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Below are some of the careers, advice and testimonies of our alumni!
Professor of Spanish and Chair
Department of Foreign Languages
Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Indiana, PA 15705
After having grown up in Athens, Ohio, I attended Ohio University and got a BS in Telecommunications, which is now in the School of Media Arts. After graduation I moved to Barcelona, Spain, and taught English for several years. After a brief stay in Buenos Aires, Argentina, I returned to Athens and began an MA in History. A year into my MA in History, I started taking graduate classes in Spanish. Eventually, after having done some teaching in Spanish as a graduate student, I completed both an MA in History and another in Spanish. I was accepted into the Ph.D. in Romance Languages at the University of Pennsylvania, and completed that degree in 1998. I was hired as an Assistant Professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and taught there until 2002, when I was hired by Indiana University of Pennsylvania. I have taught at IUP for ten years, and have been promoted from Assistant Professor all the way to Full Professor, and was elected Chair of the Department three years ago. It continues to be a rewarding job and a satisfying profession.
The job market and the profession itself is unpredictable and subject to change. It is very hard to predict what you will eventually end up doing, where you’ll do it, and if it is going to be something you want to do for the rest of your life. These are things that you can’t control. What you can control is what you are doing now, in school. Take every opportunity to learn a new skill, like building strong technology skills. Take every opportunity to travel abroad to improve your proficiency and to establish contacts. And, above all else, dedicate yourself to your studies. Master the content; learn how to write effectively in English and in your studied language, and impress your teachers. If you do your part to prepare for the rest of your life, you will put yourself in position to take the fullest advantage of the opportunities that await you.
Pursuing an MBA at Georgetown University
Hilary Jones earned a BA in International Affairs at The College of Wooster before completing her MA in International Affairs through the Latin American Studies Program at Ohio University and receiving a Fulbright grant to study agricultural cooperatives in Brazil and Uruguay. She worked in France and Angola, at the Embassy of El Salvador in Washington, DC, and on Latin American projects at The Nature Conservancy before starting her current position as Senior Analyst-Legal Operational Officer at the Inter-American Development Bank. She’s currently pursuing her MBA at Georgetown University.
The most useful advice she’s ever gotten:
· Reach out to people who work in the area you’re considering and ask to speak with them. Networking is about building friendships and learning about the world as much as it’s about getting job offers. Most people are generous with their time and will be happy to share their experiences with you.
· To be at the right place at the right time, be every place all the time. Be active in your job search, “attacking” from all fronts—applying online, attending industry events, conducting informational interviews. If you knock on 20 doors and none of them open, it’s merely time to knock on 20 more.
· Articulate a vision of what you’re looking for to share with people. Many times I speak with students who talk about wanting to work on agricultural issues and women’s health and microfinance and the environment. Pick one and go with it; the story can change as your go along or depending on the person you’re talking to.
Associate Professor of Spanish at North Carolina State University
Jim Michnowicz started as a BSEd major (Spanish education) and then continued with MA in Spanish at OU and a PhD in Hispanic Linguistics at Penn State.
His job trajectory included Spanish instructor at The University of Virginia’s College at Wise 1998-2002, teaching basic and intermediate Spanish classes and taking students abroad to Seville in the summers.
Jim then took a 4 year “break” to complete his PhD.
He now works as an tenured Associate Professor of Spanish at North Carolina State University. He has worked there since 2006 and was an assistant professor until 2012.
His advice: utilize your professors and their connections/resources; and never turn down an interview – you never know where it will lead you.
| Kathryn Hampton earned a BA in Spanish and a BS in Journalism from Ohio University. During her undergraduate studies she spent one quarter living in Cuenca, Ecuador and one full academic year living in Caracas, Venezuela. After graduating from Ohio University she worked at the Press Secretary for a statewide officeholder. She then worked at Nationwide Insurance as a Communications Specialist. Much of her work at Nationwide involved creating media relations plans for the national Hispanic market. She also briefly worked as a policy analyst at the Department of Homeland Security before taking a job as an intelligence analyst in January 2009. Kathryn just recently finished a master’s degree in Strategic Intelligence at the National Intelligence University (NIU) and a graduate certificate program in International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
Kathryn’s advice for landing a job in the Intelligence Community:
- Take your education seriously. It is the most important component in your preparation for a career in intelligence. Most intelligence analysts have master’s or doctoral degrees in security-related areas.
- Challenge yourself. Most job descriptions for intelligence analyst positions say that applicants must have advanced critical thinking and analytical skills. You don’t get those skills taking the easy classes!
- Study abroad and master a language. No amount of classroom study can substitute really immersing yourself in another language and culture.
- Work on your writing skills. All of the information you have in your head is worth nothing if you cannot express it clearly and concisely in writing.
- Get comfortable speaking in front of groups. Part of your job as an intelligence analyst will be to brief policymakers, law enforcement, or military leaders. You must be comfortable getting up and speaking in front of a group. And not just any group – highly educated people who are going to ask you tough questions!
