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Student Leaders Gone Professional

I have decided to showcase past student leaders who have become professionals. The alumni professionals had the opportunity to be a Student Leader for my program while they were  students at Western Washington University. The program is opened to all students and not just Communication Studies Majors (General studies, Marketing, Journalism, etc.). The Student Leadership program in Communication Studies is a program that I developed in 2000 that allows students to work on their academic strengths, challenges, and career interests while at the same time develop  new skills. Students have the opportunity to work outside classroom. Some students had the opportunity to work in the local community while others worked internationally (e.g. Antigua, Vancouver, B.C.). The Student Leadership program encourages creativity from each student while working on their own projects. Take a look at these professionals and their thoughts about being a Student Leader and where their careers are now.

Christina Crea

Christina Crea

Graduated from WWU: Winter 2012
Major and minor at WWU earned: B.A. Communication Major, Journalism (i.e. Visual track) Minor
Student Leader Year(s): September 2010 – June 2011
Current job title, company: Reporter and Photographer at DeVaul Publishing Inc.
Contact: http://christinacrea.wordpress.comwww.linkedin.com/pub/christina-crea/13/4b2/660

What did you do as a student leader? What was your main role(s)?
As a student leader, I had many titles. Teaching assistant, research assistant, Service Learning outreach, video editing, in-class mentor and overall doing various tasks necessary to help serve my professor and student.

What aspects of the student leader program assisted you with your job today?
Being a student leader helped me to develop the skills to truly be confident in my interpersonal and professional leadership skills. I am not afraid to “step up to the plate” and get the job done and help the workplace be more efficient. Having that confidence shines through and helps me grow in my career. My Co-workers and boss see my willingness to go above and beyond.

What is your most valuable lesson learned as a student leader?
My most valuable lesson learned as a student leader is knowing my voice. I am confident in what I say and do because I know my voice and I know how to present myself in various situations in my personal life and professional life. It all boils down to having self confidence in yourself.

 

Aaron Yoon


Aaron Yoon

Graduated WWU: Spring of ’09
Major and minor at WWU earned:  B.A. CommunicationsMajor, Econ and Self Designed Event Planning Minor
Student Leader Year(s): Two quarters. One in 2008 and 2009
Current job title, company:Financial Advisor, Edward Jones Investments
Contact: aaron.yoon@edwardjones.com; www.linkedin.com/in/aaronyoon

What did you do as a student leader? What was your main role(s)?
Research assistant, video editing for documentary on Dr. Perry’s mother.

What aspects of the student leader program assisted you with your job today?
Time management and delegating tasks.

What is your most valuable lesson learned as a student leader?
I learned how to balance time being a Research Assistant on top of my multiple internships, two part time jobs, and class schedule.
This was critical because in the real world you are given a variety of tasks at once and you need to be able to get things done without any excuses
I learned how to prioritize and work effectively under stress.

 

Teila.Evans
Teila Evans

Graduated WWU: Spring 2012
Major and minor at WWU earned: B.A. Communication Major, French Minor
Student Leader Year(s): 2011 – 2012
Current job title, company: Project Manager & Relationship Management, Educational Systemics Inc.
Contact: http://www.edusystemics.com; teila@edusystemics.com;
@teilaevans; teilaevans.wordpress.com; www.linkedin.com/in/teilaevans

What did you do as a student leader? What was your main role(s)?
As a student leader, I participated in curriculum development, website development, dual-teaching, managed marketing goals and trained future student leaders. This also includes: Teaching assistant, Service Learning outreach, video assistant, in-class mentor.

What aspects of the student leader program assisted you with your job today?
Time management, responsibility, coordination with Tara, public speaking, scheduling, marketing, website development and working on my professional presence. It was a wonderful opportunity that connected me with other students and faculty. It helped me get the job that I have today!

What is your most valuable lesson learned as a student leader?
It was VERY hard work, but I turned weakness’ into strengths and had the opportunity to become a leader.

