Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Student Spotlight: Maura Benson

by Ann Abbott

Finding that first position out of college can be a real challenge for students. I would say it's especially challenging for students who are inclined toward going to graduate school yet aren't quite ready to commit to a program of study right away. That is definitely the category I would put Maura in: grad school material (100%), but she hadn't been thinking about grad school until much later in her studies. Plus, she's talented in many areas, so choosing a graduate program is even more complicated: MD/PhD? Nursing? Community Health? Medical Anthropology? She would excel at them all!

Maura gave me permission to share this quote from her email to me and her position description (image above) so that other students can see a possible path for themselves. 

There are many opportunities out there! Even if everyone around you is going straight from a campus job fair to a job with a big company in downtown Chicago, that doesn't mean that is the only path. 

In college, try to have a wide range of experiences with a wide range of professors who can mentor you. Maura certainly did that.

Here are her words:

"My summer has been busy as I balanced a couple of Nursing Assistant jobs and applied for the Fulbright scholarship, but I have been happy to be at home with family and friends. I do have some more recent news that I think you might be interested in - I received and accepted a Jesuit Volunteer Corps position in Austin, TX! My year-long position is called "Employment and Legal Services Specialist" and it sounds like it will be dynamic, requiring interaction with legal services, immigration policy, and worker's rights. I leave this Wednesday for Austin! I've attached the job description in case you want to get a better understanding for what I'll be doing. Due in part to my experiences in your class and at the refugee center (SPAN 232), I was able to demonstrate knowledge and experience for the position. Without your encouragement, inspiration, and leadership in that class and since then, I would not be where I am today. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."

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