New Beginnings

Happy Friday!

As introduced in prior blog posts, my name is Beth Mannella, and I am thrilled to work in the SPDC as one of the 2015-2016 Career Advising Fellows at Elon University! Elon is the fifth institution I have worked at, and the SPDC staff and greater Elon community have made the first six weeks wonderful! I am fortunate to live in a beautiful state, work with talented and knowledgeable professionals, and support Elon students in a number of ways throughout my fellowship.

This past weekend, President Lambert shared in his New Student Convocation address to the Class of 2019 that this is a time for new beginnings. In higher education, a new academic year also signifies new incoming students, new staff members, new policies and procedures, and new opportunities. If you are a higher education professional, then Happy New Academic Year! As the new 2015-2016 Career Advising Fellows, Latisha and I have spent the past six weeks settling into our new (recently renovated) office space, meeting our new colleagues, learning our new roles, and starting our post-Master’s journeys in a new city and state. The academic year seems to fly by quicker every year, so as this new year begins, it is time to recognize where we are individually and what new endeavors and challenges we anticipate facing.

After Latisha and I completed over one month of training, we wanted to express our gratitude to our two supervisors, Amber McCraw and Kristen Aquilino. Amber and Kristen put extensive time and effort into developing and executing our fellowship training, while managing their own workloads. Latisha and I spent time creating a list of words that describe Amber and Kristen, individually, and turned them into wordle images (photo below). As this new academic year begins, it is also a time where we can evaluate our professional image and work style. One question I constantly ask myself is, “How do I want my colleagues and students to describe me?” Words are powerful and as we dive into another academic year, I hope we can all strive to be described with words we feel empower us and reflect our individuality, work style, and personality. What words do you hope your colleagues or students would use to describe you?

Have a great weekend!

New Office

The newly renovated Career Advising Fellows office, located in Moseley 140. Please come visit our beautiful new space!

Career Advising Fellows Past & Present: Latisha Taylor, Amber McCraw, Kristen Aquilino, Beth Mannella

Career Advising Fellows Past & Present (L to R): Latisha Taylor, Amber McCraw, Kristen Aquilino, Beth Mannella

Officially Official!

By: Latisha Taylor, Career Advising Fellow

Hello everyone!

I guess you can now say we (Beth and I) are finally “official” now that we are posting on the Elon University Career Fellows Blog! Like Amber said in our introduction, I am from Richmond, VA which is not too far, only a three-hour drive. However, if you ask my mom she will say that it’s practically across the country. Even though it is not far, I am still in a new state with new surroundings which prompts new beginnings! Everyone I have met has been extremely nice and helpful, literally EVERYONE! Southern hospitality goes a long way. :)

Speaking of southern hospitality, the folks at Elon University certainly do a fantastic job at displaying kindness and providing assistance. For example, both Beth and I had an issue with setting up our voicemail’s. When we put in a request to Tech Support to have it fixed, we received an email a few minutes later with an “issue resolved” ticket. Well, as excited as we were to have our voicemail’s set up, that excitement quickly came to a halt when we checked to see if our voicemail’s were now working, which sadly they were not. When I reached back out to Tech Support letting them know that it still wasn’t working, Ben Seay (shout out to Ben!) immediately called and was very eager to help me set up my voicemail. Mind you, this was around 4:55 PM on a Monday! Ben helped me with this issue until after 5:00 PM, talk about dedication! From what I’ve been told, I guess that’s just the Elon way!

Being a new Career Advising Fellow, not only have I met and encountered some awesome people, but I have already had the opportunity to participate in an amazing workshop. Elon hosted the North Carolina Association of Colleges and Employers Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Workshop. The MBTI is a personality assessment that I had taken before, but I knew very little on how to interpret and especially how to best use this tool when working with students. After attending the workshop, I may not be certified just yet but I definitely know A LOT more than I did before. In addition, I was able to network with other career services professionals in the state. How cool is that!?

All in all, I am looking forward to seeing how the remainder of the fellowship will turn out! If it is anything like my first couple of weeks so far, then I know it will be a blast!

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Farewell Fellowship

By: Amber McCraw, Career Advising Fellow

This fellowship has been a wonderful experience over the last 10 months filled with many opportunities for learning and exploring, new friendships, moments of growth both personally and professionally, challenges, and time to reflect.  It was just what I needed to settle back into North Carolina and decide on a career path that is right for me.  That career path involves helping others with their own career journeys.  Speaking of journeys…since you have followed us on this journey, it only seems right to let you know where I am headed next.  Saturday will officially be my last day as a Career Advising Fellow after our office assists with Commencement.

However, it is with excitement that I can announce that I will continue my journey at Elon University as the Assistant Director of Career Services for the School of Communications.  This also comes with the opportunity to work closely with next year’s fellows!  *Cue excitement*  :)

I am beyond grateful for all of the support from the Student Professional Development Center throughout my fellowship and thankful that they are keeping me around. I am looking forward to all of the learning, challenges, and excitement that this new position will offer.  Here’s to a new leg in my career journey!

