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Talent Thursday: Open House – To Attend Or Not to Attend

One of the most prominent, industry-leading companies is hosting an Open House. I mean they have the coolest headquarters, are fully invested in their employees’ well-being, and would be the best career starter that you could ever think of. It’s your dream company. You know it wouldn’t matter what job you were doing, working at this company is a success on its own.

The answer here is obvious: You should attend the Open House. However:
The Open House flyer clearly states the company is seeking experienced professionals. You have no experience.
You have submitted several (well, 25 to be exact) job applications to this company, and have always been disqualified.
Only geniuses work there. You are hard-working, sure. Highly motivated, sure. But, “genius”… No.
Your heart hurts from all the rejection emails you have received, from the no-response black holes, and from a lack of entry-level jobs in the market. You aren’t sure if you can hear the rejection in person too.

Now the answer doesn’t seem too obvious, does it? Nevertheless, make plans to attend the Open House.

What is the purpose of an Open House?
Companies host an Open House to attract talent. Typically, Recruiters and Hiring Managers from the company are hosting the Open House to fill their current positions and to build a pipeline for positions that aren’t open yet.

Really though, an Open House serves as in informal interview. Companies want to see how well you fit into their culture. They want to see how enthusiastic you are about being a part of that company. And, of course, they want to see what knowledge, skills, and abilities you bring to the table.

Experience, in terms of years, is one thing. However, organizational fit is something entirely different (and a bit scarce). Organizational fit is the how well a new hire will mesh with the company’s mission, vision, and values. It’s about how well a new hire will work with the company’s employees. It’s about how a new hire will increase ROI, increase customer and client satisfaction, and overall, positively impact the company.
As you can tell, the latter is much harder to find! During an Open House, it is the latter that companies are seeking.

Why should you, a new graduate, attend?
To network, no duh! Yes, the flyer is looking for experienced professionals, and yes, you have received enough rejection emails to last you a lifetime. However, unless entry is denied, you should plan to attend the Open House.

An Open House is great opportunity for you to meet the faces of a company and to analyze your own fit with the organization. By speaking with Recruiters, Hiring Managers, and Staff members, you are learning so much about yourself and your career opportunities. Use this time to impress everyone of your knowledge and abilities, as well as of your motivation. Feel free to tie in your research of the company, the industry, the current trends. Ask questions about where the company is headed, where certain jobs are headed, and/or what process improvements would be beneficial for the company.

Please note that an Open House also, and perhaps most importantly, serves as a gateway for you to skip the ATS and submit-an-online-application step. You know.. the same step during which you are disqualified time and time again? Of course, eventually you may have to go back to this step, but that time may be completely different because you attended an Open House and met someone who wants you on his or her team!

How should you prepare for an Open House?
You should prepare for an Open House as you would prepare for an interview. Some aspects to keep in mind:
Prepare to wear a suit. Choose an appropriate tie. Wear comfortable shoes. Don’t show your cleavage. Don’t overspray your cologne. Shower before arriving. Keep make-up to a minimal. You get the idea…
Prepare your resume. Bring several copies of your resume to hand out to Recruiters and Hiring Managers. Bring business cards, if you have them. Carry a professional binder or bag to put your personal items in.
Prepare to be screen-free. Turn-off your phone, iPad, and/or laptop. Make FaceTime real face time!
Prepare to listen. Maybe there’s no open positions for you now. Maybe you don’t meet the qualifications. Yet, maybe there’s a new building opening or an expanding department. Pay attention to what Recruiters and Hiring Managers tell you. They know the inside information. Listen attentively, and you might find yourself a job after all.
Prepare your Questions-to-Ask list. You should always, always, always ask questions. Even after you are employed, you should always, always, always ask questions. Being able to think critically and ask in-depth questions will really help your career. Please note that in order to ask quality questions, you must know your stuff too!
Prior to attending an Open House, make a list of questions to ask Recruiters and Hiring Managers (and, preferably not just about job openings).

