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Informational Interview – Emily Swisher

2017 April 5
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by eswisher

             For my informational interview, I interviewed Yeha Youm. She is a full-time ministry worker at New Life Church on campus. I chose to interview her because I was really curious about what work in ministry as a career looks like. It has been inspiring to see her in action for the whole past school year,  and I sat down with her to talk more about why she chose this path, what she likes and dislikes about it, and more.

            First, I asked Yeha how she attained her current position and how she knew that she wanted to get into ministry as a full-time job. She was quick to tell me that ministry positions look different in every church so her work is likely not universal to all full-time ministry jobs, but she offered her own specific experience. When asked about how she got into her field, she stated, “I got involved with the ministry at New Life when I was in college. I had opportunities to lead as a student and I volunteered after I graduated. Eventually I was trying to decide if I wanted to do it full time or if I just wanted to keep volunteering, but as time went on I just got more passionate about it and felt more at peace about it.” She stressed the importance of getting exposed to leading ministry in volunteer positions before considering it as a full-time job because not everyone is cut out for it. After she decided that it was the right path for her, she stated, “When I finally decided that I wanted to do this work full time, I told someone at New Life and they got me in contact with a mission agency. Eventually, I had to go through two applications and two interview processes, and then I was hired at New Life.” From talking to Yeha, I learned that jobs in ministry are relatively accessible because churches are always looking for people to better equip their establishment and to be able to reach more people in their mission work.

When asked what she likes most about her career choice in ministry, Yeha stated “I like that I can do this full time as a career. That feels like a gift to me because for the longest time I was only volunteering and working elsewhere. I am also so blessed to be able to earn a living doing something that I am so passionate about.” Her response to her least favorite thing was a bit more complicated. She told me how ministry on college campuses tends to be underfunded because college students don’t have money to donate to the church, so she had to raise her own financial support for two years before taking the full time job. She stated, “If I had the choice, I wouldn’t have to support raise for myself.”

One of my favorite insights that I learned from Yeha was the types of skills/characteristics that people need to be successful in ministry work. She stated, “In most workplaces people can get ahead by not being humble, but for ministry, humility is essential. You have to be willing to learn and willing to admit that you’re wrong sometimes.” Having your faith in God being your top priority is also something that Yeha views as essential to ministry work. Yeha interestingly said that there is really is no typical day for her. Every single day is a new different experience. Although she is responsible for getting some logistic things done weekly such as staging for Sunday services and running a small group for leaders, much of her job is based on relationships. She stated, “Building personal relationships with coworkers and students is essential, so I meet up for coffee or dinner with people so we can just talk. Not every week looks the same, but in general I try to get as much time with people as I can, pray for people, share the gospel, and more.”

Although I probably won’t pursue a career in full-time ministry, I really enjoyed getting a glimpse into the life of someone who works so hard for a passion that we share!

Informational Interview – Mandy Halper

2017 April 4
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by halper

I planned on interviewing my employer, Ryan Wolande, a recent University of Michigan graduate. He was my employer for a marketing internship that is basically over, and his business is going under, so I decided to interview my uncle instead. My Uncle Jeff works as foods salesman in New Jersey, and his path to success was rocky. Uncle Jeff started college at Syracuse and ended up transferring to the University of Hartford where he met my aunt. He wasn’t sure what field he wanted to go into and began his career in human resources. Unfortunately he wasn’t making much money in that field, and didn’t see himself getting far as a HR rep, so my grandma (my aunt’s mom) connected him with other family members and got him into the sales business. He started from the bottom with fewer customers than most people in the company and worked so hard to find more customers and improve his sales strategies. He eventually grew his client base which includes local restaurants, hospitals, and hotels, and knows the ins and outs of the food business. He tells us at family events how restaurants make such a profit since they secretly buy tilapia for an extremely cheap price and either sell it to consumers it as another fish (is that even legal?) or make the price much, much higher for profit.

