Year Graduated: 2010
Degree: B.A. Arts & Ideas in the Humanities
Favorite class at Michigan
My favorite class at Michigan was called “Community Empowerment through the Arts.” Because it was cross-listed in the Residential College and the School of Social Work, we had students and professors from a variety of departments who made unique contributions to class discussions. This service-learning seminar involved traditional readings and papers as well as an internship component. For instance, I worked at the COPE school in Ypsilanti where I did art, music, drama and movement therapy workshops with at-risk high school students. By enabling me to apply articles about educational inequities and creative teaching strategies directly to my internship, this course showed me the value of fusing academia and community service.
What’s your favorite thing to do in a typical day?
More than anything else, I enjoy working one-on-one with the students in MCSP. My job primarily involves connecting underclassmen to academic, social and wellness resources so that they feel supported before entering foreign communities for service-learning projects. Helping them develop leadership skills is incredibly rewarding and it expands my personal perspectives. Although everyone in MCSP shares a passion for civic engagement, we come from a variety of backgrounds and we introduce different insights to our Michigan Learning Community.
What’s the least favorite thing you do in a typical day?
I do not particularly enjoy spending hours upon hours at the computer. While planning social and service events is important, it is far less thrilling than interacting with students at these events. I definitely prefer engaging with people one-on-one to typing and emailing.
How did you decide on this field? How did you get hired?
From teaching summer school classes in my hometown to working in U of M’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions, I have enjoyed exploring numerous paths within the world of education. When I saw an AmeriCorps position with MCSP posted on the Ginsberg Center’s website, it looked perfect because it would enable me to work in a Michigan Learning Community while serving students and community members throughout the region. I submitted an application online and interviewed with the director. After he offered me the position, I met with him again to ask questions and to make sure the job would be a good fit for me. It is important that you and your employer have compatible work styles and that the position will help you grow personally and professionally.
How does your Michigan experience help you in your job?
As a recent graduate, I remember my Michigan days quite well and I love drawing upon my experience to help underclassmen navigate the thrilling yet overwhelming options at the University. Being a student in Ann Arbor also taught me the importance of immersing myself among individuals of diverse backgrounds and opening my mind to new opinions. Furthermore, my Michigan experience taught me to be proactive. While the University offers an infinite number of academic and extra-curricular opportunities to students, it does not place them in their laps. As an undergrad, I learned to seek out these opportunities and network on my own.
What are possible next steps for your career? Is another degree required or recommended?
Although I am not yet sure which program to pursue, I am certain that I want to attend graduate school. Previously I planned to work in Elementary Education, but my position with MCSP has increased my interest in Higher Education. As a poet, dancer and certified yoga instructor, I would ideally like to combine my interests in teaching and the arts, so my graduate school search also involves exploring programs in arts education as well as writing and movement therapy. No matter which path I follow, I look forward to returning to school soon.
What do you wish you had known as an undergraduate preparing for your career?
As an undergraduate, I wish I had understood the importance of exploring multiple fields. It is rare for freshmen to arrive on campus knowing their concentration and career plans and to stick with these plans. If you are a liberal arts student, I recommend sampling classes in as many departments as possible and then selecting your concentration based upon the courses that inspire you most. It is also reassuring to know that your concentration does not have to match your first job title and that your first job does not have to remain your job for the rest of your life. Finally, be both proactive and patient. You should take advantage of the abundant networking opportunities and career resources on campus, but if you do not find what you are looking for immediately, have faith that something will come along soon.
To learn more about careers in education:
The Career Center’s web page includes a number of links to education-related resources.
Contact The Career Center at 734-764-7460 to find out how you can learn more about this field.
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