Lumberjack Success Stories
Employer: Tyler Today Magazine and Renard Group Advertising Agency
Biography: My name is Kaitlyn Porterfield and I am a proud Lumberjack Alumna as of May 2014! While at SFA, I majored in Journalism, with an emphasis in Advertising, with a minor in Graphic Design through the university's amazing Art Department. I am overwhelmingly thankful and glad to say that I am currently working at my "right out of college" dream job. I am the Production Coordinator at Tyler Today Magazine and Renard Group Advertising Agency in Tyler, Texas. 'Production Coordinator' is a fancy title for what I really do, which is design layouts and spreads for the magazine, create advertising and marketing material for businesses/companies, attend and photograph local events, as well as some more artistic photography.
Experience: I had so many resources in college that lead me to where I am today. For one, my sorority taught me so much about social graces and professionalism, and how to carry yourself with grace. I've already learned, after only a few months out of college, that your Greek affiliation truly stays with you and provides you with immediate connections to others that you would have never had otherwise. I also credit all of the great jobs I had on campus to my 'success' so far. I worked on campus all four years that I attended SFA, and each position taught me new and different things. Especially after working at Career Services and the Graphic Shop, I felt like I was ready to take on whatever the real world had to offer! Besides my time spent as a work-study student, I also served on the Stone Fort Yearbook staff, Public Relations Chair for my sorority and was a member of an AAF (American Advertising Federation) advertising competition team. My internship was a big reason why I was trusted to join the team at my office, because it was proof that I knew how the magazine business worked. I interned with a magazine in my hometown over a summer and a winter break, and what I learned there was invaluable! I can't say enough how important internships are, paid or unpaid! An internship in the field that you hope to go into is the perfect reason for an employer to trust you with their business, because you're no stranger to the process and the work. You've come to them asking for a position that you have, in a way, already been trained to do!
What was an important lesson learned from your work experience while at college? One of the biggest lessons I learned while working in college was that you are your biggest cheerleader. You have to carry yourself in a way that makes it obvious to others that you are an educated and capable adult, and someone they want in their office, business or company! You could have a shining resume, but have a sub-par attitude and miss out on an opportunity based to your attitude alone. And remember that being confident does not mean being arrogant. Always remind yourself that there is still much to learn anywhere you go.
What career-related advice would you like to share with current students, you wish you knew prior to graduating? Some advice I'd like to give current students is to be an over-achiever in all aspects of college. Work hard and play hard. Don't miss out on the college experience by overwhelming yourself preparing for your career, but don't let an opportunity pass you by due to your own immaturity. Know when it's time to put on your big kid shoes and head over to the Career Fair, and know when it's okay to take a night off and get all dressed up for a date party! If you miss out on either of these aspects of college, you'll regret it in the end!
Employer: Amarillo Indpendent School District
Biography: My name is Steven Tibbets and I live in Amarillo, Texas. I attended SFA from December of 2013 to May of 2014. I graduated with a Masters in Educational Leadership on May 10, 2014. I was hired this past July by Amarillo ISD, for a teaching and coaching position. Amarillo ISD is one of the premiere school districts in Texas. I am in my fifth year as a teacher and it has been a long journey to get on at AISD. My first teaching job was at a small charter school, who, after two years, laid me off mid-year. AISD hired me as a substitute teacher, but did not hire me. I had to take a job as a coach and ISS teacher in a town 50 miles away to get a job. I drove a 100 miles roundtrip every day for that job. The next year a friend recommended me and I was hired at another small school district closer to home. I had almost given up on getting hired with AISD when on the next to last day to resign a secretary called me about a coaching/8th Social Studies job at a middle school in Amarillo. I went to the interview on the last day to resign, and was hired about 2 hours later. I had to mail my resignation that day because the other school district was closed!
Experience: I worked on several projects for the principals that I worked under. I learned a lot about how to deal with parents and community issues. I also learned about leadership and what kind of person you have to be an educator.
