Stephen F. Austin State University

Lumberjack Success Stories

Lumberjack Success Stories

Kaleb Castor
Kaleb Castor - Proposal Analyst Associate Educational Background: Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance; Graduated: December 2017, Cum Laude

Employer: Lockheed Martin

Biography: My name is Kaleb Castor and I am currently employed with Lockheed Martin in the Missiles and Fire Control division as a Proposal Analyst Associate. I interned with Lockheed Martin summer 2017 as a finance intern. I was blessed to be offered a job after graduation at the end of my internship for the exact role I interned for. Same program, team and everything.

Experience: I started working as a lifeguard at the Campus Recreation Center as an incoming freshman fall 2014. Starting out I was shy, timid and not very outgoing. I did however buy into the Campus Recreation persona of student development and wanted to become a leader and professional worker. I was promoted to Head Lifeguard after my freshman year and then promoted to Operations Manager a semester after that. I did everything from leading in-services, teaching lifeguard classes and help develop my fellow peers around me. I developed strong leadership skills, became outgoing and also a great manager. Almost a complete 180 degrees from entering college my freshman year.

What was an important lesson learned from your work experience while at college? I learned a couple of important lessons while working at Campus Rec. 1) Be open to learning new things and do not always think your way is the best way. 2) Understand how to work with people who are different from you. 3) Stay organized and always be prepared and ready for any situation.

What career-related advice would you like to share with current students, you wish you knew prior to graduating? It's important to really learn and understand Microsoft office. I wish I would have taken 2 or 3 computer science classes to become more proficient in Excel, Word and PowerPoint. It it also very important to get involved in college and use all the resources the university has, including the Center for Career and Professional Development. They helped me get my résumé perfect which I believe helped get my internship at Lockheed Martin.

Conner Saul
Conner Saul - Military Police Officer Educational Background: Major: Business Management; Graduated: May 2015.

Employer: United States Army

Biography: I came to SFA to get a business degree because my long term goal in life is to run some form of a business. While at SFA, the Army ROTC program caught my attention, and I signed up freshman year. I participated in ROTC while studying business management and eventually got accepted into Beta Gamma Sigma Business Honor Society. I commissioned as a 2LT into the US Army upon graduation.

Experience: While participating in Army ROTC at SFA, I learned how to manage my time between studying, classes, early morning PT, and extracurricular field training. These skills are helping me to this day in my career.

What was an important lesson learned from your work experience while at college? Never take your time for granted. You will always have time to get everything you want accomplished, but it is all a matter of your priorities and how hard you work. Everything you accomplish is up to your determination and discipline.

What career-related advice would you like to share with current students, you wish you knew prior to graduating? The transition from full-time student to full-time Soldier makes you realize how amazing your life is and puts everything in perspective. Enjoy your time in college, because it's a unique environment and one of the best experiences of your life.

Maddison Rees
Maddison Rees - Elementary Teacher Educational Background: Major: Interdisciplinary Studies; Graduation: May 2015

Employer: Frisco Independent School District

Biography: My name is Maddi Rees and I am from Frisco, Texas. I graduated from SFASU with a Bachelor's degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, Elementary Education in May of 2015. My four years at SFA were the best of my life and I cherish them so very much! Since graduation, I have started my career as a first grade teacher in Frisco ISD at Anderson Elementary. The Elementary Education program at SFA helped me become the teacher I am today, and I was blessed to work with many wonderful professors and mentors in the program, and at the SFA Early Childhood Center and Charter School. I completed my student teaching at Anderson in the spring semester of 2015 in kindergarten and first grade, and was officially a hired employee by the end of April, just in time for May graduation! It has been an incredible journey to get where I am today, and I am so thankful for the experiences that got me here.

Experience: While at SFA I held executive positions in my Greek organization Alpha Chi Omega and finally Chapter President. I also served on the Service Committee of Order of Omega, and worked alongside other Pan-Hellenic women and IFC men. My part time work at SFA consisted of being a Teacher's Assistant in the Toddler I room at the Early Childhood School, as well as an SFA 101 Student Instructor. Throughout all of these positions, I was able to strengthen my leadership, organizational, and collaborative skills that have prepared me tremendously for the working world.

What was an important lesson learned from your work experience while at college? An important lesson that I learned during my work experience and involvement at SFA was the ability to cooperate and collaborate with many different kinds of people. In the field of education, and in many other careers, collaborating with other professionals is the key to being successful. I am grateful to have been given many opportunities during my time at the university to strengthen those skills.

