In a recent gathering at Maryville College’s House in the Woods, students were given some valuable advice.
“How It Works,” a program sponsored by the College’s Initiative on Vocation and funded through Lilly Endowment Inc., pairs select students with role models in the community for helpful discussions on vocation and free dinners each spring semester. The aim: To explain how life after college - career, family, civic involvement - successfully “works.”
“Often students are caught up in the rigor of college life and fail to see the necessity of networking and establishing mentoring relationships with persons who have succeeded in their professions,” said Paula McGhee, director of diversity programming at Maryville College. ‘How It Works’ allows Maryville College students the opportunity to meet individually with the speakers, exchange telephone numbers, and possibly establish long-term mentoring relationships.”
April’s speaker, Anthony Hancock, former football player for the University of Tennessee Volunteers and Kansas City Chiefs, discussed decisions he made that led to his personal success and provided practical advice for students seeking meaningful work.
“Attitude is important in what you do when you decide on a career,” said Hancock.
Hancock currently teaches at Bearden Middle School and coaches golf for Knoxville area schools. Hancock also discussed the importance of classroom management and offered words of wisdom for students seeking careers in teaching.
Past speakers for the “How It Works” programs include Dr. LaToya Myles, Environmental Scientist for NOAA; Joe Dawson, Blount Memorial Hospital administrator; Alvin Nance, president of Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation; and Don Hickman, retired assistant inspector general for TVA. Speakers this year have included Kevin White, an electrical engineer from Oak Ridge, and Judge Kelly Thomas of the East Tennessee District of the Criminal Court of Appeals.
Each guest speaker emphasizes his or her unique vocation backgrounds and discusses the factors that have led to his or her success.
“Students evaluated the sessions as encouraging, enlightening and informational,” said McGhee.
“I enjoy coming to ‘How It Works’ because it gives me a different viewpoint on a lot of different jobs and it’s a chance to get an honest opinion from a professional who made it in that area,” said sophomore with teaching English as a second language (TESL) major, Jacob Rouser.
Sterling Thomas, a sophomore engineering major, also attended the event.
“’How It Works’ is always a new, interesting perspective on life, and it gives you an eye-view of someone who’s older and more experienced in that field,” said Thomas.
McGhee arranges the speakers for the programs each spring. Diana Lovelace, coordinator for service, mission and vocation, organizes the buffet dinners for the average 15-30 students, faculty and staff who attend.
“How it Works” is a collaborative effort of the Center of Calling & Career, the Humanities Department, and the Office of Diversity Programming. For more information, contact Paula McGhee at email@example.com.