He really needs people skills for his job and the ability to negotiate while still making a profit and working on 100% commission. Customers can use anyone for their food products, so if they choose him it’s because of his personality and his prices. He offers to do other favors for his customers to keep their loyalty, such as providing other goods to them (from Amazon with his Prime account) so they don’t have to pay for shipping. Around Christmas time he gives all his customers chocolates and expensive alcohol, and wishes them happy holidays.

Uncle Jeff is always in business mode. Even on vacation he has his phone on his side and will answer his customers’ calls in order to keep their loyalty. This may seem brutal to a normal person who is trying to escape real life and be in the Bahamas, however, it became normal to him. A good salesman is never off duty, and must always think about his or her customers. During his typical day at work, he drives from place to place to meet with customers and sell his goods. He has to appeal to all different types of customers, from different socioeconomic backgrounds, as well as the truck drivers and warehouse workers who work for his company. A large company will always have a variety of people, all different and from unique backgrounds, and communication is an important skill within the company and with people outside of the company.

My uncle explained to me that connections are super important in finding a career that you like and will succeed in. He got into the sales field because of connections through my family, and explained that I need to start networking in order to form connections and a network for the future. I don’t want to fall behind just because I don’t know as many people in my field of interest, and although this idea of connections may seem unfair it’s easier to form connections now than ever before. The Internet is at our fingertips and so is LinkedIn, names of alumni, and contact information for pretty much anyone.

My uncle also reminded me that money isn’t everything and it’s important to find a job that I enjoy. I know I won’t enjoy work all the time, but it’s better to make a little less money and be happy than make millions and live a miserable life.

What to Learn in College to Stay One Step Ahead of Computers – Mandy Halper

2017 April 4
by halper

I believe that computers can only replace simple work and can never replace work that requires human emotion. With that being said, many jobs available today revolve around customer service and therefore human emotion, however, those jobs may still be simple enough to be replaced by computers. Salespeople, for example, may be replaced (in some cases) by websites that offer the same goods. McDonald’s workers, as well as other restaurant workers who are expected to seem personable, can be replaced by kiosks that have no emotions. Therefore, not all jobs that require customer service and decent communication skills are safe – and most simple jobs are at risk.

Shiller claims that in order to remain safe you should have complex communication skills and expert knowledge, but the “complex communication skills” are what I believe can be taken over by robots. Salesmen, for example, may have these complex skills but lose customers to online websites that offer cheaper goods from overseas. Expert knowledge that can solve “uncharted problems” will also soon be available at the touch of a button, and will lack importance in the future.

College should teach people how to implement what they’re learning in the real world. Sitting and memorizing facts and information is not enough. Computers can do that, and therefore we are being treated like computers through hour long tests and hour long lectures. We must learn by doing, and people should really go to school for a trait if they do not believe that a university is for them. Traits cannot be replaced by computers.

Computers are getting more intelligent and more capable, and most jobs will be at risk of being taken over in my opinion. Think about computers being used for business purposes, such as consulting, marketing, and sales. They are capable, but humans may avoid using them for these purposes in fear of destroying our economy. Doctors may not be at risk, although they technically could be taken over by computers, solely because most people would not trust a robot as a doctor. The group of professionals that seem to face the least amount of risk are those who really need to connect with and understand others; such as therapists, psychiatrists, teachers, physical trainers.


1) When do you believe computers will be able to pass the turing test, and will this put the group of teachers, therapists, etc. at risk of being out of work?

2) Do you believe humans in the future will no longer work, and if so, what will they do with their lives?

3) If you have watched Black Mirror and seen Fifteen Million Merits – Do you believe our society may end up like that one day?

Career Event- Emily Swisher

2017 April 4
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by eswisher

For my career event, I attended a lecture-type workshop put on by the Career Center titled Give ‘Em What They Want: Career Competencies all Employers are Looking for and How to Get Them. This workshop taught people what the seven career competencies are, how to develop them, and other things that we can do to impress potential employers. Career competencies are the qualities/skills that employers believe to be essential in prospective employees as determined by the National Association of Colleges and Employers. The seven career competencies are as follows: Critical Thinking/Problem Solving (analyzing issues to overcome problems), Oral/Written Communication (articulate thoughts effectively in multiple different modes), Teamwork/Collaboration (work with a team structure and manage conflict), Information Technology Application (using the appropriate technology to accomplish a task), Leadership (organize, prioritize, and delegate work while assessing the abilities and strengths of others), Professionalism/Work Ethic (demonstrating personal accountability and acting with integrity), Career Management (identify your own strengths, goals, and experiences relevant to your career field), and Global/Intellectual Fluency (learning from diverse cultures and identities while promoting inclusiveness).

