Daily Archives: November 1, 2012

Five Fun Facts from Amy Nadeau

In case you missed this latest A&S Career Conversation from Amy Nadeau, Group Manager at BOSE, check out her fun facts!

1. Amy got her first job with Reebok after doing informational interviews, and connecting with experts in the field.  She suggests checking in after informational interviews to stay in the loop for when they might be looking to make a hire.  Remember informational interviews are learning and networking opportunities, not the place to ask for a job!

  • Examples include checking in on a topic you discussed, asking for additional suggestions, asking if your contact could take a look at your resume.
  • For more tips on informational interviewing check out the BC Career Center Webpage.

2. Amy described how there are multiple models of advertising agencies.  There is the agency model which works for external clients, and the internal agency which works with in a brand (like BOSE) to promote their own products.  Amy also explained that depending on the size of the company an employee could be overseeing a lot of different areas, or be working within one specific division of the company.

3. Amy detailed the many positions that make an effective advertising team.   The producer, copy writer, art director, account service, media department, licensing, etc. are all necessary to imagine, design, create, and promote advertisements.   These roles all play to different strengths, so just because you aren’t an amazing artist or a creative genius there could still be a perfect role for you in the advertising worldDon’t get caught up on job titles, pay more attention to the job description because a Creative Technologist at one agency might serve in the same role as an Art Director at another.

4. What Amy looks for in new hires:

  • Communication/ Organization skills
  • A balance of personality types in the work place
  • Open to learn
  • Confident but not arrogant
  • Personable, friendly

5. Words of Wisdom:

  • Don’t burn bridges” it’s a small world.
  • If you say you are going to do something… DO IT!
  • Don’t go just for the money when choosing a first job.  Look at what will set you in the best direction for the long run, and where you will have the most satisfaction.

-Emily Merritt, Graduate Assistant, Boston College Career Center

Careers in Student Affairs: Denise Ho

Dear Future Higher Ed Graduate Student,

I hope you will consider a career in Higher Education. You may be wondering why or how you should get started.  When I an undergrad at UC Irvine, I had big dreams of being a biology teacher. Sophomore year my hopes and dreams were shattered after barely passing organic chemistry. I was a Community Programmer in the Reslife and my supervisor told me to think about higher education as a career. After many trial and tribulations which involved odd jobs, switching majors, and a trip to the Career Center (I needed to take a 1 unit class and glad I did!) I found out what I qualities I was looking for in any career. I enjoyed meeting people, helping others, and putting together events. I could have done hotel management, human resources, or the nonprofit route but I love the college atmosphere. I encourage you to seek out different opportunities to test what you like/dislike.

Was there an AH-HA moment when I knew my path? It was more gradual a sense of wholeness or feeling like it was the right path. If you are not touchy feely, it was just you were in your flow.

What’s important to consider in choosing a graduate program?

  1. Location! I wanted to be in a city with great public transportation, a Target, and lots of cool things to explore.  I needed to be by the water too.  Think about what you need to be around?
  2. Size/Population of School: I wanted a smaller program but wanted to attend a large private school. I went to a large public school so I wanted something different.
  3. Assistantships: What assistantship are they offering? Do they have something you want to do?  Do all people who are accepted in the program required to get assistantship?
  4. What is the focus you want? Counseling vs Administration. What classes do they offer? Do you find them interesting?
  5. Money. Money. Money. Check out their financial aid package. Do they offer scholarships? Are there assistantships with tuitions remission?
  6. GREs. Study and get a “good” score. Just remember a standardized test does not determine your abilities and talents which is why grad programs will look at your resume, personal statement, and your letters of recommendation. They want to invest in someone who is willing to advance in their program and contribute to the field.

When I got into graduate school I basically did this dance…

What was your graduate school experience like?

It was kind of like this.

My graduate student experience was swinging from tree to tree in a humor. What I learned in class created a good foundation of knowledge for me. My favorite classes were my college student development theory, higher education law and field experience. I love learning the past, present, and future of higher education and it solidified my decision to pursue a career in higher education.

