Friday, December 14, 2012

Interview with Alumna Vanessa Torres, '12

Just before the holidays, we caught up with alumna and former Panther Blogger Vanessa Torres to see how life's been treating her since she graduated in May 2012.  Majoring in Spanish and minoring in English and Journalism while at Ferrum College, Vanessa maintained a busy schedule with academics as well as being a captain of the women's lacrosse team, active member of the Delta Phi Epsilon international sorority, News Editor for the Iron Blade, and a Panther Blogger.  Check out Vanessa's previous blog posts here.  Now thriving as an aspiring career woman, she kindly took some time out of her new schedule to interview with us!  So, without further ado...

FC:  Vanessa, you've been a college graduate for a little over 6 months do you like it?
VanessaSo far, I'm really enjoying my life in the "real world."  It has been good to me since I graduated.

FC: Do you miss college?
VanessaI definitely miss Ferrum, my friends, professors, coaches, teammates, sorority sisters...and my trips to the 77 restaurant!

FC: What parts of being a career woman do you enjoy the most?
VanessaI enjoy being able to wake up and go to work at a place that I absolutely enjoy and with people I love to work with.

My colleague, Doug Hemming, and me at the Harlem Book Fair in NYC. It was my first trip as an intern!

FC: What are the challenges you have faced so far?
VanessaI wouldn't necessarily call them challenges; I would call them opportunities to learn.  When new tasks were presented to me, I would ask all the questions I could. I knew that if I did, I would do the assignment right the first time. I think that many people get scared of asking questions because they think others will think they are incapable of doing the assignment. But to me, it shows that you really want it.

FC: What is your job now?  Can you explain what you do and what you're up to now?
Testing out the live feed for a live Skype interview
with students from Miami University in Ohio
and our host from our show The Washington Journal.
VanessaMy title is Marketing Assistant at C-SPAN. I assist my supervisor with premiums, ads on Facebook, sales, and anything he may need me to do. I've also had the opportunity to travel with the C-SPAN digital bus and spread the mission of C-SPAN.  Currently, I am working on premiums, sales, and ads for the next fiscal year, along with our new original First Ladies Series that begins in February 2013.

FC: How closely does this job compare to what you wanted to do for a career after college?
VanessaMarketing and Communications has always been a field I've wanted to be a part of.  I'm happy I was able to start off on the right foot with C-SPAN.

FC: How soon after graduating did you find your job?  How did you find out about the position?
VanessaWell, my temporary job initially started from an internship. It was actually quite interesting how it all worked out. My mom's friend's daughter's neighbor (sorry, very confusing!), who is a radio producer at C-SPAN, connected me to the human resources specialist who was in charge of the internships. I had applied for the internship in January 2012, had my interview in late February, and found out that I got the internship at the end of April. From there, I worked very hard, met some great people, and was mentored toward the right direction. I started my internship in June, and in late July, a temporary job position opened up. I was asked if I'd be interested in applying. I applied, had an interview, and 4 days later, I heard that I got the position.  I was beyond excited!  As I started my new temporary job during the first week of August, I knew my hard work and enthusiasm had paid off.

Me at the Library of Congress: National Book Festival. The festival took place at the National Mall.

FC: How was the transition from the internship to the full-time temporary job?  Did you position change?
Me and the C-SPAN 'Road to the White House' bus
when it came to visit DC while I was an intern.
VanessaIt was definitely a great transition. I stayed with the same department and got the chance to work with the same people, only this time, I worked with our creative team. My position had definitely changed from intern to employee.

FC: What kind of unique opportunities or special projects have you had at your jobs that have expanded your experience?
VanessaThe Republican National Convention and the Democratic National Convention was definitely one of the biggest projects I was able to help on. I had to contact many states to find out their delegate count, which events they were attending, hotels where they were staying, and so on. Everything was so fast-paced and fun!  I was able to talk to so many people from different parties and get to see both sides of the conventions and how they worked.

I also got the chance to travel with the C-SPAN "Road to the White House" Digital bus to Ohio for a week. Since Ohio was a big battleground state, we visited different universities to talk to students about C-SPAN resources and how they could use them to learn more about this year's election.

FC: Do you have any "favorite moments" from your new job?
My boyfriend, Jesus Diaz FC Alumnus '11,
and I at this year's C-SPAN holiday party
VanessaSince the Olympics were going on during the summer, our Social Media Specialist made a video called "C-SPAN Olympics," which starred my entire department. This video just shows how much fun the people I work with are!  Please check it out:

FC: Any "favorite moments" from post-college life?
VanessaDefinitely getting hired, making the greatest friends at C-SPAN, going to some awesome places in D.C., and getting to see the underground subway in the U.S. Capitol!

FC: Do you have any future goals for your career or plans to continue your education?
VanessaI'm hoping that I get hired permanently after my temporary job is finished. Crossing my fingers!  I'll continue to walk up these stairs to success and happiness that I aspire for myself. In a couple of years, I will probably look into graduate school somewhere in D.C. or northern Virginia. 

FC: Were there any courses, professors, or experiences at Ferrum that you think particularly helped you prepare for your job?
VanessaMost every single professor taught me something valuable at Ferrum. Those who worked with me knew how much it meant and know that they have contributed something special to my future; they know who they are, and I thank them!

It's important to be a team player. It's important to see the bigger picture -- what will be important tomorrow and then what you think is important today. There is so much more out there to look forward to, and you have to have the right attitude and motivation.  These insights and experience came from being a part of a great organization, Delta Phi Epsilon, and a great team, Ferrum women's lacrosse.  It takes a strong and determined person to get to your goal, I believe that person is in everyone.

Some of my colleagues in the Marketing Department and boyfriend, from left:
Rachel, myself, Jesus D., Jessica and our VP of Marketing, Marty.

FC: Any other information or stories you'd like to share with us?
VanessaHere's a fun fact:  in 2008, the C-SPAN digital bus visited my high school, and that was the first time I had ever seen it. During my interview for my internship, I mentioned that I wanted to work with the marketing digital bus because I thought it was so cool the way they took the time to interact with young people and teach them about our government.

And a bit of advice to others pursuing a career:  don't be shy!  Talk to people!  Networking is key!

FC:  Thanks for taking the time to interview with us, Vanessa!  We're glad you're enjoying success and thriving in the beginning of your career.  Best wishes on your future endeavors, and hopefully, we can catch up with you again sometime!

VanessaYes, anytime!  I'm so glad you all reached out to me!  Thank you so much, and I'll let you know when I'm in Ferrum again and see if I can stop by.  

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