Long Live Elon!  Go Phoenix!

Long Live Elon! Go Phoenix!

Welcome to the 2015-2016 Career Advising Fellows

By: Amber McCraw, Career Advising Fellow 

It was a competitive process with many excellent candidates, but the Student Professional Development Center is very pleased to welcome Beth and Latisha to the team as the 2015-2016 Career Advising Fellows!  Keep reading to learn more about our talented additions to the team!

Originally from Bucks County, PA, Beth Mannella attended James Madison University where she obtained a Bachelor’s of Business Administration degree in Management with a minor in Human Resource Development. While attending James Madison University, Beth worked in residence life and found her calling in higher education, which led to pursuing a career in student affairs. Beth has spent the last two years at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, completing her Master’s degree in College Student Personnel Administration and working in the Office of Residence Life, with practicum experiences in the Business Career Center and New Student and Family Programs. She is thrilled to join Elon University and work with students and staff in the Career Services Advising Fellowship. For fun, Beth enjoys reading blogs and books, cooking, planning travel adventures, and attending baseball games at all 30 MLB stadiums (she has been to 10 stadiums already)! Beth is looking forward to leaving the Midwest winters and experiencing the beauty of Elon University and North Carolina.

eth Mannella

Beth Mannella

From Richmond, Virginia, Latisha Taylor, is more than excited for her move down to North Carolina to help the students of Elon achieve their dream careers. Latisha attended Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia where she double majored in Psychology and Human Services. During that time is when she became heavily involved in social and community service organizations, which peaked her interest and eventually her passion for  Student Affairs. Latisha went on to complete her Master’s degree in Higher Education at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia where she worked as a Graduate Assistant in Housing and Residence Life and a Graduate Intern at University Career Services. Latisha is a member of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. In her free time, Latisha enjoys shopping, watching Netflix, and hanging out with friends and family.

Latisha Taylor

Latisha Taylor

Latisha and Beth will begin in July 2015 :)

Experiment Complete!

By Career Advising Fellow, Danielle Golinski

My presentation experiment is a wrap! For the past 3 months or so, I have been conscious of my presentations and my prep for these presentations. It was a mid-year check in goal of mine, and learning how to captivate audiences, sustain their attention, and wrap up with engaged smiles was a realistic goal that I wanted to test out. My process and results!

First, I recorded myself giving a presentation and then I watched it back! I was actually pleasantly surprised. I barely used presentation popfillers, and if I did it was an infrequent ‘um’ (this one will always get me!). I found myself asking questions to the group of students, and getting responses back. I found myself even repeating the question back to the student to make sure that I understood the question correctly and so that others in the class could follow along as well. Although I didn’t pace too much in front of the classroom, I did move around a bit and I didn’t block the screen. I told personal stories and experiences which I believe connected well to the students. Additionally, I included part so the presentation that went like this:

  • Tell them what you are going to tell them
  • Tell them
  • Tell them what you told them

3It is a magical formula I tell you! I believe in the power of 3’s (as the research states)! At times during my presentations during my experiment, I would include mini check in points, which involved 3 questions or 3 points of take away. I also tended to do this as well, so that if students failed to listen throughout the conversation, they could take at least 3 things away at the end. More, it was 3 simple, easy to remember things too! Whether they rhymed or had a sequence together, it was more than just a speckling of 3 random tid-bit facts. And as the research states, people are more engaged at the beginning and at the end of the presentation, than anywhere in between, and if you switch things up into “chunking”, it will stick even better!

What did I learn from all of this? That it actually takes time, preparation, and thought into pulling a presentation together. It is more than just standing in front of a classroom, preaching, it is best when it is turned into a conversation. The best “presentations” I’ve given (and I actually just had one about an hour ago), is when I had my powerpoint in the back of me (just in case), and we all engaged in conversation and group discussion. They let me know about the things that they wanted to learn about, and then we talked about those things. I was still able to rope in my experiences, stories, and pieces of advice and professionalism into these conversations, but it was more than just a “here, this is what I think is important and you’re going to listen”. Rather, it was a “let’s all learn together and learn from each other and actually have a fun time doing it.” Overall, this mini-experiment has been extremely helpful in my professional future as I know that presentations will be inevitable for myself.  I am super excited about this and I’ve actually enjoyed the experience of stepping in front of a classroom and sharing stories. Could I see myself doing it every single day? Probably not! But, do I love it when I do it? Absolutely, and this is all that really matters in my opinion!

Alternative Breaks – Jamaica

Hi everyone! I’m sorry I have not been active on our blog lately. The past couple of months have been full of both personal and professional adventures and it’s about time that I share some of them with you all! Let’s start with Spring Break…

One month ago today, was our group’s first full day in Treasure Beach, Jamaica for Elon Alternative Breaks – it was a challenging, fun, exploratory, and fulfilling experience for all involved.

For over nine years, Elon has partnered with VIJON for a Rural Education and Poverty service trip. Each year looks a little bit different, and this spring we were paired with Sandy Bank Primary School to help teach grades 1 to 6, in a variety of subjects, during one week.