My assistantships in Reslife and Career Services allowed me to really develop myself as a young professional in the field.  I made mistakes, felt stupid at times, and was sometimes lonely. I say this because it seemed like EVERYONE had it together. I had to be honest with myself and took the time to care for myself. I had the great support of mentors and good friends who I still keep in touch with today.

How can interested students prepare themselves for a career in…

  1. Talk to as many people as you can about going into the field. Have people refer you to others. Some people say networking should take up 20 hours a week! I say be intentional with who you want to spend your time with since you are still a student!
  2. Connect with programs you want to apply to by emailing professors to see what they teach. Ask if you can talk to current graduate students in the program.
  3. Get organized on how to apply, go to $ucessful Start in BC’s Student Services to talk about how to pay for graduate school, and get those letters of recommendations ready.
  4. Get those experiences. You don’t have to be a RA or Orientation Leader to go into this field.

So future higher ed graduate student If you want to know more about a career in higher education please feel free to email me at fungde@bc.edu.

Sincerely,

Denise Ho
Assistant Director, Office of Graduate Student Life
Masters of Science in Educational Pyschology with a concentration on College Student Development, Northeastern University, Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from University of California, Irvine

 

Careers in Student Affairs: Lindsay Napier

My entire professional career has consisted of supporting students both emotionally and academically in institutions of higher education. As a Psychology major at Lafayette College I was very interested in the mental healthcare and psychological disabilities.  In order to further explore my interests, I had multiple internship experiences including a placement at Four Winds Psychiatric Hospital in Katonah, New York and an internship at The Royal Free Hospital Eating Disorders Unit in London, England while studying abroad.  I found myself drawn to social work not only because of the nature of the work clinically supporting patients and their families, but also due to the fact that the role appeared versatile and unpredictable.

Following my undergraduate degree I went directly to graduate school at New York University where I earned my masters in clinical social work. My second year internship was at Hunter College’s Counseling Center.  I loved working with college students, providing support for various psychological symptoms and interpersonal issues.   The staff was very dedicated to student growth and development and the energy on campus was contagious.  At that point I knew I wanted to support students in a higher education environment.  When my internship ended I worked for New York University as a Crisis Response Counselor and Staff Social Worker and at Emerson College as the Assistant Director for Disability Services before starting at Boston College in June 2012 as the Assistant Director for Health Promotion and Alcohol and Drug Education Program.

In my current role no two days look remotely similar.  I counsel students on alcohol and drug related issues both voluntarily and through conduct mandates to assess level or risk and motivate behavior change.  I am involved in the Health Coach program training health coaches to facilitate programming on campus.  Additionally, I supervise graduate clinical interns and undergraduate health coaches.  The position affords me the ability to work with students on a variety of health related issues in multiple capacities including psychoeducation as well as clinically.

During my six years in higher education, I am pleased to see how colleges emphasize health and well-being of the student population.    In order for students to be successful they not only have to perform in the classroom, but also address their own health and mental health.   More specifically, as the rates of binge drinking on college campuses continue to be high, it is vital that programs such as ADE exist on campuses to educate students on the difference between low and high risk choices to keep themselves safe.  As a member of the Student Affairs division at Boston College, I feel fortunate to work with dedicated professionals who value student health and personal advancement within population we serve.

Lindsay Napier
Assistant Director of Health Promotion, Health Promotion
BA, Masters of Social Work, LICSW

Careers in Student Affairs: Carole Hughes

Why did you choose a career in higher education; specifically (your area)?
I was involved as an undergraduate in student government and student leadership programs.  At the time, I was involved in Student Activities, so that is the area I sought out right after graduation.  However, I discovered quickly that I needed a graduate degree.  No one would hire me with just my undergraduate degree, regardless of my fairly extensive programming experience.

Did you have a career ‘aha’ moment? If so, what triggered it?
My early years as an Assistant Dean at Boston College were really the most formative experiences I have had as a professional.  I was working with a professional group of colleagues who were in and around the same generation as me and who shared my general philosophy of student advising.  We worked in an office where there was access to almost every area of Student Affairs which allowed us to learn across areas and it really was a collaborative environment, if a little unwieldy.   Plus, the students were really wonderful (they still are).   Most days, during that time, I really considered how lucky I was to have chosen this profession and to be working with those people.  Every day was like an “aha” moment.

