To most college graduates, the odds of finding the perfect first job can seem about as likely as wining the lottery. Rather than relying on luck, Barry University alumna Haley Struthers took matters into her own hands as an undergraduate student in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Professional Writing program in order to find the perfect fit after graduation.
Struthers, who graduated from Barry in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in English, relied on the experience she gained from working two different internships and serving as the editor-in-chief of the Barry Buccaneer to help guide her career path.
“I think that it is incredibly important for students to get a taste of what the working world is like, while allowing themselves to truly decide if they want to continue to pursue a career in their chosen field, rather than figure it out after graduating,” Struthers said.
As part of the Professional Writing Specialization, offered through the Department of English and Foreign Languages in Barry’s College of Arts and Sciences, students are required to participate in the Professional Writing Internship Program. Following the completion of certain course requirements, students get the experience of working in a professional setting by completing an internship with a media-oriented company or organization. The writing and research produced at the internship site are incorporated into students’ writing portfolios, which they also maintain as part of the program.
Struthers not only met the requirements of the program by completing one internship but went beyond the requirements and completed a second internship. The first internship, which she completed during the fall semester of her senior year, was for for Onboard Media, an integrated media provider for the global travel industry. As part of the internship, she gained experience in maintaining social media outlets, event planning, producing marketing materials, creating Web content, and writing and editing magazine content.
In the spring, she switched gears and interned for the University of Miami’s Athletics department. As a communications intern for the department, Struthers produced written content for hurricanesports.com, updated social media outlets, and assisted in game-day operations for men’s and women’s basketball, golf, baseball and spring football events.
Struthers also applied the skills she was gaining from Barry’s Professional Writing program to her various positions with the Barry Buccaneer. Struthers started as a staff writer during her sophomore year and worked her way up to sports editor before transitioning roles again to editor-in-chief – a position she held for a year and a half.
In addition to completing the two internships and serving as editor-in-chief for the Barry Buccaneer, Struthers was also a student-athlete and spent four years playing for Barry’s women’s soccer team. Struthers believes that the combination of her experiences with the women’s soccer team, the Barry Buccaneer and the Professional Writing program have allowed her to flourish as a post-graduate, she said.
“I firmly believe that my time at Barry led to my success today,” Struthers said. “Without my work with the Barry Buccaneer, challenging myself with the classes within the English department, and building on my experience as a student-athlete for the Barry women's soccer team, I would never have the job I have today nor the great memories.”
Following the completion of her internship with Onboard Media, Struthers kept in contact with the company and inquired about full-time employment opportunities a few weeks prior to her graduation in the spring. Her networking paid off when she secured a position as a media coordinator with the company just in time for her graduation.
In only a year’s time, Struthers was promoted within the company to video/film production coordinator. In this position, her main job duties are to ensure that video shoots have the necessary pre-production tasks completed and to provide administrative support to the video team, including organizing travel logistics for all internal and external video projects.
Struthers credits her successful transition from college to the workforce to her internship experience and advises college students aspiring to the same success to get as much exposure to the professional world as possible before graduation.
“You will rarely find the perfect first job,” Struthers said. “Do an internship, volunteer with a company, and attend job fairs … I think that it is the most important thing a student can do in their time at Barry University.”
For more information about the Professional Writing specialization and minor offered by the Department of English and Foreign Languages in Barry’s College of Arts and Sciences, visit https://www.barry.edu/english-foreign-languages/professional-writing/ or contact Dr. Andrea Greenbaum at firstname.lastname@example.org or 305-899-4568.