By Kevin Russell, Sports Editor
In the world that we live in today, garnering a degree from a top notch university is no longer enough to secure that dream job students strive for right out of college.
Today, employers look for well-rounded individuals, who not only have their required degrees, but also have experience outside of the classroom. Whether it’s through an internship or participation in an organization on campus, students are in need of ways to show potential employers what they can do outside of a classroom setting.
“Employers no longer care only about the grades you received in your class,” said Arielle Wegbreit, a communications major who recently graduated from Indiana University. “They look to see what type of experience you have gained outside the classroom and whether or not you can be a leader for their company or oranization.”
Over the summer, High Point University realized the importance of helping communication majors discover ways to gain experience and hired Kellie McLeod.
McLeod, who previously worked at Greensboro College as the associate director for their internship program, has been hired by HPU to be an intern and career advisor solely for students studying in the Nido R. Qubein School of Communication.
Before this academic year Eric Melniczek was the one in charge of career and internship services, but with the rapid growth in student population and the importance of getting more students outside of class experience, it became more than a one person job.
“It’s great having a person specializing in career services for just communication,” said Austin Ford, a communication major at HPU. “I believe because she is specializing in communication she will understand the difficulty of finding the right experience in our field and will hopefully be able to better serve us (communication students) in securing the right out of classroom experience.”
In her first three weeks on the job McLeod has already been impressed with the students.
“I have been extremely encouraged by the amount of students who have already come by,” she said. “Several students have already been connected for internships this fall and some even for the spring and summer. It’s great to see such highly motivated students.”
Although McLeod is excited to have helped students make connections for internships, she wants to make it clear that internships are not the only important things students should be focusing on.
“Internships are just one piece to the puzzle,” she said. “I tell all the students that I talk to it’s about maximizing your opportunities and out-of-classroom experiences so that when you go to an employer they can see the whole package. I strongly encourage students to get some sort of on-campus leadership role as well.”
By adding Mcleod, this fall, HPU brought in a major resource for communication students, one that is located in the same building in which they are taking classes.
McLeod’s office can be found mixed in with all the other communication professors in room 365 of the School of Communication, making her easily accessible.
“One thing that I have heard from students so far is that they love that I’m located right in the building (School of Communication),” she said. “It makes making appointments and meetings so much easier for students.”
McLeod is like any other HPU faculty member in that she can be found on campus from 8:30 to 5, Monday thru Friday. She says that it is best to try and make an appointment, but that if her door is open feel free to drop in.
If there is one word of advice McLeod has for students regarding the entire career and internship process, it is to start early, but don’t stress.
“Enjoy the process of getting to know yourself and how you fit into this world and remember there are other ways than in internship to develop yourself,” she said.