 

Kurtis Loo

Kurtis Loo

Graduated from WWU: Winter 2012
Major and minor at WWU earned: B.A. Communication Major with a
Journalism Minor 
Student Leader Year(s): Winter 2012
Current job title, company: Flight Attendant, Hawaiian Airlines
Contact: Hawaiianair.com

What did you do as a student leader? What was your main role(s)?
Teaching assistant, research assistant, web page designer, social media designer.

What aspects of the student leader program assisted you with your job today?
The interviewing process, learning how to prioritize tasks.

 

Chris Batten

 Chris Batten

Graduated from WWU: Winter 2008
Major and minor at WWU earned: B.A. Communication Major and History Minor
Student Leader Year(s): 2007-2008
Current job title, company: Sales Representative for Interfor (Commodity Lumber Sales)
Contact: Battenrouge84@gmail.com

What did you do as a student leader? What was your main role(s)?
Teaching Assistant, in-class mentor.

What aspects of the student leader program assisted you with your job today?
Communicating effectively with Lumber Traders, being organized, preparing for meetings (agendas, minutes), and being confident leading peers.

What is your most valuable lesson learned as a student leader?
Being prepared to leave school and join the professional workforce.

Rob Image

Robert James Krause

Graduated from WWU: Spring 2002
Major and minor at WWU earned:  B.A . Communication Major,Anthropology Minor
Student Leader Year(s): 2001
Current job title, company: Director of Divisional Operations, Maxim Healthcare Services Inc., 11 years
Contact: www.maximhomecare.com; rokrause@maxhealth.com

What did you do as a student leader? What was your main role(s)?
Agenda setting, grading, research, community service learning project monitoring, video assistant, and mentoring.

What aspects of the student leader program assisted you with your job today?
Organization, accountability, leadership, building integrity, responsibility, high visibility within a prominent department/professor, consulting, interview preparation expertise through direct channel with proven professor, maturation.

What is your most valuable lesson learned as a student leader?
At this point in your life, College is your career.  The more effort and energy you put into your ‘career’ early on, the more benefits you will reap because of it. When I began my work career at Maxim, I worked alongside other Western graduates. Being a SL for Dr. Perry brought me immediate credibility.
They knew that Dr. Perry had high expectations and that it took a deep commitment and effort to do that job.  This legacy continues on as I meet more and more Western Grads.  It is great!

 Andrew Weiler

Andrew Weiler

Graduated from WWU: Transferred and currently attending De Anza College
Major and minor earned: B.A. in Film Production, in progress.
Student Leader Year(s): 2 year
Current job title, company: Freelance editor and cinematographer
Contactandrewgweiler.wordpress.comwww.linkedin.com/pub/andrew-weiler/77/aaa/8b2

What did you do as a student leader? What was your main role(s)?
During my term as a student leader for Dr. Perry I assisted in preparing material for her communication courses.
Primarily I created presentations on introductory lessons for creating a short film which became a part of her current course requirement.

What aspects of the student leader program assisted you with your job today?
First and foremost, organization skills. Her requirements for short term and long term goal tracking has enabled me to to be task orientated.
The format of her goal tracking outline propels me to succeed and also feel the satisfaction of completing a simple task or larger project.

What is your most valuable lesson learned as a student leader?
That commitment and collaboration elevates the academic, professional, or creative experience. When you believe in the work you are doing, in the case of Student Leadership, you feel apart of a positive influence on students and their growth.
Commitment is easiest when the work you do is something you enjoy. Collaboration allows for ideas to expand and be improved. Whether I am creating a powerpoint or conducting research the interaction with student and faculty colleagues becomes the platform for constructive criticism, confirmation, and overall personal betterment.

Greg

Greg Parker

Graduated from WWU:  Spring 2006
Major and minor at WWU earned: B.A Major: General Studies (Focus in Technical Writing) Minor: Communication
Student Leader Year(s): 2005-2006
Current job title, company: Mechatronics Inc Quality Specialist CPA Administrator Internal Auditor http://www.nationalprecision.com
Contact: www.linkedin.com/pub/greg-parker/a/9b1/213

What did you do as a student leader? What was your main role(s)?
As a student leader my primary responsibility was as a Research Assistant. I led focus groups, researched subject matter, etc.


