Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Job Seeking Alumnus Utilizes Campus Resources

By Victoria Hampton '15

Robin Johnson ’09 is a great example of a Pacific graduate who knew what he liked, but didn’t know what he wanted to do with his career. 
“[After graduation] I was unsure. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my degree. I didn’t have a clear idea,” said Johnson.
Johnson '09

As a journalism and environmental studies double major, Johnson was searching for job opportunities that incorporated agriculture and writing. 

In his first few years after graduation, Johnson worked for AmeriCorps at Pacific and on an organic farm along with writing for a science fiction blog. After hiking the Pacific Crest Trail for five months, Johnson returned to Oregon ready to search for a job that reflected his passion for writing.

What better place to search for some career guidance than his alma mater?

A year and a half ago, while working a temporary job at a dog sitting business, Johnson contacted Career Development Center Director Brian O’Driscoll '89.
“I told Brian I was hoping to focus my career on my writing and he really helped me out by looking at my résumé and helping me beef it up,” said Johnson.

O’Driscoll also assisted Johnson with his interviewing skills, preparing him for an interview at Spotlight, a newspaper in Scappoose, Ore.

Johnson landed the job and has enjoyed writing for a variety of beats such as city hall, crime and community events.

This wasn’t the last time Johnson sought the help of the Career Development Center. 

In June 2014 he will move to St. Louis, Miss. with his girlfriend who is pursuing a master’s degree at Washington University. While visiting the city earlier this year, Johnson met some reporters from local newspapers. After his trip, Johnson asked O’Driscoll to help him network with people at publications in the area. He is now networking with a reporter who works for a bi-monthly publication in St. Louis.

Even though Johnson didn’t have a definite idea of his career focus right after graduation, he wasn’t afraid to explore his options and ask for help along the way.

“I just explored whatever option I was passionate about at the time instead of focusing on a specific career after college,” said Johnson.

He explained that this gave him a diverse background along with time to figure out his ideal career path.
The Career Development Center is a resource for graduates from all years and stages in their career development. If you need help crafting your résumé, finding a job, networking or need to work on your interviewing skills, email or call 503-352-2877 to set up an appointment.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Alumni Give Career Advice at Career Launch: A Team Sport

By Kathleen Rohde '14
Photos by Jonathan Schell '16

A group of alumni visited Pacific for the event Career Launch: A Team Sport on March 2. They hosted a panel and spoke with Pacific athletes from every sport. Football, tennis, track and field, swimming and wrestling among others sat side-by-side to get inside tips from those in their dream careers.

It became clear that stepping out of their comfort zone was the most helpful advice all the alumni wish they’d heard.

Cisco Reyes '03 teaches exercise physiology, biomechanics, high-performance training and programming. Reyes holds a degree from Pacific in Kinesiology and Exercise Science. He played as a baseball boxer during his time in Forest Grove.

Others chimed in on this idea of challenging comfortability in order to succeed.

“Go visit speakers on campus, go to events,” said Barnes. He graduated from Pacific in 1985 majoring in Business and Economics. “They’re not much different than I am— they have two legs and two hands. I looked at them and thought, ‘they took risks and benefited.’”

The panel advised students to challenge their comfort zone by doing internships. Yep, even if they’re unpaid.

Naomi Brown works for the Hillsboro school district as a student case manager, and a resource to find students job/careers or colleges.  She works with children who come from a variety of backgrounds. Whether teenagers are finding high school isn’t working for them or have bigger personal issues, Brown has seen it all. 

She credits her level of experience to handle her current job from an internship she held at the ChristieCare Residential Treatment Center in Lake Oswego working with abused teens.She worked there for two years and continued on with even more experience to search for the career she really wanted, the job she has now.

“Because of my internship, the Hillsboro School District hired me,” said Brown. She also worked with the Hillsboro Parks and Recreation Department and a early childhood school. “After four years I found my dream job where I’m not always in the classroom.  My undergraduate years helped me learn the background, the standard. But the internship helped prepare me for where I’m at now. For the real thing.”

One alumnus found that an internship was just what he needed— just what he needed to decide he wanted nothing to do with that job.

Both Brown and David Slick '04 participated in summer internships between their junior and senior years at Pacific. While Brown found job opportunities closer and closer to what she wanted, Slick was narrowing his search.

“It was great life experience to see what it’s all about,” said Slick. He worked the summer going into senior year at the National Science Foundation doing research. “But I realized I didn’t want to be in the lab.”

After Slick threw his graduation cap in the air, he took another internship. Four months after that a large company purchased the business he was working for and offered him a full-time position.

“From there my career took off,” said Slick. He now works as a software quality assurance manager at InComm.