Describe your current job.
I currently am responsible for the supervision of the student conduct system, off campus  student life,  the Career Center and the Office of Graduate Student Life.  The Conduct area  is new for me.  I am learning more every day and am starting to be able to see areas where Boston College can improve in this area.  In each of these areas; Conduct, Off-Campus, Career Center and Graduate Student Life, we have strong leaders and managers.  They are all experts in their areas and genuinely interested enhancing the quality of students’ lives.  I feel very fortunate to have these people around me.

What types of work activities take up most of your time?
Meetings.  This is always a source of frustration for most professionals.  However, it is important to know that meetings are critical when there is an issue, when a staff needs to get together to re-connect, to plan any sort of strategy and to resolve conflicts that can arise in our day-to-day work.  I have come to see meetings as a place where I can gather information, solve problems, assist colleagues and hopefully help students.  I also find that meetings with colleagues can strengthen our relationships and contribute to our creative thinking in a way that is impossible with simply relating through email.

Is there anything you do that you would have never assumed would be part of your job?
I honestly thought I would leave higher education after 1-2 years.  I was planning to be a lawyer.  I had been admitted to law school and thought that is where I would end up.  Pretty much everything I have done, outside of my first Assistant Dean’s position has been a bit of a surprise.  I never thought I would be so intimately involved in the conduct process.  I also never thought I would be involved in Facilities Management (I spent a year in Facilities at Boston College working on the Campus Master Plan).  I also never thought I would work in the area of harassment (I was the University Harassment Officer for 7 years).

I was considering actually leaving the field at one point, and was asked to work in the Vice-President’s Office on Assessment and Staff Development.  I did not anticipate the departure of that Vice-President, which significantly changed the work I had been asked to do when I signed on to the position.   I also did not anticipate my work in the Office of Graduate Student Life where I was the Associate Dean/Director for two years.  However, in all these situations, I was able to increase my knowledge base in the field across all areas.

I think it is safe to assume that I did not assume or even imagine that most of these things would happen.  What I have learned from that is that I always have to be ready (vita updated, experience in as many areas as possible, good relationships with colleagues, good reputation, etc.)  You cannot always predict how things will go—the best laid plans can almost always go in a direction you did not anticipate.

Is there any sort of career preparation (graduate degree; internships, etc.) that is vital to your area?
My background is primarily in programming, student engagement, advising and leadership and in those areas , it is critical to have had programming experience with small and large scale programs , experience with a wide range of student organizations, negotiation and conflict management skills.  It is also important to understand the theory behind the work and to stay up to date on the changing landscape of higher education in general.    On the conduct side, it is always beneficial to have an understanding of the conduct process and the policies and procedures around that process.  Of course, there is no substitute for just doing the work, so it is always helpful to volunteer, even if it is not in your area of responsibility

What was your graduate experience like?
I went to Boston University for my master’s degree and I was their first graduate intern in the Division of Student Affairs.  I had an incredibly diverse and challenging experience there.  I worked in Student Activities, Greek Life, Residence Life, Student Union operations, Freshmen Orientation and the Finance area in student affairs.  I had great mentoring and attention.  One of my favorite quotes from that time is:  “ Take advantage of this experience.  Never again in your career will so many people be  so interested in your professional development”.  That turned out to be very true.  We are each responsible for our own professional development and learning.  Everything  I know as a professional has its foundation in my experience at Boston University.

What’s important to consider in choosing a graduate program?
Strong academics are important, but you should also evaluate the practical experience you can get in a particular program.  As a hiring manager, I assume people have a master’s degree.  I am much more interested in what kind of experience you bring to the table.