What career-related advice would you like to share with current students, you wish you knew prior to graduating? My advice for current students is, while nothing can fully prepare you for what the world outside of college will be like, there are many opportunities at you should take advantage of SFA that will help you. Get outside of your comfort zone, attend job fairs, work on your interview skills, join many organizations, learn from your mistakes, build your professional wardrobe, and meet all kinds of people. Networking is so incredibly important; you never know where the person standing next to you may end up one day. Basically, always say YES and embrace opportunity.

Marquice Hobbs
Marquice Hobbs - Graduate Student Educational Background: Major: Philosophy; Minor: Psychology; Graduated: May 2015

Graduate School: Emory University

Biography: I graduated from the great institution of Stephen F. Austin State University on May 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and a minor in Psychology. During my tenure at SFASU, I was elected Student Body President for two consecutive terms, held various leadership positions in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, was Chaplain for Men of Achievement multiple semesters, an active member and co-bible study leader for the Wesley foundation, and a dear friend to many of my peers and faculty and staff whom worked for the university during my years as a student. I am currently enrolled at Candler School of Theology at Emory University studying to receive a Masters of Divinity in order to become an ordained elder within the United Methodist Denomination.

Experience: While at Stephen F. Austin State University, I worked for Career Services. Working here was no easy task. Everyday there was something new to do, some new skill to acquire, a presentation to be presented, or some new program to learn. We interacted with students, alumni, faculty/staff, and even employers, yet all was done to market SFASU students in the world of employment. One of the major ways we accomplished this was through our many job fairs held every semester. I enjoyed seeing the opportunities for SFASU students these fairs brought especially for accountants and teachers. Although the job was taxing, it was manageable and my supervisors were the best at keeping our spirits high and helping maintain work and school. They were very personable and caring, which lead to a happy team. I often remember times we laughed and joked in the office about different kinds of things. The skills I took from this job were how to develop and present presentations, how to critique certain business documents, how to network , interpersonal skills as we worked one on one with students, and I also gained confidence in myself by doing things I've never done before. I was expected to operate, execute, and perform on the level of a top rated professional.

What was an important lesson learned from your work experience while at college? An important lesson I learned from my work experience is that networking is key. As a Student Career Advocate, we were trained to value the importance of networking. It is the key to many doors of opportunities of which otherwise could not be opened.

What career-related advice would you like to share with current students, you wish you knew prior to graduating? I would say begin now investing in your future. Don't wait until you graduate to start taking the necessary steps to build a solid career. The world is yours for the taking so go and take it for yourself.

Nick Pinelli
Nick Pinelli - Touring Actor Educational Background: Major: Fine Arts, Emphasis in Acting & Directing; Graduated: May 2015

Employer: Madcap Puppet Theatre

Biography: During my time at Stephen F. Austin, the faculty and staff in the School of Theatre continuously preached to all students one basic concept: professionalism. In order to complete my last year of undergraduate school, SFA required that I complete a year-long internship with a professional theatre company. This meant that I had to find my way to a prestigious company and work alongside some talented theatre artists. After successfully navigating my first real trial in the professional world, I landed an internship with a wonderful company called Texas Nonprofit Theatres (TNT). Another lesson I learned from the School of Theatre is always look for bigger and better things. The needs to continue on my professional career path lead me a nationwide audition for many theatre companies. This is where I was able to land my job at Madcap Puppet Theatre in Cincinnati OH, as a touring performer. As an actor, I am fortunate enough to work for a well-established company for a long period of time- I would not have had the opportunity to audition for this company, had it not been for the drive to do well in my chosen profession, given to me by SFA faculty and staff.

Experience: While attending SFA, I had two major work experiences. One was on the SFA campus, working for the Fine Arts Box Office, where I learned customer management skills, as well as how to manage my time between work, school, and theatre. It also gave me the opportunity to be in more invested in the School of Theatre than I already was. The other major work opportunity that I had was an off-campus internship. I was fortunate enough to work as an administrative intern for a company located in Fort Worth, Texas Nonprofit Theatres. With this company, I was able to understand the business side of theatre, including what it is like to apply for nonprofit status, how to get in contact with theatres across Texas, and professional communication and advertisement skills necessary for promotion of a theatre company. Knowing that I will one day need these tools in order to further my career as an artist, this internship was invaluable to me.