What aspects of the student leader program assisted you with your job today?
As a quality professional a lot of my work is centered around researching, critical thinking, teaching, facilitating group discussions/meetings, reading and writing.
All traits I honed as a Research Assistant.

As a business owner being a Student Leader helped with building my self confidence, interpersonal communication, teaching ability,
public speaking, organization, planning/project management, and becoming a self starter.

What is your most valuable lesson learned as a student leader?
Get a mentor! Dr. Perry’s mentorship was the second best thing that ever happened to me in college.

Joseph

Joseph DeGrazia

Graduated from WWU: Winter 2014
Major and minor at WWU earned: B.A. Business Administration (Marketing Concentration) Major  and Communication Studies Minor
Student Leader Year(s): Fall 2013
Current job title, company: Program Assistant, Bellingham Boys & Girls Club.
Contact: www.linkedin.com/in/josephdegrazia

What did you do as a student leader? What was your main role(s)?
Social media manager, in class mentor, evaluate student work, blog development, presentation delivery, etc.

What aspects of the student leader program assisted you with your job today?
Communication with a diverse group of people, ability to plan, organize, and implement projects, and providing support for those who need it

What is your most valuable lesson learned as a student leader?
Time management and the ability to organize and work on multiple projects at once

Chris Gil

Chris Gil

Graduated from WWU: Anticipated graduation date: Spring 2014
Major and minor at WWU earned: B.A. Communication Studies major,
Internet Resource Creation and Management minor
Student Leader Year(s): Fall 2013
Current job title, company: In the process of wrapping up a web development internship
with Bellingham’s Fun with the Fuzz 5k Road race.
Website URL: http://www.funwiththefuzz5k.com
Contact:www.linkedin.com/pub/christopher-gil/71/2a2/21a;
http://chrisjgil.wordpress.com/; email: chris.gil89@gmail.com

What did you do as a student leader? What was your main role(s)?
* Teaching assistant for interpersonal comm
* Main project for the quarter: reworking/development/maintenance of Dr. Perry’s WordPress & development of her About.me
* Service Learning outreach/coordination for Make a Difference Day
* Videographer/film editor (Student Leader video)
* Develop and delivered in-class and extracurricular presentations (Professional e-mail communication workshop for the AS)

What aspects of the student leader program assisted you with your job today?
Working with Dr. Perry’s webpage prepared me for current/future web development projects.
It taught me how to collaborate with the client to fulfill their desired expectations for a website and work in a timely manner to meet their needs.

What is your most valuable lesson learned as a student leader?
My most valuable lesson learned as a student leader was to no longer doubt myself.
The confidence I gained in this challenging, yet enlightening position has helped me in numerous aspects of my life, in my personal work to the work that I do for others.

terrence alumni

Terrence Cabaio

Graduated from WWU: August 2010
Major and Minor earned at WWU: General Studies Major; Thematic in Business and Communication and Minor in Economics
Student Leader Year(s): Spring Quarter 2010
Current job title, company: Currently I wear many hats, I am a Development Intern for Asian Counseling Referral Service working on special events and campaigns, I am a graduate student at Seattle University pursuing my masters in nonprofit leadership and I am a Cadet in the U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corps.

Contact:cabiaot@gmail.comhttp://www.linkedin.com/in/terrencecabiao/

 What did you do as a student leader? What was your main role(s)?
As a student leader I was a research assistant and teaching assistant. I assisted students with assignments and projects for Dr. Perry’s professional communication course. I helped build Dr. Perry’s website on iWeb and create graphic assets on Photoshop.

 What aspects of the student leader program assisted you with your job today?
The relationship you build with Dr. Perry and students in the program is very similar to the relationship one builds with their direct report (supervisor) and co-workers in the working world. The aspects of team meetings, addressing problems, creating action plans, goal setting and delivery are very accurate experiences.

