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Career Advice from AU Professors

College is an invaluable time for career exploration. Professors act as an important resource when considering different fields based on their level of expertise and past career endeavors. We asked several AU professors about the best career advice they had ever received and their answers were both insightful and should inspire you to take advantage of office hours.

Professor Christopher Tudge (Biology): “Always take time to listen to others, even if you already know what it is they are saying, and especially if you already know what it is they are saying. On the flip side, never be shy or reticent about speaking up, no matter who it is, especially to perceived equals or superiors.”

Professor Richard Stack (Public Communication): “‘You might as well be happy, it costs the same.’ This gem from my grandmother means you can be upbeat or bummed out… it’s really up to you. Ultimately, your attitude determines your altitude.”

Professor Joanne Allen (Art History): “The best piece of advice I have received is: ‘Don’t beat yourself up too much about things that haven’t gone quite right. Women especially often obsess and worry about every little uncomfortable encounter, awkward meeting or missed opportunity. Cut yourself some slack and take comfort in the knowledge that you are trying your best.’”

Professor Priya Doshi (Public Communication): “I would say the best piece of career advice I ever received was to never dismiss a job opening because I wasn’t sure if I was qualified. I have applied for and received offers for multiple jobs throughout my career because once I have decided to apply for a job, I invest in the process with focus, commitment, and customization. If you show your passion to employers, they will have an easier time envisioning you in the role. Some of these roles have proved to be the biggest growth opportunities of my career.”

Professor Nelson Amaral (Marketing): “Help others succeed. The skills required to do so will help you grow personally and professionally. Meanwhile, it will afford you the loyalty and respect of your peers. Eventually, your role in the success of others will be recognized.”

Professor Lacey Wootton (Literature): “Years ago, when I was getting my teaching credential, my teaching-methods professor told us to never be afraid to try new lessons, approaches, etc., because in teaching, we almost always get ‘do-overs’: If a lesson goes poorly, then we should analyze what went wrong, and the next time we need to teach that material, we can try a different approach. This advice not only encouraged me to be creative and innovative in my teaching; it also helped me learn from my mistakes and continually strive to improve as a teacher.”

Professor Laura Bernhofen (Mathematics and Statistics): “I think the best career advice that I received was to strive to attain the highest degree that I was capable of in mathematics, instead of a professional degree. The quantitative and analytic skills that I would develop would provide me with many more possible career paths and would give me an education that would allow me to be ahead in an ever-changing world.”

Professor Scott Talan (Public Communication): “It was from my father Jack Talan: ‘You can never have enough education.’ To me, that is not just formal education and degrees, but also informal ways to learn as well as personal growth too. My father also said, regarding networking, ‘if you say hello to 100 people 99 of them will say hi back’ so you have nothing to really lose and lots of potential [to] gain.”

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Public Relations major with minors in Marketing and International Relations. Studying in our lovely Nation's Capital. 
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