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Dec. 13, 2012
By Philip Gruenwald, media relations assistant
Few students graduate from Northwest Missouri State University in less than four years. Even fewer begin jobs at Garmin immediately after graduating. Jasmine Black has accomplished both, alongside numerous accolades.
She graduates Friday, Dec. 14, with a Bachelor of Science degree in interactive digital media with a computer science emphasis.
Black’s internship with Garmin in summer 2012 was the last of many steps toward employment at the major company. Her first step was enrolling at Northwest, intent on working with computers. However, Black was admittedly shy and unsure of where to start.
Her academic advisor, Dr. Carol Spradling, suggested the interactive digital media degree and a few other professional development opportunities.
“She had an eye for me and knew that I needed to open up and communicate with others to make my networking skills better,” Black, from Kansas City, Mo., said. “Once she saw that in me, she kept pushing me to do more. All those things that she pushed me to do made me into who I am today.”
Soon, Black became involved in any organization or leadership role that would make her a more distinguishable job candidate. She was president of the Association of Computing Machinery for Women, member of the Computer Science Road Show Team, a student assistant in computer programming and multimedia, a peer advisor for Freshman Seminar and an interactive digital manager in the 2012 Knacktive class. She also completed two other internships at the UMB Tech Center.
“She just takes charge, and is an organized and methodical person who knows how to motivate other people, too,” Spradling, associate professor of computer science and information systems, said. “She added so much value to herself by taking advantage of all the extra opportunities that were available to her.”
These extra opportunities include Career Day and Mock Interview Day, offered by Career Services. Black learned how to speak with prospective employers at Mock Interview Day. At Career Day, she started a conversation with a Garmin representative that led to her internship and current position.
“I did Mock Interview Day three times,” Black said. “Every time, they gave me different feedback, and I would make sure that I worked on those things.”
Spradling said women are rare in the computer science field. Through her experiences, Spradling said Black “blossomed,” and that self-confidence and success made her a particularly effective ambassador for Northwest at recruiting events.
“In a classroom of a computer science course with 30 students, there may be only two or three women,” Spradling said. “That can be a difficult thing when you’re the minority in the classroom, and Jasmine just rose above that. She had a confidence in herself that she developed over the time she was here and wasn’t ever afraid to speak up in the classroom or ask questions.”
Black is the first-generation college graduate in her family. Looking back at her brief yet productive time at Northwest, Black is happy to impart wisdom on students who, like her, come to college unsure of how to get started.
“Get involved. If you’re not involved, you’re not well-known by your department,” Black said. “Get involved with your advisors and faculty, network with other students, go to the Career Fair, go to Mock Interview Day, talk to the employers, see what they’re looking for, and use those things they tell you to make you a better job applicant.”
Spradling is proud of Black’s accomplishments at Northwest. She is glad Black has become a link between Northwest and Garmin, which is now part of the University’s computer science and information system’s professional advisory council.
“Jasmine is going into a top-notch company that most students would just dream of working at,” Spradling said.
Black credits Spradling for pushing her to seek success as a student, and Northwest for providing the education, training and support necessary to be a valuable asset at Garmin.“Northwest is involved, not just academically but with job placement after school,” Black said. “We have a 95 percent job placement rate for undergraduate students – there are many colleges that don’t have their job placement rate as high as we do, and that shows that Northwest is very involved with their students. Northwest really cares about you.”
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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