When should you arrive, and how long should you stay?
A general rule of thumb is to arrive early and to stay relatively long. However, it’s really up to you. Some Do’s and Don’t’s:
Don’t arrive 30 minutes prior to the start of the Open House. That’s way too early!
Do plan to stay at least an hour. You are welcome to take breaks throughout your stay, as in use the restroom, step out for a bit, etc. Note that staying for too short of a time period will be noticed and may portray a lack of interest in the company.
Do plan to talk to as many people as possible, from company employees to event attendees. You never know who you will meet, and what opportunities arise from that meeting.
Do get contact information from Recruiters and Hiring Managers. Ask if they have business cards. Ask what’s the best method to contact them- phone/email? Ask if you can follow-up with them after the event? Note: Do not ask if you can send your resume to them (unless they ask you to). First of all, you should have brought your resume to […]

By |November 13th, 2014|Talent Thursday|0 Comments

Tuition Tuesday: Why You Should Volunteer

R. Gabrielle McCormick

This is one of my favorite times of the year. For Texans, the weather has finally cooled down; for sports fans, we have multiple seasons occurring; but most importantly, there are numerous opportunities to give back to our communities and others.

While I personally believe that you should volunteer all year long, there are tons of events taking place over the months of November and December. Please remember that numerous organizations and causes need our help throughout the year! This holiday season, let’s give a part of ourselves like we’ve never given before because all of us can create change in the world.

Here are just a few reasons why you should consider or continue volunteering:

Helping Others: The biggest win is that you’re able to help other people. It’s always a great feeling to help someone else or to give your time to a group or cause.

Learning New Skills: Volunteering creates a myriad of opportunities for you to learn new skills. Maybe you’ll have the opportunity to learn how to market an event or fundraise. You may even learn how to cook by serving at a soup kitchen!

Meeting New People: Volunteering is also special because it brings together individuals from all walks of life. It presents the chance for you to meet new people from the community and possibly even make a few new friends.

All of these wins can be used to strengthen your scholarship profile. Here are some scholarships where you can highlight your volunteering activities:

JAM Paper Teacher Scholarship: Any student who is pursuing a career in education can apply for this scholarship. All you have to do is submit an essay regarding why you want to become a teacher.
Multiple Awards: $500
Deadline: November 15th
CourseHorse Learner’s Scholarships: This scholarship is open Students who will attend or are attending a college in the U.S. ages 25 and under. All you have to do is create a one page video or document about a topic you’re passionate about learning.
Multiple Awards: $1,000
Deadline: November 25th
Youth Volunteer Scholarship Award: BBG provides the Youth Volunteer Scholarship Award to recognize and reward a student who demonstrates a passion for volunteering, while maintaining a high level of academic achievement.
Award: $500
Deadline: November 29th
A Better America Scholarship Program: Global English Editing awards scholarships to students in the United States who intend to make a positive contribution to the country’s future.
Award: $1,000 (1 High School Student); $1,500 (1 University Student)
Deadlines: Vary Depending on Classification

Keep volunteering! All of our hard work will create a season of giving! Happy Tuition Tuesday ☺

By |November 11th, 2014|Tuition Tuesday|0 Comments

Molina Early Literacy Network Hits a New Turning Point

The Molina Early Literacy Network, representing 3,300 students, hit a new turning point on October 28 as principals representing the entire feeder pattern—all five elementary schools, the neighborhood middle school, and two high schools—came together with community and business leaders representing more than 20 organizations at Catholic Charities’ Santa Clara Regional Community Center.

The group used local data—on pre-K access, Kindergarten Readiness, early literacy, and parent needs—to identify barriers and surface potential community solutions.

Two key themes emerged from the discussion:
With data demonstrating that nearly one out of five incoming Molina 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders experienced significant summer learning loss in reading, the desire emerged to coordinate efforts for quality afterschool and summer programming
Informed by data showing that a high majority of ~2,000 Molina elementary parents surveyed indicated they would like more support in helping their children learn, the group focused on parent engagement as an area for collective action

Motivated to act, the Molina Network will move forward by identifying additional existing resources it might leverage, inviting additional stakeholders to join the group (especially neighborhood groups, faith-based organizations, businesses and parents) and convening again in January to action plan.

