Graduation date: 2014
Areas of study while enrolled at OU: Journalism – Strategic Communications track
Current professional role: Community Partnerships Associate at Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio
How has your academic or extracurricular experience impacted your career path?
As a student enrolled in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, I couldn’t have asked for better professors, courses and real-world work experience than I received during my four years at Ohio University. I was also involved in the ImPRessions, a student-run PR firm and Thumbprint Advertising, the student-run advertising agency. I was also an active member of Ad Club and participated in the NSAC advertising competitions as well as several out of town networking trips through that organization.
The organization that really impacted my career path is Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed service fraternity. I participated in tons of on-campus/Athens community volunteer activities through this organization and took two week long trips: one to Give Kids the World in Florida and the other to rebuild a house destroyed by Katrina in New Orleans. My involvement in this organization really fueled my passion for serving and giving back to others.
Although I didn’t end up going into a journalism field, my experience in Scripps allowed me to figure out what I did and didn’t want in a career and lead me to my current role at the Ronald McDonald House. I still use many of the same skills I learned in school in my everyday job.
What, if anything, has surprised you about the direction your career path has taken?
Going into my first year in the Scripps program, I had my sights set pretty high on a killer job at a large , corporate Advertising/PR firm. As I became involved in student organizations and took part in networking trips to numerous advertising and PR firms both in Ohio and outside the state, I began to realize I didn’t really enjoy agency culture or the work I would be doing there.
Near the end of my junior year, I decided to start exploring job opportunities in the non-profit sector. That ultimately led me to fall in love with the Columbus Ronald McDonald House. At the end of my interview with the Ronald McDonald House I asked if there was anything I could do to help the House while finishing up my final semester at OU. He proceeded to tell me that they had been wanting to start a dance marathon at OU for several years to benefit the Ronald McDonald House. So with that, I went back to school and immediately got to work on making a dance marathon happen on campus. I gathered together a group of interested students, started a new student organization, created marketing and social media channels and started planning for the event. That following May I graduated from OU, a month and a half after graduation I had landed a full-time job at the Columbus Ronald McDonald House because of the work I had done on the dance marathon.
Now, with almost two years under my belt at the Ronald McDonald House, I am fortunate enough to continue working with the students at OU who help make the dance marathon happen every year as well as work with all of our third party event donors. The first dance marathon raised over $18,000 for RMHC families and the second dance marathon, happening this past February raised over $40,000 for the Ronald McDonald House. I could have never imagined doing full-time development work for an amazing non-profit beginning my first year at OU but I’m thankful everyday that my college journey led me here.
What was the biggest challenge you faced during the job-search process and how did you overcome that?
Pressure from my parents because I didn’t really do a job-search. I basically put all my eggs in one basket, knowing my heart was set on working at the Ronald McDonald House and literally didn’t apply to any other positions. (I would not necessarily suggest this method!) I faced a bit of opposition from my parents since I had racked up some decent student loans and worked my butt off in school both academically and in extra-curricular activities. I overcame this pressure by sticking to my gut and explaining to them that everything will work out one way or another and it did!
What is your favorite thing about post-grad life?
My favorite thing about post-grad life is freedom from the burden of homework, studying and exams. I get to go home every night at 5pm and decide what I want to do with my evening. I, fortunately, have a wonderful work-life balance and get to spend time outside my job traveling, spending time with friends, running, serving at my church, etc. I love the freedom that post-grad life provides and my ability to balance my amazing job with my personal life.
If you could go back and tell your college-self one thing, what would it be?
“Don’t conform to the pressures to perform and the pressure to land a hot-shot job that makes lots of money. Discover your passions, dreams and goals and shoot for them! Money will follow.”