that I’m struggling on my own, I have found that bouncing ideas off of another writer or creative is helpful to get my ideas rolling or back on track. In any job, you should never feel like you’re in your own silo. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for another perspective. Having my supervisor’s direction and support lessens the stress I feel by letting me know I’m on the right track.
What tips do you have for students in regards to managing stress during finals week? In the workplace?
Do something nice for yourself. Build in ‘me-time.’ This directly correlates to the idea of taking breaks. Don’t feel like during finals week studying is the only thing you are permitted to do. Same goes for work—it can wait until tomorrow every once and a while. Maybe you decide it’s as simple as a movie night out with friends or promising yourself you can watch your favorite show when it airs on Thursday night. Still, building some mandatory R&R into your schedule is important so you don’t burn yourself out in the library or at your desk at work.
Are there any additional tips or comments you’d like to add?
In the end, finals week is just that…one week. And for some, it’s just a couple of days. So put in the work, reap the rewards, and treat yourself to the many days of R&R over break.
What was your major and graduation year?
I was a Theatre Major with Minors in Global Studies and English. I graduated in 2008.
Did you study abroad during your time at Purdue? If so, please briefly describe your experience.
Yes, I studied abroad during my sophomore year. I chose a program in Brussels, Belgium. I was eager to experience a non-traditional study abroad location and as the de facto capital of the EU, Brussels was very appealing.
As an employer, how do you feel study abroad experience benefits students in regards to landing a job?
I would say that having a global perspective is extremely important. Taking the time to study abroad shows an employer that you are eager to experience other cultures and are open to different perspectives. I personally think that it also shows that you’re courageous! It takes a lot of confidence to leave behind the comforts of home and university to venture into a new country where you don’t initially have the same networks.
What specific skills and/or attributes are companies looking for in candidates who have international or study abroad experience?
I would say that in today’s working environments, companies truly value adaptability. During study abroad, there are a lot of unknowns. You have to really be agile, which is a valuable experience.
If you’re interning abroad, I think this is very interesting, as you’re not only living within a new environment, but you’re also working within one. This adds a whole new dimension to your experience. If you have the opportunity to intern abroad, I would recommend pursuing it.
What advice would you give to current students, especially those looking to study/intern abroad?
I would say be open-minded. Do not enter study abroad with preconceived expectations. Go into this new and exciting chapter and just experience it. By this, I mean, truly immerse yourself in the culture.
My second piece of advice is travel. Study abroad is a rare opportunity and I am so happy that I traveled on weekends to surrounding countries. There is so much to learn and absorb.
Most College of Liberal Arts students do not set foot near the Engineering side of campus, too many numbers and formulas and not enough creativity, but not Courtney Ginder. The numbers and formulas didn’t intimidate her; she went to the Engineering side of writing and owned it! “I wouldn’t have my job now if I hadn’t been confident and owned it when I talked to my now-employer at Industrial Roundtable.” Courtney graduated in the spring of 2013 and became the first technical writer for LHP Telematics. “What appealed to me was that becoming LHP Telematics’ first technical writer was a chance to set new standards for their documentation, which meant I would get the chance to both design and write documentation.” In just one short month Courtney has already established herself at work by taking an unorganized system of documentation and transforming it to a standardized and error-free system.
Being the technical writer for LHP, Courtney was thrown right into work from day one without training or direction. This didn’t phase her though, “I didn’t have a training program that a lot of new graduates get when they start their first professional job, but despite that, I don’t feel overwhelmed, and the long to-do list keeps me from being bored.” A typical day for Courtney revolves around “writing and designing new documentation or updating and standardizing older documents.” For most of us, this job doesn’t sound fun or as Courtney put it, it “sounds dry and boring (and trust me, I hear about it whenever I mention what I do for a living),” but it is what she loves to do, and her biggest advice to Purdue students is “to find what you are passionate about and own it!”
The path to success wasn’t laid out perfectly for Courtney; she had to step out of her comfort zone a bit. She got her job by attending the Industrial Roundtable fair and searching for companies in need of a technical writer. “I knew that if companies were coming to Industrial Roundtable to find engineers, they were also looking for technical writers.” She knew where her market was, and she went after it. It was a fight, however, at first her company didn’t want a technical writer, but after her impressive resume and credentials, they couldn’t help but hire her!
“Don’t get discouraged,” “don’t feel like you need to have several job offers,” and “find what you’re passionate about and own it,” are all pieces of advice Courtney wants to share with Purdue students. She wants to remind them not to give up on finding the “perfect” job because it is one of the toughest things you will have to do, and to “keep your head up, remember that you have the skills needed to get a job, and keep pushing.” Also, don’t add extra stress during your last semester of school by worrying about having several job offers before you graduate because you only really need one offer in the end. She ended with one last tip, “don’t feel like you can only go to the career fairs your college offers. I got my job through Industrial Roundtable, the engineering fair, and my degrees are in Professional Writing and Psychology.” Also, remember in Courtney’s words “Be confident and passionate about what you do…and OWN IT!”