What was an important lesson learned from your work experience while at college? I spent a lot of time working with principals in different school districts and I was able to learn about different leadership styles. I learned what not to do and what should be done. My understanding of how school functions in the community have changed how I view children as a whole. Dr. Roberts told me that if "You eat cherry pie and find a pit, you just spit out the pit, you don't throw away the whole pie". He was so optimistic and pleasant that my conversations with him really inspired me and renewed my desire to be an educator.
What career-related advice would you like to share with current students, you wish you knew prior to graduating? I would say the best advice is to not worry so much about what job you get, just make sure you have passion for what you are doing. I love History, especially the early history of our country. Teaching students about it makes me feel alive. Being the first person to teach them about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is the coolest thing I have ever gotten to do. Also don't give up!!!
Employer: Jasper Independent School District
Biography: My name is Abbie Williams. I attended SFA from the Fall 2010 until Spring 2014. I graduated May of 2014 with a Major in Elementary Education. I now work at Jasper Independent School District at Jean C. Few Primary as a Kindergarten teacher. I applied to many different schools and had many different interviews. I had several schools very interested and as summer was passing I was extremely nervous I was not going to have a job. Of course I had my "dream job" at my "dream school", but who gets that opportunity their first year? Jasper ISD called me for an interview and I went to my interview with an open mind. Hours after my interview the principal called me and offered me a Kindergarten position. I was ecstatic. My DREAM was to be a Kindergarten teacher! I love to watch young children grow, I watched it for many years watching my mother teach Kindergarten in Silsbee. I am enjoying every minute of my job and I love helping children realize that they are capable of learning anything and everything they set their mind to.
Experience: During my journey at SFA I was a member of Delta Zeta Sorority. I volunteered at many different places including the Painted Turtle Camp in California and working with children with different types of illnesses. I worked in the Early Childhood building helping students complete different things such as laminating and working on a computer. Working and volunteering at these different places helped me as an individual and it also helped with my career in many different ways. It helped me to better understand children and how I can help them in many different ways. A child that is sick needs to be treated just like any other child and that is what the PTC showed me. Being a Delta Zeta has helped me overcome being so shy and has helped me become the lady that I am today.
What was an important lesson learned from your work experience while at college? An important lesson learned from my work experience while at college is that I can juggle many different things. I am someone that has to finish what I start. I learned to only start something that I know I can finish. I can do anything I set my mind to so the possibilities are endless!
What career-related advice would you like to share with current students, you wish you knew prior to graduating? I would like to share some special advice to current students that I wish that I would of known prior to graduating. Chase your dreams. Set a goal and don't finish until you have reached your goal, you know what you want to do…… it's up to you to get there!
Employer: Center Independent School District
Biography: My name is Rebecca Lyles. While attending SFA, I majored in Elementary Education. I graduated in May 2014. During my last year at SFA, I was excited to graduate and use my new skills in the workforce. I applied at quite a few schools, went to the SFA job fair, and I had a few schools that seemed interested. But, as graduation grew closer, I did not have any offers. In my "four year plan" related to college, I was supposed to have a job lined up by May 10. I wanted to be sitting in that seat sure that I had a position waiting for me afterwards. My plan did not become a reality. A couple of weeks post-graduation, I applied at Center Elementary School. I immediately received a call about an interview, had the interview, and was offered a position as a third grade reading and social studies teacher. I was thrilled when I received the news. It is now my eighth week of the school year and I love it! SFA did a wonderful job of preparing me for what was ahead in the "real world".
Experience: I completed my two semesters of interning in public schools in Nacogdoches ISD and the SFA Charter school, and my student teaching was done at Raguet Elementary in Nacogdoches. I am grateful that SFA's education program allowed us to gain experience by working with students in schools who all come from different backgrounds. Because of the diversity among SFA Charter classes and Nacogdoches ISD, I felt that I was able to gain real world knowledge about how to handle certain situations that arise in the everyday classroom.
What was an important lesson learned from your work experience while at college? During my junior year at SFA, I worked on campus. I was a student caller for the Phonejack program. It taught me how to be personable, friendly and how to handle stressful situations. After one semester of calling, I was promoted to student manager. With that job came a lot more responsibility, but I liked the challenge. Being a student manager required a lot of preparation for each calling session. It taught me the importance of always being prepared and that you always need a back-up plan. This lesson is specifically important in the teaching profession.
