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Explain your career path
In Graduate School I studied Public Administration. As part of my requirements for Grad School, I was required to complete an internship. In the summer of 2017, I landed an internship with a nonprofit organization in the city of St. Louis called Downtown STL, Inc. I was the marketing intern for the summer. Towards the end of my internship, I was offered a full-time position as the Marketing Associate for the organization. This was a wonderful start for me as I was finishing up my Masters. The position allowed me to use both of my degrees. In undergrad, I majored in Corporate Communications and my Masters was in Public Administration. Doing marketing for a nonprofit allowed me to gain experience in both areas of study.
The Marketing Associate position allowed me to take what I had learned in the classroom and apply the content to everyday life. My job tasks were very wide in range, which exposed me to a variety of challenges and obstacles. I managed 6 separate social media accounts across various platforms. I helped create a series of events targeted at interns in the St. Louis region as a talent recruitment and retention tactic. I planned, promoted, and managed various events that our organization puts on, including a very popular summer time concert series in Downtown.
I held this title from September 2017 when I was hired until August of 2018. The Marketing Associate position had such a wide range of tasks, which I enjoyed. In August 2018 I was promoted to Marketing & Communications Manager, where I continue many of the same tasks and job duties as I did in the past, but I also take on more responsibility. I now oversee the organization's outsourced marketing and work with our agency of choice on making sure all of the organizations marketing and messaging needs are accounted for.
What was your major at Southeast and what led you to that?
I graduated in 2015 with my liberal arts degree. I majored in Corporate Communications and minored in Integrated Marketing. I wasn't sure what I wanted to do beyond graduation and I felt this particular major allowed me to develop a very wide range of skills that I would be able to use in a wide spectrum of industries. Verbal and written communication is applicable in just about every field and it was certainly an area I wanted to grow in.
After graduation, in 2015, I accepted a Graduate Assistant at Southeast as the Graduate Hall Director for Greek Housing. I studied Public Administration and in 2017 I graduated with my Masters. Not knowing what career path I wanted to take, the additional 2 years studying Public Administration and working as a Grad Assistant helped me develop my skills even further before entering the workforce.
Why did you choose to attend Southeast?
I chose to attend Southeast because it was the perfect size campus for me and it was extremely affordable. My first impression was that the campus was very beautiful and lively. It seemed like there was a lot going on when I visited and the energy was positive. I had no doubt it was the right school for me.
Who influenced you most during your time at Southeast?
I have had several wonderful mentors throughout my time at Southeast. College is a time where people develop so many life skills. The people who are there to influence you, for better or for worse, really do shape you as an adult.
Dr. Bruce Skinner has been one of the most influential mentors in my young adult life. I met Bruce on my very first day of classes, in my very first class at Southeast. He was teaching the UI100 course to first year students. Initially, I was not a fan of him and did not look forward to having him as a teacher. I've told him this before, but I thought he was mean and intimidating. As the semester went on I quickly realized that nobody cares more about students and the experience they have at Southeast than Dr. Bruce Skinner. As the then Director of Residence Life, he wanted (and still wants) every student to leave Southeast with a positive, campus and educational experience. Bruce taught me that the biggest part of learning is challenging yourself and your thinking. Bruce pushes students to see the best in themselves and to take on new experiences. I benefited in many areas of my life from Bruce as our relationship developed on campus over the next 6 years. Today, I still consider Bruce a mentor, but I also fortunate to call him my friend.
Share your best college memory.
My best college memory was my involvement in Greek Life. I joined the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity my freshman year. I developed some of my closest friends and had some very positive experiences throughout my time in the Southeast Greek system. I enjoyed the leadership opportunities it presented to me, such as being the President and the Resident Assistant of my chapter. Even in Grad School I oversaw all of the Greek Housing as the Grad Hall Director.
An interesting thing about the Southeast Greek system is that I was able to develop relationships with many men and women from other Greek organizations. Working in the real world, I've come across many young professionals like myself who I met in college. There really is a special connection there. Whether our organizations were competing or collaborating, there is definitely a connection that many of us carry beyond graduating.
What is the most important thing you learned while you were at Southeast?
Relationships are the most important thing in the world. How you treat people and how you carry yourself can have a tremendous impact on your success. As a young professional, the little success that I have had in my career have come because of the relationships that I've worked to develop. I learned this very early on at Southeast by getting involved in activities outside of the classroom and working with a very wide range of students.
Describe Southeast in three words.
Best Missouri School
What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
My greatest professional accomplishment is definitely the intern programs that we've started in St. Louis. These events are something I took the lead on as an intern and continues to be part of my job. We call the program "STL Connects" and we invite interns from all over the St. Louis region to attend. We solicit sponsorships from local Downtown restaurants and microbreweries to give the interns a taste of the Downtown St. Louis market. Our programming is focused on things to do in Downtown. Our goal is to expose interns, who come from all over the country and all over the world, to the St. Louis amenities so they might consider St. Louis as a place to live and work after they finish school. The programs have had very large turnouts and has been well received by the business community. It was exciting for me because as someone who just graduated, I can still relate to the college students.
How did your education at Southeast prepare you for what you are doing today?
My education at Southeast, both undergrad and Graduate school, certainly prepared me with the tools to find success in the workplace. I do believe it was, however, the experiences outside of the classroom that truly prepared me for the real world. The competitive nature that lives within Greek Life, my interpersonal experiences I gained from being a Resident Assistant, my exposure to diversity as a Student Government Senator are what give me the best chance to succeed in the workplace.
What advice would you give current students or recent graduates interested in pursuing a career in your professional field?
Get as much experience wherever or however you can. Many people worry too much about money right out of school and they are miserable. I believe that if you work hard and become the best you can be, the money will come. I've had a lot of friends bounce around jobs and struggle to be happy because they are too worry too much about the money. It's a marathon, not a sprint. Of course if you can make the money, then MAKE THE MONEY!
What do you wish you had known before graduating and entering the "real world"?
I wish I knew how little I actually know. Learning is not something that stops once you graduate. In order to find success, learning must constantly happen. I sometimes feel that I am more of a student now that I'm working then when I was sitting in the classroom.