Written By: Autumn Brown
Kimberly Kae Hondrop
Many Liberal Arts students claim that if they had a dime for every time they heard the phrase, “What are you going to do with THAT major,” they would be richer than most engineers. But Kimberly Hondorp is living proof that you can get an incredible job with a liberal arts degree. As a triple major in Professional Writing, English, and Communication, Kimberly obtained a position at Amazon working as a brand marketing editor. “I applied initially because I knew I wanted a career in writing,” she says. “Now that I’ve spent some time here, the best part is undoubtedly the realworld impact. I’m doing things I never imagined I’d be doing a year out of college.”
No two days at work look the same for Kimberly, which is what she loves most about her job. “My day usually involves some combination of writing copy and designing pages, coding them for the site, and meeting with vendors (brands that sell their products on Amazon) to] talk to them about their marketing strategies. Every decision we make at Amazon is on a global scale our content is seen by millions of viewers.” But it wasn’t necessarily an easy path for her to get where she is today. Kimberly talked about the struggles she went through to obtain a position after graduation in May 2012. “I applied to probably over a hundred jobs on company websites, Monster, and LinkedIn. I went to career fairs, networking events, coffee chats with professors and mentors, and even had a couple of interviews. Still, when graduation rolled around, I didn’t have a job. I’d call my family at least once a week to remind them I was going to be living in their basement for the rest of my life.” After graduation Kimberly took an internship in Lafayette doing agricultural communications while simultaneously working for a contract-to-hire position for a startup tech company in San Francisco in order to gain some experience. But when Amazon called her in August about an application she’d put in months ago, she immediately jumped on the offer and a few phone interviews later she had landed the job. Kimberly had lots of advice for Purdue students, but she mainly urged readers to follow their dreams no matter how many obstacles stand in their way. “If you want something, go after it and be relentless. Take every opportunity, even if it’s intimidating or it doesn’t seem like it’s what you want, because you’ll learn skills that will make you better. The biggest piece of advice I can give is to keep moving forward when you’re discouraged. You can’t wait around for your dream job to
come to you; you have to go apply for it (and a hundred others).” Kimberly stressed the importance of working hard, and believes that you can be successful with any type of degree as long as you put in the effort. “If I thought about stopping every time I heard ‘What are you going to do with an English degree,’ I would’ve never ended up where I am now.”
Calling all public policy gurus! If you’re looking for some inspiration as to how to go about obtaining a career in this fascinating field, then Rob Kuhlman should be your new role model. As a recent Purdue alumnus who graduated in 2012 with a double major in History and Political Science, Rob is quickly climbing his way to the top. He is currently employed with C-SPAN, a nonprofit cable network that broadcasts federal government proceedings and public affairs programs. Rob works on the production of the daily morning show, which is a position that interests him greatly. “I really enjoy being able to learn about different policies first hand from Congressmen, journalists, and experts.”
An average day for Rob at C-SPN begins at five in the morning and revolves around making sure the morning show is a success. “I create video elements or graphics for the Washington Journal that airs live every day from seven to ten in the morning on C-SPAN. During the show I take calls from viewers who have questions or comments for our on-air guests. After the show I take part in a daily planning meeting where upcoming segments are debated.” Rob feels that it is an incredibly rewarding job. He believes he never would be where he is today if it weren’t for Project IMPACT, an organization whose goal is to connect Purdue students with top government officials, journalists, and media executives. “After graduation I came to Washington D.C. with the Project IMPACT trip and was able to get a job working on a congressional campaign in Indianapolis” Rob says. “During the height of the campaign season I was offered a job with C-SPAN as a production assistant covering the election. I now work on C-SPAN’s daily morning show.”
Rob had lots of advice for current Purdue students, but most notably he stressed the importance of utilizing your networks and connections. “The Purdue family is a great network and has been a great advantage for me so far in my career. I think most Purdue students would be shocked to learn of the incredible positions many Boilermakers hold around the country. Since moving to Washington I’ve been able to reach out to many of these alumni and have gained a great deal from their advice.” He also discussed the importance of taking risks when it comes to one’s career, and he encourages students to not be afraid of stepping outside of their comfort zone. “It was a very hard decision to leave campaigning in my hometown and move out to Washington with no permanent job or place to live” he said. “In hindsight it was well worth the risk and I was able to overcome many of the obstacles that came along with moving to D.C. through reaching out to other Purdue folks in the area.” Edited by Maureen Corbett
Anna Bullock is not your normal Purdue alumna. She is a motivated individual who has used her dedicated and persistent attitude to make her career dreams become a reality. As an English Literature major who graduated in 2006, she has a plethora of different experiences that have led her to a fantastic job at Juice Pharma Worldwide, a wellrespected pharmaceutical advertising agency. “This job is interesting in that I get to be logical and organized, but am exposed to creativity that I have to help develop,” she says, “the balance of the two make it really fulfilling.”
Anna’s day revolves around developing advertising materials that align with a brands strategic objectives to drive growth. “Depending on the day, I could be looking at timelines, writing presentations, balancing the budget, presenting creative ideas to the clients, planning for a convention, or helping them with whatever projects they’re working on. Brainstorming ideas and then seeing them come to life and witnessing the way the community or patient population responds to them is really satisfying.” The variance of her job is what drew Anna to this particular agency, and the positive and upbeat environment she works in allows her to excel in her career. “Coming into this job, I really didn’t know what it was, or whether I would be any good at it. Once I got a handle on what I would be doing, I made a goal that I would reach a certain career level by the time I turned 30. It was lofty, and I wasn’t sure I could do it, but I figured why not. Last month I was promoted to that level, and I’m 29 years old. I’m really proud of that accomplishment, and am excited to already be working towards my next career goal.”
