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)


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!