Stephen F. Austin State University

Lumberjack Success Stories

Lumberjack Success Stories

Jules Juniker
Jules Juniker - Volunteer Educational Background: Major: Psychology; Graduation Date: December 2013

Employer: AmeriCorps NCCC

Brief Biography: I am currently serving 10 months of service with AmeriCorps NCCC. AmeriCorps NCCC is a government funded program designed for 18-24 year olds. Our first priority is disaster relief, so we are disaster relief trained as well as CPR and First Aid certified. If there are no disasters currently present, you are on a team of 8-12 people you travel a region of the country partnering with non-profits. At the end of your term of service you are awarded the Eli Segal Award to go towards future schooling or current student loans.

Experience: While a student at SFA, I was a member of the Delta Zeta Sorority. My membership in Delta Zeta has helped prepare me for my service in AmeriCorps by preparing me for all the service work we are doing now. Working fundraisers, volunteering at food shelters, and cleaning up our stretch of the highway, I am comfortable to help anybody in anyway now.

What was an important lesson learned from your work experience while at college? One of the most important lessons I learned while in college was budgeting. As a naïve freshman, I was always at Wal-Mart buying food, or going to Canes for a buy-one-get-one! I ran out of money fast and over drafted all in those few short months. I learned quickly how and when to spend money. It has helped me a lot especially now during AmeriCorps. We get a small bi-weekly allowance to live off of and budgeting on the important items first and then the fun items second has saved me.

What career-related advice would you like to share with current students, you wish you knew prior to graduating? I would encourage students to attend the career fairs and be proactive in meeting future employers. I would also encourage students to be active on campus even if it is just joining a small club. The more you can add to the resume the better.

Patrick Allen
Patrick Allen - Client Concierge I Educational Background: Major: Political Science; Minor: Economics; Graduation Date: August 2013

Employer: Interlinc Mortgage Services, LLC

Brief Biography: My journey to employment began during the spring semester of 2013. I had applied to multiple different types of careers not really knowing what I wanted to truly pursue. I had offers to become a Financial Advisor, Sales Representative and an Account Representative. Each for different companies and offered various experiences. I chose to follow the mortgage financing and consulting firm I currently work for. I felt as though there was a much larger upside in the company, and would allow for me to grow and advance in the career. It was not necessarily the highest salary paid position, either.

Work Experience: I was involved in an IFC Fraternity while attending SFA and also worked part-time as a server and bartender. I really learned a lot about interacting with people and building relationships quickly without knowing the individual for an extended period of time. This skill really helps you in the business world, and is not a skill that can be taught. Being comfortable interacting with people face-to-face is imperative. Fraternity life teaches you to work together as a team to reach a goal, no matter what the goal may be.

What was an important lesson learned from your work experience while at college? People are all different and react to things differently. You must learn to problem solve, and interact with people in an efficient manner.

What career-related advice would you like to share with current students, you wish you knew prior to graduating? I advise that students have a clear-cut goal that they want to achieve in their career. Write down your dreams where you see them regularly. Also, learn to listen and become a problem solver by how you see others handle situations.

Sarah Denman
Sarah Denman - Speech Language Pathologist Educational Background: MS Speech Language Pathology, May 2011; BS Communication Sciences and Disorders, Spring 2009

Employer: Tyler ISD

Brief Biography: My last semester of graduate school I attended TSHA's (Texas Speech and Hearing Association) annual conference where I interviewed for many positions around Texas. A couple of places I interviewed contacted me and did second interviews and hired me. I ended up accepting a position at East Texas Children's Therapy in Tyler where I completed my clinical fellowship year. I am currently about to start my second school year working for Tyler Independent School District as a Speech Language Pathologist.

Experience: In graduate school I completed externships that were required to graduate. During these externships, I practiced how to assess and treat children and adults with speech and language disorders under the supervision of an experienced Speech Language Pathologist. It provided the experience I needed to be able to work in the real world.

What was an important lesson learned from your work experience while at college? Begin networking very early and make a good impression while doing your externships. It will benefit you later down the road when employers contact your supervisors from those externships.

What career-related advice would you like to share with current students, you wish you knew prior to graduating? Passing tests is very important. But, get as much hands on experience as you can while in college, so it will better prepare you for your career.

Kristina Hernandez
Kristina Hernandez - Registered Nurse Educational Background: Bachelor of Science in Nursing; Graduated: May 11, 2013

Employer: Texas Children's Hospital

Brief Biography and Experience: The knowledge, relationships, and experiences I gained while in nursing school at Stephen F. Austin State University equipped me to confidently take care of patients in a big hospital. Throughout college, I worked at Walgreens Pharmacy as a Certified Pharmacy Technician. This job gave me a multitude of opportunities to interact with many healthcare employees and most importantly patients after they have left the hospital or doctor's office. I gained skills in interpersonal relationships, troubleshooting, and working with unhappy/sick customers. Being a member of Alpha Chi Omega gave me a great support system that gave me the strength to make my time in college not only successful, but fun. Being involved in Greek life at SFA was the best decision I ever made. I grew stronger as a person, a friend, and a leader. I also attended a Medical Missions International team with some of my nursing classmates to Ecuador over Spring Break. I gained a lot of independence and self-confidence in my nursing skills while there.