Anna didn’t always have her career choice mapped out before her, and she tried several different areas of work before she ended up at Juice Pharma Worldwide. For one summer in college she participate in an internship at Voice of America in Washington, D.C., where she learned that radio broadcasting wasn’t what she was interested in. “I think learning what you don’t want to do, or don’t like, is just as important as learning what you do like or might want to do. It was a great internship, and I met wonderful people but realized that radio broadcast just wasn’t for me.” After graduation, Anna moved to Park City, Utah to work for a ski resort. “It was great, but after two years I got bored. I loved my time in Utah and wouldn’t trade it for anything, but intellectually I needed to be challenged.” Anna eventually moved back to the east coast and got her first job at a pharmaceutical advertising agency, and she has stayed in the industry ever since.
If Anna could give any advice to students, it would be to never be afraid to ask for help when searching for jobs. “You never know who might have an opportunity for you. I remember being told a million times to network, and meet as many people as possible. Opportunities are all around you – you just have to keep your eyes open because they can present themselves in bizarre ways.” Edited by Maureen Corbett
Harrison Alch is the kind of business man that every Purdue graduate should aspire to be. As a recruiter for Systems Research Inc. (“SRI”), a suburban Chicago based executive search firm, he knows first-hand how hard work and extreme dedication can pay off for students seeking their dream job. Harrison graduated from Purdue last May with a degree in Political Science, and it is evident from his rapid success that he has turned his Liberal Arts degree into one of his most useful tools. “You get in life what you have the courage to ask for,” Harrison says, and he encourages all students to use this courage to participate in the upcoming 2013 Career Week events. “There is an important role for every Purdue graduate in the work place, but Career Week will help make you stand out as the ideal candidate as well as help you make astute decisions during your job search.”
Harrison participated in every Career Week activity last year, and he strongly believes that it is because of his attendance that he is as successful as he is today. “Purdue’s Career Week taught me how critical building relationships would be in my job search. I also learned how important it is to keep a written track record of both my individual as well as team accomplishments as a student so that during an interview I always had several talking points at hand.” Harrison’s favorite Career Week activity last year was the Interviewing 101 workshops, where he says that he learned invaluable information about the art of interviewing and how to avoid making common mistakes. “All Purdue students should attend and actively participate in Career Week because they can learn what prospective employers are seeking “today” and how to attract the attention of employers,” he says. “What a student learns about the job search process during Career Week will potentially separate them from other equally qualified candidates.”
The skills Harrison acquired during last year’s Career Week events have helped him become successful in his current industry. “In my daily recruiting searches, I often use techniques I learned during Purdue’s Career Week when I interview targeted candidates for SRI’s clients. As a recruiter for SRI, I need to know what differentiates one candidate from another candidate so I can advocate on their behalf when presenting their credentials to a client.” SRI specializes in identifying qualified professionals who can make an impact in the developmental process or distribution of a product. They interact with global corporations as well as private firms, and focus on building long-lasting relationships with corporations across the world.
Overall, Harrison wanted to stress to all Purdue students the importance of taking action and participating in the upcoming Career Week activities. “The job search for current graduates can be challenging, however by utilizing many of the powerful techniques taught in Career Week, one can learn how to transform oneself from being a job seeker to a sought after resource.” Edited by Maureen Corbett
In 2009, Kelly Ryan graduated from Purdue with a major in Law and Society and minors in Psychology and Forensic Science. Now, her average work day includes writing court reports, meeting with juveniles in office visits, and attending and testifying at court hearings as a juvenile probation officer for Tippecanoe County. Here, she gets the chance to work with young people and assist them in achieving their goals while still involving her interest in law.
While she was a student at Purdue, Kelly was involved in multiple activities that built her skills for the future. “I participated in intramural softball and worked out at Purdue’s Co-Rec. I think these activities helped me to manage my stress while in school. I also worked at Buffalo Wild Wings as a server. I think this was important to obtaining my position, as my employer was able to see that I could balance a high work load while at the same time being able to maintain a high GPA.” Kelly also completed an internship with Tippecanoe County that helped to guide her career decisions for the future. “I completed an internship with Tippecanoe County Community Corrections during which I assisted in supervising adults on home detention. I learned through this internship that I would prefer to work with juveniles. I think that the completion of an internship was an important factor in obtaining my position.”
After graduating from Purdue, Kelly applied for a position as a juvenile probation officer in Tippecanoe County. “After applying, I was given two interviews including a one-on-one interview with the Deputy Chief Juvenile Probation Officer and a group interview with the juvenile probation department. I was offered the position in July of 2009 and began working as an intake juvenile probation officer Thursday through Tuesday on third shift. In October of 2010, I transitioned to the position of a line officer working at the court house Monday through Friday.” Although she enjoys the chance to work with young people, her current position can also be challenging at times. “Juveniles and their parents are not always in agreement with my recommendations or the court’s orders. I explain my reasoning for my recommendations and advise that although they do not have to be in agreement with my recommendations, they will have to abide by the court orders.”