This event also taught how to make a strong pitch to a potential employer. A good pitch proves that you have these competencies using a specific experience in your life. For example, if I were to give a pitch to a potential employer, I could say that I have developed great intercultural fluency because for the past year I have worked as a tutor in an elementary school in Detroit in a highly Latino-concentrated area. Many of my students are immigrants which is a population I had never been exposed to before, but my work with these children has helped me to develop a greater understanding of the contemporary issues facing immigrants today and how culture has a significant impact on the lives of individuals.

In my opinion, this workshop was very interesting but only moderately effective because they didn’t really teach us how to develop these competencies. However, I now know what skills employers are interested in and I am able to intentionally work on developing those skills myself. I think this event is most useful for anyone who is interested in developing their professional skills so that they can enter the workforce confidently. This event could be improved by focusing less on teaching what the skills are because they’re pretty self-explanatory and focusing more on how to develop specific skills.

Informational Interview- By: Maddy Osman

2017 April 2
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by msosman

I recently engaged in an informational interview with my gymnastics athletic trainer in regard to her occupation and in an attempt to gain information pertaining to her course if work. Since I was a senior in high school, and took a Care and Prevention of Athletic Injuries/First Aid class with our school’s head AT, I have had a great interest in athletic training. I enjoy learning about injuries, ways to prevent and treat them, obtaining a further understanding of the athletic body, and helping others. For the past two years, this job has been a very intriguing position to me and something I could see myself pursuing in the future.

I am enrolled in the school of Kinesiology here at Michigan and currently majoring in Sport Management. Although Athletic Training is a major within the Kinesiology school, I am unable to follow through with the AT major due to the fact that I am a full time student-athlete. With the time demands the sport of gymnastics requires, there is no possible way to fully commit myself to the out of class demands, observation hours, classes that interfere with practice times, and student internships with other sports that athletic training consists of. If I chose to pursue this career someday, I will have to go back to school upon the completion of my four years as an undergraduate.

Despite the fact that I cannot study to be an athletic trainer at the moment, I wanted to learn more about the occupation and decided to interview our trainer, Lisa Hass. Lisa has been an athletic trainer for over 30 years and her work is focused around our team, women’s gymnastics.  I began by asking her about the education that is required for this job. She told me that to be an athletic trainer, you must obtain a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in athletic training. Lisa got her Bachelor’s degree at North Dakota State University and acquired her Master’s degree at Western Michigan University. She worked at North Dakota State for four years, where she was the head athletic trainer for the university. Lisa decided to apply to the University of Michigan after four years at North Dakota State, with a desire to work with more people at a big university setting, and develop as a professional. Lisa has been here at Michigan for 26 years.

From the time that Lisa began her athletic training education up until now, there have been many alterations in the way this degree is attained. During her time in school, she was enrolled in the School of Physical Education, where there were different routes you could take to get your athletic trainer title. The options vary. You could go the degree track or achieve 2000 hours of experience with testing at the end. Lisa informed me that in today’s athletic training world, they have eliminated the internship route and changed it to a completely curriculum driven program. Athletic training is also transitioning to an entry level maters program.

After learning about all the educational requirements, I was interested to learn about what her job is like at Michigan. Although I am with her every day, I do not really know everything about her and the position she holds on our team.I began by questioning what her favorite part of being an athletic trainer is. Lisa told me that the most enjoyable portion of her athletic training occupation is working and interacting with student athletes. Her least favorite part is the heavy time demands that this job requires. Lisa also explained to me that she feels that anyone could do this job, however, it is not a line of work that everyone would enjoy. It requires a large amount of personal sacrifice, working nights and weekends, and most importantly, being on call 24/7 ready for any emergency situation that may occur. Skills required for an athletic trainer include prevention of injury, evaluation and treatment of injury, rehabilitation of injury, and administration; meaning documentation of injuries, meetings, and an increase from a liability standpoint.

