By Jamie Sapp | Layout Editor
Guest panel speakers visited students at the “CommFest Lecture Series” on Jan. 27 at noon as they gathered in the JSAC Coffeehouse on Augusta University’s Summerville campus for advice on career choices.
The panel speakers included Karleigh King, Brennan Meagher, Bethany Marshall, Eryka Menzies and Dylan Smith. They are all alumni of Augusta University.
As host of the lecture series, Communications Assistant Professor Terri Sasser introduced the guest panel speakers with a friendly welcome from the students of Augusta University.
Each speaker spoke about various topics of interest to the students, ranging from extracurricular activities, resumes and portfolios to time management, volunteer work, jobs and internships.
Festival Assistant of the Westobou Festival Bethany Marshall said she did the odds-and-ends work of her job, making sure that events go smoothly behind the scenes. Marshall also said she contacted donors and corporate sponsors during her work in donor relations as well as researched grants.
“And when we’re not doing the festival, we have a year-round gallery,” she said. “And we show visual art. We have a new exhibition every couple of months. So I get to plan the receptions for that.”
For her job, Bethany Marshall said she maintains contact with the artists, sells artwork, speaks to people about the artwork and gets more into event planning.
“So I’m planning a spring event during Masters Week,” she said. “So that’s been really fun to get to get that event planning experience that I have been looking for.”
When speaking to the crowd, Marketing & Communications Specialist Eryka Menzies of MAU Workforce Solutions said the students should get involved in extracurricular activities.
“Those of you who don’t have your hands up, that is your point of action,” Menzies said. “Get involved in something because, like everyone was saying, getting connections is a huge part of getting a job.”
Eryka Menzies said getting involved in extracurricular activities will also help students to meet people.
“For my time here, I was an athlete, once upon a time,” she said. “I played for a basketball team here and I am also part of the greatest sorority in the entire planet, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.”
After graduation and working in a retail company for a while, Menzies then started working for MAU Workforce Solutions. Menzies said the company is awesome and it helps people find jobs.
“We’re a staff agency,” she said. “….we find people jobs. So when I first started working for MAU, I was on the staff inside of it. So I was sourcing through resumes from applicants, kind of like myself who were desperate, fresh out of college. We had people who had been working for years and were laid off or whatever the case may be.”
Menzies said the wide variety of skills she has developed enabled her to learn a lot in staffing, along with what recruiters and employers are looking for on applicants’ resumes. She also said students should personalize their resumes in order to stand out from others.
“You don’t want to stick to that normal, boring, ‘this is all’ text,” she said. “There’s no color here, there’s no ‘pop’ …You look like everyone else. You have to stand apart on paper.”
Special Projects and News Promotion Producer Dylan Smith of WRDW-TV News 12 said his journey toward working for News 12 was interesting.
“It all started when I was in high school,” he said. “I was taking a lot of video production classes and news broadcasting classes.”
While attending Augusta State University, Smith said he decided to pursue a major in Criminal Justice and studied it for about two years.
“It was really dawning on me that it was something that I was really curious about,” he said. “But it didn’t hold me. It didn’t grasp me, and I really didn’t develop a passion for it.”
Smith later decided to switch his major to Television and Cinema (TVC). He made a deal with his parents that he would get a job with his major. As a full-time student, Smith decided to try to look for a job.
“I came across this position at News 12,” he said. “There was a part-time production assistant job.”
When Smith applied for the job, he went in for an interview and showed the employer his resume. Smith said his resume was not that fabulous at the time. However, his experiences from high school and later on during college led him to get the part-time job and later a full-time job for News 12.
After speaking with the crowd, Dylan Smith showed two different award-winning, well-produced videos from News 12. But before introducing his work, Smith said the employers from News 12 worked close with him and took time with Smith to get him warmed up for the news promotion producer position.
“Every week, I create something new and I’m constantly creating new things to add to my resume and add to my reel,” he said. “It’s been a priceless position and I don’t think I would do things any differently.”
Communications Assistant Professor Terri Sasser also gave a few words of advice for the crowd. Just like Dylan Smith, Sasser said that she worked a full-time job while being a full-time student in order to obtain her Ph.D.
“If I can do it as an old woman, you could definitely put more in your time young,” Sasser said. “… I was in my thirties when I did that… So, you can do it. …You have to give up certain things. But you have to be willing to do that to be successful sometimes.”
Contact Jamie Sapp at: firstname.lastname@example.org.