During Bridgewater College’s 2020 May Term, two students—Samantha Hince ’22 and Ryanna Power ’22—made a connection between Assistant Professor of English Dr. Sam Hamilton’s experiential-learning class and the Office of Career Services (OCS).
Hamilton’s class, “Special Topics in Public Writing,” focused on Flight Path, which is a series of informational flyers that detail career path opportunities for each of BC’s majors. Each Flight Path includes a description of the major and specific steps students can take while at BC to become strong competitors in the job market, as well as stories featuring successful alumni who graduated in the major. The Flight Path project, which is overseen by the Office of Career Services, was made possible by a grant from the SunTrust Foundation.
Madeleine Martin, Assistant Director of Career Development & Technology in the Office of Career Services, spoke to Hamilton’s class to explain the purpose of the Flight Path project and how the OCS would use the flyers.
“Flight Paths are intended to be useful to many in the BC community,” Martin said. “They will assist academic advisors in their work with students who are questioning whether a particular major is right for them and BC admissions counselors who are working with prospective students.”
Dedicated to spending time researching, ensuring accuracy, conducting alumni interviews and writing concise and dynamic content, Hince and Power each created three Flight Paths as part of the coursework for Hamilton’s class.
When the class ended, Hamilton connected Hince and Power with Sherry Talbott, Director of the Office of Career Services, regarding the opportunity to continue their work with Flight Path through an internship in the OCS.
Hince, a professional writing major with minors in communication studies and political science, began her internship with the OCS during the summer of 2020 and has continued her work with Flight Path during the 2020-21 academic year. She says Flight Paths are meant as teasers to give students enough information so they can connect with the right resources and chart their own paths at BC.
“I’ve talked to so many alumni from all majors across campus,” Hince said. “Some people are exactly where they knew they wanted to be, and some people have taken very unique paths that have led to some incredible experiences. Hearing about the diversity in experiences has, for me, relieved some of the pressure of feeling like I need to know right now what I want to do for the rest of my life. Your Flight Path doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s. Just be open to opportunities that come your way.”
Hince added, “This project is important for BC in that it connects current students with alumni. Although alumni are often highlighted on social media or the BC website, Flight Paths provide a unique opportunity to match alumni to their specific major, allowing current students to read stories that directly relate to their own experience.”
The OCS provides a place for interns to gain valuable experience in developing content, work as a team member and deal with successes and failures. At the same time, interns have provided creative ideas and given insight into the student perspective and what resonates with them.
With Power’s skills in design, computer technology and proficiency in writing as a digital media arts major with a minor in professional writing, Talbott offered her an internship in the OCS for the 2020 fall semester.
Talbott harnessed Power’s skillset in creating a video featuring BC’s mascot, Ernie the Eagle, which presented the services and resources that Career Services offers.
“Ryanna gained a great deal of experience from the whole production process, including the painful, but rewarding, challenge of sometimes having to go back to the drawing board in order to fulfill the vision of the project,” Talbott said.
Through the internship, Power said she has learned not to take criticism personally, but rather to be thankful for tough lessons.
“I have a certain way of doing things and, if it is not good enough, I take it personally rather than looking at it as an opportunity to make things better,” Power said. “However, I realized that it is OK to go back and make changes when the content, writing or design needs tweaking until the quality of that said content is successful.”
As an intern supervisor, Talbott enjoys assisting students in achieving their goals beyond Bridgewater College.
“Samantha and Ryanna were exceptional interns,” Talbott said. “It is exciting that their internship experience helped them expand upon their creativity and exercise their leadership skills.”
Following graduation, Power plans to pursue a master of arts in digital media strategy at Bridgewater College.
Hince is currently considering several career options, including journalism, editing or working with nonprofits.
“While I don’t have a clear idea of exactly what career I’d like to go into, this internship has shown me how much I enjoy applying my writing skills to a real-world project,” Hince said.