For the final panelist, he’s working his dream job and did it by standing out.“I made a position for myself,” said Brian Pan '09 who played on the golf team and majored in integrated media and business. He works as a digital media video manager for the Seattle Seahawks and the Seattle Sounders Football Club. 

“I do it better than it’s ever been done before.” Pan’s been with the Seahawks for five seasons now and the only draw back so far about his job was being kicked in the face during the 2014 Super Bowl.

All the panelists agreed that talking to everyone, even teachers, was important to make connections and network. Slick was sent a link to his first internship from a professor at Pacific. All agreed that internships, yes even if they’re unpaid, are vital to getting real life experience, and good thing for Slick because he realized that wasn’t what he wanted to do.

“If you love what you do it makes it so much easier,” said Reyes.

Each stressed the importance of getting a foot in the door.

“As you network you get to know those people,” said Pan. “They move and they bring along their own people. They know their work and ability.”

Reyes challenged the audience of about 50 athletes in the Boxer Learning Center.

“I wish I stepped out of the box more. I wish I could’ve taken the time to work for free,” said Reyes. “When an opportunity arises, take it. You’re going to fail, but by trying you’re going to only gain more connections along the way.”

 “You can still be competitive in the workplace,” said Pan.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Alumnus Achieves his Dream Job

By Berkley Holzschuh '14

"Do it better than it's ever been done before" is how Brian Pan '09 strives to live his life. Coincidentally, this quote was said by Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, a person Pan is in close contact with throughout the year.

Pan is the Digital Media Video Producer for the Seattle Seahawks. His love for film began at his high school’s TV station in Pullman, Wash. Like most students, Pan knew as soon as he visited Pacific University that this was where he was supposed to be.

Initially when starting college, Pan wanted to pursue broadcast journalism, but after taking some website based classes with Professor Mike Geraci, he veered in a different direction. Geraci helped him broaden his knowledge of the web and was one of Pan’s biggest influences at Pacific.

Pan reflected on the Internet and social media when he was a freshman in college. He discussed how Facebook was the new social media platform in 2005.

Looking back, I never thought about how big the Internet would become,” said Pan. The position Pan has now as Digital Media Video Producer did not exist when he was a student at Pacific.

" Work hard!" is the advice Pan gives students. "It's all about hard work and having a passion for what you do."

Working hard and living by Coach Pete’s quote made Pan’s managers realize that he was essential to their success. He was offered a full-time position at the end of his internship with the Seahawks.

Pan loves his job. Part of Pan’s job requires him to ask famous athletes he has always looked up to for interviews. This challenges him to be “comfortable with being uncomfortable,” which is necessary for personal and professional growth.

Pan also gets to travel with the team. In 2013 Brian went to Hong Kong with the Sea Gals Cheerleaders as they performed for the Chinese New Year. More recently, he even got the chance to travel to Metlife Stadium in New Jersey and watch his team win Superbowl XLVIII.

“I go to work and get paid to watch and film sports; I can’t imagine anything better.”

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Navigating the Stormy Seas of Publishing

Calcaterra '99
By Garrett Calcaterra '99

Last month I wrote a guest blog post for Diversion Books, the publisher of my debut fantasy novel, Dreamwielder, and I remarked on the odd publication path my book took: an initial launch in e-book format only, then audiobook format through a few months later, and finally in trade paperback format almost a year after the initial release. 

It’s a big departure from the traditional book release process, but this is the reality of the book publishing world now. There is no tried and true route to publication success, and if you want to make it as an author, you have to navigate your own path.

The modern publishing world is a double-edged sword. On one hand, there are more opportunities than ever to reach readers directly thanks to e-books, self-publishing platforms like KDP and Smashwords, and Print-on-Demand services like CreateSpace and Lulu. On the other hand, these opportunities will do nothing for you if you fail to write quality books or if you don’t understand the business side of publishing. And the fact of the matter is, unless you already have a large following, publishers still offer you the best shot of getting your book in front of readers.

Sure, I could have self-published Dreamwielder, but I never would have procured a Barnes & Noble Nook First Look selection on my own. never would have turned it into an audiobook. And before all that, Dreamwielder never would have gotten the great editorial attention it received with Diversion Books if I self-published. That’s something a lot of newbies to the writing world neglect to consider: publishers ensure that they only release a high-quality, polished product.

For me, what’s worked so far is handling each writing project on a case-by-case scenario, and I don’t do it alone. I am in regular contact with my literary agent, Elizabeth Kracht, and together we game plan what to do with each book project I have. For Dreamwielder we went with Diversion Books. Diversion Books turned me on to Wattapad, an e-book app and community that houses 40 million free e-books. 

There on Wattpad, I self-released a prequel story to Dreamwielder, and also an unrelated fantasy novelette, The Knight’s Dog, which got picked up as a featured Wattpad story. As the time of writing this blog post, the novelette has racked up almost 17 thousand reads in little over a week! That’s how volatile and crazy the e-book market is.