Thanks to the organizations below represented at the first meeting of Molina Community Partners:

All Stars Project
Big Thought
Carter Financial Management
Catch Up and Read
Catholic Charities
Children’s Medical Center
Crow Holdings
Dallas ISD
Dallas Public Library
Family Wellness Dallas
Jiv Daya Foundation
Leadership ISD
Literacy Instruction For Texas (LIFT)
Momentous Institute
Open Door Consulting
Teach For America
The Concilio
University of Dallas

To learn more and get involved, please reach out to Andy Canales, Director of Literacy Initiatives and Partnerships, at

By |November 7th, 2014|Early Childhood, Early Literacy|0 Comments

Commit! Partnership Makes Waves at StriveTogether National Convening

Several members of the Commit! Partnership team had the pleasure of attending StriveTogether’s annual National Convening, this year held in sunny San Diego October 15-17. Coming off last year’s convening right here in the Big D, the theme for this year was “Making Waves” to move outcomes. With more than 50 communities in attendance representing more than 5.5 million children, the convening provided an ideal opportunity to learn what’s working elsewhere and surface ways we can continue to improve our work to help drive student achievement in Dallas County.

A few key areas of action came out of the convening:

Modeling the Courage Needed to Focus AND Act on Equity: A big theme emerged around equity, with a diverse panel and several workshops centered on “the head, heart, and hand” of addressing race and equity in education collaboration. We learned about communities disaggregating data further to identify key local challenges (e.g., White students with non-college-educated parents achieving higher than Hispanic students with college-educated parents) and reviewing school suspension data disparities by race with district superintendents and key community leaders together. We return committed to continue making equity even more of a focal point back home—and will seek to learn from the application of concrete tools that have helped partnerships address equity in a way that respects community readiness. We look forward to continuing this learning as Dallas hosts the national Facing Race conference November 13-15.
Using Data to Improve Action Every Day: The description of continuous improvement – adopting processes that ensure we meet and exceed the expectations of those we serve – really hit home for us, particularly given the partnerships we’ve established focused on early grades literacy and math. In particular, Superintendent Pat Greco of Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, led a riveting workshop speaking to the rigorous change management she’s helped lead in her district to reinforce excellence in instructional process at her schools. We hope to use this learning not just to identify what works, but to improve those best practices over time – in other words, to become “the best at getting better.”
Building Ownership among Partners for Change: Another theme focused on keeping partners fully engaged, especially as the work matures and roles and responsibilities change. Several communities shared themes around ensuring voice is valued with follow-up, getting neighborhood-level input to expand opportunities for new partners to engage, and innovating to reach new constituents (e.g., creating performances by parents and for parents to act out the difficulty of getting student to read at home). Given the common challenges heard across communities, the StriveTogether network is committed to providing actionable tools and identifying and lifting up ways to build broader ownership with partners to create lasting change.

In addition to engaging in convening workshops, Commit! staff facilitated three well-attended workshops respectively around the IQ and EQ of continuous improvement at the action network level, creating and using a Giving Profile to engage funders in collective impact, and collaborative action towards Kindergarten Readiness. Dallas was also represented by Ed Meier of Big Thought, who co-led a workshop on launching Cities of Learning.

We were inspired by our experience at the National Convening and gained several ideas to improve our work in Dallas County, with intentions to integrate several before next year’s convening in the Twin Cities, Minnesota. Thanks goes to the StriveTogether team for putting together yet another highly engaging convening.

By |November 6th, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Talent Thursday: 3 Lessons Students Can Learn from Election Day

Zareen Wajid, Talent Acquisition Specialist
Connect with me via. LinkedIn

Election day occurs the Tuesday following the first Monday in November. Yeah…Thank goodness, it’s just words we have to decipher and not a complicated calculus equation. Regardless, on that day, voters report to pre-determined polling locations and cast their ballot for various public officials. Now remember, United States is a constitutional federal republic, meaning that U.S. citizens elect public officials and these officials represent U.S. citizens’ needs and concerns. That’s kind of a big deal if you can’t tell. So naturally, people aren’t waking up on Election Day thinking “yeah I’ll bubble in C all the way down” or “I’ll just copy the ballot choices from the guy next to me” or “I will choose the longest name because it’s more likely the correct answer”. Don’t send villagers with pitchforks after me, but this may be something that high school and college students may be doing on exams, while choosing majors, etc.

