Last fall, short one credit hour to qualify for Bright Futures and with less than 48 hours until the end of the add/drop period, I quickly added a random class called “Strategic Self-Marketing.”
And that’s how I stumbled into the Beyond120 program.
Founded in 2018, Beyond120 is a program for College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) students that includes internships, scholarships, research, courses and travel opportunities among other resources to, as the UF Office of Advancement and Alumni Affairs’ website says, “promote experiential learning and career readiness in College of Liberal Arts and Sciences undergraduates.”
Beyond120 has grown quickly since it first started, as Brittany Grubbs, who oversees internships and experiential learning for the program explained. The program was originally just internships and courses but now includes many more opportunities to become involved in.
After quite literally stumbling into a Beyond120 course, I was soon enrolled in the Beyond120 Skills Curriculum and even signed up to attend an excursion to Tallahassee, Florida to tour government offices and lobbying firms and learn more about professional networking. I loved the program’s strong emphasis on the marketability and value of liberal arts majors. This semester I will be hopping across the pond to London to explore career opportunities in the humanities as part of another Beyond120 excursion.
UF freshman, Mombo Ngu will also be attending the Beyond120 excursion to London. She learned about Beyond120 coursework at UF Preview. Now she has not only taken Beyond120 coursework but she is a Beyond120 Experiential Scholar and has joined the Beyond120 Young Professionals club.
“I’ve been able to really look forward to all the opportunities that I will build in the future such as this London trip that I was selected for,” Ngu said. “I know that I’ll be able to meet with UF alumni, to build myself in a professional manner, continue to work on my networking skills, and develop myself as a professional to prepare for my careers and how to interact with others on a more professional manner.”
Ngu said she would recommend the Beyond120 program to other students.
“It definitely takes you out of your comfort zone for example, it makes you—well, when I say comfort zone I mean mostly making you understand how to network with people—but it also gives you the skills to prepare for that.”
However, Ngu said the Beyond120 program could provide more opportunities and resources catering specifically to STEM majors such as excursions that feature STEM alumni.
UF student Hunter Hales, an international studies and French major, was an early participant in the Beyond120 program and is now a Beyond120 intern. She explained that there are now specific opportunities focusing on STEM majors such as shadowing for healthcare professions.
For Hales, Beyond120 is a unique and important program because it focuses exclusively on CLAS majors, unites CLAS and focuses on the idea that there are multiple paths to success.
“It’s a way for you to develop a professional brand and so that kind of just, it goes above and beyond your major at that point, you know, you’re talking to people who’ve already done it and you see that there’s more than one route to end up to where you want to end up,” Hales said.
Second year behavioral and cognitive neuroscience major, Airi Latras, is also involved in the Beyond120 program. Her advice to other students? Get involved with Beyond120!
“I definitely think it’s a good way to get your foot in the door with employers, and I think it’s a really cool idea in the fact that it’s not just in terms of the future. I feel like education and experience is important, and UF fulfills the education part but Beyond120 kind of gives us an actual look in what we would be expected to do in that career so I would recommend it,” Latras said.
To learn more about Beyond120 and how you can get involved, visit their website.