Networking Leads to Opportunity

Jennifer FernandezJennifer Fernandez enjoyed a summer internship at the University of Manchester in England last summer and is now preparing for her senior year at Smith College. It wasn't long ago that she was a student at RACC studying Anthropology.

Jennifer, a graduate of Exeter High School, attended RACC from 2006 to 2009 and learned to make the most of each opportunity by participating in Legacy, the Honors Program and Phi Theta Kappa.

"Legacy published three of my essays and one photographic entry over two consecutive years," Jennifer said. "I also served as the Submissions Editor for the journal and found the experience a very good starting point in academic publishing."

Jennifer challenged herself with honors courses and found them not to be more difficult than other classes, but more in-depth. "Positive benefits of honors courses include smaller class sizes, deeper teacher-student relationships, greater in-depth discussions of course topics, and the freedom to expand the exploration of the course materials," she said. "I would recommend the honors classes to any student who desires a firmer grasp on the course subject as well as the classroom freedom to explore and study course topics on a much deeper level."

The honors courses also put her in touch with Dr. Pamela Blakely, who was instrumental in assisting with the transfer process. Jennifer said she would offer several tips to RACC students who may be interested in transferring. "Network with your professors and start your transfer process early," she said. "Research your possible future colleges thoroughly via the Internet and discussions with your professors. Visit and tour the potential college campus several times if possible. Correspond with current students of your desired institutions."

Once she settled into Smith, Jennifer took advantage of the opportunity to network with a visiting professor from England during a social event. That was the first step to her seven-week internship where she copy-edited articles, created an index for a forthcoming book, cataloged a library and helped edit an electronic database of recorded British Isles textiles.

Jennifer said she honed her networking skills during some of the talks and lectures she attended through Phi Theta Kappa, the honor society for two-year colleges. "I would recommend Phi Theta Kappa to any student, especially students planning to further their education at a four-year college," she said.

After graduating from Smith next May, Jennifer hopes to attend graduate school and earn a doctoral degree. Her career goals include either a professorship at a college or a position at a museum or research institution.