Ahem…so without further ado, here are some lessons students can learn from Election Day:

The importance of Deadlines. Not sure if you know, but you have to register to vote. If you are registered to vote in Dallas, Texas, then that is the only place where you can vote as that’s how your precinct and polling location is determined. Obviously, there is a deadline to register. If you don’t register by that deadline, then you will have to wait until the next Election Day. Similarly, high school students have college application deadlines, scholarship deadlines, assignment and exam deadlines. College students have internship application deadlines, FAFSA deadlines, classes registration deadlines, and of course, assignment and exam deadlines. You must plan accordingly to meet and/or beat these deadlines. Otherwise, you missed your chance and will have to wait until next time. And, that’s a bummer!

The importance of Researching and Making Informed Decisions. Voters must do their research on the candidates that are running for office. They must consider the issues that the candidates are challenging, as well as the candidate’s party platform. Then, in accordance to their research, voters cast their ballots. Similarly, high school and college students must do their research prior to “casting a vote” for which college to attend or for what loans and financial aid to accept. They must also do their research on what major to study- finding the job outlook for that major, industry trends, soft and hard skills needed, the length of time in school for a certain profession, etc. There’s a quote I recently read that sums up the which-major-to-choose-pandemonium: “choose a major you love and you’ll never work a day in your life because that field probably isn’t hiring”. As explicated, you must do your research when choosing a major if you want to get a job upon graduation. Students must also do their research when applying for internships and jobs- research about the company and the position. Only then can students write well-crafted resumes and do well on interviews. Only then can students make informed decisions, and be ready to face actual challenges (that life gladly likes to volunteer you for).

The importance of Utilizing Your Resources. Voting for a candidate is far more than just bubbling the box next to a person’s name. That candidate you are voting for is representing you. This means that potentially you are welcome to contact this person once he/she is elected and voice your concerns. Furthermore, even prior to the election, you can be a part of the campaign and the candidate’s platform. Is there a social, economic, religious, etc issue that needs to be addressed? Well, who better to address it to then the person that represents you? Yep, being a well-informed citizen allows you to utilize your resources appropriately. Similarly, high school and college students must also utilize their resources. Students select to attend a university for its theatre programs, its advanced biology labs, its fees, its connections with alums and large companies etc, and so, they should utilize those resources. They must make connections, expand their network, and continuously learn. Being able to utilize your resources is the single most important concept for high school and college students (and everyone else, by the way). That’s how you land a job (aside from graduating of course).

Well, there you have it. If you are 18, I hope you are voting on Election Day for you and your community’s future. Similarly, if you are in college, I hope you are “voting” for your future success and your community’s betterment.

By |November 6th, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Tuition Tuesday: Become a Master Chef

R. Gabrielle McCormick

As the holiday season approaches, I find myself wanting to attempt new recipes. Please be aware that I do not cook, so the word attempt is very accurate! My friends often laugh because I watch Food Network and know a lot about food. Although I watch several shows, my favorites are those that display creativity, i.e. Chopped and Cutthroat Kitchen.

I love them because they throw challenges at competitors. The chefs that win are always able to create something delicious, no matter what ingredients or circumstances they are forced to cook under. But why? These chefs win because they have mastered the basics. They understand flavor combinations, methods, recipes, and ingredients. Because of this, they can use their skills to overcome challenges and obstacles.

You’ve got to become a master chef, so that when scholarship opportunities are thrown your way, you can mix and create a masterpiece for your committee. Master the basics of good scholarship essays: tell a great story in a way that can easily be read, but uses proper grammar. It really is that simple.

