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Journalism alumni return to provide insight, reassurance to graduating seniors

Alex Koumas | Jan 31, 2012

Journalism alumni return to provide insight, reassurance to graduating seniors

By Alex Koumas,

ATHENS, Ohio (Jan. 31, 2012) – On Saturday, Jan. 28, more than 65 E.W. Scripps School of Journalism students gathered in the Scripps Auditorium for the tenth annual Senior Saturday event, which aims to give graduating seniors advice on entering the workplace and tools to handle the stress of a job search.

“Hopefully, seniors walked away from the event feeling a little more prepared and calm for their job searches,” explains Stephanie Pavol, BSJ ’04, social media manager for Cardinal Health. “We had many students tell us the day was really therapeutic for them, since they’ve been stressing so much about finishing up their senior years and entering the work force.”

In addition to providing advice to graduating seniors, the event allows students to connect with Bobcat alumni. Additionally, it helps in transitioning students to become successful and active alumni after leaving campus in June.

“Senior Saturday started ten years ago to help seniors get ready for the ‘real world,’” states Bob Stewart, director of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. “While we do a fair amount of this kind of work in classes and student organizations, we were convinced that an entire day focused on this theme, scheduled early enough in the senior year, could help students take care of any ‘holes’ in their résumés.”

Each year, the Society of Alumni and Friends (SAF) hosts this event. Chelsea Hamilton, BSJ ’06, president of SAF and the event marketing manager at Dick’s Sporting Goods, explained that the organization is dedicated to enhancing the relationships among faculty, staff, and students of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism. Hamilton said perhaps the best advice that from seasoned professionals is to network with fellow Bobcats around the world.

“I hope that seniors realize the amazing support of the alumni network and that there is a large number of Bobcats out there eager to support and cheer them on,” Hamilton states. “Understanding this is a scary time for graduating seniors, I hope that the seniors walk away reassured that there is a great life that awaits them after leaving the ‘bubble’ of Athens, Ohio, and that each of them should be confident with the degree they have in hand from an outstanding school.”

The day’s events included a keynote presentation entitled “Life after J-School: Navigating your way through the professional landscape,” from Ryan Lytle, BSJ ’10, a producer, writer and social strategist for U.S. News & World Report, and Meghan Louttit, BSJ ’08, multimedia producer for The New York Times; a speech by Andy Alexander, a Scripps Howard visiting professional and former ombudsman for The Washington Post, regarding “How (and why) to connect with more ‘senior’ alumni;” and a panel comprised of recent graduates sharing insider tips for being valuable and happy first-year employees. The afternoon program allowed students to break apart by sequence and speak on a more personal basis with alumni to get valuable information regarding their field. At the end of the session, alumni then took time to critique résumés and portfolios.

Student Heather Farr was pleased with her Senior Saturday experience and feels a renewed energy to tackler her job search.

“The professionals at Senior Saturday made me feel better about the economic situation because a) they all found jobs and eventually landed in one they enjoy, and b) they made me realize that finding a job that you fit into and that fits you takes time and patience,” explains Farr, a senior studying public relations. “Although I’ve felt the effects of the economy personally, I can’t help but stay positive and confident, and these professionals helped me maintain that.”

For more information on the Society of Alumni and Friends, please visit its website.