At the Career Center we help our students achieve career success and we've got some great stories to prove it.
In current times of the United States, businesses and schools are recognizing the importance of diversity in organizations. In an effort to continuously provide opportunity and promote diversity, several programs exist to help minority students break through the glass ceiling and accomplish their dreams. TU student Maconel James took full advantage of one of these opportunities to create success for himself and his community.
Maconel applied for the Career Prep Fellowship Program by the Management Leadership for Tomorrow organization in 2015 and was accepted as a cohort for the class of 2016. The Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) is an organization dedicated taking high-talented youth from across the country and providing them with skills and connections necessary to be successful in the corporate world. “The biggest thing MLT brings to the table is access,” said Maconel. “They instill different values in us when it came to corporate life and then gave us a foot in the door.”
While Maconel gained access to large companies such as Google, Apple, and LinkedIn, he also gained a network of mentors, friends and colleagues open to supporting him and his initiatives. “I have two friends that I met through the program that turned down offers at companies to pursue their own dream of helping like-minded individuals on the African continent,” said Maconel of his fellow cohorts. Through the program, Maconel connected with several different youth of the same mindset, allowing him to support his peers while building his skillset to pursue his own goals.
As a student on campus, Maconel works to contribute as much as he can. As an RA in Towson’s Paca House and a member of SGA, he works as a mentor and a contributor to initiatives working towards the benefit of students. Maconel is a member of the Mu Rho Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated. As members of the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African-American men, many initiatives Maconel and his brothers work on are focused on the progression of African-American youth in America. Maconel is also a member of the Omega Kappa Chapter of Alpha Kappa Psi co-ed business fraternity, where he has the opportunity to expand on his professional skills through seminars, workshops and networking.
When asked of advice he has for other students, Maconel highlighted the importance of knowing your own worth and not being afraid to work towards your dreams. “Be very self-aware of the skillset that you have,” said Maconel. “Everyone has some talent that makes them great and being able to pinpoint that talent is what will put you ahead.”
Through the program, Maconel was fortunate to receive an internship with Walker & Dunlop, a Bethesda based real estate finance company. He hopes to continue on his path of making an impact in his community and progressing into the corporate world upon graduation. As the only student from Towson University to have participated in this program, Maconel hopes more minority students will become aware of what MLT has to offer.
It is said that college years are the best of a person’s life. This is not said because of the things you learn in classes, but because of the experience you gain. TU junior Katie McClanahan made the most of her college experience through her involvement in multiple student organizations in order to better herself and the community.
Katie was focused on her own professional development early on. As a freshman, Katie acquired a marketing internship with OrderUp, a food delivery service that was new to campus at the time of Katie’s internship. “I spent a lot of days going door to door, which really helps with developing sales and communication skills, both of which are important in my field.” said Katie of her first internship experience. She also gained important hand-on experience about the impact of social media.
As a sophomore, Katie enjoyed the social side of campus when she joined the Phi Theta chapter of Phi Mu Fraternity, the second oldest women’s fraternal organization in the country. Within the first year of her membership, Katie served as sisterhood development chair, which focused on the relationship development of its members. Although she had taken a leadership position in Phi Mu, Katie’s sisters saw more potential in her for future leadership. “My past president reached out to me and saw something I didn’t see within myself,” Katie said of her journey to presidency. “I never imagined running for President of a sorority I just joined but thought of me being a leader was beginning to outweigh the thought of me not being ready for this.”
Katie moved past thoughts of doubt and won the presidency of Phi Mu for the 2016-2017 academic year. As president, Katie focuses on maintaining a strong bond in her sisterhood. “My passion is working with people, understanding people,” Katie stated. “I strongly believe that every student on this campus has an important role to play and I want to help them realize that role.” Katie also focuses heavily on philanthropy through Phi Mu’s partnerships with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
Besides being president of Phi Mu, Katie is also active in the Towson Student Government Association (SGA). Katie serves as the Director of Communications, where she works to promote and report on important events, initiatives and programming on behalf of SGA throughout the campus.
Katie also acts as a Brand Ambassador for Amazon, where she oversees a pod of other ambassadors throughout the country and works to promote Amazon on campus. “When I first received the internship, I was flown out to Seattle to learn more about Amazon and its programs,” said Katie. “This internship has been a great learning experience that has allowed me to expand my leadership and responsibility.”