Are there any web sites or other resources that students should use if they’re interested in higher ed/your particular area?
I think it is important to be well read.  Students should be reading the Chronicle of Higher Education weekly.  There are also daily updates.  Setting Google alerts in areas of interest and expertise is always helpful.  Reading higheredjobs.com gives you a sense of what is happening in the industry related to employment.  Creating a strong LinkedIn profile is always a good professional idea.  I often encourage students to conduct informational interviews with people on campus who are in positions that the student might be interested in learning more about.  People will be glad to talk to you.

Be aware of the professional associations. There are many in higher education.  Some of the most critical in Student Affairs are:  The National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA),  Association of College Personnel Administrators (ACPA) , Association of Student Conduct  Administrators (ASCA), Association of College and University Housing Officers (ACUHO), and the Association of College Unions-International (ACUI) to name a few.  There are many more that are area-specific.   Students can frequently join these associations at a discount rate.

What sorts of jobs/internships/campus activities did you do as an undergraduate?
I held two part-time jobs all through college.  One was at a McDonald’s in Boston where I worked in every area including staff training and financial management (as well as making the hamburgers!!!) and in a local bank as a teller and then later as an administrative assistant.

On campus, I served in the student government and was the Student Government President in my senior year.  I was also a co-chair of the campus Social Events Committee which organized campus-wide events for groups up to 5000.  This is where I learned all of my programming skills which came in very handy in my early days at Boston College as an Assistant Dean for Programming with UGBC and the performing arts organizations.

What do you know now that you wish you had known as an undergraduate?
That it is all going to work out.

Carole Hughes
Senior Associate Dean, Office of the Dean of Students
B.S. Management, Ed.M. Educational Policy, Ph.D.  Higher Education

Careers in Student Affairs: Katie Dalton

After graduating from Boston College in 2003 with a degree in Psychology, I entered the exhilarating world of advertising as an account executive on the General Motors account at Mullen Advertising. I truly enjoyed the fast paced, dynamic and creative environment however, after a particularly long night trying to finalize a direct mail piece that I was certain would end up most recipients’ trash barrels, I found myself looking for more meaning. After relaying my feelings to a wise mentor, he advised me to find the job that I want, the one that would bring me joy, and then to figure out how to get there. I did just that and discovered the exciting world of higher education administration; a place where I could get paid to stay in college forever.

I enrolled in the Higher Education Administration MA program at BC in 2005. I gained higher education administration experience working in two different assistantships while in graduate school, first as a graduate assistant in the Student Affairs Business Service Center and second as a Peer Minister in Duchesne Hall on Newton Campus. Both provided me with learning opportunities outside of the classroom that were very transferable to positions that I applied for following graduation. For my first professional job I serve as the assistant director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at Brandeis University for four years before returning to BC in 2007 as the director of the Women’s Resource Center.

When I plotted my course in higher education administration I did not foresee myself in this position necessarily, however it certainly combines my passion for working directly with students with that of working on higher level institutional policies.

As the director of the Women’s Resource Center my days are consistently inconsistent. The Center is run as a feminist collaborative meaning it is much more linear than hierarchical. That being said, the seven undergraduate student workers and three graduate assistants have tremendous responsibility conceiving of and implementing programming. I guide each of the students in their overall programming endeavors and meet with them weekly to discuss the progress of their projects and offer advice and assistance as needed. I oversee the Bystander Intervention Education Program, a violence prevention program, as well as the Sexual Assault Network, a 24 hour hotline staffed by trained advocates to serve the needs of those affected by sexual violence.

I also serve students who are struggling with disordered eating and survivors of sexual violence. Students either schedule appointments or drop into my office as needed. Although I am not a trained counselor, I work with students as a bridge to University Counseling Services.

The Women’s Resource Center is part of the greater Office of Health Promotion so I am subsequently part of a larger administrative team that addresses health and wellness at Boston College. I meet weekly with my supervisor as well as my colleagues in OHP to conceive of creative ways to address health issues that students face.

A career in higher education offers the advantage of working in a dynamic and exciting field, one in which I find remarkable meaning. I particularly enjoy working at a mission driven institution where the formation of students is at the forefront of the work that we do.

