Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Alumnus explains importance of campus interactions

By Berkley Holzschuh '14

Forrest Barnes '85
Although athletics was the reason Forrest Barnes ’85 came to Pacific, he stayed because of the opportunities and interactions he was able to benefit from.

“Pacific provided the opportunity to meet, experience and interact with many different people. Not just students, but people like Interior Secretary James Watt, Columnist Bill Buckley, my professors and different guests who spoke on campus,” said Barnes. “It helped me to grow from a farm boy to someone who business people would hire and want on their team.”

Now as the division president at Palm Harbor Homes, one of the nation's largest marketers of factory-built homes, Barnes sets an ideal example of where hard work and honesty will get you.

“I was able to move up in the company by recognizing that people, products and processes made a difference,” said Barnes.

Starting in 1995, Forest Barnes went from sales manager to division president at Palm Harbor Homes. He admits that growing the company is the most rewarding part of his job, but doing what you say you are going to do and being a person who follows through is what Forest said is the “key take away” from his career thus far.

Barnes discussed how important it is for undergraduate students to form connections with potential employers.

“Take advantage of the opportunity to interact. You have the opportunity to attend events and gain the personal interaction skills that develop when you are involved,” said Barnes. “Put down the electronics and experience what the university offers, as it goes by fast.”

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

International Career Expo: Alumni Share Experiences Abroad

By Clara Howell '17
Photos by Mahala Nelson '16

As students start developing job skills, it’s natural for them to feel anxious about their future. Most students will be presented with many diverse job opportunities throughout their career. Some may find themselves landing a job in another country.
Panelists Jessie Wachter '03, Shani Moser '94 and Jamie Lucero '98.
 On April 25, 2014, the Career Development Center and World Languages and Literature department hosted the International Career Expo for students who were interested in exploring worldwide careers. This event was aimed at, but not limited to, students interested in career applications of a major or minor in a foreign language and/or those desiring to uncover international career possibilities. More than a dozen alumni traveled back to Pacific to share their experiences and to give advice to current students. The panel discussion was lead by Jennifer Baker ’00, Jamie Lucero ’98, Shani Moser ’94, Jessie Wachter ’03, Jack Trummer ’97 and Clare Richardson-Barlow ’08. These and additional alumni lead table discussions afterward focused on various career topics related to intercultural and international interests. * 

While students dream an ideal job upon graduating, they are often restricted by tunnel vision. 

“We get limited by school, college and getting married. It’s a very defined path and it doesn’t fit so many of us,” said Wachter.

Wachter, as well as the other panelists, advised students to take a step back and experience life before walking down a structured path. She also reminded students to remember that obstacles do emerge, and not every route will be as smooth as one thinks.
Jessis Wachter '03
Baker remembers having an outline of dream jobs. “The job market doesn’t always dictate to your dream job,” Baker said. “I promised myself to always be open to opportunities, so don’t discredit yourself. Throw yourself out there into the universe. If something catches, great, and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. Always be your own best advocate.”
But in order to fully get an understanding of the direction our lives take, all of the panelists agree that to uncover ones skill set and interests, people need to experience the world. This might be through study abroad during school or taking a gap year to travel abroad. Lucero went straight from Pacific into graduate school and says he felt a little rushed.

 “A more important thing might be to just take a little bit of time to let stuff settle on you and to make sure you’re ready for your next step,” Lucero said. “I almost feel like study abroad should be a requirement for college students.”

 Even though many of the alumni at the Expo used traveling abroad as a step to further their future careers, a main path to discovering what the world has to  offer is opened by networking—getting to know people and letting your name be known. While going to conferences can be helpful with meeting professionals, actively going to a social event or place and shaking a bunch of hands is important as well. Trummer believes networking is key to finding a solid career.

 Networking can be as easy as talking to friends and forming connections by having casual conversations with people. “You don’t have to go out on a mission [to network]; just be friendly and a person who people will remember,” Wachter advised. “If you drop that link you never know who is going to come out of the woodwork.”

Overall, the alumni who provide time to discuss these experiences talking to friends and forming connections by having casual conversations with people.
Overall, the alumni who provide time to discuss these experiences realize the importance of immersing oneself in another place. Moser believes studying abroad gives people an in-depth view of reality. Every minute these alumni were gone, they became fluent in another language, obtained career opportunities and met people they wouldn’t have met elsewhere. It is a life changing experience and it doesn’t matter what major a person has or if a person even wishes to live outside of the country. It’s about strengthening skills, discovering who you are and creating relevant experiences.

