6 Chatham Experiences That Help You Thrive

A study by Gallup-Purdue shows that attending more selective colleges does not have as much impact on student success as the experiences they have while in college. Gallup-Purdue narrowed down the six most impactful college experiences to guarantee post-graduate success, and all six can be found at Chatham University. Tabitha Weaver, Communications ‘19 recounts some of hers:

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Taking a course with a professor who makes learning exciting

Chatham Field Experiences are the perfect opportunity to work with adventurous faculty. During my sophomore year, I went on a trip to Portugal led by Dr. David Rossbach, associate professor of political science. During the semester prior, we studied European Politics, including Portugal’s political history. It was incredible to learn so much about a place I had never been to and to then experience it  firsthand.

In the classroom, Dr. Rossbach brought in several speakers to excite us for our upcoming endeavor. In Portugal, we were able to visit the Portuguese Parliament, take a tour of Porto led by city officials, and spend a day in Sintra, exploring its beautiful architecture.


Working with faculty and staff who care about students professionally

As a Student Ambassador working in the Office of Admissions, I worked with several staff members who provided guidance and support. From them, I learned about managing events, working on deadlines, and public speaking. I was promoted to Assistant Event Coordinator and in this position, I helped with scheduling and supervising events. Working for Admissions helped me transition from high school to college while learning my strengths and weaknesses.

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Finding a mentor who encourages students to follow personal goals

Finding an on campus job—or a few—that aligns with your professional goals is a great way to find a mentor. Working hands on with professionals lets you learn relevant skills and develop meaningful networking relationships.

In my Advanced Public Relations class, the Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Chatham, Bill Campbell, attended our presentations on a public relations campaign project. After I presented, he offered me an opportunity in his office to work and learn from him. Over the past two years, Bill has given me many opportunities to broaden and refine my skillset while providing encouraging feedback.


Working on a project across several semesters

Managing a long-term project before you graduate helps build your ability to concentrate and pay attention to detail over a long period of time. It also prepares you for the long-term project of having a job. Chatham has ample opportunities:

  • Certain majors can complete a multi-semester project via the Capstone requirement—a thesis project where students spend one semester researching and a second semester analyzing their results.

  • A class called Newswriting and Editing puts students in charge of creating content for the student newspaper across several semesters.

  • First-year students can apply for the Welcome Aboard Mentorships: yearlong relationships built with professional mentors in the Pittsburgh community.

 

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Participating in an internship that applies classroom learning

Chatham is ahead of the curve on this one: internship requirements are built into the curriculum. Not only does having real-world experience look good to employers, it also helps you look critically at your career path. You can see what you like and don’t like about your internship while learning fundamental skills in your field.

After my internships, I decided that I want to work in corporate communications for an organization rather than for a communication agency. Having several internships gave me an inside look at what I could expect in different settings and helped me figure out what would be best for me.


Being active in extracurricular activities

Joining clubs on campus allows you to participate in a community with a common goal. Whether that goal is to bring joy to others while playing a ukulele (Ukulele Club) or raising support for those affected by pediatric cancer with Love Your Melon, you are learning to balance school, commitments and ultimately, life.

My role in different clubs on campus helped me grow into leadership roles while balancing a rigorous schedule. Extracurriculars also provided me with classmate support systems that understood the challenges I was facing as an undergraduate student.

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