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.

Name: Marcella FlorezMarcella Flores _POlk County Itemizer Photo (2)

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.

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.

Name: Nick Reed

Nick Reed

Major: Business Administration (options in Management and International Business)

Year you graduated: 2010

Company: Adaugeo Healthcare Solutions

1.      How did you find out about your job?

I attended the fall career fair as an alumnus in November 2012. I spent nearly the entire day interacting with potential employers, including the company that I now work for.

2.      What do you do in your position?

I manage our company’s medical laboratory operations in central Oregon, work on projects on the clinical side of the company, as well as train in clinic management.

3.      What advice do you have for others interested in finding a job?

First I would encourage persistence and patience. In the span of 6 months I went from being the one applying for jobs, to the person responsible for hiring. If there is one thing that both helped me get into my current position and continues to help me find qualified candidates for positions that I have open, it is the persistence of the candidate. It shows that you want the position you have applied for. It also keeps your name in the forefront of the hiring managers’ mind, versus being buried by busy days. Second is requiring professionalism from yourself. This encompasses many different areas of your life and job search including, how you dress, what your social media reflects, how you speak to potential employers, your resume, cover letter, and letters of recommendations. Finally be open to new ideas of what your career could look like. You may find difficulty getting your dream job directly out of school, so be prepared and open to look for jobs that can help you build your resume and work towards your dream job.

4.      Did Career Services or anybody else assist you with your career development? If so, how?

I received assistance from career services. I had help with career guidance, resume editing and my job search.

Thanks Nick  for being our Student/Alum Spotlight! If you are interested in learning more about Career Fair,  there are many resources available to you on the OSU Career Services website.  Here is also a great link to help you prepare for the fair.

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.

jessicaName:  Jessica Hua
Major: Public Health & International Studies
Year in school: Junior
Internship: South Africa: Pre-Med Rotations

1.        How did you find out about the internship?
It has always been a dream of mine to go to Africa to volunteer and now, I’ve been given the amazing opportunity to serve as an intern with Child Health Family International and IE3 Global Internships.  I discovered this internship primarily through a career fair last winter while visiting IE3 Global Internship’s booth.  There, the representatives gave me pamphlets and flyers leading me to further resources online, which all helped me find the program I was passionate about.

2.        What will you be doing in your position?
Within this internship, I will be traveling to both Durban and Cape Town.  Starting off in Durban, I will be working on community development projects to identify the post-apartheid public healthcare system revolving around HIV/AIDS, environmental health, and other underlying causes.  In Cape Town, I’ll be rotating through various clinics, hospitals, and emergency services to shadow health professionals to follow patients through their treatments while observing the healthcare team.

3.        What advice do you have for others interested in finding an internship?
The best advice I have for others trying to find an internship is to not be afraid to ask for help or fail.  I wouldn’t be anywhere today if I didn’t reach out to others for help, whether it be to ask for a second opinion, for a reference letter, or to find out more about a program.  Everyone genuinely wants to see you succeed and will help in any way they can.  Besides, the worst thing that someone can say is that they don’t have the time to help, which in that case you just continue to ask others for help- which leads me to say that we can’t be afraid of failure.  It has always been one of my biggest fears but without failure also means we do not learn because we have nothing to build upon.  I’ve looked and applied to internships before this and have been denied positions.  Despite the feelings of disappointment I had felt, failure works to our advantage because success will come to us at the right time through hard work and determination.

4.        Did Career Services assist you anyway? If so, how?
Career Services played such a big role in helping me get this internship!  Right from the beginning, they were already helping me with this internship because they are the ones who host career fairs.  Following that, the internship application required a resume and cover letter so my friend had suggested me to visit Career Services because they are a great resource to proofread those kinds of papers.  I had never gone to Career Services before but the process in setting up an appointment was very easy through Beaver JobNet.  There, I met with Jen and she was an amazing help in making my resume and cover letter the best that it can be.  I was a little shocked at first when she scratched up my initial resume, which I thought was pretty decent, but it looks so much better now.  Jen was really great in her willingness to help someone she just met; she was friendly, welcoming, and genuinely wanted to hear the goals I had accomplished which I included in my resume.  She was flexible with my constant emails after our initial meeting to read over the many “final” drafts and offered me advice on how to keep improving my speech.  I couldn’t have done it without Jen; Career Services was definitely a very big factor in my internship process and I am very glad that I went in to see them.