On the self-publishing front, I’ve self-released The Knight’s Dog as an 99 cent e-book for the Kindle and Nook, and I’ve also self-released two quirky humor titles, knowing traditional publisher wouldn’t be willing to take a risk on them. 

I also experimented with selling my previously published short stories as DRM-free e-book singles directly from my website. That was a complete and utter failure! Still, I’m glad I tried it. I learned a lot about self-publishing and the e-book marketplace with the experience, and that knowledge is invaluable.

In the meantime, I’m working on the sequel to Dreamwielder, which is already contracted with Diversion Books, and I’m keeping my eyes open for new opportunities. I know writing novels is how I’m going to turn my writing into a sustainable career. I need to have a new book every year, which my agent and I will find the best possible market for, and I’ll continue to try out homes for my shorter work. 

Those 17 thousand downloads on Wattpad don’t earn me a dime directly, but now 17 thousand new people have seen my name, and the next time they see it on front of a book online or in their bookstore, hopefully they’ll deem it worthy to spend their money on.

Calcaterra ’99 was an applied science major with a minor in creative writing at Pacific University. He teaches writing at Chapman University and the Orange County School of the Arts. His new novel, Dreamwielder, is available in e-book format at all major retailers, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Boxer Love Story: Al Ross '55 and Caroline (Seay) Ross '56

By Written by Al Ross

After graduating St. Helens High School in 1951, coach Harvey Roloff from Pacific offered me an athletic scholarship. I had no money and my family had no money and this sounded good. I had an older friend, Phil Poff '54, who encouraged me to check things out. He was a sophomore at Pacific at the time. We ended up rooming together in what apparently was the old McCormick Hall. It was down by the old gymnasium that was used primarily as a PE and practice facility.
The college had offered me the opportunity to work for money and that was going to help cover expenses. I was assigned to clean classrooms each day at the end of the last class. I got to know Marsh Hall, Old College Hall, the library and Warner Hall very well. I would guess there were under 600 students in attendance in 1952, but there was still lot of sweeping, dusting and desk straightening.
During my sophomore year, I was offered a job that enabled me to make a little more money but it was certainly a great deal more work. Several of the buildings had wood furnaces for heat. I was basically responsible for going over to the girls’ dorm, which at the time was called Herrick Hall, each morning seven days a week, and starting a wood fire in the furnace which was down in the basement. If you stood in front of Marsh Hall looking at Old College Hall, Herrick Hall was located to your right down near what was then apartments for married students. It was a tough job and I had to go over and toss in more wood all day long between my classes. The girls needed their heat.
To get into the basement of Herrick Hall at 4 a.m. each morning, I had to go around the back of the building and walk down a long sidewalk to the door the gave me access to the basement and the furnace. I noticed that each morning there was a light on in an apartment about the third floor. There was a young lady sitting there doing something. I later learning she was studying. I could not see her clearly but we began to wave at each other very innocently and it went on for many more mornings before we got to actually know each other.
Our paths finally crossed in the basement as this was where the girls’ washing machines were and I was over there tossing cord wood in the beloved furnace. She was a cute little chick from Salem, Ore., and we had a great deal in common. Neither of our families could support us and she was on an academic scholarship and also took every job that was offered her. We both wanted to be teachers. During the time there she was paid to get up early and make a continental breakfast for dorm sisters. She later worked in the science labs as a lab assistant and also worked in the cafeteria over at McCormick Hall.
We began to date as time and money permitted and our dating was quite simply but very enjoyable. We spent time at the Tip Top which was a local college hangout and went to an occasional movie at the local theater or even drove to Hillsboro for some activity. We were together at games and other college activities but most of our time was spent studying and working. Caroline was a great student and much in demand to assist in the science labs. We have very fond memories of the years at Pacific and we were certainly treated well by the faculty and the administration.
I graduated in 1955 and was immediately drafted into the US Army and was soon on my way to Korea. Caroline had another year at Pacific and we decided to get married during the summer of 1955. She graduated with great honors in 1956 and was offered a job teaching math and science at David Douglas High School in Portland. She taught one full year before I was discharged from the Army. I also was offered a contract in the David Douglas district after my discharge.
Caroline and I lived and worked in Portland and this is where we raised our family. Our two boys still live in the Portland area as do our grandchildren. I worked at the David Douglas School District in a variety of jobs for about 34 years. Caroline taught advanced science and math, and also worked at Mount Hood Community College in the math department. She was a fabulous teacher. We retired in 1988 and since then have lived in San Diego and Charbonneau outside of Salem and presently reside in Sun City Grand, Arizona, but do return to Oregon to see family and friends.
We had many close friends at Pacific and would love to hear from anyone who might end up reading this. We can be reached easily at