I concluded my interview by asking her to give advice for anyone who has an interest in pursuing this career. Lisa advised for athletic training hopefuls to make sure you know what you are getting into. Do your research and understand that this job requires a special level of commitment to your work and to the well-being of athletes apart of the school’s program. Athletic training is not an 8-5 job; it is much more than that, consisting of many additional necessary requirements. It is also a lot of work for a low salary.

I was very pleased that I had the opportunity to interview Lisa and learn more about what its really like to be and AT and what it took her to get to this point in her career. I now understand what education is required, what skills you must possess, and the level of commitment that is necessary.  It takes a special kind of person to be an athletic trainer. I’m glad to has a larger understanding of this occupation for the future, if I very well decide to go into this field someday. Although you will not make millions being an athletic trainer, you will be rewarded with friendships, experience, learning, and personal development that you will carry with you for the rest of your life.

Informational Interview

2017 April 2
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by libdavis

For my informational interview, I interviewed Janna Koretz, who is a licensed psychologist and founder of Azimuth Psychological in Boston Massachusetts. She founded Azimuth in 2013 and is a psychologist that blends cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, relational therapy, acceptance therapy, and other dynamic approaches. She specializes in helping people with relationships, life transitions, mood, and performance.
Janna started her track to becoming a clinical psychologist at Cornell University for undergrad as a psychology major in the college of arts and sciences, similar to myself in the psychology program through LSA at Michigan. After Cornell, she realized she could not get a high paying job in psychology without a higher degree so she decided to get a PsyD, which is a doctorate degree that did not focus on research. Like myself, she was never a fan of psychology research and was more focused on getting to interact and help people on a one to one basis. She went to what was called the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP), which has since been renamed to William James College, right after Cornell. She explained that they typically didn’t take people right out of college, but she was passionate and had a lot of clinical experiences through summer internships, so they took her anyway. She also explained to me how a PsyD is a 4-5 year program that typically are through lesser name universities because these programs aren’t popular for big name universities as they would prefer to have only PhD programs, as those programs make you do research that gives back to the university and makes them money. Janna, as previously mentioned, had no interest in research and suggests that I should do a PsyD program regardless of the reputation of the college because it was extremely beneficial for someone not interested in research and involves a lot of cool clinical internships and hands on work. Janna then went on to do her post doctorate work through Massachusetts General Hospital, while studying for a licensing test called the EEEP. After this, she worked at the Weaver Center in my hometown of Wayland Massachusetts, which typically treats children with learning and behavioral problems, which is how I met Janna, as both of my sisters were tested there for their ADHD. Janna, however, disliked the positions the Weaver Center offered her and only stayed for a year until she decided to open her own practice. Azimuth Psychological is a more “boutique like” small group practice, which she started with some colleagues from Weaver. She wanted to create a practice that felt more intimate for her clients and less like a hospital. She said this part was terrifying as she was never taught any business related stuff in her schooling. She nevertheless is happy that she did it, even though she had to figure it out as she went along. She is now the sole owner of the practice and it has been open for almost four years now and sees herself there for the rest of her career.
Janna is such an inspiration to me as she comes from a similar background and has worked in the Boston area, which is my hometown. She has a similar outlook on psychology as I do, which focuses on an intimate humanistic approach that tries to build a friendship like relationship with her clients. She has shown me that it is possible for someone with a similar background to me to able to achieve something I dream of. The most useful advice she gave me was about the difference between a PsyD and a PhD, as I had no idea about the difference between them. As I am most interested in hands on work, this was an important distinction she made. Another important piece of advice she gave me was to do many internships and hands on work throughout college, as she said it would have been near impossible to get into the PsyD program as early as she did without those experiences.
I was most surprised about how much schooling and skills she had to have before finally achieving her dream. She started undergrad in 2003 and finally finished all the schooling to be able to be a clinician at a private practice in 2013. This interview was very eye opening and valuable as I understand now the many steps that need to be taken to be a clinical psychologist.

