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Opening Doors for UNW Students


By Sara Ring on Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Emily Parker and Sarah Olsen working

Several December grads have launched into exciting new careers, often with assistance from Northwestern alumni. We in Career Development love to celebrate these connections, and we wanted to share some of our favorites.

When Anders Wennerberg was a sophomore in Marketing, he attended a Networking After Hours event at Northwestern, where he met Jodi Richert, Property Management Business Partner at Target and a Music Performance alumna of UNW. In the weeks and months following, Anders stayed in contact, and Jodi graciously provided Anders with advice and business contacts in his areas of interest. Two years after their initial meeting, Anders had a committed ally in Jodi when he applied for a full-time position at Target.

Anders shared: One of the earliest pieces of advice I was given when starting college was to network. I didn’t think I could be good at it, but I pushed myself anyway. I ended up meeting Jodi, who helped me develop my skills as a business student and encouraged me to apply at Target. Through her advice, I was hired on full time at Target HQ as a Senior Space and Presentation Specialist! My advice to current students is the same advice I was given: network like crazy and always be listening, because you never know who you will meet and what opportunities they can help you with.


Katie Ring created an Interdisciplinary Major, combining classes in Criminal Justice and Computer Science to focus on cybersecurity. She applied at Optum, a division of UnitedHealth Group, and reached out to a number of UNW alumni working at Optum and UnitedHealth Group. Several responded, including Emily Harp, Cindi Franer, and Rebekah Clearman, who shared great tips on company culture, interviewing, and skills to highlight. Katie will start in April as a Technology Development Program Associate, spending six months each in two different technological areas of Optum, before moving into a permanent placement within the company. As an aside, at the same time Katie was interviewing with Optum, she was also interviewing with a cyber-security firm, through a connection that alumna Jodi Richert (above) had made for her, after they had also met at a networking event.


We also hear about students helping other students. Emily Parker, an Accounting senior, had completed a summer internship with the Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA), and her hiring director had been quite impressed with her professionalism, communication skills, and work ethic. Another Accounting senior, Sarah Olsen, had started her job search, and was preparing for the Government and Nonprofit Job Fair, the same venue where Emily had originally connected with the OLA. Emily made an email introduction to connect Sarah to her former director, to help pave the way. At the fair, Sarah met the director in person and made a great impression, and was able to interview for a full-time role. Sarah started there in January as a Staff Auditor.


Have you reached out to help a student, or do you have opportunities for internships or jobs at your organization? Would you like to be a part of our career community? Let me know - we love connecting alumni and students, and sharing what God brings about as a result.

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