12/11/2019 | Updated: 12/13/2019 5:24 AM
Contact: Gary H. Piatek
You've received your degree from Central Michigan University. What are you going to do next?
For some August and December graduates readying for commencement Saturday, the answer is go to work Monday
morning. Many CMU grads step directly from their studies into professional jobs in their chosen
In fact, nearly nine in 10 CMU alumni surveyed six months after graduation say they're working in their
career field or pursuing an advanced degree.
Julia Barlow Sherlock, director of CMU's Career
Development Center, celebrates their achievements.
"It takes work," she said. "Work to find out more about themselves and what they are
really good at. Work putting together the right set of career readiness experiences — research, student
organizations, internships — developing their professional network over their entire time at CMU.
"This is how a new grad walks across the stage with their diploma in one hand and job in the
Here's an introduction to three new grads with exciting jobs in their fields.
At Troy, Michigan, PR firm Real Integrated, Saginaw native Brielle Benbow crafts news releases and media
alerts, develops pitches, gets clients' names in the press, and tracks their media mentions.
And if you see her this season working a fundraising gift wrap station at the Village of Rochester Hills
outdoor mall in Rochester Hills, Michigan, that's part of it, too: The shopping center, a client, is raising
funds for the Jay's Juniors radio program charity that sends terminally and chronically ill children to
“A high level of professionalism, willingness to put in the hours and go
above and beyond: I always know when we have interns from Central, they have those qualities.” — Samantha Boyke,
It's all part of the takeaway from her CMU education in
integrative public relations.
"I learned what a job in public relations was about," she said. For example, a course taught her how
to create communications plans. "When I got to my internship, I had to do that exact thing. I didn't
Real Integrated hired Benbow as an account coordinator at the end of the 300-hour internship she began there
"Right off the bat, she was one of the interns we could depend on," said her supervisor, Senior
Account Manager Samantha Boyke. "She definitely could hit the ground
So could other CMU students and alumni hired over the years as interns and employees, Boyke said.
"A high level of professionalism, willingness to put in the hours and go above and beyond: I always know
when we have interns from Central, they have those qualities," she said. "Their classes have taught
them the basic knowledge that helps them in the real world."
Benbow wants to someday run her own PR firm and create a nonprofit serving inner-city youth. She said her CMU
experience — including IMPACT workshops and
leadership in her sorority, Sigma Kappa Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta — prepared her to see tasks through to
completion, as has her major.
"The IPR program is one of a kind," she said. "It's really helped to set me
There's no such thing as idle small talk at a CMU career fair.
Marketing and logistics
management major Carlos Salcido, from Lincoln Park, Michigan, learned that one day
as he helped with an event at Finch Fieldhouse.
A Kimberly-Clark Corp. recruiter he was chatting with asked for his resume. The company later called him for
an interview, "and the next thing you know, as a sophomore, I got an offer to intern in Wisconsin for six
months." While there, he discovered that Kimberly-Clark has many CMU alumni.
This fall, he accepted the company's offer of a full-time job as supply chain analyst in Roswell,
Salcido credits close relationships built among students and faculty at CMU and in
the College of Business Administration with his
growth from a new student to a graduate with a job.
"There is something about CMU people that we look out for one another," he said. "The awesome
logistics faculty and my fellow CMU Chippewas helped push me out of my comfort zone when I needed
"There are a lot of opportunities at CMU. If you apply yourself and put in the hard work, anything can be
possible for you," he said.
Faculty member Evelyn Smith, director of the student engagement-logistics management program, said Salcido
stands out for taking advantage of many opportunities offered to logistics students.
"His participation in professional student organizations helped him create opportunities that led him to
full-time work," she said.
"I know he is going to do good things."
Not long ago, Cassondra Boothroyd was an intern. Today,
she has an
The recreation, parks and leisure services administration major from Chaska, Minnesota, concentrating
in recreation and event management, works with
tour groups and wedding parties — from 12 to 200-plus people — coordinating events on Mackinac Island and in
Mackinaw City, Michigan.
She first connected with Mackinac parks through a CMU tourism class that visited the island in her sophomore
"I got to hear my future co-workers speak to my class," she said. That same day, she went home and
applied for a marketing and special events internship, which she received.
"She made an immediate impact during her time here," said her supervisor, Marketing Manager Dominick
Miller. "When a position opened last spring, we immediately reached out to Cassie. It's been a
wonderful experience having her back. She still has all of the excellent qualities from before but has added a
couple of years of experience and education that have made her an ideal fit with us.
"I know her time at Central is what helped get her ready."
Boothroyd knows it, too.
It started when faculty within her major steered her toward the Disney College Program, where she worked and
lived at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, while taking three college courses that transferred to CMU. The
"life-changing experience" put her classroom knowledge to work on the front lines of customer
"I was working with hundreds of thousands of people each day," she
Now, Boothroyd works in Mackinaw City, in the Lower Peninsula. But in the summer, her office is on the island,
and her job is mostly outdoors.
"I love it here so much," she said. "It's an amazing place, and I'm doing what I
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