Marda C. Rose
Acting Assistant Professor
As an undergraduate student at Ohio University, I obtained a BA in Spanish (Honors Tutorial College), a BA in French (College of Arts and Sciences), and was certified to teach Spanish and French K-12 (Courses taken through College of Education and Honors Tutorial College). This strong foundation served me tremendously as I went on for advanced degrees in Spanish (MA, Middlebury College), Linguistics (MA, Ohio University) and Hispanic Linguistics with an emphasis in Second Language Acquisition (PhD, Indiana University).
I have tried to combined my interests in theater and language learning at every point of my career. I started as a middle school teacher of Spanish and French in Rocky River, Ohio. While I was there, I also was the advisor for the student newspaper and the drama club. From there, I went on to obtain a Fulbright Teacher Exchange to Colombia. I started as a teacher of English as a Foreign Language at Colegio San Bartolomé La Merced (sixth and seventh grade), and then stayed for two more years as the Head of the English Department (preschool, primary school, secondary school). In Colombia, I taught a class on theater, performed in plays, and worked with the Teatro Libre de Bogotá. I then came back to the U.S. to see if I liked teaching at the university level and taught undergraduate Spanish at Ohio University. I then went to Indiana University to teach Spanish while working on my PhD. While I was there, I founded the Spanish language performing group, Grupo de Teatro VIDA.
I am currently an Assistant Professor of Spanish at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, where I teach undergraduate and graduate courses on Hispanic Linguistics. I also conduct research on second language acquisition, focusing on second language phonology (the acquisition of the second language sound system) and second language pragmatics (the acquisition of how to use language in context). I also work on the use of drama in research and teaching.
I think three things really helped me get where I am today. First, I have always looked for ways to combine what I really enjoy – theater and language learning – in what I do. I could have gone about this many different ways, and at different stages of my career several different opportunities emerged. It is important to be open to new opportunities and to be honest with yourself about what aspects of a job or career are most important to you when making tough decisions about what options or path to take. For this reason, I believe it is possible to build what you love into what you do if you think creatively about how to combine your interests and skill sets. Be creative and listen to your gut. Second, I paid attention to the job market. I knew that studying linguistics on its own may make finding a job more difficult, but studying Hispanic linguistics would provide me with more job opportunities. Even though I could not have predicted how difficult the job market was going to be over the past five years, the fact that I paid attention to the types of jobs that are available helped me when I was looking for jobs. Finally, I have made lots of contacts in the field. It is extremely important to meet people who are doing what you would like to do. They are a great source of information. Plus you never know when knowing someone can help you open a door. So, it is a good idea to stay in touch with the contacts you make and to maintain good relationships with people who are in your field. You never know when your paths may cross again.
I just finished my Masters degree at Carnegie Mellon University in Human-Computer Interaction in 2013. Only a year ago (2012) I finished my BA in Spanish, BA in Psychology, and BS in Mathematics at Ohio University. I was fortunate to work with Pearson Education as my Capstone Project for my Masters degree to help improve the use of technology in the classroom. The path to becoming a Designer was not what I anticipated or wanted entering my freshman year. Discovering my passion for technology, language, and education took a long time, but led me to where I am today.
Your degree is only part of your education. While Math, Spanish, and Psychology don’t outwardly appear to be excellent degrees for the technology industry, I found that having humanities and social science knowledge is in great need. Finding the right perspective from my degree was the most important decision I made as an undergraduate. I took my Spanish degree from OU and found that the study of language and culture easily mapped to much of what the technology industry does today, including programming and user research. From going to Carnegie Mellon, I built the specific skills needed to become a User Experience Designer. I just started my career, hoping to continue on the path to helping those in healthcare and education with any technology needs that come today and tomorrow.
Some of the most valuable advice came from professors who believed in pushing beyond what a degree appears to represent. Many of my professors in Spanish and Psychology saw the potential for entering a technology program and becoming a Designer. Finding a mentor is a critical part of getting through an undergraduate degree. While some industries do require specific skills, such as engineering, there are still other potential options for students who want to pursue a degree, but may be interested in a number of careers. Finding someone who is open to your career interests, can speak candidly with you, and can be a champion and emotional coach for you will help you the most. Don’t underestimate the experiences and skills you gain with your degree. Outside of school, networking is critical. Finding other students in graduate school, those in the community that share similar interests, or even making sure you have a strong LinkedIn profile will help you find your potential at a company, university, or community.
Finally, always give back to your alma mater. Give back to those who helped you through your career by guiding new students. This can include mentoring, corresponding with students, or volunteering for events on campus. It’s a great way to find new connections and experiences.
MA Candidate International Environmental Policy, Business, Sustainability and Development
The Monterey Institute of International Studies, a Graduate School of Middlebury College
After having lived in Spain for several years, Teryn chose Ohio University for her BA in Spanish with a certificate in Environmental Studies. After graduating in 2011, Teryn traveled to volunteer in Africa, Costa Rica and back to Spain before moving to California to study at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. She will graduate in May 2014 with a degree in International Environmental Policy, Business, Sustainability and Development. During her time at the Monterey Institute, Teryn has had the opportunity to integrate her language and environmental studies degrees to make a positive, global impact. She has worked at the Alliance for Responsible Mining, a Colombia non-profit organization that manages a fair trade certification system for gold, platinum and silver; and more recently, with Misión Gaia, a Colombian non-profit that works in sustainable tourism and community development. Teryn was also a candidate for a Fulbright Scholarship for 2014-2015.