Start mastering your winning recipe with this week’s scholarships:

Stokes Educational Scholarship Program: Stokes is open to high school seniors planning on majoring in computer science or computer/electrical engineering.
Multiple Awards: $30,000 per year
Deadline: November 15th
AAHD Scholarship Program: Open to full time undergraduate students and part time/full time graduate students, these scholarships are for students that have a disability.
Multiple Awards: $1,000
Deadline: November 15th
Frontier College Scholarship: Write a blog post about how digital learning and new technology is changing education.
Award: $2,000
Deadline: November 16th
Education Matters Scholarship: This scholarship is open to all students over the age of 13. Share why your education matters in this scholarship essay.
Award: $5,000
Deadline: November 30th

Continue to learn and train daily! Happy Tuition Tuesday ☺

By |November 4th, 2014|Tuition Tuesday|0 Comments

Talent Thursday: First Ebola Diagnosis – Lessons learned for New Graduates

Zareen Wajid, Talent Acquisition Specialist
Connect with me via. LinkedIn

If you haven’t heard by now, the United States recently diagnosed its first Ebola patient. It has been a couple of weeks now, but the topic is still very much new. Of course, there have been challenges containing the Ebola virus worldwide, but there have also been plenty of lessons learned. Before I dive into the lessons learned, let’s take a moment to list the various crisis management aspects that have surrounded this horrendous virus.
Sudden fear and panic
Limited knowledge of the virus
Lack of resources to combat the virus
Lots of pointing fingers, negativity, and the blame game
Slow response to understand the virus and situation

Interestingly, new graduates face similar crisis management aspects surrounding their career search prospects.
Sudden fear and panic –“Oh snap! I am graduating in 2 weeks and I don’t have a job yet”
Limited knowledge of the workforce –“Uhh… What type of jobs does a Biology major or Poultry Science major or Agriculture Leadership major qualify for?
Lack of resources to combat the catch-22 of no job vs. no experience debacle –“Yeah, if you could just train me on the job… that’d be great”
Lots of pointing fingers at the low GPA, various bartender and waiter jobs, no extracurriculars, and my favorite, too much partying. –“I have discovered my identity in college. I just wished I had also found money and a job”
Slow response to understand the competitive job market –“What’chu talkin’ ’bout, Willis? I had to apply for summer internships six months ago?!”

Now, to be fair, the sudden fear and panic can set in at any time in the job search process. Obviously, it can set in the moment you realize you are graduating with no job prospects. It can also set in 10 minutes before your very-very-very important interview to your number-one dream job. Not to mention, it can set in when you don’t get an offer for your fallback job as well. The point here is to be prepared. Be prepared to graduate. Be prepared to interview. Be prepared to be rejected (and to move forward). Of course, you cannot predict everything, but preparation will help you calm your nerves, focus logically on the situation at hand, and help you take next steps wisely.

A friend recently reminded me that everything is 20/20 in hindsight. Looking back, I can see how easily avoidable my mistakes could have been. I can see the perfect (and straightest) career progression ladder. I can see the positive vs. the not-so-positive consequences of my decisions. Well, I can’t “see”, but rather, I know. Anyway, I am not saying you can be knowledgeable of everything now. You can’t. You can, however, obtain more knowledge about your major, about the job outlook, about companies, etc. For example, did you know that AirBnB is really particular on hiring those that are active on their site? Knowing stuff like this can really help you stand out and land a job. Don’t be afraid to learn (and learn continuously even after you get a job).

Now, the lack of resources is …you will see. Yes, it’s true, bachelor prepared graduates are a dime a dozen. It’s great you spent 100K and many sleepless nights over a piece of paper, but really, you need a way to stand out. You need to be impressive, network, and get your foot in the door. I apologize- your degree is highly valued. But, so is your personality and passion. Is your resource Career Fairs, Networking Career Events, Connections with Family and Friends, Advisors from your Student Organizations, College Career Services, Professors, etc? Figure out what works for you (personality/passion), and then, utilize those resources. Also, don’t be discouraged by the catch-22. Okay, maybe you don’t have the technical #-of-years type of experience, but you do have a lot to offer. You just have to figure out a way for your offer to be heard.

Ahh.. the blame game. The time for “he said, she said” is long gone. The time for accepting your current predicament is here. For example, most companies do not reject applicants solely based on a low GPA. If granted an interview and you are asked about your GPA, don’t panic. Answer truthfully. Did your GPA increase as your partying decreased? Did you discover a major that actually meshed with what you wanted to do in life? Did you work 40 hours/week to pay for college? Another example, you have a marketing major, but you never undertook marketing internships or apprenticeships. How do you explicate your qualifications? Maybe through organizations you were a part of, maybe through video editing or drawing, or through marketing software classes. Don’t blame other aspects, and please, don’t be the Grumpy dwarf. Accept what is happening, but focus on the big picture: getting a job.

