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Getting Linked-In to many opportunities

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A view from atop of Old Main overlooking our beautiful campus

On of the best experiences I have had in my life has been working in the Marketing and Communications office for the Social Squad.  Never in a million years did I think I would get an opportunity like this.  If I am being honest with myself, I came to St. Martin’s for baseball and because it was close to home.  I knew it was a good academic school, so the choice was relatively easy.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would get to be a part of something like the Social Squad here.  This has been a ride I will never forget.

Matt Hankins and myself at the SMU Gala this year. Matt did a great job conducting interviews.

I actually started this job my first month in school my freshman year. I went to an on campus job fair with Matt Hankins and met Carl, the web developer and founder of the Social Squad, at the Marketing and Communications table. He told me they were looking to start something new in the office, focusing mainly on social media using a student voice. Since then, the Social Squad has evolved into so much more than just a student voice. We have had so many opportunities over the past 3 years, including covering the incredible SMU Gala each year, leading various social media workshops, covering special events, as well as many others.   There is one opportunity I have been given this year that I could not be more excited about.
I am now beginning my stint as the student ambassador for all of our LinkedIn accounts here on campus. My job will include conducting weekly meetings with various departments of the University, atlinkedin-bannertending strategy meetings, and scheduling out posts and interacting with our followers on LinkedIn.  It has been a truly eye-opening experience getting to work with the different departments, as well as using Google Analytics to track our progress and see how we can improve.  I have known for a while now how beneficial LinkedIn can be to a college student looking for a job and networking, but it has been great to see how beneficial it can be for Higher Education.

Aside from the LinkedIn experience being great, what this position represents to me means much more.  You see, you can try and make plans for yourself and try to see your future self and what you are doing, but the reality is that sometimes opportunities arise that we didn’t even know were possible.  God has a funny way of bringing people into your life and presenting opportunities for you that you didn’t even think about.  That’s where Carl, Marki, Vanessa, Genevieve, Meg, and Jennifer came in.  They gave me opportunities and tools and resources necessary to make the most of them.  The transformation I have gone through since coming to Saint Martin’s and working in the Marketing office has been one I am so thankful for, and will never forget.


Why You Should Be On LinkedIn

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linkedinOut of all the social networks, LinkedIn reminds me of the middle child. You have the main sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc, but LinkedIn often times gets left out of the mix. This is highly unfortunate because LinkedIn can be one of the most beneficial social media sites, especially for college students!

Career fair
STEM Career Fair in the NWCC

One of the first lessons you learn looking for a job anywhere is that it isn’t necessarily what you know, but rather who you know that counts. Don’t get me wrong, even if you know someone with an “in” at the company you want to work for, you still have to have the required skills to attain the job. However, it is much easier to get an interview, or even the job, if you are connected with someone who is employed there. Here at Saint Martin’s, we have many networking socials, luncheons, and fairs to help meet and connect with business people in the area. In the past, you would get their business card and just keep it for when you need to contact them. Now, you can get their business card, but also find them on LinkedIn and invite them to connect. Then they have complete access to your skills and qualifications, as well as your experience.

As nice as it is that you can have a place to store your connections, it also requires you to stay on top of your profile. Here of some of my suggestions for you:

  • Have a quality, professional profile picture of only yourself
  • When posting, commenting, or anything else, write professionally and triple check your work
  • Be active commenting in groups that have the same interests as you
  • Keep your profile updated with detailed work experience

With the current job market, it is important to take advantage of every resource available to you. If you are applying somewhere, and you have all of your LinkedIn account updated, the employer has the ability to look you up and see more details into your qualifications, and can see what other people are saying about you. This can give you such an advantage over a competing applicant who does not have an updated profile.  I hope you choose to utilize this great resource.  You can connect with me on LinkedIn by searching Stephen Mahnken.


Saints Have A Plan

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Not sure if any of you feel the same as I do, but it seems like senior year came out of nowhere and slapped me in the face. I think you all know, as well as I, that as soon as you start college the first question people ask you is, “What are you majoring in?” Now sometimes, this is tough to answer in your first year, because you may not know! Then once you figure out what you do want to major in, those same people start asking you what you are going to do with it. At this point you are thinking, “You’ve got to be kidding, just leave me alone!” You have enough stress balancing all our your classes and social life, you don’t have time for these ridiculous questions!
Saints Have A PlanI remember all of these thoughts going through my head, and I kept telling myself that I still had time so I didn’t want to tackle those questions right now. Well as graduation approaches, these questions become more and more real. What am I going to do with my major? Where do I even start? Fortunately, Ann Adams and Alyssa Nastasi of the SMU Career Center are here to help.
The Career Center has spent countless hours not only building a system to help generate a plan of what we want to do after we graduate, but also building connections through alumni and the surrounding communities to give us the best opportunities possible. I’m not sure if all of you are aware, but Saint Martin’s was ranked number one out of all the colleges in the state on ROI (Return on Investment) by the Seattle PI. That is truly incredible. In my opinion, that should be of the utmost importance to us as future graduates. I think we all know that college is expensive, and knowing that Saint Martin’s gives us the highest return on the money we spend make me feel very excited for my future. This is due to a number of reasons, but a big reason is because of the work the Career Center does.
To officially have a plan with the career center, it really is pretty simple. If you have an idea in your head of what you are going to do after graduation, whether it be grad school, you already have a job, or are applying somewhere, fill out this survey and let the career center know! If you don’t have a plan at the moment, that is o.k. Don’t panic! You can meet with the Career Center and they will help you make one. Not only will having a plan help you know what to do when you graduate, but you are also entered into a raffle to win some awesome prizes at the end of the term. Seems like a win-win to me. I will be completing my plan with the carreer center soon, and I hope you do the same!

