Ready to get inspired for your job, internship, or career search? Each month we will spotlight an OSU student that has inspired us when it comes to their career development. Check out their success stories—besides inspiration, they also show that academic major does not have to restrict your goals and that there are many ways to define success.
Want to nominate an OSU student or alum for the Student/Alum Spotlight series? Or do you want to share your own success? Then please fill out this quick form and Career Services will contact the person nominated.
Major: Masters of Education in College Student Services Administration
Year you graduated: 2013
Company: Coordinator for Orientation Programs at Portland State University
Tell us about yourself (include major, career goals/aspirations, etc.)
I have my bachelors of art in American Sign Language and English Interpreting from Western Oregon University. While at WOU, I was heavily involved with Orientation Programs, Service Learning, Career Development, and student leadership. From these experiences, I learned I loved Higher Education, particularly Student Affairs. After searching nationwide for a master’s program, I decided on staying in Oregon and am currently in my second year of the Masters of Education in College Student Services Administration program. I prefer to dream big when it comes to my career goals/aspirations, particularly within Student Affairs, I would love to someday be a president of a small liberal arts institution or a dean of student life. Until then, I want to be in Orientation and first year programs because of the energy and variety of students and family members we have the opportunity to interact with consistently.
How did you land your dream job (Coordinator) in New Student Programs at PSU?
How did I land… Well, personally it was all of the experiences I had leading up to such a wonderful opportunity. After my first year as an Orientation leader at WOU, I knew that is something I wanted to do in my life at some point. So from there on out, I kept thinking what things would I enjoy doing and what would prepare me to get a position in New Student Programs (at any institution). In addition, the people I have met. I have had the pleasure to work with, and have been mentors with me since I realized I wanted to work in New Student Programs. I can HONESTLY say have been the number 1 reason I landed this job. They taught me the ins and outs of the field, provided me opportunities of growth, supported me in every aspect of my experiences, and helped me network around the nation in Student Affairs.
What advice do you have for others who are preparing for their job search or career?
Take your time and enjoy the process. I know there are a lot of people who just want to apply to a lot of jobs and hear back as soon as possible, because finding a job upon graduation can be stressful and daunting. But allow yourself time to create your resume, time to find references and discuss the job itself with your references, set up mock interviews, have your friends/family/former employers/mentors look over your resume, cover letter, and other aspects of your application. The more eyes you have on your materials, the better they will become. Allowing time to create the best application and prepare for the best interview you can give, the more relaxed and confident you will feel in the end.
Did Career Services assist you anyway? If so, how?
Yes! I had worked in Career Services for 4 years prior to coming to OSU, and I thought “oh I don’t need a mock interview, resume help, etc.”. I still set up an appointment to have a mock interview JUST in case. It really helped me begin to rethink all of my experiences, convey my experiences that were applicable to the job, and just become used to “talking about m myself” again (something no one really enjoys doing)! In addition to my mock interview, the career counselor (Marian), knew my first interview was a phone interview. She sent me helpful tips and ideas to help me prepare for a phone interview as well, which was really helpful since phone interviews and in-person interviews can be very different.
Thanks Marcella for being our Student /Alumni Spotlight! If you are interested in learning more about interviewing, there are many resources available to you on the OSU Career Services website.