What career-related advice would you like to share with current students, you wish you knew prior to graduating? Make sure you have a strong resume. It will really set you apart from the other people vying for the same position. SFA Career Services will help you work on your resume and make it the best that it can be. Take advantage of this service. Also, do not be afraid to apply a lot of places. Even if you think you have a 'dream job' in a 'dream city', you might find a job somewhere you have never heard of, and realize it is exactly what you wanted.
Employer: Lonestar Solutions
Biography: My name is Megan Davidson. While I was at Stephen F. Austin, my major was Social Work and my minor was Sociology. I am currently employed at a foster care agency called, LoneStar Solutions, in Arlington, Texas as a Case Manager and Trainer.
Experience: During my time at SFA, I was in the Panhellenic sorority, Delta Zeta. Our philanthropy is speech and hearing impairment. Along with supporting and donating to our philanthropy, we would volunteer at a local food pantry in Nacogdoches called, Harvest House. It was during these times that I found my passion. I have a strong passion for helping others and cannot imagine my life not doing it. My junior year, I was placed at my first internship at The Family Crisis Center of East Texas in Lufkin, Texas. While interning, I spent the majority of my time in the shelter with the women and children looking to start a new, fresh life. Learning about them and what they had gone through motivated me even more to getting my degree in Social Work. My senior year, I was placed at my second internship, Azleway Children's Services in Nacogdoches, Texas. It was during this internship that I had found my calling. Working with abused and neglected children was where I belonged. I was able to work directly with foster children and learn about the foster care system from a firsthand experience. My supervisor, Liana Berry, learned of my desire to work with abused and neglected children and helped me find the job I have today.
What was an important lesson learned from your work experience while at college? During my time at SFA, there was one lesson that stuck with me the most- build connections. It was because of the relationship I had made during my internship that essentially lead me to my dream job
What career-related advice would you like to share with current students, you wish you knew prior to graduating? If I could give current student one piece of advice, I would say to believe in yourself and chase your dreams. It's easy to get caught up in the college lifestyle and to wonder what job is going to make you the most money, but chase your dream because you never know where it can lead you.
Employer: Houston Methodist
Biography: My name is Tanisha Terry and I am a Spring 2014 graduate of The Richard and Lucille Dewitt School of Nursing at Stephen F. Austin State University. I am a Registered Nurse at the #1 Hospital in Texas, Houston Methodist! Thanks to the grace of God, the unwavering support and sacrifice of my parents, and the education I received from SFA, I was able to secure my job at Houston Methodist months before I graduated!
Experience: While at SFA, I gained valuable work experience through my clinicals in the Nacogdoches Community and surrounding areas. Through my clinical experience, I acquired nursing skills in the critical and acute care settings. The knowledge I obtained from seasoned professors and experienced clinical preceptors allowed me to stand out among other applicants as I interviewed for the job of my dreams. In the hospital setting today, I am able to confidently serve my community as a Registered Nurse because of the critical thinking, time management, and countless other skills that I have gained from SFA.
What was an important lesson learned from your work experience while at college? The most valuable lesson that I learned through my clinical experience was the importance of team work. Having a small class size encouraged my classmates and I to depend on each other. We grew very close throughout our years in the program, and our team effort was always reflected in the clinical setting. Taking a team approach in our clinicals allowed us to achieve much more than we could have achieved individually. We learned to use each other's strengths and supported each other's weakness.
What career-related advice would you like to share with current students, you wish you knew prior to graduating? The best career related advice I could give current students is to remember the art of nursing. I have learned that while academic excellence is necessary to become a Registered Nurse, nursing is based on characteristics that are able to heal people both physically and emotionally.