Thanks Jessica for being our Student/Alum Spotlight! If you are interested in learning more about internships,  there are many resources available to you on the OSU Career Services website. You can also find out about International Internship opportunities through IE3!

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.

JainaName: Jaina McGregor
Major: Business Information Systems, Finance, and Management (triple major)
Year in School: Senior

1. While a student at OSU, what have you done so far to gain experience?
Now that I look back on my time at OSU, I’ve come to realize that I’ve actually done quite a lot to gain experience. Maybe it’s because of my interest in three different areas of business and wanting to broaden my horizons with each or just a natural curiosity and desire to learn new things. Either way, each time I tried something new, I learned something more about what I wanted to do, how I could get there, and who I ultimately want to be as a person.
When I first came to OSU, I really wanted a “college experience” so I became involved in anything I could that would bring me in to the OSU community. My very first term on campus, I became an ASOSU intern even though I was never really interested in student government or politics or anything like that. I’m really glad I joined, though, because I was exposed to a whole different side of campus and got to work with a broad variety of really amazing people. It also didn’t take me long to figure out that I could spend my entire time there (a year) without ever touching student government, but could focus my time on working with various task forces to help make the OSU campus a better place to be. Working with ASOSU allowed me to build connections across campus, get to know people in various departments, and even led to the founding of a club where I was able to stretch my leadership legs for the first time.
I also sought out other opportunities to gain more knowledge about the field I was going into by looking around for various tech-related clubs and organizations on campus. It was then that I discovered a club for women in engineering, so as a way of trying it out, I joined the listserv. The listserv sent around a scholarship announcement to attend a conference I’d never heard of before for women in technology up in Portland called the Grace Hopper Celebration. Getting the scholarship was a long shot because I didn’t have the GPA stipulated in the requirements, but I applied anyway and was fortunate enough to be chosen. The conference was an amazing three-day event where EECS transported us by bus to and from the convention center, provided us with meals, and put us up in a hotel near the event. I was able to attend workshops, speaker events, panels, and a career fair where my timid and shy self managed to build up the courage to strike up a conversation with a very nice lady from IBM. Little did I know that I was having a conversation with a director of a department who was only watching the booth for a few minutes and that this very same director would offer me a 6-month long internship without even an interview with one of the teams she oversaw back east two weeks after the conference. Realizing that this moment only happened because of my courage to challenge myself and step out of my comfort zone, I have done what I can ever since to keep up that momentum.
Since attending that conference, I have gradually gained more and more confidence with talking to strangers and, the even more terrifying, potential recruiters. One way that I helped to build my confidence was to expose myself to as many opportunities to practice as possible by attending mock interviews, volunteering to be the speaker for class presentations, and any other opportunity where I could practice talking with or to people that I didn’t know. I remember that there was an event at the alumni center that had a speed-dating type interview where you only had a few minutes to talk before you would get feedback from each interviewer. I was completely unprepared for anything because I wasn’t feeling very well and had completely forgotten about this particular component of the event. But it was during this speed-dating interview session that I discovered what my real passions are because I was “shooting from the hip”, completely unfiltered and unrehearsed because it didn’t really matter so there was nothing to lose with really letting go and just telling it like it is. I received incredibly positive feedback from each interviewer because I showed sincerity, passion, and eloquence without stuttering or sounding rehearsed. Since then, I have treated each interview (whether mock or real) the exact same way: showing sincerity and enthusiasm by being genuine and unrehearsed.

2. What are your career plans?
Since I’m such a planner-type personality, I actually have two different “categories” of my career plans: immediate and life-long. My immediate career plans include an internship with The Walt Disney Company back in my hometown of Los Angeles at their corporate office. I’d been solicited by a recruiter who had seen my experience with my on-campus jobs at both the Bexell Computer Lab and Business Solutions Group. It was the help desk experience that really interested her, though, as the position entails communicating technical information to non-technical people. I used to think that my jobs on campus didn’t really count or matter because they weren’t classified as an “internship” but I’m really grateful for that experience now and wish that I had thought of it as a type of internship a long time ago because recruiters don’t see a difference, it’s all about experience, not location.
After graduation, I’m looking to get started in an IT discipline since my primary major is information systems. I’ve also started taking classes from Harvard University toward their graduate program in IT so that I can add to my knowledge base to make myself a bit more marketable and broaden my knowledge of IT. The plan for graduate school also ties into my life-long career goal of pursuing upper-management within a large company. I never thought that I would have the courage to pursue such a lofty goal, but with the experience and encouragement that I have received from the different outlets I’ve pursued as well as the gift from my mentor of confidence in myself at a time when I had the biggest case of impostor syndrome on the planet, I’m able to reach heights I never dreamed possible.

