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.

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