The Gala is Approaching

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All of our guests enjoying their meal  in the Marcus Pavilion
All of our guests enjoying their meal in the Marcus Pavilion

One of the best events of the year at Saint Martin’s, also happens to be one of the sneakiest. I can’t believe that the SMU Gala is less than two months away. This year, on November 1, we are privileged enough to have Lidia Bastianich help raise money for our scholarships, and I couldn’t be more excited. There is something special about the Gala, that is somewhat tough to explain. I have been able to go to the gala each of the three years I have attended Saint Martin’s, and this year will make it four. Now for those of you who know me, you know I am a pretty casual guy; I like to wear a t shirt, shorts and a hat most days. However, there is something pretty awesome about getting to go to a black tie event with a lot of the incredible business owners in the community, as well as many of our university’s donors. One of the things I enjoy most about going is that I get to actually talk to the people who are donating money so that I can attain scholarships to attend this university. Each year I meet new people and learn so much from them even in the brief moments we are able to talk.

The Social Squad gathered for a photo for the wonderful Elisa Jaffe. Right To Left: Myself, Brooke Sanchez, Matt Hankins, Christine Towey, Alex Hendricks

My part in the gala is quite a bit different than most. Working on the social squad here in the marketing office gives you some pretty awesome experiences. At the gala, I get to cover just about everything that happens on social media, and the great part about this is that I get to see all aspects of the event. I get to see the transformation of the Marcus Pavilion before everyone arrives, and it never ceases to amaze me how they make it look. I also get to spend the evening with my good friends and we get the opportunity to meet some amazing people from our community.

Something else I look forward to each year is the live auction. The auction items that are up for bid each year are nothing short of incredible. Every year I like to pick out a couple of my favorite auction items, and see how much they go for at the event. This year I am really excited to see who bids on the African Safari, as well as the Russell Wilson Autographed Seahawks helmet and game day tickets. I also hear that they game is November, 9th, which is when the hawks play the NY Giants!


My favorite part about the entire event, however, is towards the very end. The entire goal of the gala is to raise money for scholarships for our students, and during “Feed-A-Mind,” everyone gets the opportunity to hear from one of those students. I have been privileged enough to meet some incredible people during my time here at SMU, and each year, one student gets to share their story of how getting a scholarship to SMU has changed their life. Hearing the three different stories at the three galas I have been to really opens your eyes to see how we are apart of something bigger at SMU. We get to learn from each other, as well as from our professors. If it weren’t for scholarships, I know myself as well as many others would not be able to attend this great place. I will be forever grateful for all of the donations that are raised through this gala to give people like myself the opportunity to attend SMU.

Last Summer of my College Career

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My entire life I have listened to people tell me to take full advantage of the time you have off in the summer, because before you know it, it will be gone. Now I really have no clue how this is possible, but it seems like every summer goes by faster than the last. In all honestly it feels like someone is messing with me. But this summer, I decided to try and take full advantage of the time I had, and I can say it was the best summer yet.
The summer started out for me with all the nervousness I could possibly have, but made for the best day of my life. I got engaged to the love of my life on May 31, and couldn’t be more excited. I had been dating Lauren for a little over 4 years and decided it was time to ask the question! Other than the day I decided to follow Christ, this was the best decision I have ever made.

Engagement Photo

Since I was unable to play baseball this summer due to my injury, I spent most of the summer coaching. I coached for Dream Team Baseball out of Lacey, WA. I got started with them because I actually live in an apartment at their baseball park. (Kind of odd I know, but I wouldn’t change it for the world) When I began coaching I had no idea what to expect, but it turned out to be one of the most rewarding and fun experiences I’ve ever had. We were even fortunate enough to make the Triple Crown 13u World Series in Steamboat Springs, CO. Back when I played, we rarely traveled outside of the Pacific Northwest, so this was all new to me. When we arrived, we went to essentially a block party for all of the teams there. They had all the teams gather in the town square and trade pins, and meet everyone.