Overall, Katie has said that her involvement on campus, in addition to her internships, has shaped her into the well-rounded woman that she is today. “The way I see it, the more you have on your plate the better because there is not a moment to waste,” Katie said of her busy schedule. Although her schedule is full, Katie prides herself as being someone those around her can go to for advice and assistance. “I always strive to be someone that people can go to for anything,” Katie says. “If they need help in school or resolving conflict I try to gain experience and learn from it to pass along what I know.”
This summer, Katie will be acting as the Global Communications intern for Marriott International Hotels. She hopes to continue to progress in her senior year and gain more knowledge in her field so she can be the best candidate upon graduation.
Politics and government is one of the most exciting fields for a student to enter into because of its ever-changing environment. As a highly competitive field, students should always look for opportunity to gain real-life experience in politics. Senior Omnia Shedid gained the experience of a lifetime when she accepted a two-year internship program for the U.S. Department of State, known as the Cohort for the United States Foreign Service Internship Program.
Omnia’s interest in government began when she emigrated from Egypt in her early childhood. “As a child, I admired the people that helped me and my family with our journey to America,” Omnia recalls of her first interactions with government. “I knew then that I wanted to go into the government and help others the way they helped me.”
Omnia recognized that standing out in her field of political science and international studies would require going the extra mile. “You must start early if you hope to be as unique, prepared, and well-rounded as possible, especially in a competitive field such as politics. “ Said Omnia. To prepare herself, Omnia became involved in several activities directly related to her field of interest. Omnia currently serves as the Solicitor General of the Towson Student Government Association. In her junior year, Omnia introduced herself to Elise Kleinwaks, a recruiter from the United States Department of State, at a TU alumni banquet. Kleinwaks would eventually become Omnia’s Diplomat in Residence in her internship, as well as a mentor and advisor.
During the first portion of her internship, Omnia had the opportunity to participate in a variety of experiences and duties. Omnia’s duties included conducting briefings for department officials, compiling research about certain countries to report to her office, and facilitating meetings for foreign dignitaries. Omnia also had the opportunity to meet many foreign delegates such as members of the Afghanistan Parliament, the Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia, and Iraqi students studying abroad in the U.S.
Omnia took several lessons from her internship to pass on to her fellow students interested in politics. “If you are going into the government or politics you must be willing to be pushed past your limits,” said Omnia. “This will only make you a better person and teach you that you are stronger than you think and wiser than you know.”
Omnia also recommends utilizing the resources available to you as a student. “Genuinely take the time to get to know your professors and potential mentors on campus,” Omnia said. “These people have been in your position and you never know what connections and advice they have for you.”
After graduation, Omnia will be embarking on the second portion of her internship, an overseas assignment to Madrid, Spain. Post-internship, Omnia hopes to work with foreign policy and attend law school to continue progressing towards her career goal of becoming the first Egyptian-American Secretary of State.
Throughout their college career, students are constantly encouraged to broaden their horizons and experience new things. One of the most popular ways to do so is to Study Abroad, where a student studies in another country for a period of time to immerse themselves in the culture and gain worldly knowledge. Each student’s experience is unique and one student in particular captured an entirely different perspective during his journey abroad.
TU student Kevin Reynolds took going abroad one step further when, rather than taking classes in another country, he participated in Global Experiences, a program that allowed him to travel and intern with a company in his career field.
Just two weeks after his sophomore year came to an end, Kevin set flight to Barcelona, Spain to intern with Adara, an international network marketing company who is headquartered in California but has several offices across Europe.
Kevin was one of 36 students chosen from across the country to participate in Global Experiences. “Since my major is International Business, I wanted to get some real-world experience about how other countries operate.” said Kevin. “Being able to say that I worked in another country gives me a more open mind and diverse background.”
As an intern at Adara, Kevin was tasked with several duties that utilized the skills he learned in his classes, including creating marketing plans, gathering research on other companies, and helping the sales team develop positive relationships with clients.
“I got a lot of confidence interning in Spain because I did it alone,” said Kevin of his travels. “I developed into a more mature person and that’s helped me approach work differently.”
Perhaps one of the most unexpected lessons Kevin learned was the difference in work environment between Europe and America. A country’s culture can influence the way people get work done and Kevin got a first-hand experience of this in his small-scale office at Adara. “To be honest, I thought every internship would be the same no matter where I went but I was wrong in the best way,” Kevin said. “In the United States, we have a very ‘Work Hard, Play Hard’ mentality but in Europe they are more laid back with a ‘Work to Live’ mentality.”
