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The Best of Both Worlds

Editor’s Note: This is the seventh in a 10-part series on the 2011 Experiential Learner of the Year Award nominees. Nominees for the upperclass and freshman awards will be honored at a luncheon May 6; the winners will be revealed at Honors Convocation May 7.

As Trista Wesley’s senior year at Keuka quickly draws to a close, she has had some time to reflect upon the various experiences of which she has been a part.

Trista Wesley

And it was some of those experiences that led Bob Berkman, assistant professor of organizational communication and English, to nominate Wesley for the Upperclassman Experiential Learner of the Year award.

“Although Keuka was not my first choice, I can confidently say that I would not have achieved the same level of personal growth and academic achievement anywhere else,” said Wesley, an English major from Jamesville. “It was not until this year that I truly grasped the powerful impact that the Keuka College Field Period has on students.”

In January, Wesley conducted her final Field Period at Scholastic Inc., “which was by far the most valuable and positive experiential learning experience I have had,” she said. “I had never worked in a corporate environment before, but have wanted to work for a book publishing company for awhile, and Scholastic was my first choice.”

Wesley duties at Scholastic included writing stories for Scholastic’s Web site about authors who received star reviews, learning what a publicity pitch was and how to write one, and gathering daily clips from e-mail alerts.

In addition, Wesley wrote about how valuable her experiences were on On Our Minds, Scholastic’s blog.

“Blogging has become such a popular method of sharing information that the digital publicist at Scholastic said that jobseekers with their own blogging site are very appealing to employers,” explained Wesley.

And while Wesley credits her overall experiences at Scholastic as “extremely valuable,” she believes that most valuable experiential learning component of her Field Period was her exposure to the use of social media.

“I was not aware of how prevalent the use of digital social media was in the workforce until my Field Period with Scholastic,” said Wesley. “I quickly learned that Twitter, Facebook, and other forms of social media have become powerful tools for companies to relay information.”

Wesley said that while her Field Period provided “many valuable learning experiences,” she credits her campus involvement for  instilling a number of transferable skills, including leadership, interpersonal communication, time management, and teamwork.

“By working with a diverse group of freshmen each year as a mentor, I have also learned how to connect with people in different ways, as well as the importance of good communication in general,” said Wesley.

In addition to her leadership roles on campus, Wesley serves as a writing tutor in the Academic Success at Keuka (ASK) office.

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