3. What advice do you have for others who are preparing for their job or internship search?
Do your homework by researching companies, practice interviewing, and constantly improve your resume. One of the best things I did while at OSU was take a class required for business majors called Professional Development. In this class I had to create a Gap Analysis which consisted of evaluating your current skills and abilities to that of a job you want to pursue. It gave me a way to create a course of action that would lead me to my dream job. I also found that it really helps when you find a job that you’re passionate about, you create an incentive for yourself, a way to motivate the job search. And with the analysis, you would know what kinds of internships to target instead of just taking the shotgun approach of applying to as many things as possible and hoping something sticks. What’s the point of getting an internship that doesn’t provide you with the ability to gain experience in a career field that you are interested in pursuing? It’s better to take your time (and yes, this will take a lot of time) to find the right kinds of internships to apply for and tailor your resume and cover letter to that role. I also used Linkedin to find connections that work in a company I’m interested in working and starting to build a relationship with them by having an informational interview. It’s as simple as having a conversation about what they do every day. I’ve had tremendous success with this and even had the guts to try and connect with people whom I’ve never met. You’d be surprised at how many people are willing to help out a student who shows an interest in them and is professional in how they interact.

4. Did Career Services and/or anybody else assist you with your career development and preparing you for an internship or job? If so, how?
When I first came to campus, I knew my entire purpose for coming to college was to graduate and get a job so I made an appointment with Career Services fairly early on in my academic career. I wanted to make sure that every step I took while in school was leading me to that goal. I took several assessments of my personality and skills, learning more about myself and what I wanted in the process. I think those assessments really flipped a switch in me to constantly improve. I always found ways to better myself, never really being satisfied with anything I created no matter whether it was a resume, a Linkedin profile, a personal website, etc. I always found something that could be tweaked or improved in some way. I still do this even with offers for internships, I’m just constantly trying to improve.
But what really comes to mind when I think of career development is that I’ve had the benefit of working with two really great instructors on campus, Gene Young and Bob Mayes. Gene taught my BA 353 class and I’m better off for taking it with him. He rips you apart, but it’s obvious that he cares about each student’s success. It’s almost like he has to rip away all the bad habits in order to create a better, more refined person. I had some work experience and have had a few interviews so I felt that I was fairly professional already (especially because this was after landing an offer from IBM without an interview, I felt like the top of the professional world!) but this man humbled me. He gave me new tips and insights I hadn’t heard before and boy do they work. I’ve had even greater success since taking his class and I attribute that success to his tutelage.
I also took a chance on taking a random 1-credit class that didn’t apply to any major, but the title intrigued me: Think Like a Leader. It was a bit odd because I had to “apply” to enroll in the course by submitting an essay and I’m not that decent of a writer, but I decided to chance it. I’m incredibly grateful that I did because not only was I accepted into the class, but that action started a chain reaction of self-improvement. I was exposed to high-level executives every week and had to constantly refine my interactions with professionals. This class led to a mentorship, a nomination to join a leadership honor society, ongoing relationships with top-level executives, and a constant improvement of my professionalism. Bob has even coached me on interviewing and professional etiquette. I know that my mentorship with him has taken my professional development to a whole new level. For the first time, I’m really looking forward to what the future holds for my career.

Thanks Jaina for being our Student/Alum Spotlight! If you are interested in learning more about the job search process,  there are many resources available to you on the OSU Career Services website, including a specific section on preparing for your job search.  Be sure to check it out!

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.

summerName: Summer Li
Degrees: BS – Marketing/Finance, MBA
Graduated: June 2013
Company: Rubicon

1. Tell us about yourself.
My goal has always been to work for a company that is cause focused and Corporate Social Responsibility orientated. Rubicon’s passion in Education and dedication in giving back to the global community aligns with my personal values precisely.

2. How did you land your job with Rubicon?
I first learned about Rubicon in February at a MBA career conference and decided to apply. Following the conference, I did an informational interview with one of the team members present at the conference and then turned in my application. After two rounds of interviews I was hired!

