UCF alumni land jobs at Google, Kennedy Space Center
UCF is home to more than 60,000 students through hundreds of degree programs, and according to Forbes, 60 percent of college graduates can't find work in their field of study. But some UCF grads are proving this statistic dead wrong.
From Kennedy Space Center to Google to the Huffington Post, Knights all over the country have secured jobs at prestigious companies.
Quentin Hibbs, who graduated from UCF in summer 2013 with a master's in business administration, works as a resource and budget analyst at Kennedy Space Center.
"I met the right person at the right time and got the opportunity to get an internship," Hibbs said. "I was getting interviewed when I didn't realize it … It taught me to always be aware that anything can happen at any time."
Though NASA has closed its shuttle program, a lot of research continues to be conducted at the space center.
"There are many things still going on, and [NASA] will eventually start launching human-rated rockets again," Hibbs said. "I am just one piece of the overall puzzle, but I do notice it takes all the pieces to make a solid space center work. It's a great feeling to be a part of that."
NASA isn't the only big company employing UCF grads.
Alumna Nicole Willis graduated with a degree in journalism in 2009 and today she acts as a community partnership marketer for Google Plus in Chicago.
"I think I've been pretty lucky in that the jobs I've gotten so far I haven't had any connections with. I don't think that's very typical," Willis said. "I was just really lucky. I worked really hard and applied far and wide."
While attending UCF, Willis interned at a print newspaper, a magazine and a public-relations company. Each internship, she said, gave her a glimpse of its respective industry.
"It's important, while you're at UCF, to meet lots of people and have lots of internships," Willis said. "You need to find what it is that you're passionate about … internships show you what your role in the industry is."
After realizing that print journalism was struggling and knowing she wanted nothing to do with public relations, Willis decided to follow her college dream and start fresh in a big city.
"A couple of years after [I moved], I found this role at Google and I just applied for it. I wasn't sure what would happen, but I thought, 'Why not?'" Willis said.
Willis is one of many UCF grads who have relocated for their career. Two years after graduating, Madeline Wahl saw a tweet regarding the Huffington Post Editorial Fellowship Program. She sent her résumé and cover letter via email, went through several rounds of interviews and was quickly offered a position at the headquarters in New York.
Wahl was first the social media fellow for the Office of Arianna Huffington. She is currently an associate editor.
"It was exhilarating that I was being considered for such an incredible job," Wahl said. "I had two weeks to relocate to New York. It was so exciting and I couldn't have been happier … Moving to New York for this job has been the best decision I've ever made."
With a website hosting information for more than 75 million global readers and more than 50,000 bloggers, it is easy to get wrapped up in the stress of it all.
"The office environment is truly one-of-a-kind ," Wahl said. "There are nap rooms in the office … healthy snacks … and weekly exercise classes."