“When you go abroad and you learn the good and the bad, that’s what makes you have a very well rounded opinion of what a country is like,” Moser said. “I was able to grow up. I was humbled a little bit in life, had my feet kicked out from under me a few times, and I realized that I don’t know everything I thought I knew when I graduated from Pacific.” Finding a career path suited for the individual is what everyone strives for and what the International Career Expo aimed to help with. Although finding an ideal job is difficult, there are many opportunities to get a foot in the door. Richardson-Barlow entered the workforce during the recession and says internships and unpaid fellowships are a great way to find a permanent job or a way to get on track for future careers.

Jamie Lucero '98
“If you really want to do something, volunteer to do it,” Richardson-Barlow said. “I know it isn’t the greatest advice to say do something for free, but it really works.”

And when things don’t work out, or rejection occurs, the panelists say do not give up. “It’s just life and for whatever reason the timing was not right,” Baker says. “It’s always a good opportunity to refresh, take a look at your skills, and see if you’re marketing yourself in the way that you want to be regarded.
Eventually something will shake loose. It always does.”

*Pacific University thanks all of the alumni who contributed to this great event:
  •     Christina Barboza ‘08
  •     Tessa Daniel ‘05
  •     Patrick Dedrick ‘08
  •     Estelle Konrad ‘06
  •     Ean Lensch ‘96
  •     Jennifer (Bullock) Melo ‘06
  •     Karyn (Arnold) Rankin ‘09
  •     Reed Scott-Schwalbach ‘98
  •     Lucas Steuber ‘09
  •     Wintry Whitt Smith ‘97
  •     Jennifer Baker ‘00   
  •     Jack Trummer ‘97
  •     Clare Richardson-Barlow ‘08
  •     Jamie Lucero ‘98
  •     Jessie Wachter ‘03
  •     Shani Moser ‘94

    Thursday, May 01, 2014

    Alumna shares graduate school experience

    By Victoria Hampton '15

    After receiving an undergraduate degree, many students will consider attending graduate school. Whether they attend three months or ten years after graduation, graduate school is a big decision. Not only is it a large financial commitment, its an additional two to four years of a student’s life that takes them further in the direction of their career interest. On top of all this personal investment, sometimes students starts a graduate program and realize it is not the right fit.

    “As an undergraduate you have these ideas of what you want to do. Optometry school was one of the reasons I came to Pacific, but [once I started the program] it wasn’t quite what I expected,” said Basmah Rahman ‘01.

    Rahman knew that graduate school was for her, but after attending one year at the Pacific University Optometry school, she wasn’t sure what graduate level program was right for her.

    “It was a slow realization over the course of the year. I found [optometry school] really interesting and there is a lot to learn. I just realized that my classmates were getting a lot more out of it than me,” said Rahman.

    Upon realizing this wasn’t a career path Rahman could see herself pursuing later in life, she discussed her feelings with a former member of the optometry admissions committee Karen Dunston.

    As Rahman expressed her interests, Dunston gave her some graduate program ideas. During the 2004-2005 school year, Rahman attended Portland State University. She took classes in public health as a non-degree seeking student.

    “I was anxious to get on a track of some kind. It is really scary when you’re 23 and you want to be on a career path,” said Rahman.

    By taking these classes and talking to people in the public health field, she decided this was the correct path for her to continue her graduate education. Rahman applied to Boston University’s Master’s in Public Health program, MPH, with a focus on International Health. She graduated from this program in 2007.

    After graduating from Boston University, Rahman lived in the Boston area for a few years. She then moved back to the northwest and has been working at Oregon Health & Science University, OHSU, as a research associate since 2011.

    “I grew up in Oregon and it was really exciting to me to move across the country,” said Rahman. “I recommend people move away and experience that. It was good for me. It makes you grow up.”

    Rahman attended an MPH program that is one of the top 20 in the United States, but she explained such a ranking should not deter students who may think they aren’t qualified for such a prestigious school.

    “Students shouldn’t be phased by the reputation of the college because [graduate school] is a whole new ball game,” said Rahman. “It’s not just about grades and what you did as an undergrad. It is about the focus that you are bringing to the graduate program.”

    She encourages students and alumni to apply to all the schools they’re interested in and not worry about getting accepted.

    Rahman shared some of her experiences and graduate school wisdom for interested current students and alumni. She was able to work full time while attending graduate school, which is something she didn’t think was possible. She advises students and alumni to look at what the postgraduate job placement is at the specific school they’re interested in.

    Another aspect for people to consider when looking into graduate schools is networking with others who have graduated from that specific program or work in the career field a student is interested in.
    “It’s really important to take advantage of talking to people in the field you’re interested in,” said Rahman.

    Rahman complemented Pacific’s Career Development Center on their ability to connect her with students who are interested in attending Boston University and the public health field in general.

    The Career Development Center is a resource for graduates from all years and stages in their career development. If you are interested in graduate school, need help crafting your resume, finding a job, networking or need to work on your interviewing skills, email or call 503-352-2877 to set up an appointment.