Don’t wait to start your career search! Slow responsiveness is not something any company is looking for, so why bother practicing? There are opportunities to avail an internship from Freshman year. There are opportunities to seek a mentor and gain guidance prior to Freshman year. Really, there is no excuse for a slow response to understanding the competitive job market. None. Zilch. Aside from the obvious motives, another reason you can’t afford to be a slow responder is because industries and jobs are constantly evolving. And, you must evolve with them. Be proactive in your networking. Be proactive in your application submissions. Be proactive in your interviewing technique. Be proactive in your job security.

Unfortunately, crisis management is a part of life. Every once in a while, it likes to drop by to say hello. Essentially, this is the lesson that can be learned from the first Ebola diagnosis, which refocused on the big picture: containment and treatment. When you are in college and things seem to be moving 180 mph, you too can take a second to step back and refocus on the big picture: getting a job.

By |October 31st, 2014|Talent Thursday|0 Comments

Tuition Tuesday: Strategy AND Massive Action

R. Gabrielle McCormick

Lately, I’ve been reading a lot about success. Now while I have many different thoughts on what contributes to success, I think a lot of it essentially boils down to these two things:


Over the course of this semester/six weeks/quarter, you’ve gotten a lot of tactical tools to help you take things to the next level. You’ve gotten the strategy you need to go out and make things happen.

HOWEVER…A lot of you have failed to take MASSIVE action on some of the things you want, myself included.

We all have goals and dreams that we hope to accomplish. However, without repeatedly taking massive action…they will only remain goals and dreams. The scholarship process requires you to continually work. Opportunities may fall out of the sky, but what will you do with them? Will you take the steps necessary to obtain the level of success you believe you deserve?

What I can’t stress enough is that as we finish out this year, continue to fight for your dreams, to be hungry for success, and to recognize the effectiveness and efficiency of your actions.

My scholarship picks for you this week are concerned with causes and change that can only happen if individuals are committed to their success. Take a look at this week’s picks:

Voice of Democracy Scholarship Program: High School Students (Grades 9-12) – Submit an essay and recording on “Why Veterans are Important to our Nation’s History and Future.”
Multiple Awards Ranging from: $1,000-$30,000
Deadline: November 1st
Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum Student Essay Contest: Middle and High School Students (Grades 5-12) – Applicants must write an essay highlighting different topics relating to diversity in America. Prompts vary depending on grade level.
Multiple Awards Ranging from: $50-$300
Deadline: November 3rd
Prudential Spirit of Community Awards: Middle and High School Students (Grades 5-12). These awards recognize students who have given back to their communities.
Multiple Awards Ranging from: $1,000-$5,000
Deadline: November 4th
Intel Science Talent Search: High School Seniors – Create a full scientific report about research in any of the following areas: science, math, engineering, and/or medicine.
Multiple Awards Ranging from: $7,500-$100,000
First Major Deadline: November 5th

PLEASE NOTE: Although I’ve listed scholarships for middle and high school students, we’ll be tweeting and posting scholarships for college students all day. Stay on the lookout here: and

Take MASSIVE ACTION this week! Happy Tuition Tuesday ☺

By |October 28th, 2014|College Access, Tuition Tuesday|0 Comments

Changing the Odds Conference Recap

On October 9, the Commit! Partnership had the opportunity to attend the Changing the Odds Conference put on by Momentous Institute, powered by the Salesmanship Club of Dallas. The conference brought together hundreds of educators, mental health professionals and others who work with children to collaborate and share innovative ideas to help reach thousands of children across the state.

Malcolm Gladwell, New York Times best-selling author, focused his opening talk on the concept of “capitalization rate,” the percentage of people who actually end up achieving their full potential. Gladwell argued the capitalization rate is the best measure of a nation’s health, yet compared to other developed nations, America rates consistently low by this measure. Gladwell gave three main reasons for this: 1) we make the mistake of thinking that talent is scarce; 2) we mistakenly believe that talent is innate; and 3) our view of how talent is developed is far too narrow. Gladwell ended with a call to action to change how we approach the development of talent because that is how future generations will judge our impact on the nation and the world.

