What is your current job title and how long have you been with your current employer?
I currently work with the Breathe Easy Coalition located in Portland, Maine. I am a community health promotion specialist.
What was your major/degree(s) at Springfield College? Where did you attend graduate school and for what program?
During my undergraduate years at Springfield, I was an applied exercise science student. After graduating from Springfield, I graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a master of public health degree with a concentration in community health education.
Reflecting on your education at Springfield College, what would you cite as your most meaningful experience?
My curriculum within the applied exercise science program required me to complete two internships, a 100-hour internship and a 450-hour internship. I completed my 450-hour internship at a local YMCA, which allowed me to practice the various skills I had learned in class and work within various departments of the YMCA. I truly learned a great deal from this hands-on experience and I still keep in contact with my supervisor who was the executive branch director at the time and remains a great mentor.
How did the career center assist in your transition from being a student to a professional in the work place?
As a student, the career center helped develop my resume, they helped me write cover letters, provided scholarships for conferences and networking events, helped me to create business cards, and offered various professional development workshops. These opportunities allowed me to gain confidence in my ability to search for job opportunities and seek out employers. My experience with the career center and the relationships I have formed with the staff has created a confidence I never knew I had. Within the workplace, one must learn to be outgoing, personable yet professional and I believe the career center has helped me do just that, and more!
What advice would you give to recent alumni or current students who aspire to follow a similar career path?
Continue to network. Many of my professors at Springfield mentioned, “It’s not always what you know, but who you know” when seeking future employment opportunities. Don’t be afraid to get out there, even having a five minute conversation with someone you met in line for coffee at a conference could be helpful! Don’t forget to make and collect business cards, you never know who you will meet.
Ask questions. Employers love to see potential employees ask questions--it shows you did your homework. Even after getting a job, don’t be afraid to ask questions--allow yourself to be a beginner, that’s the only way you will ever learn.
Take time for professional development opportunities. Many employers will admire your enthusiasm to better yourself and your job skills within your field. Some may even pay for or provide assistance for this since they see it as an investment in you as an employee.
Describe your career path and future aspirations.
After my higher education years, I worked for a summer camp as the waterfront director and then transitioned to my current position as a community health promotion specialist working with hospitals, colleges, multi-unit housing, and behavioral health providers to develop and implement tobacco free policies within their facilities. In the future I aim to work as a public health educator to prevent health disparities and promote healthy lifestyles among vulnerable populations.