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ISSUE 1 VOL. 1 Using Your Spartan Superpowers

n: o i t a n Desti l World ea The R he Transition t ing Mak

alternative j-o-bs Making a Living on Your Terms

Tasty Tailgate Table Quick, Easy, Delicious


e i m a J odieci p a C


student profiles Take 5

9 13


You’ve Graduated...Now What?

cover story Where in the World Are All the Spartans?


club msu

MSU in: Chicago!


recipes Tailgater’s Table

21 23


graduate guru


Your Credit: Who’s Keeping Score?

Get A Job! Are You LinkedIn?

“seen” on campus Derrick Turner

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what is

eMerge is a bimonthly, online publication created specifically for upcoming and recent graduates by upcoming and recent graduates. Our goal is to keep this demographic informed about the most relevant pre-andpost graduation concerns. We know this transition period is unfamiliar whether you’re planning on going to graduate school, moving to a new place, are employed/unemployed, or moving back in with Mom and Dad—your favorite roommates. Inside this issue of eMerge, we have profiled a few grads who have taken jobs in all different parts of the country. We would love to hear your recent graduate stories: struggles, achievements, job horror stories, working abroad, anything. Send us your news and you could be featured as the next cover story! Along with the graduate profiles we are also including career dos and don’ts from our resident graduate career guru, John Hill,


along with information on managing debt and credit scoring from the Michigan State University Federal Credit Union. We’ll also have facts about alternative career paths and some great recipes that any young graduate can cook. Send us your stories, questions, comments, and concerns and you’ll be entered to win iTunes or Amazon gift cards! The MSU Alumni Association hopes you enjoy this new publication. We accept all ideas on how to improve issues and want to know what information you need. eMerge wants to be your pivotal resource for all graduate and employment matters. Send all information to | Go Green!

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student profiles

take 1


Read up on the lives of five recent Michigan State University graduates. We reveal their field of study, current employment, and how they got there. Did you get employed right after graduation or have a great career story you’d like to share? Let us know at:

Dequindre Bell: May 2010 grad Degree: BA in Family Community Service Job: Outreach Specialist for Girl Scouts Heart of Michigan

If I was looking for a job focusing on community service, what should I be doing and how would I go about that? You should have experience with children if you want to be hands-on. We also have different departments such as communications, fund development, membership, etc. So having background experience in a department you are interested in is a plus. We also take individuals who don’t have a lot of experience and give them certain skills.

Are you pursuing your passion and if not what are you passionate about that you’d like to pursue in the future? I received my degree with a focus on Youth Development. I currently work closely with children so it is pretty ideal. Ultimately I would like to receive my masters of social work and do marriage therapy.


student profiles


Jake Grocholski: May 2011 grad Degree: BA in Marketing Job: Retail Consulting & Analytics at The Nielsen Company

How did you get this job? I had my eye on Nielsen since I declared Marketing as my major at the beginning of my junior year. After noticing they would be present at MSU’s career fair in October 2010, I researched their website and business articles mentioning Nielsen. I always have been nervous and uneasy going into career fairs, so I felt I needed to do research on the companies participating to aid my conversations with those companies. After meeting representatives from Nielsen at the career fair, I went through several rounds of interviews, including: an info-session the night of the career fair, an interview and 90-minute exam the next morning, a phone interview, and 3 on-site interviews in Chicago. Three weeks after my on-site interviews, I was offered the job.

What was the greatest challenge you faced after graduating? A big challenge was making my move to Chicago official. I had already accepted my job six months before I graduated, so I had plenty of time to prepare for it. However, finding a roommate and an apartment took a lot of work, as did finally moving everything from my house in East Lansing and from my childhood home. But my biggest challenge has been adjusting to a post-college life. MSU provided some of the best years of my life. There is a connection to the people and campus of MSU that I think all graduates share. In a way I’m glad I miss MSU so much – it’s evidence of the special times that MSU gives its students.

