Stefano Verdesoto: Grant allows for best newcomer experience… EVER.
Do you remember your transition between school and the working world? I do… mostly because I am living it right now! Last month, I had the opportunity to attend the EACE annual conference for the first time, and I honestly cannot even begin to express how thankful I am for the opportunity. Because I found myself in transition during registration season, I did not fully know whether I would attend the conference or not. Either way, I decided to register and mapped out my route from Buffalo, NY to Pittsburgh, PA (a short three and a half hours, believe it or not!). I felt ready, but I sat down and thought to myself, “How the heck are you going to afford this, Stefano?”
Although I found myself in the middle of a grueling round of phone, Skype, and on-campus visits for multiple positions across the country, I still considered myself “unemployed.” Ouch. This did mean, however, that I would do research, conduct outreach, and figure out alternative tactics to make my conference experience happen (Airbnb, anyone?!). During one of my Public Relations committee conference calls, I mentioned to the team that my attendance to the conference was in jeopardy. It hurt to say it, but unless numbers added up and a miracle came about, I just could not commit. Then, one of the committee members mentioned the EACE Professional Development Grant, a brand new opportunity to help members defray the cost of professional development programs. “Thank you!” I said, and I rushed to apply.
After filling out the user-friendly form and recording and uploading a video explaining why I deserved the EACE Professional Development Grant (it is somewhere on YouTube, just ask!), I hit “submit” on my application and hoped for the best. Later that week, the career services gods smiled down on me, as I found out I received a grant, which would allow me to partially fund my trip to Pittsburgh! What once felt like an uncertain period of my life, slowly turned into a clear picture (Dusquene Incline and all!). It all felt real.
My three days in Pittsburgh rocked! Informative, fun, and inspiring sessions energized me! My all-time favorites included “Stop the Boredom Now!” by Dia Harris from Johnson & Johnson and Nicole Thomas from RAVE! Seminars, as well as Mark Rhoads’ talk on hiring foreign students, who joined us from McCandlish Holton Immigration Practice Group. I also really enjoyed the evening at Uptown, where a huge group of members gathered to chat, share a drink (two, actually), and bust some moves! Although I tragically lost the raffle’s Fitbit (there is always next year!), I felt great about my donation to the Boys and Girls Club. Also, as a foodie, I made sure to enjoy some local spots during my time in the city. My all-time favorites included Meat & Potatoes, Primanti Brothers, and Church Brew Works!
Learn more about the Scholarships, Grants, and Awards EACE offers.