Finding Her Calling Through Career Services
For students who think that Westchester students don’t have access to the same incredible internships that NYC students do, meet Cristina Theriault ’14.
Choosing Pace University’s suburban Westchester Campus over its bustling NYC Campus came down to her gut.
“I just really liked the community feel, beautiful campus, everyone knowing each other and helping each other,” said Cristina Theriault '14. “It felt right. As soon as I showed up on campus, for the new student admitted day, it just felt right.”
And that didn’t stop the Communications major and Public Relations and Management minor from scoring internships and hopping on a train to get to Midtown in under an hour. Her first big internship was in the marketing department at Viacom, where she worked in creative and integrated marketing teams at Spike, Comedy Central, and TV Land. There, she attended weekly “front-burner” meetings discussing strategies for a variety of clients, assembled storyboards for commercial ads and took note of product mentions in network programs, and made sure the Viacom brand was appropriately represented at local shoots.
Her next internship was near her home campus at the Westchester Community Foundation, an organization that connects donors to causes they care about and critical community needs. There she conducted research to plan events and build donor relations, managed press contacts, met with potential donors, attended board meetings and marketing events, interviewed and photographed grantees, wrote articles and revamped fund profiles, and reviewed grant proposals.
Her supervisor, Susan Edwards, director of communications and advancement at WCF, wrote a letter of recommendation to Pace saying she “goes the extra mile,” and called Theriault “truly a committed and inquisitive individual, one of the best interns I have ever had.” In 2014, she received Pace’s Career Services Award.
Theriault also helped Pace students get internships, as a student aide for Career Services, where she served as an ambassador and liaison between the department and student body; supported counselors in providing service to students, alumni, and employers; helped plan career fairs and information sessions; and engaged students.
“Career Services is one of the best services Pace has to offer. I’m not saying that because I worked there. I worked there because of that,” she says.
“I’m a big advocate of internships. When people tell me they don’t know what to do or they know exactly what they do, I say take an internship. You’ll learn what you like and what you don’t like. It helps you forge your own path,” she adds. “I love the creativity that I got to use at Viacom. But I felt that something was missing there. I gained that at WCF, I loved the philanthropy aspect. Even there I felt like I was missing something.”
What was missing, Theriault found, was people. Beginning fall 2014, she will be enrolled in Pace’s Psychological Counseling graduate program and also working as a graduate assistant in the Greek Life office. Following graduation, Theriault hopes to advise students in a career counselor setting and maybe even teach at the college level.
“Every job and internship you take helps you figure out where you belong. Since I was 16, I took every job that came my way. I did everything I could. I feel really prepared. My decisions are more informed,” she says. “This isn’t just an idea, it’s from experience.”
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