Tag: Panel

My Senior Honors Project debrief

My Senior Honors Project debrief

These graduation milestones are really starting to gear up.

Today’s adventure took me out to Fullerton with my parents so I could officially give my Senior Honors Project presentation.

It has been literal years in the making. After I spent some time reflecting on my novel and compiling the work behind it into a PowerPoint, I was finally ready to cap off my time in the Honors Program by speaking on a panel about creative writing projects.

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Here’s me with Valerie on the right and Stephanie on the left.

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When I attended Welcome to CSUF day four years ago, I was intimidated by the project during the Honors Program introduction. The idea of a year-long, self-driven (for all intents and purposes) undergraduate thesis that had no guidelines was terrifying.

I was able to stave off the fear by remembering the long college career I’d have before it would be a concern, and by latching onto people like Dr. Sexton — who I met that day and would later take his class. Which led to much more.

But the fear of the Senior Honors Project never fully went away.

Even when I decided what I wanted to do for my project, there was a period where I fell behind on my Honors courses because I couldn’t find a mentor. Then Dr. Rizzo came along and helped change my trajectory.

Yet the prep for a creative writing piece didn’t click as easily as journalism, which the recent Comm Awards showed I’m decent with.

However, being at the end of the road has given me hope that perhaps I haven’t been bad at the Honors Project thing either.

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Technically the certificate was from the COMM college, but still.

As I’ve transitioned from figuring out the scope of my project to actually preparing and writing, my fears also refocused from uncertainty and lack of guidance to figuring out how to share my work in a way that really conveys how special it is to me.

I practiced my presentation after the Honors Gala last night and it felt a bit shaky.

But in front of a crowd of my peers and mentors, things went exceptionally well. Mom even got some pictures of me doing my thing:

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She caught some good moments. Me with my characters and my little yellow book.

The presentation went off without a hitch, and I was more than ready to answer a questions from the audience. So it was great.

But once everything was said and done, the post-panel interactions went even better.

I got to introduce both of my parents to Dr. Rizzo (though she met my Dad at the COMM Awards) and had a blast watching them interact.

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It was even more fun to give her the gift I’ve been preparing.

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Surprise, this piece was for her all along!

I had to thank her for all of her help thus far, after all.

She cried. Which was an unexpected, but sweet little surprise.

Dr. Simoes was at the event, which was a great surprise considering a section of my presentation was dedicated to his help finding resources for my imagined civilizations.

So was Tyler Siedentopp — though that makes sense considering he’s the program’s Co-Curricular Coordinator. Turned out to be a nice way to wrap up our time together.

The most surprising attendee was College of Communications Dean Ed Fink. Everyone on my panel was a COMM student, but I was not expecting someone like him to come.

Apparently he had some very nice things to say to my parents after my presentation. Wish I could have been a fly on the wall for that conversation, since it seems like I’ve made a good impression all around campus.

If I have any negatives about the cathartic day of presenting, it’s that I have even more hardware to put on during graduation.

I swear I’ll pass out from heat stroke in the mid-May sun.

But you know what, it’ll all have been worth it considering the kinds of personal enlightenment I’ve felt getting there!

My Interdisciplinary Networking Panel debrief

My Interdisciplinary Networking Panel debrief

After months of build up, today was the day.

Networking panel was a go.

Not even hail could keep me out of Fullerton this afternoon, where I finally got to follow-through on officially adding event planner onto my résumé (though I already technically did weeks ago).

I’m serious. It hailed in Southern California. An event so crazy that I scoured my car to find evidence of it once I got to campus.

Don’t think I’ve seen ice fall out of the sky since Elementary School.

But that’s not the point of why you’re all here. You’re here to read my writing on how the event panned out — assuming you didn’t follow my live tweeting (or you’re reading this years in the future).

I’ve discussed my road getting here numerous times in the past, but for the sake of catching everyone up quickly: I became a University Honors Program Ambassador after not nabbing a space on the Advisory Counsel, as the Co-Curricular Coordinator wanted to put the creative power of all us interested parties to good use.

Since then, I’ve been meeting with the Coordinator, Tyler, and a fellow Honors Program student Melina, once a week to plan a panel about interdisciplinary networking tips to find jobs and make connections within jobs.

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Here’s us, post-panel.

Today we finally got to take over the Honors Center on campus:

Unfortunately, the visual arts representative we invited got sick this morning and could not make it out. But she was gracious enough to send us documents with the kinds of tips she was going to share so we could lay it out for attendees.

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How gracious!

Without her we had three speakers and a moderator, Cassandra Thompson — College Career Specialist from the Career Center.

