#BulldogOnTheJob: Emily

Editor’s Note: We’re trying something new this year. We are interviewing various UMD Alumni about how their experiences at UMD have impacted their professional lives. They will also be giving their advice for being successful out there in the real world.

Name: Emily Purvis
Major: Psychology (with focus in Industrial/Organizational applications)
Grad Date: December 2013

Organization, title, and a brief synopsis of what you do
Essentia Health, Content Management Specialist. My job is a mix of content management, graphic design, web design, and communication management. I manage the HR related pages of the employee intranet as well as create documents, images, and videos relating to HR topics such as benefits, payroll, retirement, etc. I also develop internal resources to assist the HR department document their processes and streamline their work.

What were the jobs, opportunities, and/or classes you had that led to your current role?
During my undergraduate in interned in an HR office. That experience helped me be hired as a temp in Essentia’s HR office. Because of my temp role, I then was an excellent candidate for a role that opened up in their call center. While in the call center, I learned many aspects of the HR department, which in turn prepared me for my current role.

What were some of the lessons you learned while on-campus at UMD you’ve incorporated into your professional life?
GET INVOLVED! I attended numerous on-campus events and was part of multiple campus groups, some fun and some professional, but all involved getting to know new people and making connections. Networking is essential in a professional career.

ASK QUESTIONS! When you are new in the field there are things you aren’t going to know, just like in a new class. Don’t be afraid to ask how something works or why it’s done that way. Most people are happy to share their knowledge with you!

What career advice do you have for students wishing to enter your field?
Communication is rapidly evolving – having knowledge of coding is becoming more and more essential to a designer’s toolkit. Having to wait for a coder to get back to you can severely delay progress, so if you can at least learn the basics, it will go a long way.

Anything else you want to add about your time at UMD, or since, that greatly impacted where you are now?
My degree was in psychology, yet I work in more of a digital communications role that focuses on HR content. Your degree is important, but your experiences are equally important. Make sure you find experiences that match where you want to go in the future or create them within your job where possible. For example, my role in the HR Service Center at Essentia did not include creating job aid documents, but I wanted to create them for some of my processes, so I started creating them in my spare time. My supervisor noticed and liked them, so I made more. That experience directly aligned with my current role and made a huge impact during my interview because I had past work to show them.

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Interested in Essentia Health? Check out their employment page.

#BulldogOnTheJob: Scott

Editor’s Note: We’re trying something new this year. We are interviewing various UMD Alumni about how their experiences at UMD have impacted their professional lives. They will also be giving their advice for being successful out there in the real world.

Name: Scott
Major: Political Science
Minor: History
Grad Date: Class of 1975

Organization, title, and a brief synopsis of what you do
Hartel’s/DBJ Disposal Companies. My main function is commercial sales but this is a family business and that means doing whatever needs doing!

What were the jobs, opportunities, and/or classes you had that led to your current role?
I had a 35-year career in the Foodservice Distribution Business where I was a street sales person, district sales manager, director of marketing, sales trainer, and specialist. I had the great experience of being part of a team that took the company from under $20 million per year in sales to over $220 million!  Later in my career, I received an offer to get into the commercial trash and recycling field and I took it!  My experiences at UMD were instrumental in developing confidence, preparation skills, and  a vast array of people skills. From college, I began in real estate sales and then onto the Foodservice sales.

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What were some of the lessons you learned while on-campus at UMD you’ve incorporated into your professional life?
I had a rather unique experience being a Duluth native, I was a commuter for my first 3 years but got involved with athletics, work-study, and social groups which proved invaluable to my whole college life.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known prior to entering your role/field?
I don’t know that it would have been accessible. What has been continuously reinforced has been the value of integrity and solving problems instead of selling stuff.

What career advice do you have for students wishing to enter your field?
I would say consider the careers in the “less glamorous” fields, they’re interesting and can be lucrative. If you like to deal with people, most sales positions will be worth it!

Anything else you want to add about your time at UMD, or since, that greatly impacted where you are now?
Keep challenging yourself, stick your neck out, and dream big!  Give back!  My time in Rotary has been a joy and the opportunity to serve is outstanding!  Usually, the best things happen when you’re not even looking (but you have to be out there so they can find you!).

