W&L Outcomes: Emma Cleveland ’22 Cleveland is working as a trip leader for an active travel company in Alaska this summer, and she plans to work in Europe this fall.
“College is wonderful, and I was told that the transition into the real world after graduating can be rocky. If you can find something that you’re interested in right off the bat, you should explore that.”
~ Emma Cleveland ’22
Hometown: Salt Lake City, Utah
Post-Grad Plans: Trip Leader for Backroads in Alaska and Europe
Areas of Study: Business Administration, Studio Art
Q: What have you been doing since graduation?
I am working as a trip leader for an active travel company called Backroads. I will be starting off in Alaska and hopefully working in Europe later this fall.
Q: How did your career plans evolve over the course of your time at W&L?
My career plans certainly evolved over the course of my time at W&L. I hadn’t seriously thought about my immediate career path following W&L until my senior year. I was, and still am, very interested in going into the creative side of advertising. I think that it is the perfect way to combine my business major with my passion for art. I had networked some with alumni in art directing positions, brand management, creatives and the interior design industry.
Q: What internships or other summer experiences did you partake in and how did those experiences shape you and your career plans?
I never really had a formal professional internship during any of my summers in between years at W&L. I did get a lot of hands-on real-world experience, which I feel was incredibly formative. The summer after my freshman year I was a camp counselor in North Carolina, after sophomore year (COVID) I painted all summer, and after junior year I was at art school in the south of France.
Q: How did the Office of Career and Professional Development (CPD) support you and which resources did you find most helpful?
CPD was absolutely instrumental in supporting me during my transition to my professional life after W&L and my career search. Kelley Melvin, director of constituent strategy, is a saint – she helped me with everything from cover letters, to resume building and editing, to making my website/painting portfolio. CPD helped to kickstart my job search and helped me set deadlines for myself, making the process more structured and efficient.
Q: What career-related advice would you give to next year’s graduating class?
I would say you should look into something you’re actually excited about. It’s a bit similar to orientation week freshman year when we were told to just look at the course descriptions that interested us for whatever reason and then add those to our schedule. The world is like that! College is wonderful, and I was told that the transition into the real world after graduating can be rocky. If you can find something that you’re interested in right off the bat, you should explore that.
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