Graduates reach out to current students

Victoria Grattan, Features Editor

As the 2016 spring semester draws to a close and commencement approaches, Pitt-Johnstown graduates had some encouraging words for seniors who are finishing up their final year, as well as advice for students who will be continuing on as upperclassmen.

Matthew Ziance, a 2013 Pitt-Johnstown marketing graduate, is currently the social media marketing coordinator with NBC Sports, located in Stamford, Connecticut. Ziance said that his career with NBC Sports has been his job since graduating.

“I will say that while looking for an internship or a career, you need to think about where you’ll be happy. Find something you love – a specific brand, a team, an organization that has the same goals as you – and figure out the best way to land a career with them,” Ziance said.

Ziance said students should reach out to employers on LinkedIn and Twitter and ask for advice.

“I receive a few emails and direct messages a week asking for advice and information and am more than happy to help,” Ziance said.

Ziance said that he thinks social and digital media courses can provide students with valuable skills that will make finding a career that much easier.

“Social media marketing is not going away,” he said.

“All business students should be required to take at least one social media course.”

Ziance said students should remember that they might not get a job immediately after graduating. He said that he did not receive an offer from NBC Sports that he was happy with for six months.

“Don’t settle for something that you don’t want. You have a degree from a great university, and with all of the hard work and dedication you put in the past few years, you’re going to succeed. Don’t forget that,” Ziance said.

Lindsay Pyle, a 2014 Pitt-Johnstown environmental science major and geography minor graduate, is a regional planner at Southern Alleghenies Planning Development Commission in Altoona.

During her time at Pitt-Johnstown, Pyle said she had an internship as the university’s sustainability intern. She said she worked with a group from Waste Management to increase overall campus recycling habits.

“A campus group called UPJ Environmental Sustainability Group resulted from this project,” Pyle said.

At her current job, Pyle said she uses the skills she learned both in the classroom and during her internships. She encouraged current students to apply for as many internships as possible.

Pyle advises students who are graduating soon to speak with their professors.

“Some alumni come back to their professors asking if they have any recent graduates that would be interested in open positions at their companies,” Pyle said.

Pyle said she is thankful for the education she received at Pitt-Johnstown. She said it gave her a great foundation for building her career.

“In my current position,” she said, “I love seeing small communities benefit from the work that we do, and it makes me feel accomplished.”

“Knowing that what we do as an organization has helped local towns create a more livable and happy community.”

David Bailey, a 2014 Pitt-Johnstown computer engineering technology graduate, works as an associate software engineer at Bombardier Transportation in Pittsburgh.

Bailey said that he had an internship every summer at Bombardier Transportation during his time at Pitt-Johnstown and believes that helped him land his current job.

“When I started my job, I felt very lost and felt like all the things I was required to do were nothing that I specifically studied in depth at Pitt-Johnstown,” he said.

Bailey said that he utilizes the fundamentals he learned from Pitt-Johnstown and the rest of the knowledge he needs to perform his job well came with time and experience.

“Pitt-Johnstown will not prepare you to be an expert at any one job, but it will teach you enough to get started at any position and build on that knowledge over time,” Bailey said.

Trevor Monk, a 2014 political science graduate with a focus in journalism, currently works as a legislative reporter at Pennsylvania Legislative Services in Harrisburg.

Monk said that he began his freshman year as an accounting student, but switched his major to political science after taking the American Political Process class with James Alexander, a political science professor.

Monk said, however, that he did not know when he knew for sure that he wanted to make what he was studying a career.

“I truly did not know until I was already graduated. I personally cannot say there was a moment of clarity,” Monk said.

To political science majors, Monk said he recommends becoming involved in campaigns or volunteer work and also voting every time there is a chance.

He assured graduates that it is natural to have a sense of worry if they do not immediately find work after graduating.

“Update your resume and apply for jobs well before graduation, reach out to your professors to learn about additional opportunities and do not feel like taking an internship post-graduation is beneath you,” Monk said.

“Do not be afraid to move away from home, enjoy the little things in life and most importantly, think smarter, not harder.”