We’ve started a new series, featuring grads that have ended up doing a pretty wide variety of things after leaving their REL classes (graduating either recently or a little while ago). So we posed a few questions to each and let’s see what we learn.
1. When were you enrolled at UA and what major(s) and minor(s) did you graduate with?
I graduated with a BA in Psychology and Religious Studies (double major) in… (a long time ago).
2. When you first came here from high school, what did you think you wanted to do for a career?
Having graduated from the law magnet program at my high school, I thought for sure I’d be a political science major, go to law school, and practice law like my dad.
3. Any memories from your REL classes in Manly Hall that stand out and, more importantly perhaps, that you can share without incriminating anyone?
I mainly remember how much fun it was working in the department as a TA and office aide. Betty set the bar way too high for any future bosses I’ve had! I’ll also never forget the last office hours I had before I graduated when it felt like 50 REL 100 students tried to cram into the lounge for help and pretty much none of them had read any of the materials…
4. So what have you ended up doing and what path led you there? Tell us a little about your career now.
Currently, I run the marketing team for Alpha Testing® (Alpha), a soils engineering firm based out of Dallas, TX. I ended up at Alpha somewhat by chance (I coached cross country for the son of my now boss), and have been here since January 2008.
My team is primarily responsible for preparing qualifications packages to win contracts with school districts, municipalities, colleges and universities, and private development clients. In addition, I am responsible for Alpha’s social media presence, including our website, blog (www.whereitallbegins83.com), Facebook, and LinkedIn.
5. Is it fair to think that some of your REL undergrad classes or skills continue to be useful to you? If so, do you have any examples?
Definitely! My job is all about critical thinking – trying to figure out what our clients’ concerns are, why those concerns are important, and how my company can best address them. The questions our clients ask may seem random, but they are all rooted in some issue that needs to be solved. Being able to read critically and decipher the meaning of vague texts comes in handy almost every day. The question I ask my team more than anything is, “WHY is that important to your client?”
6. If you now gave some advice to your earlier self, the one in classes in Manly Hall, what would that be?
The classes and tasks that are the most challenging are the ones that will be most valuable. Don’t underestimate the value of having a “safe space” to discuss ideas, and take advantage of it while you can. And never pass up a movie night with pizza and Jones Soda.
And yes, that’s Marianne with her son, Tommy.