Through all of her experience in college, Kelly was proud to obtain a position right after graduation, and is happy to share advice with current Purdue students. “I would suggest that students begin to think about who they can obtain letters of recommendation from since this is a requirement of applying for most positions. I would also advise that students contact the place in which they would like to obtain an internship directly to see if there are any opportunities available. Not all employers have internship opportunities listed on their websites. I would also suggest that students complete multiple internships to increase their chances of gaining employment and also help them decide what career will fit them best. Additionally, it is important to know the background about the position and department/company/agency for which you are applying.” Edited by Teri Grimes
Brett R. Highley
As former Student Body President of Purdue you may recognize his name… and after graduating from Purdue in May of ’12, he hasn’t stopped being a Maker. Brett Highley was a member of several groups while here at Purdue that helped him to land his current position as a Governor’s Fellow with the Indiana State Government.
“I was active in the Liberal Arts Student Council, Purdue College Republicans, Old Masters, and Purdue Student Government, and I made an effort to take organizational leadership roles as I gained the necessary skills to do so. These organizations stretched my own abilities and grew my understanding of the fundamentals for successful and ethical leadership. My senior year I served as Student Body President within Purdue Student Government, which has been the single-most rewarding and challenging opportunity of my life.” In this position as Student Body President, he achieved some of the biggest accomplishments he is most proud of today. “I am most proud of our work within Purdue Student Government to successfully develop and advocate for the unanimous passage of the Indiana Lifeline Law in the 2012 session of the Indiana General Assembly. This was the end result of 13 months of persistent effort by students from several universities across the state. I am proud of these students for expressing a passion to address important problems facing their peers and for demonstrating the ability for students to develop ideas and form partnerships and strategies that succeed in an arena where failure is common or often expected.”
Shortly before Brett graduated, he accepted the fellowship with Governor Daniels’ office, but spent a few months in Washington, D.C. before his internship began completing a fifth internship. Luckily, Brett was able to start immediately in a busy work environment because of his many internship experiences. “I was a chronic intern, and there is no doubt that my internship experiences have led to my current job. I held four internships during my undergrad- one each in private business, local government, state government, and federal government- to supplement my academic coursework and gain a better understanding of my own interests. The skills and network I was able to develop during those opportunities were invaluable to me as a student in Liberal Arts.”
The Governor’s Fellowship is a one-year rotational program within the Governor’s Office and executive agencies in Indiana’s state government. Currently Brett is stationed within the Governor’s main office and assists on a variety of operational projects for media, constituent services, and policy directors. An average workday might include screening Indy news networks for stories referencing the Governor or state policies, assisting with a media availability or press conference, or attending a meeting or committee hearing to prepare a report for policy staff members. “The best part of my job is the access to Indiana’s key decision-makers. The fellowship program places an emphasis on providing opportunities to schedule meetings with state leaders in both government and business to discuss policy issues, leadership development, or anything else.”
Brett has already had great success as a Liberal Arts grad. He shares this powerful advice with Purdue student job seekers: “Never underestimate the power of student organizational involvement or internships. In a sea of competitive GPA’s, these two experiences give you an opportunity to differentiate yourself. Also, make a point to work on your professional networking skills. It did not come naturally to me at first, but I recognized the importance and several hundred awkward conversations later, I am a better (and more professionally marketable) person for it. There are many more “networking” opportunities on campus than you may think- keep in mind that you are attending one of the finest universities in the world, and statistically speaking there is most likely a future astronaut in your bio lab or a future CEO in your Econ 251 lecture. The network of relationships you construct and maintain now is a solid foundation for your future career. ” Edited by Teri Grimes
Mary Ann Conrad
On an average day of work as the Graphics Design Specialist for Gene B. Glick Co. my work day starts at 8:00 a.m. I usually start (with coffee in hand, of course) by answering my emails. On average I receive between 30 and 60 REAL emails (that need my attention) a day. First I tackle any emergencies that have been raised that day, and then I get to designing. I design stationary items, brochures, social media graphics, signs, banners, flyers and so much more. Of course, my whole day is not just a playground of CS programs. I do other work too. I spend a lot of time talking with my coworkers, clients and vendors about products, prices and of course, the design. I would say, at least half of my day is spent doing this alone. Overall though, my workday is consumed with color, type and creativity. I’m not going to lie, it is pretty great. Design work is what I have always dreamed of doing.
I got here by being the most determined person you have ever seen. The road was mostly rocky and always uphill, but that didn’t matter. I was going to be a graphic designer. I may sound overconfident and cocky, but I really think that attitude pushed me to never give up and to always do better. That mindset pushed me though college and once I graduated, it motivated me to find a job. After graduation I applied to 5-10 jobs a day while working 3rd shift 40 hours a week. It was not fun working all night and then trying to go to interviews during the day, but you do what you have to. I went to dozens of interviews and heard so many reasons for why I wasn’t “what they were looking for,” but I didn’t give up because I couldn’t. I was going to be a designer. I was job searching for 10 months before I got my first offer, but I didn’t take it. The same day I was offered a job with one company, I was offered an interview with another. I wanted the other job so much that I just went for it. Then, when I got that job, it just made it even more amazing.
