With another successful commencement behind us, recent High Point University graduates are preparing to commence prestigious career paths around the world at Fortune 500 companies, international service programs, public school systems, top-tier law, medical and graduate school programs, and many other esteemed organizations thanks to their journey at HPU. Here’s a glimpse of one extraordinary senior from the Class of 2016:
Name: Casey Dowd
Hometown: Merrick, New York
Post-graduation plans: Dowd accepted a position as an HR Coordinator at Movable Ink, a growing tech start-up and email marketing company in New York City. In her position, Dowd supports the company’s new hires through their employee on-boarding process. She also writes employment policies, implements a human resources information system for the company, assists employees with the benefit enrollment process, schedules interviews and helps market the company’s brand.
How HPU helped you get there: “HPU was really instrumental in allowing me to explore all of my interests and figure out which path was best for me to take. Zeroing in on the perfect major was quite difficult for an indecisive, but at HPU, I had the time and flexibility to try classes in all different areas before discovering my love of psychology. HPU also taught me the invaluable ability to market the skills I learned in my coursework. I am so thankful for HPU for connecting me with some of my closest friends as well!. I’m a firm believer that you need to have a solid support system that pushes you to be your best in order to reach your full potential. It’s nice to leave HPU knowing that I will always have a network of people there to encourage me to seize every opportunity.
I started visiting the Career and Professional Development office starting freshman year. They helped me identify some of my strengths through the StrengthsFinder assessment and explore possible career paths. I also used the office this year in particular to make some tweaks to my resume and set up some informational interviews with professionals in my field.”
Most impactful mentor at HPU: “How can I pick just one? I’m so thankful for the psychology department, and Dr. Christopher Lootens in particular, for keeping me on track to graduate, and encouraging me to conduct undergraduate research. I would have never considered taking on an independent research project on my own, and I ended up loving it. It challenged me and helped me become a more analytical thinker. I’m also thankful to my boss Nicky Grandy in the Office of Student Life. Being a Resident Assistant can be a taxing job and it was nice to be able to have her as a listening ear for anything and everything. She showed me how to be a stellar leader, how to persevere and handle difficult situations with ease, how to strike the perfect balance between work and academics, and was always a cheerleader for me and the rest of our staff. Nicky is an all-star and I’m happy to have her as a mentor for years to come.”
Most impactful moment at HPU: “One of the most impactful moments at HPU was during my summer internship last year. A major project for my team was creating and implementing a company-wide managers training course. The HR team was very impressed with everything I was able to contribute to the course, and a lot of my contributions were because of the things I learned about in my classes at HPU. Not only did I get to share what I learned about SMART goal-setting and the situational leadership model I learned in Dr. David Bergen’s HR and Group Dynamics class, and the theories about motivation I learned about in Dr. Shaun Davenport’s Management and Organizational Behavior class, but it made the training manual and is still being used in the company today. Knowing that the lessons I learned in my classes at High Point will actually be applicable during my career really wowed me!”
Advice for underclassmen: “Find an internship (or 2 or 3). By far, this was the most important thing I did during my college career. It helped me settle on what I wanted to, figure out my strengths, pave a career path for myself and discover what type of job environment I would excel in.
You don’t always need a foot in the door to get in. I am in the minority that applied online for my internships without any connection prior and still booked the job. Is it the easiest way? No, but it’s definitely possible to score your dream job just by researching prospective employers, fine-tuning your resume/cover letter to that specific job opportunity, and acing an interview. Work experience and related classes don’t hurt either.
That being said, I can’t stress to you enough how important it is to make and maintain meaningful connections once you begin working. One way I did that was continuing my summer internship virtually during my senior year, but you can also keep up with former colleagues via LinkedIn. When my two teammates moved companies this year, they helped pull me in to Movable Ink and this opportunity. Had I not kept up with them and shown them my strong work ethic and reliability, this new door would not have opened for me.
Spread the love. Help your friends, classmates and colleagues in their career journey by encouraging them, sharing kernels of wisdom from your experiences, and by letting them know about job opportunities. I am forever indebted to the people who payed it forward and helped me grow in my career, so I will always be willing to help out others in the future… you should too!”