3. What advice do you have for others who are preparing for their job search or career?
I truly believe it is all about the quality rather than the quantity. I decided back in February that Rubicon is where I wanted to be and I worked toward it.
a.      Scheduling an informational interview is very important as you get to leave an impression and truly learn from a reliable source that no other research can provide.
b.      Do all the research you can, we are often the most confident when prepared fully.
c.      People always say be yourself, and I know this sound repetitive, but it is actually super important to be yourself! The interviewers are human, too, and they want to hire candidates they can relate to, can mesh well with!
d.      Be sure to follow-up, I really think hand-written notes are much more sincere. When writing, use your heart, don’t use your brain!
e.      Just because the world around you thinks it’s a tough market out there, it doesn’t mean you will have no luck. We are capable of accomplishing anything our mind is set to accomplish, and experiences are what we shape it to be!

4.      Did Career Services and/or anybody else assist you in anyway with your career development? If so, how?
I have received numerous help from Jen, Marian, Carolyn and Doug from the Career Service office. They helped me with my resume, mock interviews, and the most important, encouragement!

Thanks Summer for being our Student/Alum Spotlight! If you are interested in learning more about the job search process,  there are many resources available to you on the OSU Career Services website, including a specific section on preparing for your job search.  Be sure to check it out!

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.

Name: Maria Garcia
Major: Human Development and Family Sciences
Year in school: Senior
Graduate Program: College Student Services Administration (CSSA)

Maria

1. Tell us about yourself (include your background, career goals/aspirations, etc.).

I am a first generation student who comes from an agricultural family. I was introduced to the idea of Student Affairs as a career from one of my mentors during my first year as an undergraduate.  I loved the idea of working with students who come from marginalized groups and providing the support that they need to succeed in college/higher education.  I hope to one day work within student recruitment, orientation and retention and provide students the resources they need.

 2. How did you decide to apply to grad school and what did you do in your undergrad to make you a strong applicant?

I applied to graduate school because the thought of having to look for a job after I finished my undergraduate scared me.  I feel like I need the specific information that only a program, such as CSSA, can provide.  I also really liked the cohort model and ability to have assistantships and internships as I completed my master’s.

I can definitely say that I took the extra time to put myself in different experiences that would shape my ability to work with others as a whole.  I volunteered my time at the local elementary and high school and ensured that I was involved on campus.  My two main jobs as an undergraduate also shaped my opportunity to learn as I engaged with others at the OSU Writing Center and the Campus Visitor Center.  Two of my internships at the Dean of Student Life at OSU, and the Independent Living Program at the Corvallis Community Consortium, influenced me to help others who might need extra help.

 3. What advice do you have for others when it comes to their career search and ways to find out their passion?

Explore!  Go out and try new things.  Sounds easy, but you will only know what you like and don’t like if you give it a shot.  You also have to prioritize stuff when it becomes too much or have additional responsibilities.

4. Did Career Services assist you anyway? If so, how?

Career Services was part of my success in the process of filling out my application!  Initially I worked with Jessica Baron on my resume, and later on established a partnership with Jen Busick to work on my essays.  I found it amazing to work with Career Services because they were flexible and willing to help.  My appointments were also very personalized to my needs and was able to be very productive.

Thanks Maria for being our Student Spotlight! If you are interested in graduate school there are many resources available to you on the OSU Career Services website, including a specific section on graduate and professional school. Be sure to check it out!

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.

Adam editName: Adam Fargher
Major: Electrical Engineering
Year in School: Junior
Internship: Bonneville Power Administration (BPA)

1. How did you find out about this internship?
This past Fall term, a Human Resources rep from BPA came and gave a presentation on BPA. In addition, several students already in the Pathways internship program explained their involvement, experience, and what they learned. I researched the BPA website and kept my eye out for the Pathways positions and once they were posted I immediately applied.

2. What will you be doing in your position?
I will being working in the transmission services department of BPA. The program has 3 rotations that students work in. Anything from projects, system operation, system design, and a field rotation as well. The interns in this program don’t just make coffee runs and photocopies. This program is structured so that interns dive in head first and gain hands on experience as well as receive organizational and industry knowledge that you just can’t learn from a textbook.

3. What advice do you have for others interested in finding an internship?
Advice for those looking for internships: First, ask yourself, “What am I passionate about and what  kind of organization would give me experience in my major as well as get my foot in the door?” Then search hard. I scoured the web, googled companies and researched what they were about and if any positions were available, went to career fairs and industry nights, and read every single newsletter that OSU College of Engineering distributed to see if there were any new internship postings.