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Interested in Hartel’s/DBJ Disposal Companies? Check out their employment page.

#BulldogOnTheJob: Jacob

Editor’s Note: We’re trying something new this year. We are interviewing various UMD Alumni about how their experiences at UMD have impacted their professional lives. They will also be giving their advice for being successful out there in the real world.

Name: Jacob Froelich
Majors: Organizational Management BBA & Theater BA
Minor: Marketing
Grad Date: May 2015

Organization, title, and a brief synopsis of what you do
As of July 5, 2016, I work for City Girl Coffee Co. (a division of Alakef Coffee Roasters.) I am our Brand Development Coordinator based in the Twin Cities. Brand Development at City Girl means a lot of different things depending on the day, but generally it involves building our brand and presence in the Twin Cities through various different methods. This summer I was tasked with creating and running a Demo program, to make it easier for customers to sample our coffee before buying. I took on the responsibility of recruiting, hiring, and training brand ambassadors on our story and how to interact with customers in a grocery store setting. It was super fun! That is still my main responsibility heading into the busy holiday season, however side projects for me included conducting market research on new markets for City Girl as well as getting trained in on our sales techniques and process. More to come in the future I’m sure!

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What were the jobs, opportunities, and/or classes you had that led to your current role? 
While it’s hard to pick any one single experience that let me to my current position, the most direct connection with my current job would have been my internship experience I completed I completed during my Junior year at UMD. My business major and marketing minor made me a perfect fit for a Social Media Marketing internship and my time spent networking with the folks in the Career and Internship Services office was well spent when I was approached about interviewing for the position by Mary Gallet who worked in the Career and Internship Services office at the time. Mary arranged my interview and the rest is history. I interned for the company I work for now, specifically my internship was created and I reported to my current boss. While the company didn’t immediately have an opening for me when I graduated, I was approached about joining the team full-time this past spring and jumped on board without hardly any hesitation. The experiences that led me to the internship in the first place were varied. I would say it helped that I had previously visited Career and Internship Services quite a bit, had my resume up to date, and was actively seeking out an opportunity like the one I found. I believe my Marketing minor helped to demonstrate knowledge in the area the company was looking to bring someone in and I believe my Theater major helped with being personable and communicative during my interview. At the end of the day though, it wasn’t just me, job hunting really is a community effort. I’m glad I had people willing to help me. I would recommend to anyone looking for their next opportunity in a job, or otherwise, that a great first place to start, would be reaching out to your network and seeing what’s already sitting there just waiting for you.

What were some of the lessons you learned while on-campus at UMD you’ve incorporated into your professional life?
Don’t be afraid of failure. It seems that many people get caught up (and quite worried) about having everything right the first time around. I’ve found it’s much more productive to direct your energy into a choice you make and go with, rather than wasting time worrying and not making a decision. As David J. Schwartz, author of the Magic of Thinking Big once said “Action cures fear.” Take a step in the direction you want to go, even if you’re scared or nervous, take the first step scared or nervous.

As many people will readily recognize it’s not always what you know, but who you know. Smarts and experience are ultimately very important, but it’s always a good idea to take action to expand your personal and professional network whenever possible. Joining clubs and organizations and going to those sponsored lectures and lunches is actually super beneficial! You never know who you will meet and where, keep a resume on hand, or at least be willing to talk about your skills and interests at any time with a potential employer. I’d recommend taking the Myers-Briggs and StrengthsQuest career assessments, if you haven’t already, to be more in touch with your skills and interests.

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What do you know now that you wish you’d known prior to entering your role/field?
Hmmm. It’s probably something I was told 50 times while in college but it seems some things you just have to go out and learn the hard way. That being, make sure to find something you actually care about. I started out of college at a technology company that by all means had the makings of a perfect career starter for young people. Great culture, good(ish) pay, and a fun team of people to work with. It checked a lot of boxes on my list and so without really investigating my other options, I jumped at the opportunity. 6 months in, and while I enjoyed going to work with my friends every day, it wasn’t enough to quench my thirst for something more meaningful to me. I feel lucky to have come into the opportunity I have at City Girl now, but definitely take your time job hunting. It will take time!!!! Start early, and make sure the places your interview at, reflect your true passions, or at least provide a path to them.

