Media Advisory: Wake Forest University Commencement 2012: Story ideas

Charlie Ergen, the chairman of satellite broadcaster Dish Network Corporation and EchoStar Communications Corporation, will deliver Wake Forest’s 2012 commencement address on May 21. The commencement ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. on Hearn Plaza.

Story ideas:

WHERE THE JOBS ARE: JOB OUTLOOK FOR COLLEGE GRADS—Wake Forest has made personal and career development a mission-critical component of the college experience. Experts in the Office of Personal and Career Development (OPCD) are available to provide new takes on evergreen commencement stories.  They can talk about the increase in campus recruiting this year, where students are finding jobs and the latest employment. Topics they can address include but are not limited to:

  • Job prospects for 2012 grads vs. recent years;
  • What WFU does to help prepare students for life (and work) after college;
  • How grads can make the most of their time if they don’t have a job yet;
  • How to effectively market a liberal arts or humanities degree;
  • When to take (or pass on) an opportunity that’s not your “dream” job;
  • Tips for getting along with a new boss.

TIME TO LINK IN — Ladd Flock, associate director of College To Career Community Partnerships, says students need to think about what they have posted on their social media profiles as they graduate and look for new careers. “This is the time to remove photos or updates that don’t show you off in the most professional light, but more importantly, it’s an opportunity to proactively demonstrate your readiness for that first job out of school,” Flock says. “Prospective employers will Google you. What will they find? That’s your new first impression.”  He says LinkedIn can be particularly helpful for new graduates, and he can provide specific tips for leveraging other social media in the job hunt.

GRADUATING GREEN Graduation gowns made from recycled bottles are the latest trend.  A Triad area company makes the fabric used in the gowns Wake Forest grads will wear as they get their diplomas.  This is the third year Wake Forest has chosen to use the recycled plastic gowns. Ashley Suchoski, a senior and intern in the University’s Office of Sustainability, is available to talk about how this year’s seniors have focused on sustainability.  Graduating seniors also sign a pledge showing their commitment to sustainability after they leave campus.

KNOW YOUR OWN PERSONAL BRANDMatthew Simari, a senior computer science and political science double major, says, “You have to demonstrate a passion and know your own personal brand.” Simari spent the last three summers interning in Washington, D.C. perfecting his brand. Following the completion of a successful internship last summer, he accepted a job offer at Deloitte, much of which he credits to his can-do-anything attitude.  “I wanted to be known as the smart, hardworking guy who always had a smile on his face. That’s who I am, and that’s who I’ll continue to be when I start full-time this summer.”

SECRET TO JOB SEARCH SUCCESS:  CONNECTING EARLY WITH CAREER OFFICE — Senior Lesley Gustafson got involved with the Office of Personal and Career Development (OPCD) during her freshman year, talking about career goals and what steps she should take to stay on track.  During the past four years, she has taken advantage of resume reviews, internship advice, workshops and mock interviews. “Having a long relationship with this office makes you realize the wide range of options you have and builds up skills over time, rather than just expecting a job through applying online.” This summer, she will begin working at Accenture as a full-time analyst.


Brandon Turner will study at Oxford in the fall as a Rhodes Scholar.  At Wake Forest, his groundbreaking biophysics research and a commitment to community service paved the way for him to earn the prestigious scholarship.

Nancy Davidson, a senior education major from Randleman, N.C., will join Teach for America. While at Wake Forest, she took part in a service trip to a Russian orphanage.

Louis Brotherton, a finance major, is a founding member and president of the Wake Forest Ethics Debate Team.  He plans to work for an investment bank in Charlotte.

Ashley Millhouse, a senior history major, has won a Fulbright grant to teach English in South Africa.  She had never been out of the country before coming to Wake Forest.  As a student, she started the One Day Without Shoes project to raise awareness for children who walk barefoot in sub-Saharan Africa.

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