My internship with LACD also helped me in my quest to becoming successful. LACD taught me time management, professional etiquette and how to own up to my mistakes. What interning for LACD really showed me was what it was like to work in the real world. I learned what I was like to work for a boss that needed things NOW. I learned that when there is a problem, it doesn’t matter how it got there. What matters is that you correct it. I learned what it meant to be the only designer in a meeting and how to speak in a way that others would understand me. Most importantly, I learned what kind of person I am, and what I am best at. Learning about myself through interning with LACD is what helped me turn down one job, so that I could interview and obtain another.
The best advice I can give to students is to seek jobs now. Go online and look for jobs now that you may want once you are graduated. You might not be able to apply now, but you can look at what companies are looking for. What characteristics do they want? What level of experience do they prefer? Do you need to have knowledge in things other than what your major classes are covering? There are classes, internships, clubs, part-time jobs, seminars, career convocations and all kinds of other resources you could be utilizing now to make yourself more attractive to employers latter. To those seeking jobs, get a job doing something, anything, and then keep looking. Employers like to hire people who already have jobs. Its better if the job has nothing to do with the job you really want, otherwise they may question your loyalty. Employers like people who move up not over. Edited by Teri Grimes
Even though it’s only the third week back to school, Assistant Director of Admissions, Tara Lannan is already busy traveling on behalf of Purdue University to talk to prospective students in 19 counties around Southeast Indiana. Tara graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of the Arts in Communication and a minor in Political Science. Although her position with Purdue keeps her busy, she is happy spending her time traveling and talking about a school that she is so passionate about and spreading a ‘brand’ that she believes in. As Assistant Director of Admissions, she always has a lot on her plate. “When I am in the office, I am in meetings with other staff members, planning trips to area schools for visits and college fairs, or learning all the admissions programs and computer applications. When I’m on the road, I visit schools, college fairs, and host several student programs. The days are busy and fly by!” Although she loves her position now, she didn’t start out there immediately after graduation. Her first post-grad position was working with a staffing company in Indianapolis, but got the chance to apply for another position through a friend working for Governor Daniels. “My friend told me that there was a chance that a position would be opening up. As soon as it did, I sent my resume! It was an opportunity I knew I couldn’t pass up. I was hired as the office’s Staff Assistant and later added on the title of Director of Awards and Recognition. It was 11 months of excitement. During my time in the Daniels administration I witnessed the Governor’s final state of the state address, saw the new Supreme Court Justices chosen, watched the new Secretary of State be selected, and tagged along on the Governor’s annual motorcycle ride. The most exciting day at work was when I got to watch the Governor become the President Elect of Purdue! I will never forget the day I got to welcome Governor Daniels into the Purdue family and I can’t wait for him to get to campus.”
Lannan believes her time spent networking in organizations like Pi Beta Phi, Panhellenic Association, and Purdue Student Government provided a great foundation for her professional career. “My advice is to meet as many people as you can and be as involved as you can be! Whether it be a fraternity or sorority, Old Masters, Water ski club, or the Reamer Club there are hundreds of groups to be a part of. There are countless opportunities on campus and you never know how the contacts you have made will benefit you. They may be lifelong friends from your sorority, help you get a job down the road, or teach you something about yourself you never knew. I am so lucky to have been a part of the organizations I was involved with during my time here. They have had a significant role in my life already and I am excited to see where they take me along the rest of my career.” Edited by Teri Grimes
A year ago, if you had told Alex Irby that he would be working for one of the biggest rent a car companies in the country, he would have called you crazy. Alex, a May 2012 graduate with a degree in Sociology, is currently working for Enterprise as a management trainee in their management-training program.
Before graduation Alex didn’t see himself working for a company such as Enterprise. “Coming from Purdue, I didn’t think renting cars would be my first gig out of college. Come on, Enterprise? That company with the corny commercials from the 90’s?” Alex saw his dream job working with technology in some way for companies such as Google or Apple, or even working hard at the front office of a professional sports team in the NBA. Yet, when the time came to find work he found himself applying for Enterprise’s management program, and receiving a call back that same day.
Even after he received the opportunity to work for this highly competitive company, which hires more college graduates than any other company in the country and is the only entry-level sales job with a four-step interview process, he was uneasy. “After putting my pride aside and going through training I still felt I settled a bit and thought I would only be here for a quick six months until I found another job.”
But after his first month he found himself realizing the amazing opportunity he had with this company. “I realized running your own branch of a corporation is like running your own business.” From learning to keep his poise in any situation, to breaking down how his sales numbers affected branch performance, he was seeing that his training would teach him the skills necessary for whatever the future might hold.
Now Alex is very happy to be where he is, and is ecstatic to be learning so much. For him, this is one of the best things about his job. That, and the team of people that he works with every day, “The people I work with are the ones who let me know the real story about working with Enterprise, that this job will get me anywhere I will want to go.”
Although this may not have been where he pictured himself, Alex is glad that he is where he is, and is using this opportunity to its full advantage, “Your first job is not the end all be all of your life; it’s a starting point and the most important thing you can obtain right now is good training; don’t worry too much about your major just fight for your shot and as long as you have the swag for what you want to do you’re going to find your way into it with enough hard work.”
