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MortarboardIt's time to catch up with our Business Communication and Communication Studies alums and their careers.

  • Ian Abee works now as Extern, Corporate Real Estate with Under Armour
  • Emma Adams is now in a new position as a Wholesale Showroom Intern at Joey Showroom, as part of her Masters degree in Fashion Management at Parsons School of Design in New York City
  • Naseehaa Bacchus is now the Manager of Content and Special Projects with the Brian Bogert Companies and hosts her own podcast, "Talk Bacc" (https://linktr.ee/talkbacc)
  • Stephanie Wheeler Baseman started a new position as Senior Product Designer at Facebook
  • Bryan Corvera Flores is now the Assistant Director of Marketing at University of California, Los Angeles
  • Chelsea Sheckells Crossen has taken on a new position as Partner Marketer at Employment Background Investigations
  • Megan Donohue has taken on the position of Senior Cash Management Analyst at Brown Advisory
  • Donnuelle (Trey) Durham has taken a position as a Staffing Coordinator for the Onin Group
  • Mike Edwards has started a new position as a Recruiter at Catalent Pharma Solutions
  • David Gentile has started a new position as Regional Sales Manager-Food & Beverage Global Business Unit at Oracle
  • Olivia Hare is now a Specialist in Proposal Development at CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield as well as a graduate student in public health
  • Cassie Harris has a new job as Event Coordinator and Social Media Manager at Innovative Party Planners
  • Savana Herndon has begun a new career as an English teacher at Southern High School
  • Brent Hiken has joined the sales team at WillScot
  • Courtney Johnson is now the Events and Staff Assistant at America's Public Television Stations
  • Adrianna Kamosa is starting a now job as a Marketing Assistant at Rellify
  • Katlyn Lamp now works as a Marketing Communications Specialist at First Financial Federal Credit Union of Maryland
  • Jevan Leyh is now an Accounting and Finance Recruiter at Aston Carter
  • Isabella Maxey is in her fourth month as the Community Marketing Coordinator at Resonate Recordings
  • Ashley Mil has started a new position as Account Manager and Digital Lead at Giglio Communications & Marketing
  • Andrew Nagel has started work as a  Special Education Teacher at Chesapeake High School
  • Melanie Parncutt is now working as a Publicist at Otter Public Relations
  • Alaina Peterson is now working as a Business Development Executive at ADTRAV Travel Management
  • Maya Planter is now a Project Coordinator at CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield
  • Bill Ritson has accepted a new position at Insomniac Designs as an Account Director
  • Jacob Tatum  has started a career as an Inside Sales Representative at McDonough Elevators
  • Liam Walsh has started a new position as a Marketing Coordinator at Smolen Emr Ilkovitch Architects
  • Ben Wanaselja is starting a new position as Business Development Manager at EV-AIR TIGHT SHOEMAKER, INC.
  • Katie Peterson Welsh has moved to Florida where she serves at the Associate Director of Campus Visit Experience at Lynn University
  • Tiera Willey is now a Campus Recruiting Specialist at CohnReznick LLP
  • Jamal Williams has started a new position as a Reporter for the city of Laurel, Maryland
  • Allison Winer is now the Public Relations Program Manager at imre
  • Leah Wittler has been promoted to Human Resource Business Partner at Northrop

Have you taken on a new position? Let us know! email sverni@stevenson.edu.

Top skills employers want

A 2016 LinkedIn survey of employers again ranked communication skills as the most sought-after strength in employees. Both the Communication Studies major and the Business Communication major at Stevenson University develop many of these other skills in their students, especially organization, teamwork and creativity.

Grace Clark head shotBusiness Communication alum Grace Clark embarked on a journey that began a few months ago as she left her secure PR job in Baltimore and moved to Philadelphia. She has since found a job as an event planner with Beautiful Blooms Events in Philly.  She took some time to examine the stressors that preceded her new position:

"Although I couldn’t be more excited to embark on this new journey, my decision to leave my previous career was not easy. In fact, it was quite scary since I had been invested in it for over two years and wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted for myself in this next role. But the reward of finding a new opportunity that is better aligned with my interests and skills is well worth all of the confusion and discomfort I experienced earlier this year. I’m proud of every step I have taken thus far to get to where I am today. Questioning your choices is not always easy, but if I’ve learned anything over this time, it is that establishing the things that are important to you will only guide you in the right direction. Never settle."

Excellent words of advice, Grace. Thanks for sharing your story and props to you on your journey forward!

Dr. Leeanne Bell McManus receives an awardCongratulations to Communication professor Dr. Leeanne Bell McManus, who received an award for Fostering Learning in the classroom at the faculty/staff meeting that opened the fall semester 2021. The award read: "Leeanne's online and in-person classes are organized, complete and academically engaging -- and she is willing to share all she knows with anyone. Students consistently remark on how much they learn from her, and she is always looking for more ways to keep her classes engaged, both through research and in practice."  Congratulations, Dr. Bell!

Below, we have excerpted some terrific advice from college professor Matt Might. The full article is here.

Beware the first semester

When I ask my students about their biggest college regret, it is almost universally, "my first semester."

Graduates often lament that they spent their entire college career trying to recover from the damage inflicted to their GPA in the first semester. The change in class structure and freedom catches students off guard.

Professors don't coddle like high school teachers. Most won't even force students to attend class.

For students in dorms, parents can't act like a check on bad habits.

College student sleepingStudents without a strong sense of discipline find themselves sleeping through 8 a.m. classes, failing to study for exams and unable to complete assignments. Most of these students sober up and gain discipline when they see their grades for the first semester, and live with a sense of regret thereafter.

Those that don't, drop out at the end of freshman year.

