OU Freshman Doubles as Advice Columnist

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Advice columnist Curtis Jones lounges in the Starbucks in Oglethorpe’s Turner Lynch Campus Center.

At first glance, Curtis Jones ’17 seems fairly typical amidst the throng of students in the campus Starbucks. You’d never guess that he has a “secret identity”: Curtis is an advice columnist for metro Atlanta teens.

The Oglethorpe freshman writes for Vox, a nonprofit teen magazine based in Atlanta that is “the voice of Atlanta teens.” It’s the city’s largest publication created by and for teens without censorship. The magazine is distributed to high schools and community groups. Vox also offers a blog, an after school program, and summer seminars for students interested in learning how to cover “new multimedia techniques for storytelling, the fundamentals of journalism, poetry, photography and design.

According to Curtis, he stumbled into his writing position when he was a high school senior. He had dropped by Vox’s office with friends already involved in the magazine and discovered that the Vox volunteers and students were “welcoming and friendly,” so he immediately asked how he could get involved.

VoxCurtis had always been interested in writing music and lyrics but has discovered that he also enjoys the kind of writing he gets to do for Vox. He worked his way up and took over the advice column at the end of the summer of 2013. The questions he answers tend to be staff-generated, but students are also encouraged to submit questions to the editor. The questions can range anywhere from academics to even more personal questions regarding relationships.

Curtis’ community involvement already extends to Oglethorpe as well. On campus, he’s active with the Black Student Caucus and OUtlet and is interested in joining the staff of the student newspaper, The Stormy Petrel. He hasn’t yet decided on a major, but is debating between communications or fields like counseling or social work. “I just want to help people,” he says,”That’s something that I’ve always known that I get joy out of.”

Ultimately, he chose to attend Oglethorpe for multiple reasons. Curtis says he “fell in love” with the campus itself during Admitted Students Day, plus the diversity of the campus was a determining factor. “It’s really big to me to be able to interact with so many different people.”

Curtis is a positive and determined student who by all indications will be a future campus leader.  Check out Curtis and his VOX colleague Akil singing about why “VOX rocks”:

Making My Difference: Being A Part of Oglethorpe’s Online Strategy

Chandler Anderson '13 shown in one of his favorite spots on campus, the Oglethorpe University Museum of Art.

One of the best things about a small school like Oglethorpe is the potential for students to contribute in a big way to the campus, either through student organizations or by working for the school itself. When I returned for my senior year after a year of studying in Japan, I wanted to make sure that I left my mark on the school before graduating and going into the real world; I took every opportunity I could find to be more involved, which initially included taking a more active role in my fraternity, Chi Phi, and joining SGA as a Senior Senator.

In August 2012, I met fellow student Mon Baroi in the university’s café. We immediately connected based on our interest in technology and web start-ups, and through Mon, I learned about Pegasus Creative, Oglethorpe’s student communications agency. Mon, who at the time was working for Pegasus on a Test Drive ad campaign for adult students, sold me on what sounded like a great opportunity: the chance to work with a talented group of people whose job was to make this university look good.

As a Pegasus web content developer, I was responsible for helping to maintain Oglethorpe’s websites. This included co-planning the design of the new summer and special events sites on WordPress, making timely edits to out-of-date web pages, and editing images and videos to be put on Oglethorpe’s websites. Also, I got the opportunity to look at Oglethorpe’s Google analytics statistics, which gave me tremendous insight into the kinds of traffic Oglethorpe attracts online on a regular basis.

Chandler (far left) shown with other Pegasus members during their behind-the-scenes tour of CNN, courtesy of alumnus Joe Sutton '09.

The most interesting thing about working at Pegasus was integrating what I have learned in my business courses with the work I was doing with online media, which would usually be stereotyped as communications field work. As a senior business administration major, I have pretty much gotten a taste of everything the business division at Oglethorpe has to offer, from management courses that evaluate business strategies, competitive advantages, and internal and external forces, to economics courses that analyze the relationship between supply and demand and satisfying needs in the free market, and marketing courses that look into how producers attempt to read consumers and shape products for a target market that will encourage transactions and customer satisfaction. When I decided to take this internship in my last spring semester, I saw it as a great opportunity to apply what I had learned in these courses to online media.

At Pegasus, I got to work with an awesome and fun group of people that made me look forward to coming into the office for work. My experience with Pegasus was a great way to give back to Oglethorpe, and being involved behind-the-scenes at Pegasus has given me technical and analytical skills that will no doubt prove invaluable in the business world after I graduate.

 

 

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.