How can MSU and/or the Alumni Association help? Joining the Alumni Association should be a no-brainer for recent graduates looking for employment. There are thousands of Spartans who have gone on to great careers and are looking to help recent graduates. Networking is vital to find a career–and there is no better place to start than the Alumni Association.


student profiles

Sara Sobon: May 2011 grad


Degree: BS in Packaging Job: Packaging Engineer at Dow Chemical Company

If I was looking for a job with Packaging what should I be doing and how would I go about that? I would highly recommend attending The School of Packaging annual career fair which takes place in the beginning of spring semester at Michigan State University. I was fortunate enough to land an internship and full-time position by attending my junior and senior year. If you were looking for a position at any other point in the year, I would recommend looking for job postings on* and applying through that source. Networking is an integral part of the packaging industry; if you are a student, ask peers/professors if they know about any open positions. The website is a great networking site to filter positions through various companies and ask peers and current professionals about open positions. Before completing the above, try to attend workshops related to seeking a full-time position. Execute a mock interview with someone, have multiple people critique your resume, and learn some background information about your company. During an interview, it’s nice to have some facts about the company to discuss with the interviewer; it will really catch their attention and make you stand out! For example: sustainability is a huge driver in the packaging industry, so research if the company has a sustainability initiative, and bring that up during your interview. *You must be a Michigan State University student or alumni to access this website.

What is the best piece of advice you can give recent graduates? If you haven’t found a full-time position yet which utilizes your degree, don’t worry, your time will come! Be patient. I know it may be hard, but good things will come your way. My friend dual majored in Psychology and Criminal Justice at Michigan State and it took her nearly a year after her graduation to obtain a job in her field, but she now has the job she’s always wanted. If you graduated with a degree which you don’t like, it’s not too late. You have courses which can count toward another degree, so go back and get the degree you truly want.



student profiles

Jessica Colombo: May 2011 grad Degree: BA in Marketing with International Business Specialization Job: Marketing & Advertising at Zaarly

If I was looking for a job with Zaarly/Marketing/web what should I be doing and how would I go about that? Take as many risks as possible. Ask questions. Meet strangers. Stay curious. Be flexible. Believe that nothing is out of the question. Connect with people on campus that have similar professional interests as you. Your network is the only thing that will stick with you when you leave MSU.

What is the best piece of advice you can give recent graduates? Don’t settle. Find a position that aligns with your interests and live your work life with a smile!

How can MSU and/or the Alumni Association help? The MSUAA reminds me that there are Spartans everywhere and they truly are members of your extended family that you can always count on!


Brian Rockwell: May 2011 grad Degree: BS in Mechanical Engineering Job: Powertrain Division at Chrysler

If I was looking for a job in engineering what should I be doing and how would I go about that? I think that if you are looking for a job with a specific company the best way to show them that you are a good fit is to show them that you are really interested in what they do. Companies realize that if you really want to work for them you will be happier, more productive, and more likely to stay with the company than if you are just looking for any job.

What is the best piece of advice you can give recent graduates? Don’t assume that just because you have a degree you are done learning.



You’ve Graduate By Mike Nowlin

It’s no secret that college students and new graduates face one of the toughest job markets in decades, making the burden of paying off student loans even more worrisome. Based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are now over 250,000 college graduates unemployed, up from 116,000 just three years ago. Many of those who do have jobs are underemployed and living back at home with their parents. The graduates facing the greatest employment challenges are bachelor’s degree holders’ aged 20-24, who experienced a 17 percent increase in unemployment between January 2010 and January 2011. The prospect of getting hired and retiring student loans is not all doom and gloom, however. A new Michigan State University Collegiate Employment Research Institute report shows signs that college job market will rebound – but probably not until next year. Hiring should increase three percent across the board in all industries according to the MSU survey of 4,600 employers conducted in Fall 2010 for the Institute’s annual study. The survey’s most encouraging statistic is that hiring levels are expected to increase by 10 percent

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for bachelor’s degree graduates. Two types of companies are likely to comprise the bulk of new hiring: Fast-growth companies (9-100 employees) and large companies (greater than 4,000 employees). The study

the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, and City Corps. Based on statistics from, for example, 90 percent of its volunteers have at least a bachelor’s degree. Philanthropic programs allow volunteers to work for a

