Oglethorpe Helps Petrel to Fly in New Direction

Coming back to the Oglethorpe campus 10 years after graduation was an odd feeling. Much about the university was the same, but I was definitely different. I’d been out in the “real world” for several years and here I was back at the old Petrel’s Nest.

I graduated from OU in 2002 and worked at a local agency that did casting for various film and television projects. After that, I spent six years as a marketing communications manager. I enjoyed certain things about both jobs, but my passions were not being stoked and I knew I needed to make a big change. Was the elusive dream job out there somewhere?

I took some chances and got very close, but things didn’t quite work out. After learning some hard lessons I found myself suddenly without a job. It felt like the whole world was breathing down my neck wondering what I was going to do. A common piece of advice I received was “networking!” “You must network!” “It’s all about who you know!” So, I reached out to the usual friends, family members and OU grads with whom I’d kept in touch; but, I knew I needed to do more.

Reed Barrickman '02

In July 2012 I visited the Oglethorpe Career Services Center. I got some good advice and was pointed to the Alumni Office (networking!). There I met with Barb Henry who impressively rattled off the names of several fellow Petrels who might be able to help me get my career back on track. I also began receiving emails from Career Services about internships and job opportunities that were aligned with my interests.

Sometime in August I got an email about this new program at Oglethorpe called Pegasus Creative. Among other things, they were looking for a social media intern. Social media was a big puzzle piece missing from my marketing communications experience. I decided to apply.

I have spent the majority of the 2012-2013 academic year as the social media specialist of the Pegasus Creative team. Through both research and conversation I’ve gained a much greater understanding of social media and the most effective ways to utilize it. I’ve also been able to exercise my writing, researching and video editing skills. Furthermore, because of Pegasus Creative I got a very valuable freelance job through a connection with a member of the University Communications staff. More experience for my resume!

I also thoroughly enjoyed two Pegasus “field studies.” One was to a local digital marketing firm and the other was an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour at CNN. Pegasus Creative is a great way to explore and develop your skills in a real working atmosphere. I also think it’s a great way to help figure out which direction you’d like to take your career. It’s been quite an experience being back at Oglethorpe on a regular basis amongst all of these impressive and quirky students. Luckily they don’t make me feel too old.

Everyone involved in the program has been really helpful and supportive while I pursue some freelance work and continue my “dream job” search. I’m sincerely grateful to Oglethorpe for this great opportunity. I’m proof that your college education doesn’t have to end at graduation. I just wish they’d had Pegasus back when I was a student.

Oglethorpe’s Career Take Out: More Than Just a Meal!

Oglethorpe students practiced their networking skills a few weeks ago by participating in Career Take Out—three community dinners planned by the Alumni Office and Career Services. About 20 students participated in the events, along with alumni and staff members. The program connects students who are focusing on their job search and preparation with Oglethorpe alumni in similar career fields.

Alumni in Atlanta graciously opened their homes to students for small dinner parties, bringing everyone together in a friendly environment for good food, conversation, career advice and camaraderie. This year’s event focused on three specific career/majors:  English Communications, Pre-Law and undecided majors.

Janice McNeal ’97, a community volunteer and philanthropist, hosted the English/Communications group, along with Ashish Thakur ’99, executive director and CFO of The Indus Entrepreneurs of Atlanta, Megan Van Doran ’09, social marketing specialist for the InterContinental Hotels Group, and Danielle Hitchchock ’12, a marketing coordinator for the Heeney Company.

Deborah Lange ’03 , director of admissions for the Lovett School, and her husband Rocky Lange, a Financial Advisor for BB&T, hosted the Undecided group, along with alums Trevor Sheffield ’09, manager of marketing and customer relations at Geo Certs SSL, and Whitney Hockensmith ’09, customer service representative at Enterprise Fleet Management.

Joe ’91 and Andrea Shelton ’91 hosted the Pre- Law group. Joe is a partner in the Atlanta office of Fisher and Phillips LLC, and Andrea is an attorney and as well as president and founder of Heart Bound Ministries.  Alex Johnson ’07, an attorney at Gillis and Creasy LLC, and Bobby Baker ’79, a partner at Freeman, Mathis and Gary, also joined the group.

La Tasha Bellamy, a senior majoring in Communication and Rhetoric Studies, felt participating was well worth it. “Attending gave us the opportunity to connect with one another and meet new and such resourceful and amazingly talented people within our degree/career interests.”

Felisha Ellison, a sophomore studying Communication also enjoyed the evening. “I participated in the Communications Networking dinner and found it to be extremely rewarding,” said Ellison. “I learned much valuable information, and met many new knowledgeable contacts. Thank you so much for organizing and helping to provide this special event for Oglethorpe students. It was a wonderful opportunity!”

Look out for the next Career Take Out, planned for the spring 2013 semester!

Amy Clemente, MS, NCC is the Career Counselor at Oglethorpe’s Center for Experiential Learning.