A Peek Inside the Panel – Leveraging Your Liberal Arts Advantage

Posted on May 22, 2023

Student with a laptop in front of her looks attentively towards a lecturer.

The UNC Greensboro Humanities Network and Consortium (HNAC) and UNCG Career and Professional Development (CPD) hosted three successful UNCG alumni as they shared their perspectives on how a UNCG Liberal Arts education led them to exciting career opportunities. Students heard the stories of discovering how life in their studies at UNCG translated into making their way into the professional world.

HNAC hosted the two panels of UNC alumni on April 5 and April 18, both with qualified UNCG alumni that were ready and excited to encourage the next generation.

The panel on April 5 consisted of:

Sarah Maske, MA ’21, History and Archeology | Greensboro History Museum Public Programs Coordinator & Education Assistant

Austin Horne, BA ’21, English | Family Services of the Piedmont LGBTQ+ Outreach Specialist

Haleigh (Evans) Alexander, BA ’16, Classical Studies with English minor | Former Lowes Foods’ Human Resources Sr. Recruiter

The discussion included topics such as applying the skills they learned from their undergraduate degree, integrating their passions with their work, and how UNCG supported them through their journey:

How did you initially find your way here to UNCG?
Maske: I took the time and toured on a snow day. I really loved Honors College, and I loved the history degree here: that quality work – doing a lot of hands-on studies – combined with the idea of working with professors and all the internships that I wanted. And I saw that the Honors College degree itself was going to push me as an individual and make me step out of my comfort zone. And it was one of the best decisions because I ended up with the support system that I really needed as a student.

Alexander: I initially wasn’t in love with language learning, but one day one of my high school teachers came in and said, “Let’s just talk about history and have a fun day today.” He started going into detail and I was on the edge of my seat, thinking “This is amazing. I want more of this.” I asked him, “Can people do things with this? What is out there if you’re passionate about ancient history?” He said, “Yes, you should major in classics. There’s a whole field in that, and you should go to UNCG.” So, I came in for a tour. I met with some of the professors, and I said, “Yeah, this is what I like and this is what I’m doing.”

What key knowledge, skills, or habits did your studies at UNCG help you build?
Horne: It was in Dr. Heather Adams’ classes that I developed the skillset for rhetoric and public speaking. That has been so useful because my job is one that fits the person; the job is a box that you get into and it molds to you. My biggest strength is in educating, so English really helped me build the skills for that. The jobs and roles that I got to do while on campus had as much of an impact as my degree did. I got to work in the Office of Intercultural Engagement as one of the gender and sexuality educators, running the SafeZone program here, and that really set me up for the job I have now.

Maske: Getting an American history background and being able to pull from world history. We do a lot with immigrant communities in Greensboro. Then there are things like public speaking; I got a lot of that. I made sure I a ttended workshops and went out to talk to people. I got a job as an honors ambassador and talked to the freshmen as they came in. There are other things like making sure you credit your sources; I use that every day. One of my biggest pet peeves is when I go look for something to throw into my blog posts or into a social media post, and I can’t find where it came from. It drives me nuts. Having the basics of good research skills is something that I can take with me every day because I never know what I’m going to get.

Alexander: Communication was a huge skill for me in my college years. The great thing about UNCG is you can learn those things through different courses. My speaking-intensive ancient history class was really fun and really interesting. They gave me the chance to stand up and give speeches and to prepare to talk with people which was really helpful. I also learned a lot about leadership here at UNCG, which has helped me lead meetings and initiatives in the workplace. I was the president of the Classical Society here so that also helped me learn leadership and career skills. I worked in the Career and Professional Development Center, and I learned how to do an elevator pitch so I could explain to my employers how my major and my experience would be relevant to the job they were hiring for. I also learned how to update my resume and other similar skills.

Is there anything that surprised you about life after UNCG?

Maske: There’s no one pipeline you have to take to get into your career if you have the determination and willingness to network, grow as a person, and learn as you go.

Horne: Once you’re in the workplace, it’s about what you’ve gotten out of your classes and major, the skills you got, and how you apply them. Don’t limit yourself because you think, for example. ‘I majored in English so I can only go be a writer or a high school teacher.’ You can go and do anything with your undergraduate degree.

Alexander: Once you’re in the workplace, it’s about what you’ve gotten out of your classes and major, the skills you got from that, and how you apply them. Don’t limit yourself because you think for example I majored in English so I can only go be a writer or a high school teacher, you can go do anything with your undergraduate degree.

The Liberal Arts Advantage: Campus to Career programming was part of wider efforts by HNAC that were made available through a grant from the Social Science Research Council (SSRC). Specifically, the Liberal Arts Advantage programming was sponsored by the SSRC grant and was a partnership between HNAC and CPD.

For more information about workshops and ways to ready yourself for your future career, please visit the UNCG Career and Professional Development Center. You can also find workshop opportunities through the Handshake application.

Story by Dana Broadus, University Communications
Photography by Sean Norona, University Communications

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