KOKOMO, Ind. — For one moment, Adam Gilbert experienced his dream job, sitting behind the news desk at ESPN in Charlotte, North Carolina.
“I was seeing the pinnacle of most sports people’s dreams right there at ESPN,” said Gilbert, a communication arts major. “That’s everyone’s goal in sports journalism. Being there and experiencing it reinforces my goal, that this is what I want to do someday. Sitting behind that desk, where multiple analysts and athletes have sat, was a moment for me.”
Gilbert gained the experience as part of an externship offered by the IU Alumni Association Kokomo Region and the Career and Accessibility Center. Eight students from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences saw how IU alumni are using their humanities degrees in successful careers, and learned networking skills to prepare them for future success.
“The students were excited and inspired about learning what they could potentially do with their degrees,” said Benjamin Liechty, director of alumni relations and campus ceremonies. “It is good for students to see that there are a lot of opportunities out there in specific fields and industries that relate to their degrees.”
During their four days in Charlotte, students attended a networking event at OooWee Barbecue, owned by former IU basketball player George Leach, with alumni who work in public relations and the medical device industry. They experienced a behind-the-scenes tour at Hendrick Motorsports, visited a journalism alumna who is a freelance travel writer, met with on air radio personalities at Beasley Media Group, and met artists-in-residence at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation.
Students also met with Anne-Marie Farrow, president of the IU Alumni Association Charlotte Chapter, and Chris Farrow, president of Chris Farrow Productions, to discuss best practices in networking and interviewing.
All of the people they met were either alumni or people with a relationship to IU in some way, which created a connection with the students.
Journalism alumna Pam Hegner discussed how their IU degrees are well respected and well known, and “even though she went to Bloomington, and our experiences may be a little different, at the end of the day, we’re all one IU,” said Liechty.
That connection made the experience more meaningful for history and political science major Hannah Bourne.
“You’re not just talking to a professional in your field, you’re talking to someone who graduated from your school, who is successful in your field,” she said. “When you first meet, that’s something you already have in common.”
Bourne, from Bunker Hill, plans to earn a Ph.D. in history, to become a college professor, but appreciated the chance to learn about other options, in case she changes career paths.
“I was really inspired by the advice they gave us,” she said. “Each person we talked to had a really interesting story of how they graduated, started their careers, and moved up the ladder and prospered. Some of them talked about what they look for when hiring, which was really helpful to me as I prepare to graduate. I have insight into how I can stand out.”
For Gilbert, the trip makes him more excited to graduate in May.
“There’s a lot more out there for me than I thought,” the Kokomo resident said. “It’s making these last few weeks even more exciting.”
Funding for the trip was provided by grants from Women of the Well House and the IU Kokomo Staff Council.
Nicole Miller, employment specialist in the Career and Accessibility Center, co-led the trip with Liechty. Additional students participating included Mallory Jones, Converse; Elizabeth Lewis, Courtney Morgan, and Ally Safranak, Kokomo; Kayla Oyler, Marion; and Sarah Gill, Peru.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.