4.Did Career Services or anybody else assist you in anyway with your career development? If so, how?
Career services played such a huge role in this process. They supplied me with a plethora of resume and interview resources. I must have visited several times to make sure my resume was the best that it could be. One of the most valuable resources from Career Services was the mock interview. Jen Busick Stewart hosted a practice interview for me that was tailored specifically for me, the position, and my major.  She asked the detailed questions that made me think about myself, skills, and experiences. My actual BPA interview would have been a little shaky if I didn’t put in that practice with Jen. The practice interview was critical!! My academic advisor also played a role and gave me some technical interviewing tips and advice. I also reached out to a friend of mine and as a professional engineer he gave me some solid advice on interviews and the industry.

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.

Name: Kellie Trafton
Major: Human Development and Family Sciences
Minor: Business & Entrepreneurship
Year in School: 4th year, Senior
Company: Target

1. How did you find out about the internship?
I found out about the possibility of an internship with Target through the Fall 2012 Career Fair that was held at the CH2M Hill Alumni Center. I talked with several companies but seemed to have an instant connect with Target. I passed along my resume with an expressed interest in their internship program.

2. What will you be doing in your position?
I will be job shadowing a Group Leader at the Albany Distribution Center. I will be identifying and coordinating daily activities of 20-40 team members, collaborating across departments to drive optimal productivity, and foster an environment in which diverse backgrounds are respected and valued. Finally, I will ensure personal plans are set, maintained and continuously improved.

3. What advice do you have for others interested in finding an internship?
Utilize the career fairs! They are set up for your benefit! Companies are actively looking for students in all different majors so do not limit yourself to specific companies. Be willing to shake a lot of hands and put yourself out there. It is important to know your resume by heart and be able to expand on certain points if employers have any further questions. If you are asked to do an interview, over the phone or in person, do some background research on the company. Know their business philosophy, goals, objectives, mission and values (if available) and be able to add those concepts into your answers. This will show the interviewers that you did your homework and are interested in the company.

4. Did Career Services assist you anyway? If so, how?
It is because of the Fall 2012 Career Fair that I made the connection with Target and got my foot in the door! I was able to shake hands with one of the people who ended up being on the interviewing team for my internship. Having that initial face-to-face interaction was extremely beneficial and gave me a step up that the other intern candidates may not have had.

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.

Name: Tomoko Iwanaga

Major: Exercise & Sports Science- Pre-Physical Therapy Option

Year you graduated: August 2011

Graduate Program: Doctorate of Physical Therapy Program at George Fox University

1. Tell us about yourself.
If I were a food product, my label would probably say the following: made in Singapore, product of Japan, and distributed in the United States. I was born in Singapore and at the age of three, I came to the United States. My exposure to diversity continued as my parents taught Japanese and raised me in their unique traditions.

My initial interest in the health care field was when I took Human Anatomy when I was in high school. I was soon fascinated by the way our human bodies are structured and organized. However, at that point, I was not able to specify what I truly wanted to become within the broad health field. As a start, I decided to take the certified nursing assistant (CNA) class when I was a senior in high school. When I started to work as a CNA and exposed myself to diverse health careers, I noticed that I was especially interested in physical therapy. I fell in love with everything about physical therapy. I strongly believe that physical therapy has an immense amount of power and potential especially when it comes to quality of life. I consider physical therapy as a medical treatment without any side effects. It is a preventative care by introducing proper exercises and healthy life style to the patients.

Now that I am finally making a huge step towards my dream, I will do anything to become a “good” physical therapist: someone who is dependable and can serve the community. Further on, I am hoping to specialize in orthopedic manual therapy (OMT) and geriatrics. My dreams and desires never end. I am excited for this upcoming opportunity and to start a new chapter in my life!

2. How did you prepare for the physical therapy school application process?
To obtain first-hand experience in the health field, I started to work as a med aide and as a care giver at West Hills Assisted Living. Working as a med aide was a great turning point for me. I became more confident, professional, and able to handle stressful situations more easily. Such characteristics are something that I cannot learn from just sitting in the class and reading textbooks. I was also able to meet with wonderful supervisors, who wrote great reference letters and even conducted a mock interview with me. I strongly believe that the support from them helped me to prepare for the application process.

To further prepare myself, I also volunteered as a coordinator at Community Outreach. Community Outreach is a multifaceted human service organization that provides hope for people who are homeless and low income by offering a wide range of medical services, including physical therapy. The best part of volunteering at Community Outreach was to be able to observe numerous inspiring physical therapists. Unlike other internship settings, Community Outreach was more flexible and allowed students to get more involved with the patients.