“There are now over 250,000 college graduates unemployed, up from 116,000 just three years ago.” notes though, that the competition for these new positions will be fierce. So what options exist for pending or new college graduates who cannot find immediate employment between now and then? Fortunately, plenty of opportunities are available for those willing to consider nontraditional career paths. Many recent graduates are now turning to volunteering, enlisting with such organizations as

stipend and/or room and board, as well as develop professional experience. The commitment for the Peace Corps spans 27 months, while a 10 month to one-year commitment is required for AmeriCorps. The volunteers say the experience is fulfilling because they can see, first-hand, the contributions they are making within a community. At the same time, they are expanding their contact networks, enhancing skill sets, and strengthening their resumes to be more attractive to

potential future employers. MSU graduate Nicole Gaunt initially volunteered to serve in Rwanda for the Peace Corps before transferring to an AmeriCorp program in Alaska after she obtained her degree in French in May 2009. The reason she returned to the U.S. from Africa was due to a family member’s sudden illness. “Deciding my senior year at State that I didn’t really want to pursue the career path that I was on, the opportunity to live, learn and serve in Africa for two years as a Peace Corps volunteer really caught my attention,” Gaunt said. “Joining the Peace Corps right out of college was absolutely the right decision for me.” If going abroad or moving to another state isn’t appealing, another alternative is to become a part of what is called the “entrepreneurship network.”



“Joining the Peace Corps right out of college was absolutely the right decision for me.”

This option is for individuals who have a startup business idea they want to launch on their own, or for those looking for other people to help build on that idea. Entrepreneurship networks are emerging all over the country and can be found in almost every large city. Many young people have potentially successful ideas but are afraid to move forward due to fear of failure or inexperience. You also may want to consider “WWOOF-ing”, which stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. Basically, you go to another country and work on a farm for room and board in exchange for the opportunity to explore new cultures and customs. The WWOOF website features a long list of countries with these programs, ranging from Australia to Ghana to France. An added benefit of joining as a volunteer with a service organi-


zation is the possibility of qualifying to defer student loans and, in some cases, even have the debt total reduced or rearranged to a lower interest rate. In order to qualify you must have a Stafford, Perkins, direct, or consolidation loan. Some commercial loans may also be deferred, but it depends on the financial institution that the loan is from. If you have a Perkins loan, you can reduce your amount of debt by 15 percent for each year of service over the first two years. If you serve for over two years and into four years, then you can reduce your debt by 20 percent each year, which can result in a total reduction of up to 70 percent of your total debt. MSU Class of 2009 graduate Jennifer Scarff, who obtained her degree in education, has been working for AmeriCorps in Richmond, Kentucky. She was able to defer all of her loans except for one private one. When

she concludes her service in January, 2012, AmeriCorps will pay all the interest accrued on her loans since she began working as a volunteer. For more information on some of the best ways to land a job or begin an unconventional career path, check out the “Graduate Guru” section for some hot new tips from our resident expert. And please feel free to share other job alternatives that you know about or ask questions.


Emily Tschirhart, former MSUAA employee and May 2011 graduate, plants beans at a Swedish farm in Enkoping; just part of her WWOOFing experience. “Beans were the biggest portion of their income and we planted about 30,000 of them. Other tasks included planting other vegetables and transferring pots. Sometimes, when guests would check out from the bed and breakfast we would help clean up the rooms to prepare them for the next batch of guests.”