Tony Wagner, Expert in Residence at Harvard University’s Innovation Lab, built off of Gladwell’s call to action by discussing the importance of teaching students to be innovators. Wagner pointed out three challenges for education in today’s world: 1) knowledge is no longer a commodity because of the internet; 2) we are preparing students for a changing workplace and workforce; and 3) we must encourage students to be more motivated to learn. Wagner argued that teaching students to use the available knowledge to innovatively solve problems can address all of these challenges. Wagner also gave actionable implications for teachers and schools. He called for educators to teach and assess the skills that matter most, like problem solving, by allowing students to keep digital portfolios that show the progress of their work. Classes could be taken as credit/no credit to encourage students to build skills instead of focusing on grades. Additionally, Wagner stated that we should fund educational R&D that allows teachers to innovate together in a collaborative setting. Finally, he encouraged teachers to bring structured “Google Time” into classrooms that would allow students to explore projects of their own choosing.

Ron Berger, Chief Academic Officer for Expeditionary Learning, then gave examples of schools that are implementing some of the suggestions Wagner offered. Berger stated that students need to have a mission, which allows them to contribute value to their community and school. This builds the idea that you become smarter so that you can do good, which gives students a life-long motivation to continue their education. Berger gave multiple examples of schools that allowed students to explore content in ways that impacted the community around them. He charged us to stop just thinking about the capacity kids have to do great things when they grow up and start realizing kids have the capacity to do great things right now with our support. Expeditionary Learning publishes all student work online at to encourage students that the work they’re doing right now matters.

Consuelo Castillo-Kickbusch, founder of Educational Achievement Services, Inc., closed out Thursday with an emotional personal story of how a teacher helped her overcome social, emotional and educational roadblocks. Mrs. Castillo-Kickbusch gave details from personal experience of the dark and traumatic world of mental illness in which children living in poverty often feel trapped. She challenged us all to better equip our schools and communities to deal with mental illness that parents and kids often struggle with. She encouraged us all to teach forgiveness and to help heal kids’ and families’ hearts in order to unleash the ingenuity that exists in their minds.

We at the Commit! Partnership were encouraged and challenged by all of the incredible speakers at this year’s Changing the Odds conference and thank Momentous Institute for bringing such valuable knowledge to our community!

By |October 24th, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Talent Thursday: The Time is Now – Apply for an Internship

Zareen Wajid, Talent Acquisition Specialist
Connect with me via. LinkedIn

I know it’s only mid-semester. Academically speaking, right now you are wondering about your second exams, what grade you need on your final to pass your classes, and what classes you need to register in for the Spring semester.

I hate to break to you, but there’s one more thing that should be on your plate: Summer 2015 Internships. Typically, companies will make an intern selection at least six months prior to the start date. This means that the time is now to search for and apply to internship opportunities.

Summer 2015 Internship Opportunities in Dallas, Texas

The Coca-Cola Company’s Sales Intern Program: In this ten-week internship program, you will have the opportunity to work with Coca-Cola’s National Food Service and On-Premise team in a variety of projects. You never know- you may even have the chance to join their two-year Region Sales Leadership Program after graduation.

World Affairs Council’s Programs Department Intern: Reporting directly to the Programs Manager, you will be responsible for program planning, creating growth strategies, and keeping track of metrics. You will also be exposed to different aspects of managing a non-profit organization, including program fundraising, board relations, and membership development.

Sabre’s Technical Business Analyst Internship: Working in the Revenue Integrity Department, you will work on process improvement initiatives critical to company success. Some responsibilities include delineating requirements to solve business problems, assisting in the development of service models and prototypes, addressing business or system issues, and implementing customer feedback mechanisms.

IBM’s Client Representative LEADing to Africa Summit Internship: This ten-week internship is designed for students with a passion for sales, technology, and client interaction, and an interest in working in Africa upon graduation. Working directly with Client Representatives and other IBM Sales Professionals, you will have the opportunity to contribute to marketing efforts and to the day-to-day sales operations.

There you have it. The internet is filled with opportunities such as these. All you have to do is search and apply. Start now, as this is the time to prepare. What are your plans for Summer 2015?

By |October 23rd, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments