julia cleland career fair

Julia Cleland took an opportunity at a Career Fair and turned into a brand new career path. In January of 2023 Cleland was working at the Space and Rocket Center and hoping for a career move that would connect her closer to work within her degree. Cleland graduated from The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) in 2021 with a Major in Communication Arts and a Minor in Sociology. Despite a terrific college record, Cleland found that the professional field was difficult to navigate due to Covid restrictions. Cleland moved outside of the state but her love of space led her back to Huntsville and to a position as a groups coordinator with the Space and Rocket Center. Cleland greatly appreciated her time at The Space and Rocket Center and the customer service and organizational skills she learned on the job. However, in 2022 Cleland began looking for work that was more closely aligned with her Communication Arts degree. 

Cleland applied for several different opportunities and reached out to Communication Arts Senior Lecturer, Nicole McDavid. Nicole, who is the current Career & Internship Coordinator for The College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (CAHS), responded with multiple event and networking opportunities that were available for both current students and alumni through CAHS’ new Career and Internship Program. After a few exchanged emails and a Zoom meeting, Cleland decided to take the leap and attend the CAHS College & Career Fair in February 2023. 

The CAHS College & Career Fair featured over 25 tables of professionals and organizations who are connected to the College. One of those organizations was WAAYTV. Cleland met with WAAYTV, spoke with them about their career opportunities, and left them her resume. WAAYTV followed up within the next few weeks about a potential job opportunity as a Digital Content Producer. 

Cleland spoke about the approach of WAAYTV about entry level positions stating “It was refreshing to hear people say that it was okay that I didn’t have the training, but they were looking for people to have potential that they [WAAYTV] could develop further.” During the interview process Cleland came into the station and was able to meet with reporters and broadcast representatives. She spoke about the transparency of the station in each step of the hiring process, and it showed that they really cared about people, not just interviews. 

After about a month (with WAAYTV updating her along the way), Cleland was offered the position of Digital Content Producer. She is currently learning all the different aspects of the role and she stated that she can see how it connects to many aspects of her Communication Arts degree including aspects of social media management, and other communication courses. Cleland stated that she is “grateful for the training she is receiving right now, and is so appreciative of the job.” She highlighted the great advice of the University of Alabama in Huntsville for encouraging her to build an online portfolio and update her LinkedIn. 

Cleland stated

“It was great that alumni from UAH also have access to these [Career & Internship] resources. You need to ask for help because the resources are there.” 

The College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences is working on a strategic plan to assist our students in becoming career ready. Through career-connected workshops, events, advising, and courses our students will graduate with a toolkit of information that will help them not only during the search for that first job, but throughout their entire career. Want to learn more about what we are doing, or find out how you can contribute to student success? Contact cahs-careers@uah.edu for more information. 

Article by: Nicole McDavid