What career advice do you have for students wishing to enter your field?
Know thyself. While in college, try as many different things as you can! Find out what you love, find out what you don’t and look for those things in your future career. And if after college you feel just as lost as when you entered, know that it’s okay. Start somewhere, just go for it, life is not a race and don’t compare yourself to those around you. Compare yourself only to your previous self and take pride in your accomplishments. Love yourself, because that energy is contagious. Read the book You are a Badass by Jen Sincero if you don’t know how. And ask for help when you need it. It’s not a race and you’re not alone.

Anything else you want to add about your time at UMD, or since, that greatly impacted where you are now?
It’s good to say yes, and it’s good to say no. If you come to an opportunity at least be open minded enough to investigate it. Jobs and careers can come from the least likely of places. And if you have an idea for a business or lifestyle, TRY IT while still in college. It’s the easiest time to try and fail and try and fail and try and fail and try again.

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Interested in City Girl Coffee? Check out their employment page.

Photo sources: Jacob & Unsplash|Drew Coffman

#BulldogOnTheJob: Sarah

Editor’s Note: We’re trying something new this year. We are interviewing various UMD Alumni about how their experiences at UMD have impacted their professional lives. They will also be giving their advice for being successful out there in the real world.

Name: Sarah Novack
Major: Statistics and Actuarial Science
Minor: Economics
Grad Date: December 2014

Organization, Title, and brief Synopsis
I am a Peace Corps Volunteer. There are five branches of Peace Corps: Education, Health, Agriculture, Business Development, and Youth Development. We train for three months before being placed at a permanent site, where we will serve for two years. My primary assignment is Secondary Education for Math and Science. I am currently serving in Zanzibar, Tanzania. Zanizbar is a gorgeous island full of tropical beaches and spice farms. I teach math at the local secondary school. Along with my primary assignment, I have two secondary projects that occupy my time. I have an After School STEM CLUB (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). We have done many simple science projects to explain centripetal force, air pressure, and chemical reactions. Secondly, I teach a Community English Class. The high tourism rate makes English Speakers in high demand.

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Opportunities and classes that led to this role.
Two influences from UMD helped me choose Peace Corps after Graduation. My sophomore year I took a class called Cultural Diversity. This class opened my eyes to different types of diversity not only throughout the United States, but also throughout the world. Our professor was born and raised in Kenya (neighbor to Tanzania). He gave us a unique perspective, which I have carried with me to Tanzania. He taught us that diversity is more than the color of your skin. It is your religion, gender identity, and socioeconomic class. When I wasn’t in studying, I spent a lot of my time volunteering. I was a tutor at the Harbor City International School, a Volunteer Admissions Tour Guide, and a Rockstar! My UMD experience as a whole and my desire to travel the world influenced my decision to join Peace Corps.

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What do you wish you would have known before entering your role?
I wish I would have known that, just because there is a Job Title associated with your major, doesn’t mean you have to go into that profession. For many years, I wanted to be an Actuary. I was finishing up my degree in Actuarial Science, when I realized, that was the last thing I wanted to be. There are many things you can do with a college degree; you just have to find what you are passionate about. I started looking into other career options, and with the help of Career & Internship Services and a childhood dream, I decided to join the Peace Corps. People join Peace Corps for many reasons, and for me it has opened the door into international development.

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Career Advice for people wishing to enter your field.
Every Peace Corps experience is unique. I would recommend anyone looking into Peace Corps to talk to a wide variety of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. Peace Corps will give you a ground view into a new world. I never would have thought I would wake up everyday and put on a hijab, but Peace Corps has given me this opportunity. Peace Corps Volunteers love talking about their experience. We love talking about cooking over our charcoal stoves, fetching water from a well, stumbling through our new language, and convincing the village you probably won’t be marring a local so you can stay. If you enjoy volunteering and working abroad, there is a place for you in Peace Corps!

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You can follow along with Sarah’s Peace Corps adventure on her Blog and Facebook Page.

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Photo Source: Sarah

#BulldogOnTheJob: Jennie

Editor’s Note: We’re trying something new this year. We are interviewing various UMD Alumni about how their experiences at UMD have impacted their professional lives. They will also be giving their advice for being successful out there in the real world.

