With another successful commencement behind us, High Point University seniors have kicked-off 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 2019:
Name: Courtney Wallen
Hometown: Oxford, Connecticut
Post-graduation plans: Following graduation, Wallen became an associate producer at Spectrum News. She writes scripts for news shows, organizes the order of the news stories and pieces together news shows from start to finish.
How HPU helped you get there: “HPU’s professors and faculty have helped me build the foundation to be a journalist. With their experience and vast knowledge, they’ve taught me ethics, problem-solving skills and the high standards I should hold in my career. the Office of Career & Professional Development helped me land the job that kickstarted my career. Dr. Doug Hall helped me network and connected me with Spectrum News to participate in their first internship program. After my 10 weeks as an intern, the news director was impressed by my work and offered me a position as an associate producer.”
Most impactful mentor at HPU: “I don’t just have one. Dr. Doug Hall, in the Office of Career and Professional Development, Dr. Bobby Hayes and Dr. Nahed Eltantawy have all been amazing mentors to me in different ways. Without them, I would not be the journalist I am today. My video journalism and video production 1 classes gave me my first taste of what the news industry is like. It encouraged all of his students to dig in and volunteer for positions outside of their comfort zone. Mistakes were inevitable, but it’s best if we learn from them. Without the class, I wouldn’t have landed my first news internship, which in turn has led me to my job as an associate producer. Dr. Eltantawy’s convergent journalism classes have laid the groundwork for my journalistic integrity. She taught me what to look for and how to be a great journalist. She is tough but makes tough journalists. Dr. Eltantawy really cares about her students and mentors them to be better journalists. She’s always open to listening to my ideas, encouraging me to dig deeper and transform my ideas. Dr. Hayes was my faculty advisor. I didn’t have him as a professor until my senior year, but I’m very thankful for Dr. Hayes’ commitment to his students. Without him, I wouldn’t have applied for NABJ Multimedia Projects or other high-profile internship opportunities.”
Most impactful moment at HPU: “Acing Dr. Hayes’ notoriously difficult copy editing course. Copy editing is one of the most, if not the absolutely, challenging courses in the journalism track. On my first day of the course, Dr. Hayes warned us that most people don’t end up with the grade they’re hoping for. Copy editing is not an “easy A.” The course is made up of simple concepts such as sentence structure, spelling and punctuation. The challenge is that many are “unlearning” the rules they were taught in elementary school. It took a lot of patience, hard work and simply using these rules in my everyday writings, text messages and emails for me to memorize the rules of copy editing. I surprised a lot of people, myself included, when I aced my final exam and the entire course. Because of Dr. Hayes’ commitment to our learning by being available for office hours outside of class, giving us daily editing quizzes and pushing us to know the material, prepared me for the news industry. I use my copy editing skills every day as an associate producer. It makes a difference. and management can see it too!”
Advice for underclassmen: “Be active as soon as possible. Your four years fly by, so utilize every moment you have to set up an amazing future. Continue to grow, learn and network, even after you get the job of your dreams.”