The field of Public Relations can be a hectic one, where accommodating clients is no easy task and responding quickly to customer demand is essential. However, if you are anything like Elvina Wijaya you openly welcome such a challenge. Through her persistence and hardworking attitude she has been able to excel in her career and keep up in the fast-paced environment of PR.
Since she graduated from Purdue in 2009, Elvina has held PR positions with three different companies. “Moving from one agency to another had increased my knowledge of how every agency has its unique way to handle their clients,” Elvina says. Her current position has taken her to Jakarta, Indonesia working for the PR firm Fleishman-Hillard. An average day consists of everything from building relationships with the media, to pitching events and monitoring current news stories related to her clients. “Drafting invitations and press releases is one of my favorite parts in the job, since most of the media writes the news based on our press releases. I am also currently learning to make proposals for new businesses.”
During her years as a Purdue undergrad, Elvina was an active member of PRSSA. She strongly believes that her participation in this organization led to her successful career today. For students who wish to follow in Elvina’s footsteps, she recommends that they remain fearless when chasing their dreams. “Do not be afraid to apply for any public relations internship. Learn as much as you can during the internship.” Elvina recognizes the competitive elements in the PR world, and wants to stress to students the importance of persistence. “Even if the company that you applied for hasn’t given you an answer, you need to keep a positive attitude and keep following up with your application. A hardworking attitude is a must.”
As a young, new employee at a large corporation, Elvina’s job is not without its challenges, but she has proven that being motivated and taking initiative allows anyone to have a successful career. “I had a hard time adjusting to the work culture as well as its fast-paced environment. But as time went by, the experience helped me become a better PR consultant at Fleishman-Hillard. My positive attitude, persistency, and hard-working attitude helped me through all the hard times and made me stronger.”
If you want the kind of job where every day is always different, you might consider talking to Ken Armstrong about what he does for a living. As an investigative reporter for the Seattle Times, no two days are the same for Ken. An average day can consist of anything from conducting interviews to hunting down documents, or drafting an article about any number of criminal-justice issues. This is the feature that Ken likes most about his job. “Journalists tend to be drawn to the job’s variety – and the allure of knowing that each day could break any which way.”
Ken has had an extremely successful career as a journalist, allowing him to travel all over the country. He has worked in New York City, Chicago, California, Colorado, Idaho, Seattle, Virginia, New Jersey, and even Alaska. His various writings have created a huge impact, including helping to bring about new laws regarding criminal justice, regulations for lawyers, courthouse transparency, and healthcare. One of his personally regarded greatest achievements was when he participated in an investigative series that lead to help free innocent men from Death Row, as well as instigated a moratorium on executions. In addition to these successes, he is also a winner of the John Chancellor Award from Columbia University for lifetime achievement and a two time winner of the George Polk Award.
For Ken, one of the greatest perks of being a journalist is the opportunity to work with a variety of different people he otherwise wouldn’t have the chance to interact with. The opportunity to write something meaningful about these people makes his job worthwhile. “I love experimenting with the different ways of telling a good story, and long-form narrative allows you to stretch your writing muscles.” Ken firmly believes that his job at the Seattle Times is having an impact on the world. “To me, the best part of the job is doing stories that make a difference. Through our work, we’re given the chance to right wrongs. When we succeed, the results can be anything from legislative reforms to innocent people going free.”
Ken never originally thought he wanted to be a reporter when he was a student at Purdue, but the time he spent working for the Exponent helped him discover his passion for journalism. “I owe the Exponent more than I could ever repay. I learned teamwork, and how to deal with stress, and to balance possibilities with responsibilities,” Ken says. “I found a calling – and had fun along the way.”
To those looking to follow in Ken’s footsteps, he recommends that you begin by broadening your skills. He believes that in today’s world, “being a generalist isn’t enough. Develop expertise in subjects that can set you apart. Find something that fascinates you – and would likely intimidate others.” He also stressed the importance of having a curious nature and a thick skin to help be successful in this industry. But most importantly, have fun with your job, and never stop learning ways in which you could improve it. “There are so many ways to tell a story,” Ken says. “Learn as many of them as you can.”
Many students have been involved in the study abroad program at Purdue, but few have been impacted by the country they visited enough to make it their permanent home. Allyson Zan, a May 2010 graduate of Purdue, studied abroad in Paris, France and later called the city her home. “I felt at home in Paris and came to the understanding that this was the place I wanted to be and where I wanted to begin my professional career.” With a major in Political Science and minors in French, History and African American Studies, Allyson was prepared for the challenge of working abroad.
Upon graduation, Allyson moved to Paris to teach English in the French public school system. She worked in a suburb of Paris called Livry-Gargan with children ages 7-11. Paris had always been a dream of Allyson’s ever since she studied abroad. Even in her days at Purdue she would often tell fellow students about how she was going to work there when she graduated. It is commonly perceived that applying to work in a foreign country required an extensive application process, but Allyson proves this is not the case. “For my program, in particular, I filled out an application, wrote a cover letter in French as well as sending both professional and academic letters of reference.” The only challenging aspect of the process for Allyson was choosing the location she wanted to work in.
