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Q & A with Former Sociology Majors
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Antonio Ogas: is an outreach manager for The Princeton Review-Arizona.
Emily Rosenfeld: is a legislative assistant for a delegate to the Maryland General Assembly.
Erica Broussard: is Director of Education at The Crocker Museum in Sacramento, California.
Laura Smith: counsels low-income, single parents on employment and short-term training options in order to help them become financially independent.
Marsha Blum: is a self-employed interior designer
What skills or information learned in college do you find yourself making the most use of?
Antonio: I learned a lot through my involvement in the various clubs and organizations on campus. You would be surprised how much you learn from taking an active role.
Emily: Analytical reading. The ability to identify relevant passages in larger texts is extremely useful in my current position.
Erica: I feel like I learned to be more organized in college. My job has me supervising several very different departments and I credit being able to keep track of all of them because of the skills I picked up in college juggling multiple courses.
Marsha: When I went on to art school at Pratt Institute, I clearly had superior abilities in doing writing assignments.
How did you choose which field to go into after college?
Emily: I felt I would be happy entering a job in either health care or education. I've always wanted a job where I could help other people and foster positive growth for myself and the world. When I had a position doing direct service work in a community health center, I realized that I like the policy end better.
Erica: I finally decided to pursue what I thought about my freshman year—the arts—but my parents did not support that, and so it took a lot of other jobs to finally come full circle and help me determine what I did not want to do.
Laura: I was fortunate enough to select a work-study position within the Career Services Office. The staff within the department drilled into me the importance of networking. It was through their help that I was able to connect with representatives from local agencies in order to learn more about their profession.
Marsha: I had always felt that interior design was not relevant, that it was just something for people of wealth to do, but the fact that I couldn't stay awake past midnight studying for a sociology test, but could do an all-nighter for my design project was a giant clue for me.
What was your first job out of college?
Antonio: My first job out of college was as an event coordinator at a university. I got this job because the director of the department knew me and offered me the opportunity to get out of my hometown.
Emily: My first job was as an access-to-care coordinator at a community health center. I found the job posting on craigslist.
: My first job out of college was in retail sales at a department store in the gifts/home wares epartment. A woman I was babysitting for was a manager there and got me the interview.
Laura: I accepted a position as a social worker within a substance abuse treatment center. The center was on my list of agency referrals while working as a probation intern.
Marsha: I left New York for Denver after grad school and applied to a large number of architectural and design firms. My first job was with a small interior design group.
If you went straight into the workforce after receiving your bachelor's degree, do you wish you had attended graduate school first? If you went on to grad school, do you wish you had worked first?
Antonio: I'm very glad that I went straight into graduate school. It's nice to be able to say that I finished it when I was 24. I think my appreciation level was lower than it would have been had I waited, but nonetheless it has helped me climb the ladder a bit more successfully.
Emily: I am happy to have taken the time to work. The opportunity to learn more about my professional likes and dislikes has been very helpful.
Erica: Without question, I'm glad I took time off for two reasons: first, I was simply burned out on school; second, the time allowed me to really consider all the
different options available.
What do you like most about your current job?
Antonio: Creative freedom. I am encouraged, on a daily basis, to use my skills and experience to help our company succeed. Also, I work for a company where almost everyone is open-minded.
Emily: I like the flexible schedule and the opportunity to meet and work with many people.
Erica: Being around art and artists is definitely the best. Teaching others about art and helping them appreciate it is another big plus.
Laura: I enjoy helping others see the options available to them—providing them with the resources and tools they need to be informed decision-makers and better providers for their families.
Marsha: I have really enjoyed having the opportunity to meet many different types of people and being able to interpret their design challenges. I love the variety of not always doing the same thing over and over.
What suggestions would you have for those still in college?
Antonio: Pay your bills on time, and try not to get too many student loans. Volunteer as much as you can.
Emily: I would encourage students to explore all of their interests. I think sometimes people gravitate toward "resume boosters."
Erica: Do as many internships as possible, and join clubs. Meet people—you never know when they may able to help you out in the future.
: I didn't participate in study abroad. I believed that my language skills and practical training opportunities gave me the exposure I needed in learning more about cultural diversity and global awareness. A study abroad opportunity may have taken it one step farther into reality.
Do you have any tips for those entering the workforce/graduate school now?
Antonio: Keep a portfolio of everything that you do, particularly with your first job. If someone praises you in a letter or e-mail, put it in your portfolio. In job interviews, stay away from sounding too academic, and use some of your practical experiences. Employers like to hear specific examples that are relevant to the job.
Emily: Don't be discouraged because your econ major friends have entry-level jobs that pay two or three times your annual salary. If you enjoy what you do, and can do it without incurring major debt, I say go for it.
Erica: Learn as much as you can about all the aspects of your job or program so that you can explore options within your field and always have choices.
Laura: Networking is wonderful way to learn about the world of work and the people and professions in it.