Working-World Reality: Recent Alum Shed Light on Post-Grad Life at Communication Career Panel

Sean McIntyre and Claire Leaden

Senior Staff Writers

Though senior year is often dubbed as the “fun year,” when class schedules are a little less daunting and college responsibilities are starting to dwindle, the pressure to find a job is as undeniable (and as unavoidable) as ever. Hearing from recent graduates about life after graduation can definitely help ease some of the stress, and the Center for Career Development has been aiming to do just this with their new industry-centered career events for students.

“About a year and a half ago I planned a panel with all different majors from the School of Arts and the turnout wasn’t that great, but the panel was really excellent,” Associate Director of Career Development Sharon D’Amelia said. “It was from that panel I realized it would be a better idea for me to target each industry.”

The second of these targeted panels occurred on Thursday, Feb. 26 and was aimed at students interested in working in the communication industry. The panel drew over 60 students, consisting mostly of communication majors but also including business and marketing students. The Center for Career Development partnered with Acting Chair of the Communication Department Rebecca Kern, Ph.D and Michael Grabowski, Ph.D., associate professor of communications, to plan the event.

The panelists worked in all different facets of the field—from advertising to television production to fashion. They included Maria Del Russo, a beauty writer for Refinery 29; Claire Reinhard, a production assistant for Optomen Productions; Elizabeth Schumann, a senior media planner at ZenithOptimedia Group; Lindsay Bailey, a publicist at Stunt Company; Joshua Mills, a public relations assistant at Calvin Klein and Joseph Murtagh, a junior data specialist at OMD Worldwide.

Grabowski hosted the evening by introducing the candidates and then asking them general questions about how they found their first internships and jobs.

Del Russo and Schumann said that they applied to “everywhere” for internships, while Reinhard and Murtagh credited professors for helping them find and secure their first gig. Mills found his post through the career development organization INROADS, and Bailey said she was just “lucky.”

Four out of the six panelists got their first jobs from interning at the company, and though some have already started their second jobs, those internships provided valuable networking opportunities. Most of them got their second jobs from connections they made at the first.

After, Grabowski opened up questions from the floor, which included questions about when to start looking for an internship and how to boost a resume.

“If I could give myself advice I would say ‘you don’t know what this industry needs, so over-sell yourself,’” Del Russo said. “You’re more talented and you have more experience than you think, definitely.”

Reinhard also had realistic advice when asked about living and working in the expensive city of New York.

“Your happiness is just as important as paying your bills,” she said. “So you make it work. You figure it out. I’m not rolling in dough by any means, but I’m happy. I love my job.”

All of the other panelists echoed the same sentiment.

When the questions ended, students in the audience were invited to go up and network with the panelists, share contact info and learn even more about their interests.

D’Amelia said the industry-concentrated career events are going to become more of the norm for the Center for Career Development. The first overall industry-based event was the technology career panel held on Feb. 17. A similar panel for careers in government will be held on March 26, and a pharmaceutical career panel will be held March 24. There is also a careers in non-profit event planned for April.

“I can’t tell you yet, but I already have ideas for the falllife, for what the next two will be,” D’Amelia said.