What was an important lesson learned from your work experience while at college? The most important lesson that I learned from college was not something that any faculty or staff member could have told me, but something I needed to discover on my own. I learned that every job that I do, I can learn from, as long as I am willing to learn. For example, I remember being asked to throw out the trash while on my internship- as I went to the dumpster, I saw that the artistic director of a company that worked across the hall from TNT doing the same thing I was- I realized then that it doesn't matter what your title is, if a job needs to get done, you must get it done. I try and remember this lesson and many others from each and every opportunity that I am given. The concept of continuous learning from even the strangest activities has leaded me to a renaissance of knowledge in my last few years at SFA.

What career-related advice would you like to share with current students, you wish you knew prior to graduating? Learn what makes you happy, and do that. I can't begin to describe how many times I have gone into an audition room and done what I thought the people casting wanted me to do, only to find out that my work was sub-par. if you go into the room, present your material, and are genuinely happy with what you have to show for whoever is hiring, I can almost guarantee that your work will be the best it could have been.

Shannon Harms
Shannon Harms - Athletic Trainer Educational Background: Major: Master of Science in Athletic Training Graduated: May 2015

Employer: Rice University

Biography: This is currently my first year with the Rice University athletic training staff, working with women's swimming & diving in addition to men's tennis. Most recently, I worked with the Sugar Land Skeeters minor league baseball team as the assistant athletic trainer for their 2015 season. Prior to this, I received my Master of Science in Athletic Training and related certifications from Stephen F. Austin State University in May of 2015. There, I worked with various SFASU athletic teams, primarily with women's softball. A native of the St. Louis area, I graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology in 2013.

Experience: My time at SFASU was spent primarily caring for the athletic teams while earning my Master's degree. I can say for certain that this learning experience allowed me to grow into my field more than any other experience I have had to date.

What was an important lesson learned from your work experience while at college? My two years at SFASU taught me an unbelievable amount of discipline and responsibility. My athletes', coaches', and co-workers' well-being was put before my own, and this was done by design. It taught me to be selfless no matter the situation, as this is a key step in becoming an Athletic Trainer.

What career-related advice would you like to share with current students, you wish you knew prior to graduating? Students, who are reaching for their career goals by completing their degree, whether it is a Bachelors, Masters, or Doctorate, should know just that: keep reaching. Ambition and accountability are the key ingredients in impressing an employer. If you make a mistake along your path (and you will, everyone does), own up to the mistake! Do not hide your unintentional errors. Ask for help and explain what went wrong. You will not be punished for your honesty. In fact, many times you will be rewarded for your openness and willingness to learn and prevent future mistakes. Finally, if you show that you have an inner drive and initiative to take on extra tasks, or you offer to do more than what is expected, you will be rewarded. You will be acknowledged for your hard work.

Amberly Johnson
Amberly Johnson - Graduate Assistant Educational Background: Major: Family & Consumer Sciences; Graduation: May 2014

Employer: Stephen F. Austin State University, Career Services

Biography: Hello, I am Amberly Johnson. I received my Bachelor of Science degree in May 2014. After graduation I started my teaching career at Marshall High School in Marshall Texas. At MHS I taught Culinary Arts, Hospitality and Principles of Education. I enjoyed my first year and learned many lessons that impacted my career and life. Fall 2014 I also started working on my graduate education. I am currently studying Secondary Education at SFA, and hope to receive a Master in Education December 2016. During my first year of teaching I had a beautiful baby boy and decided to take a year off from teaching to focus on him and finishing my graduate degree; which has led me to an awesome graduate position within Career Services at SFA. This current position allows me to further my career development through assigned projects, networking, and excel in skills that are transferrable to my career.

Experience: While a student at SFA, I became a member of Alpha Phi Omega community service fraternity and was also inducted into the prestigious Delta Sigma Theta Incorporated sorority. As a student assistant, I had the honor to work for the Dean of Education my last 2 years of undergraduate, where I started to focus on my career development.

What was an important lesson learned from your work experience while at college? One lesson I learned in college is establishing connections with people you work with or for. You never know who you may need. I still have great relationships with my former supervisors. I am to still able to ask for reference letters and advice when needed. Even after college you may need people you met in college or you may need people from previous jobs, so make sure to establish positive relationships with people you meet.

What career-related advice would you like to share with current students, you wish you knew prior to graduating? I would encourage students to think about their future now! Do not wait for your graduating semester. Prepare for your future by attending career fairs, submitting your resume to be critiqued through career services, and practicing interviewing techniques. There is no excuse for why you are not professionally prepared after college. There are so many resources available at SFA that will help you become confident in approaching life after college. Also, be humble! Do not say what you are not going to do or not going work, sometimes you have to go through things to get where you're going. Remember after college you are still young and the world is your oyster. Don't limit yourself!!