Name: Jennie Lennick
Major: BFA in Studio Art with Drawing, Painting, and Printmaking Emphasis
Minors: Photography and Art History
Grad Date: 2009

Organization: Jenny Lemons
Title: Owner, Designer, and Maker
Brief synopsis of what you do: I design and sew hand made, block printed, and hand painted women’s clothing and home goods that feature repetitive food motifs. All of my products are made from natural and organic fabrics. I sell my goods online, in stores, and at craft fairs. I also teach fiber art workshops all over the Bay Area [San Francisco, CA].

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What were the jobs, opportunities, and/or classes you had that led to your current role?
When I was at UMD, I took a costume construction course through the Theatre department that really honed in my sewing skills. All of my print and painting classes taught me necessary techniques to make high quality images.

My teachers in the fine art department at UMD helped prepare me for graduate school at the San Francisco Art Institute. While at SFA, I was a teacher’s assistant for traditional and fiber-based sculpture classes. I graduated with a master’s degree in painting in 2012. Immediately upon graduation, I accepted a two and a half year residency at Root Division, a non-profit arts education institution which provides a subsidized studio in exchange for teaching art classes to adults and children.

All the while, I continued to show my artwork in galleries in San Francisco and Portland. During one art show I made a women’s top as an art piece and I got such positive feedback that I decided to make a small collection of women’s clothing. I showed my collection under the name Jenny Lemons at Renegade Craft Fair in 2015 and had great success.

In January this year, I took an intensive business-planning course through Renaissance Center for Entrepreneurship in San Francisco to develop Jenny Lemons further. The course helped me write a business plan and figure out my finances. Since then my business has been growing exponentially!

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What were some of the lessons you learned while on-campus at UMD you’ve incorporated into your professional life?
When I was at UMD, I worked at KUMD as the music director for college radio and was active in the Art Guild. These two organizations taught me leadership roles and how to work as a team. I also learned the importance of community, networking, and being friendly. People want to work with nice, thoughtful people!

What do you know now that you wish you’d known prior to entering your role/field?
I see myself as a seamstress and an artist, not a fashion designer. I wish I took a few fashion design or business classes in college to speed up my learning curve. My network helps fill in the gap in my industry knowledge.

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What career advice do you have for students wishing to enter your field?
Figure out what your vision is and what makes it different than anyone else. If you don’t understand something about your field, take a course or find someone who can help you! Your networks and colleagues will help. Get an internship at a business similar to the one you want to work at.

Anything else you want to add about your time at UMD, or since, that greatly impacted where you are now?
I loved UMD! While I was there, I took advantage of every opportunity I could.

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Photo Source: Jennie Lennick

#BulldogOnTheJob: Lauren

Editor’s Note: We’re trying something new this year. We are interviewing various UMD Alumni about how their experiences at UMD have impacted their professional lives. They will also be giving their advice for being successful out there in the real world.

Name: Lauren Atkinson
Major: Mathematics
Minor: English
Grad Date: May 2011

Organization: Anoka-Ramsey Community College
Title: Academic Support Center Coordinator
What you do: I coordinate all of the tutoring services for our largest tutoring center. This position provides leadership, direction, coordination, and supervision of daily operations within the Academic Support Center. I focus on developing and coordinating a peer tutoring/supplemental instruction program and provide support for academic disciplines.  I recruit, hire, train, oversee, and evaluate student tutors. My position supports the efforts to educate and advocate for diverse populations and create an environment of inclusiveness and respect for all people.

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What were the jobs, opportunities, and/or classes you had that led to your current role? 
I worked in the UMD Tutoring Center for three years as both a math and writing tutor. This opportunity gave me the skills to earn the Master Tutor Certificate from the College Reading and Learning Association (CRLA) which helped me land my first position as a Professional Math Tutor after college. I also completed the Kirby Leadership Certificate while attending UMD which allowed me to see the value in leadership and learn the skills to be an effective leader.

