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Attorney and Vice President, Fiduciary Officer, National City Trust Co.
Choosing a Major
“I struggled as a political science major,” Tamara says, “and when I met with my academic adviser he encouraged me to consider French as a major. I loved traveling and was already pretty near fluency in French. The change in my major made a world of difference to my entire experience.”
The Messiah Experience
Tamara studied at the University of Strasbourg in France through the Brethren Colleges Abroad program. “Though there are many study abroad programs throughout France,” she says, “the fact that BCA operates in Nancy and Strasbourg (home of the European Union’s most prestigious institutes) was very instrumental in my decision [to travel there].” Traveling to France was the most influential of Tamara’s experiences through Messiah, as she could absorb the culture of the language she studied.
Career Center Experience
“My college work-study was with the Career Center,” Tamara explains, “so I was introduced to their services in my sophomore year. I don’t think it’s too early for anyone to familiarize themselves with the Career Center. Even as a first-year student it wouldn’t hurt to pop in and meet the staff and see what they have to offer.” Tamara continued to take advantages of opportunities afforded by Career Center when she decided to continue her education. “I heeded my own advice when I went to law school,” she says. “I went to the career services office in my first year just to learn where the office was and to introduce myself. This began a great relationship with the staff and when I graduated they knew who I was and have still been very helpful.”
The skills Tamara developed as a student have functioned for her in a wide variety of ways. She observes that she has applied her language skills and lessons gained from international experiences “in ways from assisting young French-speaking Rwandan refugees at my church to studying abroad in law school. Messiah was a great place for me to learn about new career possibilities. After changing my major from political science to French, I questioned what I could do with a degree in a foreign language other than teach. I recall several meetings with Lois Beck, professor of French and communication, and the Career Center staff. They were able to work with me and introduce me to new possibilities and essentially gave me options.
“This may seem rather trivial, but when you don’t know of other possibilities, you unknowingly limit yourself and you don’t even realize what you may be missing. I can attest to this because I’m still learning of potential career paths that I had never considered.”
What to Do Next
In Tamara's post-graduation career planning, her thoughts were always global, and she sought out the most practical way to enhance her international experience. She elaborates, “As a French major, my interests were always internationally minded. When I graduated from Messiah I took some time off before attending law school and became an international flight attendant. This allowed me to use my language skills and to travel.”
Profile by Angela Kriebel, 2005