Employer: Genesys Works
Biography: My name is James Beeks and I am proud SFA Alumni! I graduated with my Bachelor's degree this past May ('14). The Monday following commencement, I began my professional journey as a Program Coordinator (PC) with Genesys Works. The nonprofit trains and hires high school students to work corporate internships during their senior year in high school. I am a PROUD alumnus of Genesys Works and I worked at Targa Resources during my senior year of HS. I periodically kept in contact with my PC Wendy and made sure to attend the Genesys Works alumni events during winter breaks. The winter break prior to my last semester, I asked Wendy about the PC position since I was actively job searching. Thankfully I was able to apply, interview for, and land the position before graduating. It is an amazing feeling to be able to give back to organization that gave me such much confidence in myself before entering college.
Experience: While at SFA, my work experience was spent primarily in the Residence Life department. My paid positions included being an RHA executive, Desk Assistant, Community Assistant, and Assistant Hall Director. The two most important skills I learned from those positions were time management and teamwork. There is not a day that goes by that in where I do not need my co-worker or mangers input/assistance. Additionally, with a team of 19 high school seniors, I have to know how to properly manage my time, so that I may help them do so as they balance school, Genesys Works, and their internships. I am a confident professional who knows how to balance the many tasks I'm given due to my work experience at SFA.
What was an important lesson learned from your work experience while at college? An important lesson learned from my work experience is to relax when you are "off the clock". For example, when I was a Community Assistant and not "on-duty" on weekends specifically, I made sure to be out of the building and occupied with other things. Although my students can call me at any time, I have set up an expectation of calling only for emergency's after a certain time or day.
What career-related advice would you like to share with current students, you wish you knew prior to graduating? While I was a student, it would've been a relief to know the real world was going to be a GREAT, non-scary, smooth transition from college. Although, I was extremely excited to move to the next step in life, it was hard to phantom the thought of leaving a place that I had invested so much of my time and energy into. I am still very much connected to SFA, but my position is allowing me to utilize ALL of the skills I learned inside and outside of the classroom.
Employer: Northwestern Mutual
Biography: The corporate world of business always intrigued me, but my life purpose of helping and educating people caused my shift to becoming an education major. I began posting and emailing my resumé to school districts, going to job fairs, etc. HR and principals liked my interview, but my teaching certification (P.E.) gave me slim chance of being hired. I posted my resumé angles towards corporate and Northwestern Mutual called and eventually offered employment.
Experience: Throughout college, I was involved in many organizations as well as being employed. From 2010-2014, I was employed as a barber. Also, I completed my education internship at Lewisville ISD. I was highly involved in various organizations including NAACP, Impact Christian Fellowship, RISE Mentoring, MARS, and Fashion-N-Motion.
What was an important lesson learned from your work experience while at college? I fully realized the power of building a network and being more vocal and active in regards to speaking to people. Prior to my stint at SFA I was very a social and very much an introvert. That fact was part my reason for attending SFA because I didn't know anyone and it forced me break out of my bubble. My experience on campus and in my organization active allowed me to flourish in that aspect of life and behavior.
What career-related advice would you like to share with current students, you wish you knew prior to graduating?
- Diversify the vision of your future; keep your options open.
- Be relentless in the pursuit of your goal.
- Find or meditate on your life purpose and figure what career or path would allow you to fulfill that purpose.
- To education/kinesiology majors: Get your teaching certification in a core subject! Don't rely on a PE certification.
Employer: Schumacher Group
Brief Biography: I started looking for analytically-based jobs my last semester of college in the Dallas area due to my skills with Microsoft Excel and my ability to solve problems and analyze graphs and data. I had a few things that I was looking for in a company: the ability to grow, a family-like environment, and a place that would allow me to not only show my leadership abilities, but I wanted to constantly be learning something new. I interviewed for many jobs in the analytics field, but The Schumacher Group seemed like the perfect fit for me. Everyone I met was extremely friendly and supportive of the fact that I was fresh out of college and wanting to start my career right away. I knew as soon as I walked into the reception area that this would be a fun, family-like group of people to work with daily which was very important to me. After being offered the position, I immediately knew that this was going to be the start of a great career full of great opportunities to succeed and move forward.