While working abroad, Allyson experienced many rewarding aspects. There was an opportunity for personal and professional development and honing of valuable skills and traits that come from working professionally in a foreign setting. Along with gaining professional skills, Allyson also experienced a very different work environment from America. French employees recieve different benefits from the government than Americans. For example, French employees have much longer vacations, different working hours, and social benefits provided by the government. “The bureaucratic areas of France differ greatly from the normal business practices as I have seen in America.”
All of the amazing experiences that Allyson had were made possible through the Purdue study abroad program. Her time in Paris, France influenced Allyson’s decision to work and live abroad. During her time there, she became familar with Paris and the differences in French culture. “I would recommend studying abroad 110% and beliete that each student can broaden his/her world perception and cultural understanding through such an experience.” She encourages students to take full advantage of the amazing opportunities that the study abroad program has to offer. The variety of programs allows students to travel to places that most only read about in books.
For the students that want to work abroad like Allyson, the best advice she can offer is to participate in the study abroad program. “I believe that studying abroad is the perfect route to take for discovering oneself and developing independence.” Both of these traits are important to posess if one wishes to work abroad and can be obtained by being a part of the study abroad program. Working in a foreign country is an exciting and new experience, and with hard work and a love of travel, it is possible for any student.
There is never a dull moment in the life of Devin DeToro. Whether she’s making sure the advertisments are running correctly or working with sponsorships for concerts, her job as the National Sales Assistant at CBS Radio is always exciting. “One of the best parts of my job is getting to work with every department. I get to do everything with the clients, from on-air endorsements to promotional campaigns.” An alumna of Purdue University, she graduated with a degree in Sociology in May 2008.
Radio wasn’t always the path that Devin wanted to take, though. Growing up she knew that she wanted to do something on the creative side, specifically art school. However, her future goals changed when her family moved from Washington, D.C. to Indiana. “I got a part time internship at a locak radio station my senior year of high school. My time there was really what sparked my interest in radio.” Devin was able to work for Artistic Media Partners radio stations, including WAZY, while she was attending Purdue, allowing her to gain even more experience in the field.
In addition to working at WAZY, Devin also founded the Purdue Underground Concert Committee. Her radio station experiences sparked a desire to bring more shows and concerts to Purdue’s campus. Together with friends who shared her passion, the Purdue Underground Concert Committee was created. “We mainly booked small, local bands but every year we would have a big Grand Prix concert that featured a bigger-name band. One year we partnered with Cary Quad and had Gym Class Heroes perform.”
Working with big-name bands and artists in college was only the beginning of Devin’s career. At CBS Radio, Devin has been in close contact
with a number of celebrities, from Justin Bieber to Katy Perry. “Working around celebrities makes the job interesting. People think that we only have the “big stars” on our shows, but a lot of the times
we get the up-and-coming stars too.” Watching the singers grow to star potential is one of the many things Devin loves about her job.
However, getting this dream job wasn’t easy. Devin had a number of internships and was highly involved on campus. “People notice your hard work. I know that most students don’t want to do an unpaid internship, but if you’re passionate about your field, it will show in your work.” Devin believes that college is the best time to get involved and gain those experiences that you will need in your future career. Hard work is notices and appreciated so don’t be afraid to get involved and take advantage of every opportunity presented in your college years.
You could say that Dan Meisner was a little late to the game when it comes to theatre, but by the success he’s seen at such a young age you would think he had been doing it his whole life.
“I didn’t become serious about theatre until my sophomore year of college,” said Dan, Co-founder and Artistic Executive Director of Ka-Tet Theatre Company and Purdue alum. “I was undeclared my Freshman year, and really didn’t know if it was something I could make a go at until I did some soul searching and decided that this was it.”
Dan’s situation was not unlike that of many other Purdue students. Unsure of what path was best suited for him, Dan took advantage of the educational and acting opportunities that were offered. Acting in around a dozen shows while at Purdue and working with countless theatrical influences, he found that these opportunities were what helped him determine what path that was.
“As an undergrad, I also had the opportunity to share the stage with many talented graduate students who acted as great mentors and teachers,” he said.
“I can also say there was a great support base with all of the professors at Purdue. The culture is one that is nurturing if you are willing to put in the time and effort. In a way that type of mentality helped to prepare me for what was ahead after the collegiate leap.”
And prepared he certainly was. A 2007 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in acting, Dan wasted no time in launching his successful career by cofounding Chicago-based theater company Ka-Tet in 2008.
“The name Ka-Tet is also an interesting choice no?” Dan admits. “It’s a fictional term taken from Steven King’s Dark Tower series. It means a group of people brought together by fate to achieve a common goal. We thought it fit the style of theatre we wanted to convey.”
Because of the importance of his dual roles with Ka-Tet, Dan’s responsibilities are endless. From reading scripts, setting up meetings with potential venues, managing budgets, working with designers, coordinating schedules, and several more duties he mentioned, there is very little that Dan doesn’t do.
“This list could honestly continue for an entire page,” he said. “On top of all that I’ve also acted in 3 out of our 4 productions.”
While Dan’s work is demanding, he also finds the rewards are well worth it.
