Psychology major takes advantage of campus career fair

As well as preparing students for their futures, Missouri Southern is taking action to help students in the present. 

Earlier this month, Southern hosted a career fair to help students get connected with local businesses in fields they are interested in pursuing. 

Ashley Brunner, junior psychology major, benefitted from the career fair and ended up getting a job that will introduce her to the field of psychology.

Brunner worked and is still working in the foreign language office in Webster Hall. Her boss, Nancy Ellis, secretary of foreign languages, encouraged her to go to the career fair because she thought there would be people who Brunner would be interested in talking to. 

“I had gotten the book they pass out and circled a few places that seemed interesting to me,” Brunner said. “One of the main ones was the Ozark Center.”

The Ozark Center, based in Joplin, provides comprehensive behavioral health services to children, adults and families in the area. 

Brunner was specifically interested in the Turnaround Ranch, a rehabilitation center for children with dual mental diagnosis.

The employee who was representing the Ozark Center informed Brunner that they were looking to hire psych techs.

“I really didn’t expect anything to happen,” Brunner said. “But the lady who was working the table for the Ozark Center encouraged me to send in my résumé right away. I really liked what she had to say and I was really interested.”

Within two weeks, via e-mail, she had an in-person interview, the company called her references and Brunner got the job.

“I had a pretty smooth first day,” Brunner said. “I was pretty intimidated because I had no experience at all, but all the other employees and therapists were really nice.”

Her new job requires her to supervise children, pass out medications and prepare patients for the future. 

By being their mentor, she helps them to “turn around” and leave the ranch to re-enter society. 

Not only will Brunner’s experience at the Turnaround Ranch give her the experience she needs for graduate studies, the company offers her the option to stay and advance post-graduation. 

“I’m really glad that I got this job because I really wanted to get experience in the field before I apply and go to graduate school,” Brunner said. “This company will allow me to progress in the field.”

Brunner encourages other students to get out there and attend functions on campus that could potentially help them get started on their careers.

“If the career fair hadn’t been set up, then I most likely wouldn’t have this job right now because it would’ve taken a lot more effort to research companies and apply and do everything it would normally take to get a job,” Brunner said. 

“I think if people were to go to these things they would find what they’re looking for just like I did.”