Photos by Kiersten Anderson

Kiersten Anderson describes WWOOFing, “It’s the best way to feel and understand another culture on a budget...When I WWOOFed, I was able to experience things that I never would have if I had just stayed in a hostel.”


cover story

WHERE in the WORLD ARE ALL THE Spartans? By Mike Nowlin & Stephanie Luscombe

The real world can be a frightening place for a new graduate. They have to deal with moving away from campus, paying off student loans, and above all, find a job. With today’s unemployment rate hovering around nine percent since January, and with the baby boomers hanging around longer than many economists expected, it has become a much more competitive job market for new graduates. Many graduates are willing to go anywhere in order to find employment; consequently many companies aren’t going to career fairs in the same numbers that they used to. New graduates are forced to go outside their traditional avenues in order to find jobs. So where are the majority of young college graduates heading in order to find a place to start their career? According to the 2009 Michigan State


University Destination Survey Report, of the 1,666 graduates who listed their employment location, 73 percent are employed in the Midwest region with 59 percent of that number remaining in Michigan. This suggests a decrease in the “brain drain” trend, with more students remaining in state rather than leaving Michigan. The 59 percent of graduates staying in Michigan is way up from the reported 46 percent in state graduates from the Class of 2008. We came across Jamie Capodieci near the end of her senior year here at Michigan State. We were impressed by Jamie’s goal of moving to New York City after graduation for two very different aspirations: politics and professional dancing. Jamie graduated in May 2011 with a degree in political science and has since relocated to New York to work as a community

organizer for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. Inspired by the then-senator’s Democratic National Convention Speech, she was one of 16 chosen among 900 applicants for the New York organizer positions. When asked how she landed the job, Jamie responded, “I believe that my political science major, and activities such as Sigma Kappa and the MSU Dance Team showed that I was a great candidate with time management skills.” Professors and courses Jamie took during her undergrad helped her learn and understand political practices and theories. All of which she says will be helpful to take into the political world she has quickly entered. Working for President Obama, Jamie feels “that the right to vote is crucial and I am excited that I will be able to empower people to exercise their rights. I also believe that there are a lot of misconceptions about Obama

cover story

and Democrats in general, and I hope to eradicate those misconceptions. Change is possible, and it can happen one person at a time.” While working on the Obama campaign, Jamie met another Spartan alumna, also a doctor, who is dedicating all of her free time to getting President Obama re-elected. Great Spartans think alike. Proceeding with her goals in dance and her routine of multitasking, Jamie is choreographing Long Island’s Regional Premier of Spring Awakening. She works in the city during the day at the Obama re-election campaign and spends her nights at the Smithtown Center of Performing Arts. Jamie is the daughter of a dance studio owner, her passion for dance beginning at the age of three. “I loved dancing at all the home football and basketball games so much that I was not ready to give it up and I wanted to take it to the next level.” After her summer career, Jamie plans to take time off before attending law school. She will continue to explore her opportunities in the professional dance world by auditioning for Broadway in the city. Everyone back at MSU wishes you the best of luck, Jamie!

“Change is possible, and it can happen one person at a time.” Photo by


club MSU

The MSU Alumni Club of Metro Chicago attend the 6th annual Chicago SpartyBall, held at U.S. Cellular Field on February 19, 2011 This gala was a benefit event for the Chicago Endowment Scholarship

Photos by Paul Saini

Being an active member of the MSU Clubs, more specifically the “Young Alumni Club,” are great ways to connect with Spartans whether you are moving to a new place, want to make more friends, or participate in a variety of activities. The group describes their goals. “The MSU Alumni Club of Metro Chicago embraces their mission to work as an extension of the Michigan State University Alumni Association, and will broaden and nurture alumni relations for Michigan State University in the Chicagoland area. In doing so it is our mission to promote membership in the Alumni Association, foster alumni involvement


in the University through development, student recruitment, legislative advocacy and career placement, and act as general extension of the University in the Chicago Metropolitan area.” Visit for information on Chicago events and for a club locator and calendar of events!

club MSU


The Michigan State University Alumni Association has regional clubs throughout Michigan, the United States, and the world. Regional clubs sponsor programs and events to bring Spartans together for social events, athletic and cultural events, and fund raising opportunities that support student scholarships in your area. As a dues-paying member of the MSUAA you are automatically a member of your local regional club. A portion of your membership dues support your local club.


MSU in: Chicago!



Surprise your guests with these creative, healthy recipes for the ultimate tailgate!

Chicken Chimichanga Dip

Each recipe can be prepared the night before a tailgate or, at most, in 35 minutes.


Alumna, Diane Luscombe, received her MA in Classroom Teaching from Michigan State University in 1986. Diane and her family are passionate tailgaters. These are just a few recipes she whips-up for her family, friends, and fellow Spartans. Look for her (and her delectable spread) on Munn field during football season. Enjoy and Go Green!

2 Boneless chicken breast halves-boil until done and then shred into little pieces. 1 - 8 oz cream cheese 1 cup Hellmans Mayonnaise 1 small can diced green chilies 1 - 8 oz shredded cheese–any kind 1 or 2 Tbl diced jalapeño peppers ¼ cup sliced black or kalamata olives Mix the top 6 ingredients together and bake in a shallow dish on 350 degrees for about 30 to 45 minutes or until top turns a little crispy looking. Garnish with sliced black olives. Serve with taco chips.





Awesome Breakfast Braid Ingredients: 4 oz cream cheese ½ cup milk 8 eggs (separate one egg white for the egg wash) ¼ cup chopped onions ¼ cup chopped red peppers 5 slices ham, chopped 2 cans crescent rolls or sheets ½ cup shredded cheese

*Be Creative! Any vegetable, cheese and meat combination would be tasty. Try cooked salmon and feta cheese with green onion. *Bake at the last minute before you leave for tailgating. Wrap in foil and place in thermal heat bags until ready to serve.

Place cream cheese and milk in microwave for one minute, whisk together. Whisk in eggs, add onions and peppers, dash of salt and pepper. Cook in a nonstick pan sprayed with cooking spray until soft set. Roll sheets of crescent rolls onto a sprayed cookie sheet closing all seams to create one large sheet. Cut 1 ½ inch wide strips, 3 inches deep (toward center) down each side, leaving 6 inches in the middle. Place cut up ham down the center and add cooked egg mixture on top. Then add shredded cheese on top of that. To close: bring one strip from each side to the center and twist in the center. Continue with the rest of the strips until the end. Brush with whisked egg white. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes. It will be golden. To serve, slice in ¾” wide slices.



Quinoa Salad White Wine Vinaigrette Dressing: Ingredients: 2 cups cooked quinoa 1/8 cup chopped red onion 3 Tbl olive oil (or Vidalia onion or green onion) 2 Tbl white wine or champagne vinegar ½ cup dried cherries 1 tsp Meijer champagne dill mustard or ¼ cup slivered almonds Dijon mustard ½ cup rinsed chickpeas Pinch of sugar ¼ + cup chopped fresh cilantro Salt and pepper to taste Preparation: Put one cup rinsed Quinoa and 2 cups water into a microwaveable bowl and cook on high for 9-13 minutes until water is absorbed. Quinoa should look like little white spirals. Times may vary due to differing microwave powers. Let stand 2 minutes and fluff with a fork. Toss together quinoa, onion, dried cherries, almonds, chickpeas. For white wine vinaigrette dressing: whisk together olive oil, white wine vinegar, mustard, and sugar. Add salt and pepper. Pour over quinoa and mix. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro. Refrigerate until cool. *Quinoa is a low glycemic index food. It is high in protein, rich in calcium, iron, phosphorous, magnesium and fiber. Use any fresh veggies of your liking to vary the recipe.

Photos by Stephanie Luscombe



Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Bars Ingredients: 1 cup (2 sticks) butter softened 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar ½ cup granulated sugar 2 eggs 1 tsp vanilla

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp cinnamon ½ tsp salt (optional) 3 cups Quaker Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked) 1 cup raisins OR dried cherries 1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Preparation: 1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. 2. Beat together butter and sugars until creamy. 3. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. 4. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Mix well. 5. Stir in oats and raisins (or cherries and/or chocolate or white chocolate chips) 6. Pat mixture into a ungreased 13 x 9-inch metal baking pan. 7. Bake 30 – 35 minutes or until golden brown. 8. Cool and cut into bars. Enjoy!



your credit: wh By Devon Barrett

What is a credit score, anyway? If you want to take out a loan, your credit score is the threedigit number the lender will look at to determine whether or not you are able to pay them back. The higher your credit score, the more likely a lender is to offer you the loan, because they know you’re capable of repaying it.

