Podcast Transcript – Vanessa Ellison

Today’s podcast features an interview with UNT alumna Vanessa Ellison, we asked her a few questions related to her programs and to talk a little bit about her postgraduation career path. We hope you’ll stay tuned.

Hi, I’m Vanessa Ellison, I have a Bachelor of Arts from the Maybourn School of Journalism. I double minored in Spanish and Social Science. I also have a master of science in international sustainable tourism from UNT and Katia Torrealba, Costa Rica, and that is a college of merchandise and hospitality and tourism program. I am now currently the education coordinator for the City of the Parks and Rec Department, Beautification, Education and Event Specialist. When you started at UNT, what were your plans for after graduation?

Have these plans changed, if at all?

When I started at UNT, my plan was to be a news anchor. That plan has changed in a way, for the city of Denton. I am a news anchor for daytime television, so I still get to use my journalism degree quite frequently. But I work now in sustainability as well, so it did change a bit.

What advice do you have for current students as they decide their next steps after graduation? If I could give one small pearl of wisdom, it would be get an internship intern or shadow as much as you can so that you can get experience to see if you actually like to feel that you’re going into.

How did your program at UNT help you feel prepared for this role?

In my undergraduate degree. I interned at WFAA Channel eight. I covered two homicides my first week and I learned very quickly that I did not want to be in the news industry. Unfortunately, I had one semester left before I graduated, so I was thinking, what should I do? What should I do? And I was looking around campus and I saw the MISS program, the master science, international sustainable tourism. And I was able to go in and speak with the advisers there and get enrolled for the following year for my Masters.

And that program actually really helped me with my current job and sustainability. The reason why is because I got to study internationally and I study not only in Costa Rica, but in Cuba and Japan. And I also got to live in those places. And so learning about different cultures in just different ways of living and lifestyles really helped me with my current position, with working with the community.

How did you find your current role? I found my current job in kind of a twofold way. I was working for a different company. I was a community business development manager for Barnes and Noble. And throughout that time I had been networking and meeting people that work with the city was handling their accounts. Someone that I met advised me to apply for this job. I worked there. They felt that I would be a good fit. And so I went online to the City of Doing Careers website and I applied and I was able to get through all three interviews and make it.

What was the toughest question you have been asked during an interview? At my current job, I was asked a question that is not necessarily tough, but I gave a very awkward answer. The question was, how do people describe you? And I couldn’t think of anything. And so I said, like, glitter. And they’re like, what? And I just explained how glitter is kind of like always shiny. You see it. Even if you try to get rid of it, it’s there.

And I just kind of describe myself like that. I’m one of those people that you don’t forget or that you will miss if you’re around me. And so I just kind of said that and I thought it was so awkward. And when I got hired on, they called me Glitter. They were like, that is the coolest answer we’ve ever heard. And they would tell the story to anyone that will listen. And so now that’s just the normal answer for me.

I just go with glitter. How has the career center helped you? The career center has helped me in the past with my resume, with interviews, but also currently I still send things to the career center to be looked at. You always want to update your resume and make sure that you’re adding on new skills and things that you learn. And I would say like a month ago, I sent my resume into the career center, just have a professional look over it and make sure it was cleaned and polished.