 What is your most valuable lesson learned as a student leader?
The most valuable lesson I learned from the program is flexibility. From my experience in the working world, tools and resources NEVER appear to be enough. Learn to be flexible juggling multiple priorities, learn how to do your boss’s job, learn to improvise and think quickly, learn to reason and above all – listen. Learn to improve the process NOT reinvent the wheel.

Leslie Stose

Graduated WWU: 2007leslie alumni

Major and Minor at WWU earned: Communication Major, Psychology Minor

Student Leader Year(s): 2-3 quarters during my Senior year.

Current job title, company: Events & Development Director for the Pink Lemonade Project

Contact: Leslie@pinklemonadeproject.org

 What did you do as a student leader? What was your main role(s)?
I assisted Dr. Perry with her Communication 318 course by providing guidance and leadership to my class peers (I.e. Mentoring students with class projects, group activities, etc.). Also, worked alongside another student mentor to help research data for Dr. Perry’s articles. In addition, I completed a plethora of special projects as instructed by Dr. Perry.

 What aspects of the student leader program assisted you with your job today?
 Professional writing, meeting critical deadlines, communication within a small group, public speaking, interview skills, writing a resume, dressing professionally, creating a professional persona within the work arena, diversity training and understanding, work ethic and the ability to push myself to exceed my expectations.

What is your most valuable lesson learned as a student leader?
I can’t pick just one, the experience was incredibly valuable: Work smart, not hard. Dress for success and hold yourself to high standards. Lead with professionalism. Strive to go above and beyond your full potential.

Rebekka Montegna

Rebekka alumniGraduated from WWU: June 2013
Major and Minor earned from WWU: Communication Studies Major, Sociology Minor
Student Leader Year(s): (Fall 2012) September 2012-December 2012
Current Job Title/Company:                           Administrative Assistant for Faith Lutheran Church in Lacey, WA, Administrative Assistant and Notary Public for B-N-H Auto Wrecking, LLC in Yelm, WA , Self-Employed Owner of Sheep and Alpaca Shearing Business, and Conference Staff Assistant Kitchen Leader at Cascades Camp and Conference Center
Contact: skoochnsuma@hotmail.comrmantegna.wordpress.com

 What did you do as a Student Leader? What was your main role(s)?
My role as a student leader consisted of creating and editing the Make A Difference Day Video; organizing and scheduling the Make A Difference Day event for Dr. Perry; presenting professional concepts to the Communication classes; grading 318 business writing for two groups (as well as mentor them and be there if they had any questions); assisting with the mock interviews for Communication 318; researching Service Learning Student Leader articles; Data entry for Communication 318 Service Learning; community outreach to the service learning community partners; create presentations/tip sheets/ PowerPoint on iMovie, entrepreneurs, Prezi, etc.

 What aspects of the Student Leader program assist you with your career today?
Being able to communicate more professionally overall. The professionalism I had to both speak and write with for Dr. Perry carries over into all my jobs. Having to stay organized and keep on task is another aspect that has helped me. At Faith Lutheran Church, they are always teasing me about how fast I work and how organized I am, but this aspect has earned me their respect and trust. It has also helped to motivate them to work faster. This quick but efficient and organized work ethic which I improved as a student leader has gained me respect in all my job positions.

Working for Dr. Perry, is a tough but rewarding experience. It helped me to learn more about myself—that I can excel under pressure. It also helped me to expand my networking with people. I know now how important it is to know people and have them respect you.

These skills I gained through being a Student Leader helped me in gaining my job at Faith Lutheran, assisted in my promotion to Assistant Kitchen Leader at Cascades, and aided in the expanding of my own business. One of the reasons I got my church job was the outstanding recommendations I received from people I know/worked for/with (example: professors such as Dr. Perry and Dr. Karlberg).

 What is your most valuable lesson learned as a student leader?
I learned how strong I really am—that even when I feel like I have too much to handle, I am able to finish strong and efficiently. I learned how important it is to have people telling me that I am doing well—it keeps me going even when I am stressed out and gives me an incentive to keep going. I also learned how nice it is to cross off things from a week plan—task list.

Photo Retrieved from each of the professionals. 

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