The week that we spent at the school was sandwiched by two opportunities to discover and enjoy Jamaican lifestyle and culture outside of the classroom. Following orientation, we spent our first full day on Treasure Beach and at Frenchman’s Reef. The students had a stressful week of midterms prior to the break, so this provided time for everyone to relax and regroup. Throughout the day we were swimming in the ocean, kayaking, catching up on sleep, getting to know one another, engaging in conversation with the locals, and spending time with our community partners at VIJON.

On our first day at Sandy Bank, we were divided in pairs among the classrooms and, depending on the teacher, were guided to do anything from working with students one-on-one and leading small exercises, to teaching a class. While we had been forewarned to get a good night’s sleep the night before our first day at Sandy Bank, we could not have predicted the amount of energy we would be met with from the children at the school. Between teaching, playing during recess, learning the names of all of the students, and doing our best to understand patois, we were all exhausted at the end of each day. Nonetheless, we made time for reflections, a Jamaican dance class, designing and carving our own calabash bowls, an outdoor movie night, and simply taking everything in.

Learner is one of my top strengths, and I was thriving throughout the trip with learning taking place at every turn. I learned a great deal from my co-advisor and Elon students, our Jamaican friends, the children at Sandy Bank, and also from the way of life. My cell phone was turned off for the entire week and I cherished being able to be present in each moment throughout the trip. I felt more active in conversations, more thoughtful about all of the different experiences, and was not distracted by the little things. One of my favorite memories is learning how to make a Jamaican stew from scratch. There was no computer open with a recipe to follow. Instead, there was a garden with fresh vegetables, flour to make noodles, and many hands to make the meal happen.

With my passion for International Education, I was honored and absolutely thrilled to serve as a co-adviser to such a driven and talented group of Elon students while experiencing, first-hand, the public school system in Jamaica. Our student group was composed of all different majors from psychology and education, to communications and marketing, and they all took on the teaching role with creativity and positive energy – they were great educators.

Our final day in Jamaica was full of beautiful views, delicious food, and outdoor excursions. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves…

 

All in all, I am very fortunate to have had the opportunity to participate in this experience and it will stay with me for many years to come.

As we learned to say in Jamaica before leaving for the airport…

One love.

Alternative Break to Eagle Butte, SD

By: Amber McCraw, Career Advising Fellow 

Just a couple weeks ago, Elon students were on Spring Break for a week.  While some students went on vacation, some traveled home for interviews, and others completed a week of service in various domestic and international locations through Elon University’s Alternative Break program.  {You can find more information about the program from Kristen and Danielle’s previous posts, here and here.}  I spent my Spring Break accompanying one of the Alternative Break programs to Eagle Butte, SD.

Just like you – I was thinking…where is Eagle Butte??  Well, it is located in the northern, central part of South Dakota and the closest airport is about 3 hours away – we traveled for approx. 18 hours each way between our flights, layovers, and car rides to reach our destination.  It was certainly an entertaining bonding experience to say the least. So, why did we travel to Eagle Butte, SD?

I spent the week with one other staff member and 12 students volunteering on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation with the Cheyenne River Youth Project (CRYP).  The CRYP is comprised of 4 components: the Main Youth Center, the Family Services Program, the Winyan Toka Win Garden, and the Cokata Wiconi Teen Center.  We focused our time and energy on the Main Youth Center and the Teen Center.  Throughout the week, we helped clean the facilities, fixed meals for the children, planned a jungle themed birthday party, coordinated a bake sale in the community, picked up trash in a public park, entertained the children during play time, interacted with the teens by playing basketball, assisted with a rummage sale, and educated ourselves on the culture of the reservation.

By far, it was one of the most rewarding and enlightening trips I have ever been on and it was an incredible experience to be immersed in a culture that is so different from my own.  Each night our group reflected on our experiences and we had several conversations about values, power, privilege, access to resources, and many other topics.  For example, people on the reservation highly value family and culture, but they don’t have access to things such as recycling – which I take for granted.

Our group picked up trash in a public park for over an hour, collecting 50 bags.

Our group picked up trash in a public park for over an hour, collecting 50 bags.

Outside of volunteering, we also visited Mount Rushmore and Crazy Horse – both of which are memorials, but the experiences are starkly different.  I would highly recommend a visit to both to gain a better understanding.

Crazy Horse Monument in progress.  It was started in 1948 and is 563 feet high, making it the world's largest mountain sculpture.

Crazy Horse Monument in progress. It was started in 1948 and is 563 feet high, making it the world’s largest mountain sculpture.

As an advisor, it was a great way to build deeper relationships with students and a fantastic learning opportunity.  The students at Elon are incredibly engaged, reflective, insightful, and genuine.  It was a pleasure to advise the trip and watch relationships form among the students and residents of the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation.

We baked cookies & cupcakes and walked around the community to sell the items to raise money for the Cheyenne River Youth Project.

We baked cookies & cupcakes and walked around the community to sell the items to raise money for the Cheyenne River Youth Project.