Experience: My work experience prior to graduating was a great asset when I was job searching. I worked part-time in many areas on campus including the Controller's Office, Business Office, and Physical plant as a student assistant. Working, along with the many other organizations I was a part of (Chi Omega, Diamond Dolls, Driving Jacks), was exactly what set me apart from the others. It let me show my leadership abilities as well as being a team player. I found that employers are very impressed with students that can not only juggle school and being involved on campus, but that can also hold a part-time job. It shows that you not only want to have fun in college, but you are taking steps into preparing for the real world after college. I feel like I was much more prepared for job fairs and interviews after having work experience because I could relate to the working world outside of class and social events. Granted, my experience was only as a student assistant, but the clerical experience I developed and perfected I still use in my everyday life of being an analyst. Just the simple tasks of answering the phone, e-mails, and talking with head executives, like the CRO of the company, could have been extremely nerve-racking, but working in offices like the Controller's and Business Office allowed me to become comfortable talking to executives and not letting my nerves get to me. I learned a lot about how to deal with customers and how to always be professional because you are not only representing you, but the company you work for as well. In my case, it was the university. That kind of skill set rarely comes from being self-taught. Actually utilizing those skills and practicing as a student will better prepare you for the future.
What was an important lesson learned from your work experience while at college? The social parts of college are fun and well-worth participating in, but it's rare that a fraternity party will get you a job right out of college. Live life and have fun, but remember why you're going to college in the first place, to get better equipped for your future and to make yourself the best you can be!
What career-related advice would you like to share with current students, you wish you knew prior to graduating? My advice to students who are about to embark on their professional journeys after college is to START NOW. I know graduation can seem a million years away when you are a freshman, but the earlier you start thinking about your future, the better. The only regret I had at Stephen F. Austin was not taking part in an internship. That would have been the icing on the cake for my resume. Working part-time was still great experience and I would not change that for the world, but adding an internship on top of that would have really made me stand out amongst the rest.
Employer: Parkland Hospital
Brief Biography: I double majored in Nursing and Psychology and graduated Spring 2014. I currently work at Parkland Hospital in Dallas as a Registered Nurse in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit. My journey to employment started in December when I began researching hospitals that I wanted to work at. In February, I began filling out applications, landing my first interview in March. I traveled to Houston and Dallas almost every other weekend in order to attend interviews and informational sessions. With the help of my Leadership/Management nursing course and SFA career services, I was able to enhance my professionalism with mock interviews and sample resumes and cover letters. Although I had put so much effort into filling out applications and traveling for interviews, I did not receive a job offer until the beginning of June. I think my two final interviews were my best because I had so much practice with the previous interviews that I knew exactly what not to say. I sold myself desperately. I was offered a job in Houston and Dallas, but I selected the latter in order to be closer to home.
Experience: From 2010-2012, I worked as a note-taker for Disability Services which taught me how to help others achieve a better learning experience in the classroom. In the summer of 2012, I worked as a student assistant in the Speech and Language Department. This experience built my professionalism in phone etiquette and clerical organization. Summers of 2012 and 2013, I was employed with Orientation Programs which taught me to use my customer service, passion, and positive attitude in working with others and helping new students orient to the college environment. I worked as a Nurse Extern at Texas Health Resources Fort Worth in the Summer of 2013. This sparked my interest in critical care nursing and prepared me for the hardest class of my nursing career. My final year of college, I volunteered at the Nacogdoches Treatment Center which enhanced my knowledge of care for the elderly population and those living with dementia. I was also involved in Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society and pledged membership to Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. Although it was towards the end of my college career, becoming a member of this national organization linked me to a network of professional women outside of my university who are committed to impacting the community outside of their careers. Most of all, I would say my involvement in African Student Organization and the Office of Multicultural Affairs from 2009-2013 was the foundation to my leadership skills, my ability to work with others to reach a goal, communication with professionals, and many other qualities that were enhanced in my work, experience.
What was an important lesson learned from your work experience while at college? You make your resume. No one can prepare you for your career more than you getting out there and seeking the opportunities to help you grow.
What career-related advice would you like to share with current students, you wish you knew prior to graduating? Do not get discouraged if you don't find your ideal job right away. It takes patience. Employment comes in every season. Some people get hired earlier than others. It does not make you any less of a candidate. If you have gotten the best of your academic experience, trust your potential.