Kevin was able to use the skills learned in his major and immerse himself in a different culture to better himself and those around him. Going abroad not only provided him with an appreciation for different cultures, it gave him insight on the direction in which he would like to move forward in his career path. “I don’t think I would want to permanently live in another country, but I am looking forward to being able to travel around to different places and observe the culture of each country I visit while doing what I love to do,” said Kevin.
When asked whether he would recommend studying or interning abroad to other students, Kevin had one thing to say. “Going abroad is something I would recommend doing now.” He continues, “If you’re thinking about it, just do it because being a part of that bigger picture and understanding different cultures and environments is honestly indescribable.”
A student’s main goal is to be successful in the field of their dreams. Towson University senior, Sylvia Otieno, recently did just that. Sylvia, majoring in International Studies with a minor in Business Communication and the Liberal Arts, was able to take her first steps toward her aspirations of becoming a nonprofit professional over this past summer when she was accepted as a fellow in the Walter Sondheim Nonprofit Leadership Program (MSNLP).
“When I heard of the program, I was immediately drawn to it because I’ve always wanted to do nonprofit work,” said Sylvia of the opportunity.
Sylvia was one of 20 students chosen for the fellowship, which had only a 25 percent acceptance rate. “The application process for the fellowship did not hold any interviews, so it was really important to look good on paper. I had several people help me with my resume and answers to the questions they asked.”
In each case, the fellow was placed into a nonprofit program while given the opportunity to attend seminars on creating and running successful nonprofits. Sylvia was placed into the Summer READS program, an initiative to open libraries throughout Baltimore City during the summer to kids of varying ages to help improve literacy rates. “I learned how to run a nonprofit, not just volunteer for it,” said Sylvia. “It gave me realistic expectations of being a part of a nonprofit. The work done behind the scenes may not be shiny and fun, but it is important.”
Sylvia has big plans after leaving Towson. “I’m currently applying for the Fulbright grant to conduct a research project in Kenya.” She will also be looking to intern at an international nonprofit organization.
When asked what advice she would give to other students looking to break into their dream field, Sylvia revealed an age-old secret. “Use your networks. You can have a great resume, but it won’t set you apart from everyone else with great resumes. It’s all about who you know.” she exclaimed.
Learn more about the Walter Sondheim Nonprofit Leadership Program (MSNLP).
One of the best ways to gain perspective on a desired career path or industry is through internships. Internships are always encouraged because of their ability to provide students with real-world experience, the networking opportunities they provide from colleagues, and their ability to give insight on what a student wants to do or, sometimes more importantly, not do in their future.
TU senior Allison Kerr was able to learn a lot through her three internships, each with their own special contribution to her experience. Allison took the initiative to begin her internship experience early on by becoming a marketing intern for Mystic Aquarium in her hometown of Mystic, Connecticut.
“This experience really helped me begin to develop my passion for working for nonprofit organizations,” said Allison of her first internship. “I really felt like the work that I was doing here was important and helped to further the organization’s mission and vision.”
After being set on the path to work for a nonprofit organization, Allison set her goals on gaining as much knowledge as she could. During her junior year, Allison learned of the Walter Sondheim Leadership Nonprofit program (WSLNP), became a fellow of the program and was placed at the South Baltimore Learning Center (SBLC), an adult literacy center that assisted adults in obtaining their GEDs in hopes of giving students opportunity for higher education and job opportunity.
In this fellowship, Allison was able to learn about the mechanics of a nonprofit organization while expanding her knowledge in the field of marketing. “It was a perfect match because while I was hired to learn the nonprofit side of things, the organization needed me to focus more on marketing, which was right up my alley,” said Allison. “I was treated as an equal and valuable employee – not just an ‘intern’ – and was given my own projects and responsibilities to manage.”
After her fellowship with WSNLP concluded, Allison found herself being more sought-out because of her experience gained from her two previous internships. Allison was able to choose a prestigious marketing internship at Johns Hopkins Medical with duties that include marketing research, large-scale event planning, and collateral marketing material.
“This is a different environment from SBLC in terms of size and the duties I am assigned to do, but each internship has its own value,” she said.
Allison has managed to be successful while working for organizations that align with her own values and beliefs. Through each of her experiences, Allison was able to expand on her industry knowledge and develop her personal career path. When asked what the best advice she could give to her fellow students trying to do the same, Allison had one major piece of advice.
“Try to gain as much experience as you can,” she said with fervor. “Whether it’s through internships, working on-campus, or even just talking to people that you know in the field that you’re interested in, it all helps!”