Bronco Spotlight: Anastasia Lopez

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Master of Arts, educational leadership: higher education and student affairs, 2013

Current Job Title:

Career Consultant for Arts & Sciences, Pre-Business, and Careers Abroad

Current Employer:

University of Pittsburgh

Describe your current job:

As a career consultant, my role is to help students with their career management needs. This includes, but is not limited to, helping students to craft resumes and cover letters, conducting mock interviews, provide job search strategies, facilitate assessments and classroom presentations, and hold drop-in and individual appointments each week. I also manage a global career series which bridges domestic and international students together through career-related programming. I manage all of international education week each year and even co-created the first re-entry program for students who have studied/interned abroad. I work with all the global initiatives in my office and I love every bit of it! I presented at the Global Internship conference in Toronto and NAFSA in Colonial Williamsburg on my work at Pitt. My office also generously had most of the staff who work with students Myers-Briggs Type Indicator certified. Additionally, I also serve as faculty advisor for a multicultural sorority on campus, Zeta Sigma Chi and on several committees on internship awards for summer internships with CBS in NYC and international week. This past year, I also was an on-site chair for Pittsburgh's first-ever Three Rivers Re-Entry conference for students who have studied or interned abroad from all of Western Pennsylvania institutions.  This year I'm taking a leading role on the career sessions for our second annual conference. Lastly, I also serve as a global education editor for Wandering Educators and spotlight students weekly, which we also put up on our blog at Pitt and co-manage a business with my husband helping with the paperwork like invoices and estimates. I like to be busy!

What is the most rewarding and the most challenging part of your job?

The most rewarding part of my job is working on all the global initiatives within my department and of course, with both domestic and international students.  It's a dream job! I absolutely love what I do!   The most challenging would be certain times of the year (like orientation and career fair time) when we have a thousand things happening at once. It seems so crazy, but it is also a lot of fun. It's challenging because of the late nights and weekends of work and since our campus is in the city, parking is limited. The toughest part of my job is the commute. I'm very blessed to have such an incredible career at one of the best institutions in the world!

What experiences impacted the choice of your career path?

Having a graduate assistantship with Career and Student Employment Services at WMU helped me to definitely prepare for my career! I also knew I wanted to work in higher education from the time I first interned at my undergraduate alma mater, Robert Morris University's study abroad office. I think something that I sincerely appreciate is seeing how 'career' can be integrated in every piece of a student's development at an institution. The global initiatives excite me greatly, but seeing how they are appreciated, and needed, in career are really incredible. I'm so glad I had my graduate assistantship at WMU, it really created a foundation for me and I'm so grateful to have had that opportunity.

What advice would you offer students to help them decide on a career path?

Deciding on a career path can be challenging, especially if you have a variety of interests. I advise students to take advantage of job shadowing and informational interviewing to learn more about company cultures and how people got the jobs that they did. Attend any networking event that involves not only employers, but also alumni, because they have a higher level of commitment of giving back to students at their alma maters. Employers who come for information sessions can be great resources too, and students should take advantage of those opportunities to have employers who come to campus to talk with them about internships and jobs at those companies. Internships can also be a great way for students to decide on a career path. It's never too early or too late to have one either and the more you have, the better prepared you'll be for working in a company or organization. You'll soon see that picking a major is not nearly as important as choosing a career. There are a variety of people who work at the same company or organization that have similar jobs, but started in very different majors so I wouldn't get hung-up too much on what you major in. Get as much experience first through taking on leadership positions on-campus, studying/interning abroad if you can, taking on several internships, doing research, and networking through professional development opportunities from job shadows to conferences. Remember, ask purposeful questions! It's important to always ask questions about the person, from what education did they receive, to what professional organizations are they a part of, to learning about a company's culture and what they like or dislike about working there. Students can get worried about networking, but it's really just having conversations with people. Think of it as 'information gathering.' And even more so, remember that every successful person started just where you are right now and built their way up, so don't be too intimidated. Most employers and alumni are very eager to help you to succeed and would be more than willing to answer your questions.

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