Katie Dalton
Director of the Women’s Resource Center, Office of Health Promotion
BA ’03; MA, Higher Education Administration ‘07

Careers in Student Affairs: Joyce Wang

Stumbling upon Student Affairs

I have found myself numerous times talking to students about my college experience. One of the greatest part of my job at the Office of AHANA Student Programs and in Student Affairs is being able to draw upon my experiences as a college student and use it to help a student put things in perspective. Whenever I share with them how I came to this career, I can see the wheels in their minds churn as they process the fact that I was never sure. As much as people may desire to be 100% on something, there is a certain amount of relief when you hear someone else had also stuggled and stumbled through life.

At the start of my senior year, I was on a very straight and narrow path of applying to Ph.D. programs in sociology. I had thoroughly enjoyed the sociology courses I took as an undergraduate, had done independent research, and figured the next logical step would be to continue along towards a Masters and then a Ph.D. degree. A few weeks of looking into various MA/Ph.D. programs in sociology and it dawned upon me that this was not exactly what I wanted at that point in my life. Eventually, yes. Right now? Not really. As I thought more about it, I could not imagine myself walking down this path so soon. The more I thought about it, the more I panicked. My straight and narrow path all but disappeared under my feet. I was back at square one with no idea where else to begin and it was already mid-October of my senior year.

The day after my “revelation,” I stumbled into my mentor’s office with my worries tumbling from my lips. I was in a crisis of uncertainty and unknown. My mentor did what she does best, listen and then, asked me a simple question, “what do you want to do?” Dumbfounded, my mentor had to leave me in her office while I pondered. I pondered until she returned and repeated her question. I pointed to her and back to myself and replied, “this,” explaining that I wanted to talk to people, particularly moments when uncertainty weighed down, and help them help themselves find the answers, or at least process these moments. “Well,” she replied, “did you know you can get a degree in that? It’s called higher education…”

Whenever I share this experience with students, particularly seniors looking for answers or looking for reassurances, I recount the following days, weeks, and months after that conversation with my mentor. It was one of my most reflective self-journeys I had ever taken in my life. Answering that simple question, researching programs for higher education, editing my resume, and writing personal statements, I found myself analyzing and rediscovering who I am, who I wanted to be, and how the next leg of my life would be a part of that. After all is said and done, now I do exactly what I had told my mentor I wanted to do, toss the same question back for my students to ponder as they stumble into my office.

Joyce Wang
Program Administrator, Office of AHANA Student Programs
M.A. Higher Education Administration, Boston College, 2011
B.A. Sociology, University at Buffalo, 2009

Careers in Student Affairs: Cameron Smith

I understand the fact that you were probably tricked into reading this blog via a fake link to vote for the world’s cutest puppy, or see the trailer for the new Twilight movie, or to win a free copy of FIFA ’13.  That being said I realize I have about three paragraphs to explain how I got into Student Affairs and why I am still working in it today. It also needs to be noted that this is a blog so please understand I am fighting the urge to talk about thick-rimmed glasses, mustaches, fixed gear bicycles, and skinny jeans.

I digress; I attended Quinnipiac University set in the rolling hills of scenic Hamden Connecticut and majored in Mass Communications with a focus on media production.  I had a radio show, worked with the campus television station, and produced short films.  I was having a ton of fun and was good at all of it.  My roommates and I were getting A’s, winning awards, and even landed a summer internship working in Los Angeles for Andy Dick (he was relevant for something other than Celebrity Rehab at one point) just before our senior year.  While I slept on the flight to L.A. I dreamt of being on location and filming for MTV, winning a dance-off at Diddy’s white party, and accepting my own star of the Walk-of-Fame, all of which were shattered within minutes of landing at LAX and pulling my rolling suitcase across the streets of Beverly Hills feeling incredibly lost.  My two roommates and I went out there with no idea what we would actually be doing, a few hundred dollars each, and no place to live (the first placed we went and checked out was this purple sequined, cat loving magician named Figgy who offered to have us stay under his kitchen table for $200 each a month. We respectfully declined.  Though found out he auditioned for America’s Got Talent years later, we assume he is as bad of a magician and he would have been landlord).