What was an important lesson learned from your work experience while at college? You have to work to make money to eat and enjoy your life. School can be brutal at times, but just keep your head up because that diploma you worked so hard for is in reach. That diploma opens up a world of great opportunities.

What career-related advice would you like to share with current students, you wish you knew prior to graduating? Applying for jobs is one of the most stressful things a student will experience, but once you get that job offer it makes all your hard work worth it. When you graduate, some of your peers may already have jobs lined up, others will still be looking. But, that is okay if you are the one still looking. You will find a great job. My advice is to make the most connections you can with people, make good grades, and build up your interpersonal skills. Have an unforgettable résumé, learn how to and practice interviewing, and double-check everything before submitting an application. Career Services has great tools available for students to gain the confidence needed when applying and interviewing for a job.

Shannon Milford
Shannon Milford - Freelancer for Music and TV Production Educational Background: Major: Communication; Concentration: Radio/TV Graduated: December 2009

Brief Biography: After graduation, I moved to Austin and immediately began work at a cafe. I checked out local college job boards online and applied for an entry-level position to the reality television show, Top Chef. Years later, I have worked as a production coordinator on Top Chef, Storage Wars and other network reality T.V. shows. I also manage and book individual indie artists.

Experience: I worked part-time in the weight room at the SFA Rec Center my first 2 years in college. I became a better communicator and learned about the interview process. My junior year, I interned at a radio station in Shreveport, LA. My senior year I got an externship at a festival in Minnesota and now I am employed with this festival yearly. This is where I meet the artists that I manage and book.

What was an important lesson learned from your work experience while at college? As scary as it seems, networking is SO important. At SFA, I was intimidated to talk to people that had positions I was interested in and regret not being confident in myself.

What career-related advice would you like to share with current students, you wish you knew prior to graduating? Start experimenting with jobs while in school. Call people that have a job you are interested in and get the inside scoop. You have nothing to lose! This may help you narrow things out and feel more secure after graduation day. Without hands-on experience, I never would have been able to find what path felt the best to me and never would have met the right people to help me. Keep the contacts you do make while in school close to you. I still ask for advice from professors and students that I met at SFA.

Alyssa Tenorio
Alyssa Tenorio - Public Information Manager Educational Background: Degree: Radio/TV and Journalism; Graduated: Fall 2011

Employment: NorthGate Constructors

Brief Biography:While at SFA, I worked in ResLife as a Desk Assistant, and with the Student Affairs department in the Involvement Center, both of which taught me how to treat and respect others and taught me valuable lessons I was able to take with me following graduation. Both of these positions also taught me organization and management skills that I still use to this day. I was also an SFA 101 student instructor for the Radio/TV freshmen, and this position helped me improve on my teaching skills. In 2010, I also came to NorthGate as a summer intern, and was able to hire on full-time as the Public Information assistant following graduation.

What was an important lesson learned from your work experience while at college? The biggest lesson I learned through my work experience at SFA was how to treat everyone with respect. Working in both ResLife and Student Affairs meant talking to students and faculty on a daily basis, and you needed to have a positive attitude toward them and respect their point of view, regardless of the situation. These departments challenged you to be the very best person you could be, and they were great starting points for the position I'm in now.

What career-related advice would you like to share with current students, you wish you knew prior to graduating? My career advice for students would be to find something that you love, and make that your career. Success is only going to come if you are fully committed and driven in a career that you love. SFA has so many opportunities available to you - use them to help you find the career you're willing to be in for the long haul.

Chrystina Wyatt
Chrystina Wyatt - Assistant Director of Fitness/Wellness Educational Background: Master of Interdisciplinary Studies, May 2013; Bachelor of Health Science, May 2011

Employer: University of Texas

Brief Biography: I am currently an Austin resident where I landed my job during my last semester of school. I began actively searching for jobs summer 2012. Although I was not qualified to apply yet, I researched what qualifications and experience open jobs in my field required. During my last year, I took on more responsibilities to not only boost my resume but also give me those hard skills employers in my field were looking for. I feel very blessed to have landed my dream job as my first "real" job. I know SFA was not only my foundation but a great stepping stone that helped lead me where I am today.

Work Experience: During my undergraduate studies, I had several on-campus jobs including working for Campus Recreation, Orientation Programs, and the Early Childhood Lab. I always had to keep a schedule and planner to balance school, work, and extracurricular activities. This practice helped keep me organized and helped me graduate on time. During graduate school, my work load doubled working as a Campus Recreation Graduate Assistant and Student Affairs Student Assistant. I was also involved with Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Honor Society and Driving Jacks.

What was an important lesson learned from your work experience while at college? The most important lesson I learned while working on-campus at SFA was how network. I was very shy coming into college. Working for departments like Campus Recreation and Student Affairs, taught me how to step out of my comfort zone and become more of an extrovert. Now, I am no longer shy and I feel comfortable talking to anyone.

What career-related advice would you like to share with current students, you wish you knew prior to graduating? Know that what you do now will ultimately impact your future. Obtaining a college degree is a wonderful accomplishment but it will not land you a job. Work hard in class and also take advantage of the out of class experiences, like jobs and internships, to put your education to in to practice. Employers are looking for hard skills, work ethic, and students who did more than just go to class.