Steamboat parade

Our team ended up going 4-2 in the tournament, and finished 9th out of 24 teams. They fought hard all year, and I was very proud of them. I wouldn’t trade a minute of it.
While I was still in Colorado, I was able to go sight seeing a bit with my cousins who live in Denver. One of the most breathtaking (literally because of the elevation) places was the summit of Pike’s Peak in Colorado Springs. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Colorado Springs is right around 6,000 feet above sea level, so the elevation is already much different than what I am used to. From here, you drive on a 19 mile road from the base of the mountain, all the way to the top of Pike’s Peak, which is a little above 14,100 feet. Now you make this climb in about 45 minutes. For someone who isn’t used to that elevation, and failed to be properly hydrated, I was STRUGGLING. I could barely walk in a straight line, and just felt dizzy. However, the view was absolutely incredible. I would do it again in a heartbeat, and if any of you have the opportunity to go, I would highly recommend it. (But make sure you drink lots of water!)

Pike's Peak

I had no regrets this summer, and really enjoyed my time. My goal is to do the same for this final year of college, to make the most of each day. I is weird to think I only have one year left, but it is also exciting. I know there are many opportunities ahead, and I want to do everything I can to take full advantage of them.

Career Fair Tips

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I know what a lot of you are probably thinking right now. “No way am I going to that career fair. I am not ready and honestly I just don’t feel comfortable talking to those business people.” Well I can assure you that you are not alone. It is a very scary thing to walk into a large career fair and try to find someone to talk to.  But let me tell you from experience, it is well worth braving it out for an hour or so.  To help you relax, here are a few tips I have from my experiences at the career fair.

First off, you need to dress for the job you want, not where you are now.  If you come to fair in nice business attire, you will automatically be making a good first impression.  The employers will see that this matters to you, and they will be more willing to talk with you.  I have actually had people come up to me in the past and asked to talk with me for a position just because I was in nice business attire.  They told me they could tell I took this seriously.

Another tip is to go with a friend.  It can be very intimidating to walk around from booth to booth trying to talk with someone.  If you are with someone you know, it automatically relaxes you and will give you more confidence to walk up and talk with a potential employer.

You also might want to make a plan of a few different employers you would like to talk with ahead of time.  This will give you a little bit of direction when you head to the fair, as well as make you feel more comfortable since you have a plan.  But don’t ever count any employer out; you could be very surprised at what might be the best opportunity for you.  I have been before and had a plan of who I wanted to talk to, and left being excited about a company I had never even thought about before. For a list of the employers that will be at the fair and  the official program go to the career center site

It is never a bad idea either to bring a few copies of your resume with you to hand out to employers you talk with.  Even if it is for a job later down the road, they now know your name and can put a face to your resume for future reference.  If you want some tips on your resume, make sure you talk with Ann Adams in the career center.  This is a must, she is more helpful than you could hope for.

Please also remember that the Career Fair is for ALL majors.  The employers don’t match jobs with majors, they match them with qualifications.  Instead of telling an employer that you are an English major looking for a job, maybe tell them you are an efficient writer.  They want to know your skills.

Last thing I would tell you is to carry yourself with confidence.  You are one of a kind, and what you can bring to the table is different than any other person.  Sell yourself to potential employers.  If you don’t have confidence in yourself, potential employers will wonder why.  You are at Saint Martin’s for a reason, and you need to know that.  It was not by accident you are here, you have earned this and that is why employers come to this fair.


Life on the Road

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Snow Canyon in St. George, Utah. We stopped here to hike after we played at DIxie State.

Baseball season is finally upon us, and I could not be more excited. This game is one that I have loved for as long as I can remember. I have always wanted to play college baseball, and I do my best to make sure I don’t take that for granted. I know that with only a few years left in my career, I need to make the most out of every day.
When I was younger, I thought the life of a college athlete was so awesome. I mean, you get to miss school to play baseball! How much better can it get? Once I actually got to college, however, I realized missing class isn’t all that awesome. During our season, we play 50 regular season games, 25-30 of which are out of town. The amount of classes you miss add up real quick. At first, I thought this was just too tough and I was going to fall way behind. But as the years have gone on, it has been one of the best learning experiences for me. It has taught me to really manage my time well, as well as juggling many different tasks at once. Being a student athlete is anything but easy, but I thank God for the opportunity every day. You stretch yourself farther than you normally would have, and you learn many things about yourself you didn’t know before. But whenever it gets tough, I just remind myself that it will only make me stronger. Not to mention the bond you make with your teammates is something you can’t find anywhere else. I know everyone else has my back, and they know I have theirs. It is also pretty cool to see alot of different places and experience new things.
So for all you High School athletes out there, dreaming of playing in college, listen up. It will not be easy.

In n out
In N Out In Las Vegas. We grabbed a bite to eat after our plane landed on our way to St. George.

There will be times when you may even want to quit. You will see students who have all the time in the world to hang out and do whatever. But keep pushing. Realize the opportunity you have, and make the most of it. Work hard always, inside the classroom and on the field, and keep a positive attitude. If you do this, I promise you it will be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life.