“Store front theater is intimate,” he said. “It’s an experience that you can’t find downtown at the bigger houses. That, I believe, is the most rewarding part of the work we strive to create. Seeing a Ka-Tet show should be moving. One in which the production values, and storytelling will immerse you, and really make you have an experience rather than just a night of entertainment. When that level of artistic expression is achieved then we have done our jobs as storytellers. And that, is certainly most enjoyable.”
The best advice Dan can give to those who plan to pursue a career in theatre is to be realistic. The industry is tough, and a thick skin and patience are key to succeeding.
“My advice is specifically aimed at the bright eyed actor types … I think it is important to dive in when you have that drive and motivation. Waiting to do it will sometimes make you second guess yourself. If you heed one piece of advice from my response then it should be this; be unabashedly bold. Dream big, but be realistic about it at the same time.”
To learn more about Ka-Tet Theatre please feel free to visit us online at www.katettheatre.org
Like many incoming freshman, Ryan Munden, a Purdue graduate and local attorney, was unsure what career path he wanted to take. “As a kid I had the typical aspirations,” he said. “I was going to be a race car driver one day and the next week I wanted to be a brain surgeon. I think I even remember wanting to be a crime scene investigator at one point (prior to CSI television shows)”
In high school, Munden participated in multiple internship and volunteer opportunities where he was introduced to the legal profession, working for judges and attorneys. “The very first task that I was assigned by one of the judges in Henry County was to clean up old files in the basement of the courthouse,” he said. “I guess you could say that I literally worked my way up from the very bottom.”
But coming from a line of dentists, Munden also entertained the idea of following in the footsteps of his family members. Ultimately, it was his attraction to the authority and “get things done” attitude of legal professionals that inspired him to pursue a career in law, and he had multiple influences here at Purdue who helped him achieve that goal. “I encountered a number of influential people when I was at Purdue, but the two that stand above the crowd in my mind were Jan Cortner and JoAnn Miller,” Munden said.
Cortner, his academic advisor, was continually encouraging him to challenge himself. When he would approach her with his plan for the next semester, she would present a plan of her own, consisting of additional majors and minors, more credit hours, an honors program, internships, and more. The influence of Miller on Munden came about in a much different way, but still made an impact. “I can’t remember the first class of hers that I took, but I remember us butting heads very early on. She was one of my first experiences with an extremely demanding professor.”
But even as a self-proclaimed “excruciatingly-stubborn college kid,” Munden had a great amount of respect for Dr. Miller and the expectations she had of him and the rest of her students. Munden went on to take several more of her classes, TA for her for one semester, and was even able to have her supervise two of his internships while a student at Purdue.
Munden graduated Purdue with a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 2007, and then attended Indiana University School of Law. After working for in-house counsel at Firestone in Indianapolis, Munden returned to Purdue and now works for the corporate law firm of Reiling Teder & Schrier in Lafayette, splitting his time between litigation and transactions.
Sociology may seem like an odd launching point for a career in law, but Munden found that his curriculum at Purdue translated very easily to the work he does today. “The benefit of the classes I took as a sociology major is that it gave me such a broad background and I had to learn to adapt on the turn of a dime to different types of information,” Munden explained. “On a given day I might go from a sociology of law class to an entomology lab … and finish my day with philosophy. … I come into my office now and in a single day may review an employment contract, prepare a stock purchase agreement, take a phone call regarding a loan modification, go to court for a hearing related to a breach of contract, and finish the day writing a research memo on an issue related to civil procedure.”
After multiple internships in law, working as a Dean’s Ambassador for four years on campus, attending law school, and holding multiple positions post-graduation, it’s safe to say that Munden knows a thing or two about the legal profession. His advice for those pursuing a career in law: experience! “… get as much experience as you can ANYWHERE you can; even if it is digging through old files in the basement of a courthouse. You would be amazed at how much you pick up just by being around a profession. I learned as much if not more during my internships as I did in my law school classes. Your internships and experience are what will set you apart.”
Kate Bouwens translated her strong communications skills into a Professional Writing degree and is now working at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Kate, like many other students, came to college unsure of how to translate her strengths into a major. After a chance meeting with the mother of a Professional Writing major, Kate’s father suggested that she look into the Professional Writing program at Purdue. A gifted communicator, Kate quickly found her place within the major. She enjoyed the versatility of it. Kate comments, “I firmly believe that PW students can do great work in any industry.”
Kate explored that versatility through internships that she held as an undergraduate. Working as an intern at the Purdue Writing Lab, the Lafayette Crisis Center, and Customs and Border Protection, Kate learned the value of gaining experience before graduation. When asked what advice she had for current students, Kate said, “I’d tell undergraduates: GET AN INTERNSHIP!” Why take her advice? One of Kate’s internships led to her landing the amazing position she now holds after graduation.
Customs and Border Protection was so impressed with Kate’s hard work that they offered her a position at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Kate now works reporting to the Department’s headquarters in Washington D.C. Her work directly effects the budget of the department where she is required to work with Project Managers to efficiently procure the right information.
Kate says that networking is just as important as internships to her professional development. “Networking is the absolute best way to get what you want. Informational interviews are a great way to get your foot in the door of a company and get noticed.”
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