Where are they now: Maryville graduates

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Ever wonder what Maryville alumni are doing and how they adjusted to a new chapter in their life? Chinyere Turner is an alumnus who graduated in 2017. She doubled majored in history and English with a minor in secondary education. She’s also a second lieutenant in the army.

What is your current position at your job and how has the experience been so far?

I am currently the assistant director of admissions. Basically, an admissions counselor responsible for recruiting students to Maryville. It is rewarding seeing the students you helped through the application process receive awards and become saints.

Why did you decide to come to Maryville?

In 2012, Maryville had a four and one bridge program for secondary education. At the time I thought I wanted to be a high school history teacher, and wanted to go here since I could easily get my masters. I also received the multicultural scholarship and committed to running track at Maryville.

What did you think of your professors in your degree?

I mainly had the same teachers for history, both have retired. Dr. Pitelka was amazing. I enjoyed her classes because she didn’t just teach me about the history of white men, which the majority of history books tailor to. She made sure to include women and people of color. I read Freedom Summer in her class before it became a Maryville Reads book.

Did any stand out to you, and did you develop any close relationships with them?

Once I became an English major I became close with Dr. Murray and Dr. Dana Levin. I loved their classes and ended up taking them every semester.

How can students develop a good relationship with professors?

Students really just need to be engaged. Professors at Maryville will be as involved in a student’s life as they would like. Want your life coach’s cell number? Ask. Want a professor to go to your event? Ask.

What were the most helpful classes you took and why?

Well, I’m not sure about that since I completely changed what I wanted to do mid-way through college.

What were the most fun classes you took?

I don’t know if “fun” is the word but I really enjoyed Latin American Magical Realism with Jesse Kavadlo. The books we read were interesting, we discussed not just the books but how it related to the world today. Jesse also brought his guitar into class a couple of times to sing which was hilarious.

What classes do you wish you had taken?

I wish Maryville had an African American/ Black studies classes. Or just more classes like Latin magical realism or minority voices with Anthony Santirojprapai. I wish Maryville had more classes related to the history of people and color.

Were you involved in any sports, organizations or clubs at school? If so, what were they and did you enjoy your time with them?

Very involved. I ran track for two years. And since I was a multicultural scholar I was really involved with what was once the Multicultural Office and now the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. I was secretary and later the president of the Association of Black Collegians.  A few friends and I decided to revamp ABC because when I started at Maryville in 2012 it was non-existent. After ABC revamped the Office really focused on creating other cultural organizations that I supported as well like HAPA, LSA, IAM and MSA.  

If you had to do this all over again, what would you do differently?

I never took the opportunity to do study abroad. I would most definitely go back and do that, or go on the DC leadership exchange trip.

How has a failure set you up for success?

I’ve learned how to adjust on the fly. Events I organized ended up not going as planned. You learn to adjust and set up a plan B for everything. The mistakes and failures I made also gave me things to think about moving forward. The times I failed gave me something specific to speak on during job interviews and say “this is what I have learned.”

How did you get rid of stress or at least lessen the stress you had?

I have always been pretty active and ran track. So, whenever I feel stressed out I hit the gym. Simon has a punching bag I used. Maryville also has meditation samples you can listen to.

Chinyere Turner is in front of the Maryville University sign. Photo courtesy of Chinyere Turner.

How did Maryville help you prepare for your career?

My current job is to tell high school students about Maryville.  So all of the opportunities and experiences I have had here are exactly what students want to know. I can speak from experience and even introduce them to current students still here and what organizations to join.

Did your experience at Maryville help you find your first position after graduation?

My experiences at Maryville was all I talked about during the job interview which was extremely important. Employers want to know that you have handled similar situations and have some level of experience. Speaking on how you have created and organized an event, did a presentation during the undergraduate conference or had an art piece or poem published in Magnolia.

What was your experience like getting a job after graduation? Did you find a job right away or did someone help you?

I applied to about four or five jobs, that I obviously didn’t get before I applied for the job at Maryville. I also waited about a month after graduation to start applying for jobs, which I don’t suggest if you want a job straight out of college. Take advantage of the life coaches and plan out the six months after graduation.

What is the biggest improvement Maryville has made since you graduated?

I’m low key mad I couldn’t get a women’s study minor. I also noticed that the bathrooms in the CSE open automatically. I think that is a good step in making the campus more accessible for people with disabilities.

Is there any advice you would give future alumni about how to adjust to having a full-time job and not being in school anymore?

I would suggest taking the summer and just enjoy yourself. Take in the fact that you have put in four years or more of hard work. Be in the moment of being a college graduate. You have the rest of your life to work and pay bills.  And if you can negotiate your start date, give yourself a few days of getting used to waking up and being somewhere on time.

What advice do you have for Maryville students and incoming freshman?

Understand that college will probably be the best time of your life, but also keep in mind you are paying for a degree.

What advice would you give to yourself as a freshman in college?

Go to more parties. I would tell myself to get involved. I became more involved on campus my sophomore and junior year. My freshman year would have been better if I would have my friends from Maryville earlier.


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