Thursday, May 22, 2003

Jobs have worked out for last year's grads



By Kristina Goetz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[IMAGE] Hershner, 27, graduated from the College of Mount St. Joseph last year and has since been working for Besse Medical Supply.
(Steven M. Herppich photo)
| ZOOM |
Jeff Hershner is still with Besse Medical Supply in West Chester. He continues to work in the company's IT department, setting up computers and working on the help desk. He expects to start taking on additional responsibilities soon.

Hershner had been a co-op employee before he signed on full-time Oct. 10. He said the co-op position is what helped him land the job. In a market that has seen few opportunities for new graduates in IT, Hershner said he plans to hang on to his position at a company he likes. He has an agreement with his boss that he won't reveal his salary, but he is happy with it and the company benefits.

"I can honestly say I have learned more here than I did in school when it comes to the nitty gritty," he said

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QUEST FOR A CAREER
Jeff Hershner
Age: 27
Graduated: College of Mount St. Joseph
Hometown: Miami Heights
Major: Computer information systems
Advice: "Always continue your education. You're always going to be better off bettering yourself, be that technical school or another degree."

Michaela Siewert
Age: 22
Graduated: Xavier University
Hometown: Milwaukee, Wis.
Major: Organizational communications
Advice: "Make sure you're financially responsible. It's very important to have savings and a backup when emergencies arise."

Amanda Clayton
Age: 23
Graduated: University of Cincinnati
Hometown: Philadelphia
Major: Music education
Advice: "Sometimes, your best is good enough. I was really hard on myself this year. You're probably doing a better job than you think. Ask a lot of questions, do your best and the second year will be better.''

Brett Bombick
Age: 24
Graduated: Miami University
Hometown: Springboro
Major: Mass communications
Advice: "Market yourself. If they're going to leave that door cracked for you, jam a foot in there and swing it open."

Demetrius Perkins
Age: 24
Graduated: Northern Kentucky University
Hometown: Lexington
Major: Finance.
Advice: "Network yourself. Do all of the internships you can possibly do. Be known even if it's a friend of a friend of a friend. If you don't, you'll be struggling that first Monday after graduation looking for a job."

Michaela Siewert was put to work Aug. 29 by AmeriCorps, a national service program that places more than 50,000 people a year into social service-related jobs.

She worked primarily for Cincinnati-based Genesis Men's program, which helps men who have been in prison obtain jobs and housing. But she also worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Cincinnati. Her hope was to secure full-time employment when her short-term program ends June 13. But with budget cuts, there won't be a position available with Big Brothers Big Sisters. When the program ends, so does the $13,500 stipend.

Siewert went on a second interview this week for a 15-month full-time position at the YMCA's Black Achievers program in which she would counsel teens, help them with job placement and connect them with mentors.

She plans to start a master's program at Xavier in community counseling. The opportunity to work with teens and their parents helped her decide on a career path.

"This gave me more of a drive to go out and do those things," she said.

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Amanda Clayton, a music and strings teacher, is preparing her elementary school students for the last concert of the season and the last day of school, June 23.

"I'm excited about coming back," she said of her position at Watertown (Mass.) Public School District, near Boston. "Already I have new ideas. I had a great time this year.''

Since Sept. 5, her first day on the job, Clayton has taken detailed notes about how to better teach her classes next year. Over the past eight months, she learned to cope with students who don't practice, forgot their instruments or whose parents aren't supportive. She was also surprised to see students so interested in playing strings that they were willing to stay after school for advanced lessons. That spun into an after-school honors orchestra.

"That worked out to be one of the best things I did."

Her contract for next year boosts her salary, from $32,000 to $35,000. She's planning a July 19 wedding in Philadelphia.

• • •      • • •      • • •

While he didn't go to college to work in property tax assessment, Brett Bombick has had such good opportunities that he plans to stay with Cole, Layer Trumble Co. in Crown Point, Ind. Instead of measuring property for the company that does mass appraisals, he's now meeting with potential clients to sell its services.

"I'm trying to establish contacts with counties and introduce myself to let them know what services we have. People tend to do business with the people they remember. It sure beats measuring a farm building when it's 10 below zero. I've learned my lesson: Take advantage of situations you're given.

"I've been presented a challenge and I'm ready to feast on it."

With the promotion comes a raise, but Bombick isn't sure how much will be added to his $31,200 salary.

• • •      • • •      • • •

Demetrius Perkins continues to work as a retirement planning specialist with Fifth Third Bank, downtown. His caseload grows as he gains more experience. He earned a raise from his $27,000 starting salary but declined to disclose the figure.

He and his fiancee, Wende Abernathy, had planned a wedding for June 20. But because they are so busy with their full-time jobs, they have moved it back to July 23.

"I am very blessed to even have a job. I have friends who still don't have full-time jobs yet," he said.

E-mail kgoetz@enquirer.com





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