Where does this number even come from? It is a calculation based on your credit report: A collection of information about your credit card accounts, loans you have, and how regularly you make payments on them.

I took out a lot of college loans. Is it still possible for me to have a good credit report?

Yes. In fact, making on-time payments on your college loans is a way of establishing good credit. Once you’ve made one to two years of consistent, good payments on college loans, you could even qualify for a car loan, because lenders know you’re capable of making payments. Other things that factor into a lenders’ judgment of your credit score. Such as your debt ratio: the ratio of your income to the amount of money you owe. If your credit obligations (things you’re paying off) are above two-thirds of your salary, you probably aren’t ready to take out another loan, and lenders will recognize that.

What kinds of things HELP my credit score? • • •


On-time payments for all of your bills. Keeping your credit card balance paid off paid down. Keeping credit cards whose

balances you’ve always paid on time. Don’t close them, because they act as a history of your ability to keep things paid.

What kinds of things HURT my credit score? •

• •

Late payments! Damage done to your credit from a late payment takes 24 months to repair. Credit cards with balances. Opening a lot of different accounts in a short amount of time (i.e. going to the mall and getting a credit card from every department store in a week’s span).

What kinds of things don’t have any effect on my credit score at all? •

Marital status (although if you get married and share a credit card or take out a loan with your spouse, you will


ho’s keeping score? •

• •

obviously have to agree to be careful of keeping things paid off together). Gender (sure, being a male driver will make your car insurance higher…but being a female with college debt doesn’t mean your credit score will be lower). Religion Geographic location (yup, it’s the same everywhere. But if you take a cross-country road trip and make a big purchase on your credit card in every state, you still have to pay for your purchases. And if you live in Michigan and buy your dream Oceanside pad in California for vacations, you still have to make house payments.)


grauduate guru

GET A JOB! What is the best way for a recent grad to get a job in this economy?

How have social media sites, like LinkedIn, revolutionized the way people look for jobs & how can graduates use that as a tool to get hired?

How can you stand out to employers?


graduate guru

When you get an interview, what are ways to make sure you are prepared for it?

Any other advice for recent graduates?

ARE you LINKEDIN? John Hill, Director of Alumni Career Services, answers every new grads’ No. 1 question: How do I find a job in a down economy? His answer: LinkedIn Watch these videos for tips and tricks to become employed.


“seen” on campus



By Laurie Robison

Some guys know just where to go to find love, but few are as good at it as Derrick Turner. A multimedia coordinator at Michigan State’s Public Relations Office, Derrick is always on the lookout for images in nature that represent the heart of campus…literally. It began in July 2009 when, on his way to work, he noticed something unusual about an elm tree situated across from Adam’s Field and along the sidewalk by the Red Cedar River. “I circled West Circle to make sure it was what I thought it was,” he tells us. He was amazed by his discovery: an elm tree whose leaves had grown to form the shape of a heart. He shot it with his Nikon D2X, launching a quest to find and


photograph other natural representations of that universal symbol of love–a heart. “The Elm Tree Wreath Heart was the first one I photographed,” says Derrick of his MSU Hearts photo gallery. Admitting that he enjoys working on and wandering about campus, Derrick added, “I love taking photos that showcase the beauty of MSU, and I love that the world sees MSU through my eyes.”

Derrick Turner graduated from MSU’s College of Communication Arts & Sciences in 1986 with an advertising major and journalism minor. His love of photography started at Flint Northern High School where he served on the Newspaper/Yearbook staff. Derrick has been part of the University Relations team for 10 years. Before that, he worked as a graphic artist and photographer in the Office of the Registrar/Enrollment Services for 13 years. He contributed to the creation of the Spartan Planner, which to this day is distributed each summer to grateful students.

“seen” on campus



Your personal network for life.


e Disclosure: You are receiving this publication because you recently graduated from Michigan State University and received a free membership with the MSU Alumni Association. For details on benefit of membership, see



An online publication for recent grads!

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