“Paying for the Party”

2017 March 31
by pennellb

This piece by Grasgreen was super interesting to me. I never really thought about how different life could be at another University. I think a big fault in her argument is the overgeneralization she makes that all or most kids who attend a “Midwestern University” are partiers who don’t care about their academic life, or those that don’t party somehow become isolated and dropout all together. Still, I think it’s pretty ridiculous of these schools adapting to their students that are on the “party pathway,” like the case where at one of these MU schools “a math exam was rescheduled because it interfered with sorority rush.” Instead these schools should invest some time and money to teaching kids how to balance both school and partying.

I’ve had friends that attend other universities talk about how freshman year college was a big wake up call for them, one of these friends in particular attended Michigan State University. We saw each other again after one full year she had been at MSU and confided in me that her GPA was at a one-point-something. I was actually shocked when she told me this. I attended high school at one of the best in mid-Michigan so it was really weird to hear that she was struggling so much at MSU. She then told me that partying and keeping up with extracurricular activities is what made her GPA slip. After this happened she was on academic probation and at risk of being kicked out of the university. Then, she was able to meet with an advisor and work out what she had to do in order to get her GPA back up, and this past year in 2016 she was able to graduate.

With hard work and determination I suppose “anything is possible” but as for these students that focus too much on their partying rather than on their academics, it seems especially troubling. Perhaps for me personally I know the stakes of me being here at the University of Michigan means. Granted I wish to not generalize because I don’t know if it’s actually that students don’t care about college their academics and just about partying. Regardless it’s important for these schools with “party pathways” take initiative to keep their students interested in their academia.



—Has a preoccupation with partying (or other social events) ever deterred you from your main focus on school?

—What can these MU schools do to help their students focus less on partying and more on their studies?

—Do you think living in a dorm your freshman year has helped you to make social connections that will help you in life later on?

Career Event

2017 March 30
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by madlevin

Today I went to a literary event that my Creative Writing teacher told me about, which I also found when I was searching for career events at U of M. The author who came was Victor Lavelle, a writer who graduated from Cornell University with a degree in English. Although this event was mainly a reading of his new book that will be out in stores soon, I still found many things beneficial in a career aspect. A career that I myself may want to have one day and a major that I am dwelling upon at the moment.

After we were introduced to him and told about all of his awards and great accomplishments, he came onto the stage. Before he read anything, he made everyone stand up in their seats and fill in all the seats in the front. After everyone got situated, he explained that he did this to grab attention and engage the audience. I thought this was a really cool trick and method as a public speaker, which I gathered is a part of being a writer. It seems like most authors read their work at events like these, so it’s nice to know what this kind of career entails. Also just the fact that I was able to hear the author of the book actually read it out loud was an experience in itself. He explained his revision process and how much effort and hard work it took for him to finish this specific book. I was able to hear about his earlier versions before his revisions and the different routes the book once had. It is really interesting to know how a book could have turned out if it was published earlier or after the first draft.

Anyways, the chapter he read in his book was gory and scary. I was sitting in my seat, contemplating leaving because of the gut wrenching and gross scene he was reading aloud. That right there spoke to me. His book created such a feeling, a real feeling too. After he was done reading we were allowed to ask questions, and one person asked how he was able to make such a scene feel so real with his words. Now in order to understand what he says next, I have to give a quick summary of the scene he was reading. The main character had a bike lock around his neck and chains around his body tied to a boiling hot smoke pipe while his wife was trying to kill their child. So he told the man who asked this question that in order to create such a real scene, you have to actually recreate the scene. So he had his wife tie him up to a smoke pipe by his neck in their house to really know exactly which senses are evoked in real life. He then stretched that and said to always try and recreate the scenes in your stories in order to give a real sense of perspective, so it doesn’t just sound like a guy sitting at a desk, typing on his computer, and writing a story.