I believe my working experience as a med aide at West Hills and volunteering at Community Outreach made my application more competitive.  Such experiences made me stronger as an individual and reassured me once again that a physical therapist is certainly what I want to become.

3. What advice do you have for others who are interested in applying to graduate or professional school?
Based on my personal experience, my biggest advice is to never compare yourself to others. When I got rejected to one physical therapy school last summer, I was extremely disappointed and confused. One of my friends who I helped with class assignments got accepted, and I did not. What about me was lacking? Feelings of jealousy, frustration, and all sorts of negative emotions took over me. The feeling of being left behind by my classmates and friends broke my heart into pieces. However, by taking a year off and working as a med aide, I have become more determined to pursue my dream.  Looking back now, I can understand why I did not get accepted. I only put effort to become a “better applicant” and that was not enough. I believe the biggest reason why I was accepted this year was because I focused on becoming a better health care provider to work with my future patients. Everyone has their own different ways to accomplish their dreams. Some people are capable to go straight to graduate school after college. And some people like me need extra time to fully prepare for their dreams. The pathway that you think is the longest and most difficult is actually the shortest route to accomplish your dream.

4. Did Career Services assist you anyway? If so, how?
“Nice to meet you, my name is Jen.” I can still vividly remember when I first met with Mrs. Jennifer Busick. When she reached out to shake my hands and smiled at me, I knew I found the right person. At that time, I was overwhelmed and insecure with everything- school applications, GRE, family, job, etc. I felt as if I was walking in the dark, not knowing whether there would be any light waiting for me at the end. To change the negativity, I decided to make an appointment with Mrs. Busick at Career Services. Mrs. Busick has everything one can ask for: great listening skill, sincere, genuine, caring, knowledgeable, and many more. She not only helped me for hours to polish my application essays, but she also bolstered my confidence. Lack of confidence was what I struggled with throughout my life. However, she completely changed my mentality when I met with her a week before my interview at George Fox University.

“I want you to be yourself,” she stated. “What makes you special from the crowd is that you never give up. Enjoy your moment and tell them that you REALLY want this.”

Two weeks later after the interview, I received an acceptance phone call from George Fox University. I can say with confidence that I would have not been standing where I am at without Mrs. Busick. She has changed my life! My wonderful experience with her taught me an imperative life lesson-as long as you never give up, there will always be a light of hope at the end of the tunnel.

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.

Name: Emily Berkey

Major: Sociology & Human Development & Family Sciences

Year in School: Senior

Industry: Music

The music industry can be challenging to get into. Tell us how you got started.
I took advantage of every opportunity that came my way. I began by doing hospitality for an artist at a concert, and took that opportunity to network and make connections beyond those that were already given to me. That night I was able to walk away with a video taped interview, an internship with a woman who does PR work, and a connection to the artist, whom I still keep in touch with.

 What did you do in your position?
I began, just like everyone else, at the bottom of the music industry totem pole. By being positive and staying true to myself, I have been able to make lasting connections. I quickly ascended from hospitality to interviewer, to now writing for a large magazine.
I am also the Director of Promotions at KBVR FM, and the host of Sunday Night Slow Jams. KBVR FM has been a great resource to get my voice out there and to network with others. I am able to help smaller, underground artists by playing them on my show, and have been able to utilize social networking sites to build my listener base.

What advice do you have for others who are preparing for their job search or career?
I would advise others to follow their passion and to never stop dreaming. If you have a passion and an idea of what you want to do, pursue it. It’s amazing how far positive thinking will get you. I would also encourage people to not be discouraged and to welcome criticism, and even ask for it! I believe it’s really important to never stop learning, so welcome knowledge from others but receive it with a critical ear.

Did Career Services assist you anyway? If so, how?
I met with career counselor, Marian Moore, for the first time in February of 2012. I told her where I was and where I wanted to be. She calmly looked at me and basically said, “ok, let’s do this!”. Marian truly believed in me and quickly became one of my greatest cheerleaders. She legitimized my desire to work in an industry that would be challenging and a test of my wits and character. Marian believed in me when many others didn’t, and helped me to organize my thoughts and goals in order to pursue my dream in a practical, non-overwhelming way. Before I knew it, I was checking things off of my goal list and seeing amazing progress. Thank you, Marian!!