PCDE Student Stories | Shelby Aleman

Earning degree @ Dixon University Center - Harrisburg

Where are you from?

Mechanicsburg, PA

What year are you graduating?

I am graduating from Shippensburg University this May 12, 2017

What is your program/major?

Graduate program: Organizational Development and Leadership with a concentration in business

What are your future career goals?

I am open to new opportunities- it is hard to nail down just one position with the flexibility of this degree! The options are seemingly limitless. Ideally, I would love to work in an organizational development department.

Internship Experience:

A. What is/was your role and responsibilities?
I interned with Belco Community Credit Union’s Human Resources and Training department. I observed and/or participated with recruiting and interviewing, the leadership development series, policy proposals, compensation analysis, creating articles for the BCCU e-newsletter, employee engagement activities, job fairs, etc. It was a wonderful and fruitful experience- I am very grateful they included me like a member of their team, and I would suggest BCCU to any undergraduate or graduate students seeking internships. 

B. How did you choose this internship?
Amey Sgrignoli, CEO of BCCU, is an alum of not only Shippensburg University, but specifically the Organizational Development and Leadership program. Dr. Denison, Chair of the ODL program, introduced us. I was interested in seeing how the degree could be practically applied in a variety of settings, and the experience certainly delivered.

C. What will you take away from this experience that you can apply to your future career?
Patience! Although I currently am employed by a non-profit organization, it is a very large organization that has great financial resources. Interning for a not-for-profit organization that has fewer financial resources available was quite a pivot, but another lesson in patience, faith in the process and learning to find a middle ground between an ambitious goal and a plausible reality. It required some “out of the box” thinking in order to achieve goals, while also remaining budget conscious. A dose of reality is great for every intern. 

D. What have you learned throughout your Shippensburg University education that has been most helpful during your internship?
Largely, the professional skills gained through the ODL program is what I applied the most during my internship. To be more specific: research and writing, communication and interpersonal skills, and naturally, organizational development. 

How has Shippensburg University prepared you for your future?

More than anything else, for me, it was confidence building. The experience has built my personal confidence in what I am capable of providing to an organization. I feel like I have the confidence and skills to “walk the walk” now.  

Did you have previous experience, knowledge, or background in the content area of your chosen program? If no, what helped you chose your area of study through ShipPCDE?

Yes and No. My current position (Coordinator for a Physician Recruitment Department) requires a high degree of organizational, communication and interpersonal skills. I knew I wanted to continue my professional growth to be able to apply for a position that would have more responsibility and reach within the organization and community. Although the MBA program seemed interesting, I ultimately chose the Organizational Development and Leadership program because it spoke more to my personality and the direction I saw my career advancing. I did, however, do business as a concentration so I could build some business acumen, without having the full commitment of an MBA. 

What surprised you in taking some of the courses?

In undergraduate programs you are more so treated like a student, whereas in the graduate program you are treated like a professional seeking growth. They understand that many of us have full-time jobs, and perhaps even families, so we are not there to mess around. The expectations are very clear, and although it is challenging, some of that stress is eased by having more meaningful courses- whereas as elective courses in undergraduate programs always made me scratch my head a bit. I never felt like I was forced to take an unnecessary course at the graduate level.

Did you have any difficulty getting through your coursework once you were enrolled in your program?

Every ODL student knows and fears the Research Methods course- but I swear you will survive. Apart from that, six-week courses are challenging, but I feel worthwhile. Once you become accustomed to the pace, it is such a relief and feeling of satisfaction to have the course done in the blink of an eye and move on to the next.

How do you plan to use your certificate, degree, or new knowledge and experience? Can you share a professional goal of yours?

I would love to find a home in an Organizational Development department, but would also be interested in other opportunities where I could apply my ODL experience. I’ve learned the skills gained from the ODL program are useful in almost any department where strategic planning and working as a team is required. I find a great deal of personal satisfaction working for an organization that provides a high-quality service to the community, so that will always be priority 1 for me.

Any tips for future students? 

Don’t be scared-it’s not as big and scary as it seems! Also, the coursework is time consuming, but it is not boring. The coursework is a springboard for your professional growth, you will only get as much out of it as you put in. If you are going to be taking on the student loan debt, make it as meaningful as possible. 

Any favorite courses, experiences, or faculty moments you’d like to share?

Due greatly to Dr. Barbara Denison and Dr. Lawrence “Lonce” Bailey are the absolute best. They both are so passionate, engaging, funny and personally invested in both the personal and professional growth of their students. I consider them not only professors, but mentors.