What were some of the lessons you learned while on-campus at UMD you’ve incorporated into your professional life?
Everyone has a story and has fought just as hard to be where they are as you have. I learned empathy through various roles at UMD and try and incorporate empathy into my role each day. The student workers I supervise need to feel supported, especially some of those students who have overcome a lot of barriers to even attend college. Through empathy, I can support my student workers, which in turn can help them support the students who visit our center for tutoring.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known prior to entering your role/field?
While GPA might matter for certain majors/career paths, for some of the more broad degrees, it matters much more to have experience on your resume (thankfully, I worked and volunteered while attending college, so I had experience to add to my resume)! Gain experience any way that you can. Work part-time, intern, volunteer, and then use these experiences to show a future employer what additional skills you learned outside of the classroom. Some of the best experiences might not have a direct correlation to your degree or career path, but can teach you additional leadership, management, or “soft” skills that you will need to showcase during an interview to help you stand out as a candidate for a job.

What career advice do you have for students wishing to enter your field?
Higher education is full of passion, but can be exhausting. There are many functional areas that require long hours, do not pay all that well, and make it hard to find a work-life balance. While exhausting, it is also very rewarding. If you are thinking of working in higher education, start thinking of obtaining an advanced degree. Many of our entry-level positions do not list an advanced degree, but with heavy competition to get into our field, you must have a Master’s degree or even a Ph.D. or Ed.D. to be granted an interview. Thankfully many advanced degree programs offer courses or entire programs online so you can try and get a foot in the door with an institution, while also working on an advanced degree.

Anything else you want to add about your time at UMD, or since, that greatly impacted where you are now?
Since leaving UMD I have obtained my Master of Science in Education degree from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with an emphasis in Student Affairs Administration. While I was able to obtain my entry level position because of my background in math and tutoring experience, in order to move up within the higher education system, I was forced to get an advanced degree to help my resume stand out. This is not always the case, but due to heavy competition, I was forced back to school. I am so thankful for the broad skills that UMD gave me because it did make a strong foundation when I started my Masters program. UMD also showed me that a career in higher education/student affairs was something that I actually wanted to do!

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Interested in Anoka-Ramsey Community College? You can check out their employment page for more information.

#BulldogOnTheJob: Cassie

Editor’s Note: We’re trying something new this year. We are interviewing various UMD Alumni about how their experiences at UMD have impacted their professional lives. They will also be giving their advice for being successful out there in the real world.

Name: Cassie Thielen
Major: Mathematics
Minor: Retail Marketing Analytics
Grad Year: December 2015

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Cassie at the HanesBrands HQ in North Carolina.

Organization: HanesBrands, Inc
Title: Analytics Technologist I
What you do: In my role I pull data, clean it, and analyze seasonality/trends for the purpose of analyzing our promotional activity and its effectiveness.

What were the jobs, opportunities, and/or classes you had that led to your current role?
Being a part of the Retail Marketing Analytics Program (ReMAP) helped me get my current job. We completed several case studies in that program that really prepared me to be able to present effectively and analyze large sets of data in a smart way and not to be overwhelmed by it.

What were some of the lessons you learned while on-campus at UMD you’ve incorporated into your professional life?
I worked a lot with the Office for Students in Transition during my time at UMD and brought a lot of what I learned working in that office to my current position. I would teach incoming students about their transition from high school to college. Moving from college to the professional world is a different transition, but still an overall large transition. Since this is a transition you will go through some tough times before you really get settled into your role. I’ve learned to give everything more time in my position before I judge if I like it or not.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known prior to entering your role/field?
TIMELINES! I have the hardest time creating timelines for my projects because in college a timeline was GIVEN to you. A project in college had its check points with the professor and there was even a due date! So practice making your own timelines when you get the chance.

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What career advice do you have for students wishing to enter your field?
There is a lot of data in my field. And that data isn’t going to be right all the time and there will be times where you will have to spend time investigating data and where it’s coming from. Double check your data before you really dive into an analysis! I didn’t do that once and I was RUSHING to get my analysis completed by the time I had to present it.

You also are new at this, it’s okay if you make mistakes. BUT learn from them!

Anything else you want to add about your time at UMD, or since, that greatly impacted where you are now?
My time at UMD was not solely focused on my studies. I was a good student but I also saw the benefit of making connections with staff and faculty. I made connections at UMD that have traveled into my professional career. I graduated UMD with a handful of strong mentors who I can ask all sorts of questions about my career, as well as my personal life. Grades are important but connections you make during your time at UMD also have a great impact.

Interested in HanesBrands? Check out their career page for opportunities.

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