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Finally got to put that arts & crafts to good use.
  • Dr. Sandra Perez — University Honors Program Director and Pre-Doctorate Program Faculty Coordinator for the Graduate Studies Office
  • Dr. Shaun Pichler — Journal of Occupational & Organizational Psychology Associate Editor
  • Spencer Custodio — Reporter, Voice of OC

Spencer, true to form, was late to the event because he was covering a story. Even hung out a bit afterwards to turn in his copy before we went out to dinner.

Gotta love that man.

I’ll admit that I didn’t personally absorb a lot of what got discussed at the panel. I was too busy live tweeting.

But that said, I did get a lot of great tweets out of the event:

It figures I could only really enjoy my own event through the lens of journalistic objectivity.

After the panel, Justin Gerboc from the CSUF Alumni Association gave a presentation on the Titan Pro Network — which is essentially LinkedIn but concentrated to CSUF alum:

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He was pretty great, too. Real nice guy.

The only other hitch was that I was a dolt and forgot the Fandango gift cards that were planned to be prizes for our networking practice activity at home.

I’ll be bringing the winners their prizes within the next week or so. It was simply yet another reminder that you always have to be ready to improvise, because something perfect on paper might have some last-minute problems in execution.

However, as far as I could tell the audience we had was sizable and decently engaged, in spite of whatever problems we had with late/missing speakers and delayed prizes:

By the end of the afternoon we went well over the hour-and-a-half time slot planned out, and people were sticking around afterward to chat.

So… Yeah. I’d wager that my first ever adventure in event planning was some kind of success!

While I had a great time working with Tyler and Melina to set this whole thing up, I’ll admit that I’m glad it’s finally over. The Ambassador event was a decent time suck while I’ve been low-key stressing out about my Honors Project, Internship hours and midterms.

But hey, all that stress had to be worth it based on comments we got about attendees learning a lot.

That’s the whole reason we put this together in the first place.

So I’ll consider it mission accomplished.

Man remains the most extraordinary machine

Man remains the most extraordinary machine

Valentine’s Day 2019 will officially go down as the Valentine’s Day where I truly learned the value of a human touch.

Because when automatic email reply systems fail, you really need to break through and get an actual person on the other side.

What did you think I was referring to?

Oh, well okay I guess I can see where you were coming from. But no, it’s definitely not that.

Guess I should provide you with a little more context just to make sure we don’t get confused from here on out.

Toward the end of last semester, I was contacted by the Co-Curricular Coordinator for the University Honors Program on campus. Because I had applied to join the Honors Student Advisory Council earlier (in one of my attempts to find something other than the Daily Titan to focus on), he wanted to offer me the chance to create an event alongside other prior applicants.

I believe the argument was that they didn’t want to let all of the extra talent and brain power disappear on the breeze. Couldn’t argue with that.

Especially since it would let me put ‘event planner’ on my resume.

So this semester I’ve been working with another Honors student to set up an event for late March. A lot of the details are still being designed, but essentially we’ve decided to host a panel about networking in various industries.

The Honors Program is interdisciplinary, so having tips from all across the career spectrum seemed like a nice idea.

I’ve mostly been working on finding panelists to bring in, but the first step in that process was getting someone from the CSUF Career Center to jump on board. They seemed like a much more natural choice for a panel moderator who could keep the conversation focused on what a broad range of different students might need.

Last week I went into the Career Center and spoke with one of the students at the desk, who left a written message for the Associate Director of the center.

I also sent along a follow-up email, just for the sake of making sure the message got across.

However, despite my best efforts, I didn’t hear back from anyone leading into this week. So before my group met up again, I stopped by the Career Center one more time. They suggested I submit a workshop request through their website forum, as that apparently gets checked more often.

Today I finally got my response from the Career Center. Which recommended I… Submit a workshop request.

Through the same link I had submitted the request that the Career Center was replying to.

Definitely something a bit screwy about that automatic response.

I sent another email back letting them know how weird the response was, seeing whether I had missed something or could talk to someone in a face-to-face meeting. With the Associate Director added .

About five minutes after I sent that, she responded to me directly.

Then ten or so minutes after that, once I elaborated on what we were looking for, she sent off the message to Career Center specialists seeing who might be available.

All was good in the world, and I could finally move on to step two of my portion of the planning.

It just figures that only fifteen minutes were required to solve an issue I was waiting over a week for, simply because I finally got through to the right human being.

So this Valentine’s Day, if you’re sad and alone like I am, just remember that real human beings can make life better even if they aren’t doing it in that way.

Peace and love and all that good stuff.


Image Courtesy of Nevit Dilmen via Wikimedia Commons