Employer: San Jacinto College
Brief Biography: After leaving SFA in 2007, I started working with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston as the Administrative Assistant for Exhibitions/Curatorial and the Islamic Art Department. At the time, this position was perfect for me due to my past educational background; I was able to gain excellent professional experience and participate in some wonderful artistic opportunities. In 2012, after getting married to my husband who is also an SFA alumnus, I decided to make a career move and began working at San Jacinto College as the Administrative Assistant to the Career and Employment office. This position was so different from what I had done before, but I found that I thoroughly enjoyed having the opportunity to work with new students every day and assist them in their career and college planning. The position also helped to revive my love of school and reminded me how important education and obtaining a degree is! I wanted to make sure that I was not only setting an example to the students I worked with on a daily basis, but also promoting ideas that I truly stood by. In May 2014 I was finally able to finish my Bachelor's degree and am now in a leadership role with Career and Employment Services as the Interim Coordinator. I love my job and I love having the opportunity to work with students and help them to be successful not only in their educational goals, but also as they head down their desired career paths. I feel that I'm able to use my own personal experiences to help relate to students who may have their own insecurities as they begin their education.
Experience: While attending SFA I worked at Cotton Patch Cafe part-time as a Cashier/Hostess/Waitress/Trainer! I worked there almost the entire time I was attending SFA and it was a great experience! Some of the best friends I have to this day, I met while working there. Not only did it help me to be more customer and person oriented, but it taught me how to have a strong work ethic, work well in a team environment, promoted many of my soft skills, and I gained a lot of leadership qualities. I believe that because of working there, I was able to really learn how to talk to people, deal with conflict resolution, and learn how to be a better employee overall. I still use some of my experiences there while in college as examples for our students looking to enter the workforce today.
What was an important lesson learned from your work experience while at college? I think for any student who's working while taking classes; you have to learn A LOT about time management! I also think a really valuable lesson I learned was how to talk to a diverse range of people and be a more professional individual. I think many students entering the work force for the first time have a hard time knowing what professionalism is, both at work and on campus, and how to really present yourself in a way that makes people want to hire you! I believe having the opportunity to work, even if just for a few hours a week, really helps you gain the experience you need to begin working in your desired career field upon graduation; knowing what employers are looking for, and gaining the professional development you need to succeed.
What career-related advice would you like to share with current students, you wish you knew prior to graduating? Stay motivated and know what you're looking for! Find a career mentor, network, and ask questions! Utilize your career resources on campus while you have access to them, the Career Center is always going to be a great place to start and gather some much needed information. Remember to explore all your options and be open to change - starting your career journey is an exciting time and remember that no matter where you start, utilize what experience you can gain from that job and use it throughout your career.
Employer: Stephen F. Austin State University
Brief Biography: I work for SFA now in the Networking Department on the Telecommunications team. I transferred from UNT and while attending school at SFA, I worked for the Technical Support Center for two years before interviewing and moving into the Networking office. While I didn't have an internship during school, I was lucky enough to have an opportunity to work for the Telecommunications Department directly which shaped my ability to gain the position I'm in currently.
Experience: The experience and knowledge I gained from not only working in Tech Support but taking Computer Science courses at SFA have helped greatly in my professional life and my ability to strive in an office setting.
What was an important lesson learned from your work experience while at college? While in classes at SFA, I learned how to work side by side with a vast amount of people and work as a team to accomplish goals in anything we set out for. This particular skill was well needed in the IT field because everything that is done.. is done as a team. I owe what I have accomplished in the Computer Science world to SFA and the departments that have given me the opportunity to prove myself.
What career-related advice would you like to share with current students, you wish you knew prior to graduating? Take an active role in University wide activities as this truly aids in your ability to network and build long lasting relationships with people who can help in your future. Never take yourself too seriously while a student in college because having a good time and meeting new people is equally as important as giving your school work your all. These are the years you'll likely remember for the rest of your life, so do your work and do it well, but don't rush through them because once they're gone, you'll wish you could live them again!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.