This event in general was extremely informative for inspiring writers. It not only provided information about what is expected of you as a writer, but Victor also gave great advice for writing in general.  It would’ve been nice to hear his inspiration to become a writer in the first place, and what made him choose this career path. Nonetheless, it was still a great experience for someone who is thinking about majoring in English or writing literature.

“Paying for the Party”

2017 March 30
by moubayed

While I do believe that colleges and universities are intended to give you a great education and provide you with the environment and skills needed to live on your own and thrive as an individual, I don’t think that the author can claim that “partying” deters most individuals from succeeding in the college academic setting. We do of course see some people taking the “party pathway” that Grasgreen discusses, and focus more on taking an easy major and just getting by because they may have “significant family resources and connections” that will lead to a career path. However, I do think that being able to balance partying and academics is crucial to growing as a person, and learning about yourself, just as much as the content you are learning is in college.

As we have previously discussed, college and your major is not going to teach you all the content you may need for your future career, so there is way more to college than just the courses and academic load. Doing well at a four year institution and taking your academics seriously is by far of upmost importance which we do see some students slack off on by getting distracted with partying, but being social and going to parties to an extent, can also let a person grow and develop to learn what they want and desire and some students succeed in this social setting by balancing their academics. It is safe to say that even students who come from these prestigious names like Harvard and Yale, definitely do their fair share of partying and are not glued to their desk studying all the time. They do have access to great career opportunities by simply graduating from these renowned names, but they are able to balance partying and their education. These top tier schools are able to produce successful individuals but the “hook-up culture” is still very prevalent with many schools that have a social life of some sort and have a decent male:female ratio just as the University of Michigan does. While these schools provide a great education to the students, several students even at these schools use connections and resources even with the education they are receiving. Thus, I do not think that college is all about the content you are learning and academics; yet it is what you make of it and how you develop as a person. Of course having family connections or being more socially savvy is a benefit to most students who come from more affluent backgrounds, but even by having the access to attend one of these institutions for a working class or less fortunate student can turn you into a socially connected person if you use your resources in the right way. Thus, I do agree that it is harder for some of these students, but they do have access to so many resources at a 4 year institution. If universities and faculty could make students more aware of the resources they have throughout their four years, this could be extremely beneficial for a low-income student who may not know what resources are available.  Therefore I do not agree with the author’s claim that those on “the mobility pathway should be wary of attending a four-year residential university like Midwestern”.  They can still succeed at a school that has a lot of greek life presence and partying, but that does not mean that you are constantly involved or always surrounded in it.

The University of Michigan is a perfect example of a school that has 21% of the undergraduate population affiliated/ a member of Greek life. While I am surrounded in a lot of Greek life and social parties I am not myself in a sorority. I do not think being around friends who are in Greek life overwhelms or consumes my life at Michigan. I don’t think it holds me back from doing well in school and focusing on my academics. Being at this four year institution has positively benefited me more by growing as a person and learning how to balance social life and school, more than the content and education I receive will get me through in my future career.


Do you find the partying and academic balance in your own life at the University of Michigan to positively or negatively benefit you?

  • How do you find the balance between academics and social life?
What ways could Universities help students who may not be as fortunate in terms of social connections, learn about resources or opportunities that they could benefit from?


Mentorship program info

2017 March 26
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by margot

Here’s the information for the program Joe and Emilee described at the beginning of class last week:

The LSA Summer Mentorship Program connects current LSA students with young alumni mentors, giving you the unique opportunity to learn from people who were recently students themselves.

Students in the program are paired with mentors in the cities where they are working or interning over the summer, and we facilitate three meetings to discuss navigating life after college and making the most of your internship. In addition to location, students and mentors are also paired based on career goals, areas of study, extracurricular activities on campus and what they are hoping to get out of the program. 

Right now, we are simply collecting students’ names for an interest list, so you do not have to have your summer plans confirmed yet. As the summer approaches, we will reach out to the interest list with an application and collect information that will help us pair you with an alumni mentor. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me at