Here are some tips specific to the first semester:

  • Don't get a TV. It's too easy to sit in a dorm room and watch TV, or to leave it on in the background, distracting you while studying. Once you've confirmed (or established) your discipline, you can handle a TV.
  • Don't play any games. If you're a gamer, try giving it up (or restricting it to weekends) for just the first semester. It's not necessarily common, but I've known students that failed out from spending too much time on games. World of Warcraft is the usual culprit these days.
  • Don't party too much. College is going to take 4-5 years. There is plenty of time for parties later. For socializing in your freshman year, consider joining mutual interest clubs.
  • Go to office hours. Few students take advantage of office hours. It's a chance to get one-on-one mentoring from an expert. Plus, when you ask for a letter of recommendation, the professor will know you. Professors use office hours to measure the quality of their lecture material. If several students come by with the same confusion, it's a signal to clear up that material.
  • Sit in the front row. A good professor is going to tune the lecture by reading the facial expressions of students. Unfortunately, it's hard to see all the way in the back, so we're really crafting the lecture to those that sit up front, whose faces we can see.

Get Ahead

College classes cover material much faster than high school classes. When students slip behind in understanding, they get battered.

I've seen panic turn to depression and then incapacitation in weeks.

Girl in libraryThe best defense against falling behind is to start off ahead.

When possible, buy textbooks in advance, and work through the first couple chapters for each before the semester begins.

Look at web sites and syllabi for the last offering of the course to see which material is relevant.

Try to stay two weeks ahead of the course throughout the semester. If you find yourself slipping behind, it's critical to contact your professor as soon as possible.

If you're a week or two behind on the material, you can probably catch up in office hours very quickly.

Fight procrastination

Procrastination slays GPAs of bright students.

Coupled with the high degree of freedom afforded to students to craft their own schedule, students may find themselves in a procrastinative rut several times throughout their college career.

[If you find yourself unable to break out of a rut, you may be depressed, and you should go to the student counseling service on campus.]

The best defense against procrastination is to acknowledge it and install safeguards to prevent it.

  • If you're prone to wasting time online, block your time-wasting sites with tools like LeechBlock, WasteNoTime and StayFocusd.
  • Go to the library to study or work. (If you need a little more ambient activity, try a coffee shop.)
  • Ditch TV.
  • Never study in bed.

Pay attention

Pay attention in lecture. Don't have your phone, laptop or tablet out where it can distract you. If you want to take notes on your laptop, disable wi-fi.

Eat

At some point, every college student hits a phase where they subsist mostly on coffee, ramen and free pizza. Don't stay in that phase for long.

Picture of a saladMany college students also find themselves packing on weight for the first time in their lives. If you find yourself gaining weight, survey your caloric input and expenditure for a week.

Exercise

Exercise is a stimulant for the creative thinking critical to success in college. By exercise, I refer to anything other than sedentary inactivity.

Moreover, the years between 18 and 22 are a prime time to exercise. Your body will never produce the same results for so little effort ever again. Your high metabolism makes it easy to manipulate your weight.

Your ability to rapidly (and fully) recover from minor injury allows you to exercise with an intensity that will not be possible even a decade later.

The (usually free) gym on campus gives you access to lots of equipment, but you can also make your dorm room into a mini-gym for day-round intermittent exercise.

Keep a pair of comfortable running shoes by the door. Try jogging to class a couple days a week!

Save time; save money

The pricing structure for credit hours is not linear.

When I was an undergrad, the price for more than 12 credit hours in a semester was exactly the same as 12 credit hours: every class I took past 12 credit hours had no additional cost.

By taking the maximum allowable 21 credit hours (about 7 classes) per semester, each semester, I cut my total tuition bill by 42%! Your university almost certainly has a similar non-linear pricing structure.

Warning: A reader wrote to warn against attempting this approach until one has sufficiently adapted to the rigors of collegiate instruction. Attempting to take a heavy course load before one is adequately prepared may lead to burnout, and should be attempted only with caution. It is certainly not advised to take this approach in the first semester.

Register early

Students registeringPrecious slots in some courses fill up quickly. Get access to priority registration if at all possible.

Some schools offer early registration as a perk for participating in certain programs on campus, or for having "honors" standing.

If you're an incoming freshman, you may be able to register using your student ID and password during other summer orientation sessions: try to register online during the first orientation session.

Regardless of priority, register for classes on the earliest possible date.

If a class you want is full, check for drops weekly until the first week. In the first week itself, check several times each day. Most classes will churn 5-10% of their enrollment in the first week, and you can usually sneak in.

Take courses from the best teachers

Don't take your major classes from the "easy" professors. Take your major classes from the good professors.

Ask around among fellow students to figure out the best professors to take. Avoid professors that are difficult out of cruelty.

If a professor teaches a difficult course as a byproduct of a sincere desire to impart deep knowledge, take that class!

Don't pay full price for textbooks

Textbook pricing is morally bankrupt. Never pay full price for a textbook. Check online for cheap prices on used textbooks.

Sometimes, a professor orders a textbook for only a couple of its chapters. In this case, borrowing the book from the school library is the best option.

Stay safe

Emergency LightingMost colleges have a campus police number to call to request an escort. Label the emergency, dispatch and escort numbers (if different) in your phone, and keep them in favorites/speed dial.

If you're out on campus late, don't even hesitate to call for an escort back to your room.

Confront your weaknesses

The material you learn in class matters. The character you develop outside of class matters a lot more.

College is a chance to systematically confront your personal weaknesses in the safety of a four-year sandbox. When you start college, make a list of the axes along which you want to see personal growth over the next four years.

Find the environments that foster that growth. Join the organizations that support it. Make the friends that reflect it.

 
 
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