SPEAk Blog – Chicago Career Exploration Trip, Jasmine Burditt

Jasmine Burditt is a first-year Master of Public Affairs student with a concentration in Nonprofit Management at IUB. Jasmine hopes to one day head a national nonprofit organization centered on community engagement and youth development for low-income areas. She enjoys local Bloomington eateries, particularly Runcible Spoon, and local shows an

The SPEA Chicago Career Exploration Trip was one that far exceeded my expectations. I knew we would have the opportunity to meet with employers and organizations in fields of our interest, but I had no idea that I would expand my Chicago network. I was able to meet with an organization called City Year, which works on bridging the gap in educational achievement for low-income students. I read about the organization prior to going on the trip and meeting them in person gave me even more excitement about nonprofits working for a change than I had before!

Not only did I have the chance to meet with Stephanie Chavez, a City Year representative, but I was able to visit their Chicago site location during the last site visits. The panel discussion on nonprofit organizations creating change through community engagement and academic achievement was both enlightening and inspiring. I walked away with big ideas for the future nonprofit efforts and initiatives I hope to make. Since meeting with Stephanie Chavez in Chicago, I’ve made a phone appointment to discuss potential careers within City Year after I graduate in Spring 2015.

Even more exciting was the fact that I made a new mentor in Chicago! At the Thursday morning roundtables I met Tosha Downey, Director of Community Engagement for the Academy for Urban School Leadership. Her passion for engaging students in low-performing schools and their parents in order to decrease the achievement gap for low-income students in Chicago Public Schools is what caught my attention. My main interests lie in the investment of academic and career achievement for low-income youth, so meeting Ms. Tosha gave me a fresh perspective on methods in effectively communicating with parents, teachers and students.

Following the panels, roundtables and site visits, we all gathered at The Hotel Chicago to mingle with SPEA alumni. I met with a previous SPEA student who later earned her JD. I was able to talk with this alumnus and others to gain insight into navigating the professional world post-graduation. From tips on interviews to tips on fun things for young Chicago residents, I gained a lot of insight at the networking event.

In addition to all of these amazing opportunities to meet with potential employers, I was able to experience the city of Chicago’s unique offerings. From the great food, to the skyscrapers of busy downtown, to the booming entertainment scene, this trip was an overall success. This visit has broadened my horizons and has most importantly opened doors for future employment in the city of Chicago.

 

 

 

 

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