Our first day on set we simply hung out around the Kraft-services snack table, because of the unions we could not touch any of the equipment or appear on screen and everyone who was already working on the show assumed we were trying to steal their jobs.  Time at work was spent with a five-gallon tub of Twizzlers and even more dirty looks.  Our nights were not nearly as lavish as we had imagined either, dinners at Del Taco and walking the Hollywood strip alone was not what we had pictured.  We spent money on a car that had a “slight dent in the hood” which nearly flew open on the 101 and had to be secured down with double-wide shoelaces and dog chains from the dollar store.  Our spirits broken and our pockets empty we had to return to the East Coast nearly a month early.  I vowed never to return to L.A. on the long flight home and dreaded the start of my senior year with no desire to continue with my major and limited options as far as what I was going to do next.

About a month into first semester the Dean of Students who I knew through orientation, my fraternity, and student government sat down and asked what I was going to do after graduation.  I recanted my tales of Los Angeles and my uncertainty of what was next.  She invited me to be an intern at the NASPA Region I conference, a conference for Student Affairs professionals, on the drive home she pointed out that all the things I enjoyed doing as extracurricular activities could potentially turn into a career.  I would need to begin applying to graduate programs almost immediately but there was finally a viable alternative to L.A..

Feeling a desperate need to have an answer to the “so what are you going to do next?” question I decided to skip the GRE’s (plus I was a senior and did not want to take another test) and hastily applied to programs that did not require those scores.  I found two programs, one in Ohio and one in my hometown.  I applied to both, was accepted, and decided to travel to the mid-west for the program that was ranked in the top five, offered a much better assistantship, and a stipend where I would actually be making money while I was in school.  In hindsight, I rushed the decision.

For starters I loathed Ohio, it was a completely different world, there multiple signs on the side of the road offering to buy animal clippings (I called they used them to stuff pillows), the only attraction in town was a Wal-Mart, and the nearest city was 45 minutes away.  I was driving the minivan my parents gave me as graduation present back to Connecticut nearly every weekend to see my girlfriend and fraternity brothers still at Quinnipiac.  The program was theory based and I was used to a hands on production major, I couldn’t understand why we were talking about how to work with students rather than actually working with students, I was struggling academically getting my first F on a paper ever, and having to drop the same class two semesters in a row.  I was a thousand times more unhappy then I was when I was in L.A. but was far to proud to tell anyone, I had never failed at anything and thought I could tough it out for the next two years.  (I assume you are asking- “Cameron, I thought this blog was supposed to be about why we should get into Student Affairs?”  Well it is, as we used to say in media production here is the up-arc for our main character.)

During a visit back to the east coast I ran into a friend who was at the University of Rhode Island in a similar masters program, she said they were going to have a graduate assistantship working with the fraternities and sororities open for the upcoming year and that I should apply. I thought nobody transferred graduate schools (I was right, I still have not heard of anyone else who has) so I was hesitant, but I could not stay in Ohio any longer and felt an enormous weight lifted off my chest when I found I had been accepted to URI.

I spent the next three years living near the beach, doing quite well in classes, and genuinely being happy again.  This is not to say this is some hipster-blog-Cinderella-slipper-story where the Chuck Taylor, black, one-star, high top fit and I was transformed into this prince of Student Affairs. In my seven years working in Student Affairs I constantly find myself questioning my role and fit.  However, the opportunity to work in an ever changing, fast-paced environment; to participate on Arrupe immersion programs, attend Kairos, Halftime, and 48 Hours; and develop genuine relationship with students and truly help along their journey here is unbelievably  rewarding and honestly brings me joy.

Cameron R. Smith
Assistant Director for the First Year Area,
Office of Residential Life

P.S. If you still want to vote for the world’s cutest puppy check out http://puppywar.com/

P.P.S. If you are the first person to email me (cameron.smith@bc.edu) saying you read this whole thing I will give you a copy of FIFA ’13 or two tickets to the Twilight movie.