By Edonnya Alvarez
After graduating from Alderson Broaddus University, Brittany Pace never planned to stay in Philippi. However, when the opportunity to work at her alma mater arose, she knew it would be the perfect way to launch her adult lifestyle and live closer to her fiancé.
At AB, it is not unusual for graduates to return as employees. These individuals remain for a variety of reasons, but some continue because it is a stepping stone to bigger things. For those in the admissions department, their unique experiences as former students can color their employment in positive ways.
“It makes me even more approachable for the position because I can talk about all the different aspects that AB has to offer,” Pace said. “It is a great first job where I am able to learn customer service, sales, marketing and much more.”
Pace, an admissions counselor and former communications student, began full-time employment at AB in October. She decided to return because her fiancé, Quade Raley, is still enrolled at the university. Although Pace hails from Boston, she felt finding a local job made sense in order to stay close to Raley during his senior year. After four years of work-study, Pace was offered the position when a counselor suddenly left in October.
“I was in the office at the right time and already knew how the admissions process worked,” Pace said.
Molly Henderson, director of admissions, explains that employing alumni is easier because they can showcase their experiences to new students. Hiring former students has not been a problem for AB. This position provides experience with a real job and prepares them for future employment opportunities if they decide to leave.
“I have worked at the college I graduated from,” Henderson said. “So I understand what the process is like.”
Transitioning from a student to an employee has its own challenges. To Pace, the most difficult is determining where to draw the line between friendship and professionalism. Despite being a former student-athlete on the acrobatics and tumbling team and keeping established friendships, Pace must distance herself from current students to uphold boundaries. Another hard transition for her is simply moving far away from home. While the admissions counselor position allows her to travel regularly, living in Philippi is a harsh change. Pace sees her fiancé frequently, but the majority of her family and friends still reside in Boston.
Pace, however, is not the only former AB student currently situated in admissions. Two other recent AB graduates, Ciera Nestor and Brandon Rockwell, were also hired by Henderson for the department.
Like Pace, Nestor graduated from AB in 2017. AB offered her the admissions counselor job before her graduation, and she stayed to work close to home and save money. Nestor also wanted experience outside of a college environment to prepare her for future jobs, but found she loves the ability to travel often and assist students through the process of entering college.
Rockwell, a dual major in legal studies and history, started in admissions in April. He feels that his majors prepared him to speak in front of people without hesitation, which is an important aspect of his job. Rockwell interned in admissions as a student, and since he chose to take some time off before pursing graduate school, he accepted when AB offered him a full-time job. Although Rockwell is unsure how long he will continue working here, the outcome will likely be determined by when he decides to obtain his master’s degree.
For Pace, this journey is also temporary, but she loves working at AB and is grateful for this opportunity. However, she wants to seek more challenges and test her capabilities. Pace tentatively plans to return to Boston in May of 2019 and start a career in real estate.