When Natalie Williams started working on her master’s degree at Southeast, she had no idea about the opportunities that awaited her.
Natalie, a native of Ironton, Mo., came to Southeast to work on a graduate degree after completing her undergraduate work at the University of Mississippi.
“Southeast was one of a few schools that offered the master’s program I was interested in. It was also a good excuse to get closer to home,” she says.
Although she had a graduate assistantship in the office of New Student Programs, Natalie also completed an internship with the Redhawks Success Center in the Athletics Department during her last year of graduate studies.
When asked about her internship she said, “It definitely helped me because I was unsure what field of work I wanted to concentrate on. Now I am certain that student services are definitely my passion and where I belong.”
Natalie’s graduate assistantship and internship ended when she graduated in May 2010 with her master’s degree in higher education administration.
“I really enjoyed my master’s program and the many friends I made while completing my degree,” she says. “I apply the knowledge that I learned in my graduate coursework on a daily basis. All of the opportunities I had at Southeast have helped me pursue a career that I am passionate about and enjoy doing every day.”
It was Natalie’s internship that led her to a full-time position after graduation.
“The internship helped tremendously. This past September, I was offered a full-time position as the Academic Services and Compliance Assistant in the Redhawks Success Center,” she says.
Her internship allowed for hands-on experience in working face to face with students.
“It helps me every day in my current position,” she said.
As an athletic academic services and compliance assistant in Southeast’s Athletics Department at the Redhawks Success Center, her daily duties provide academic services for student-athletes, including, advising, tutoring and monitoring athletic eligibility and progress towards graduation.
"My favorite part about my job is that every day is a new challenge and always exciting. I really enjoy having one-on-one interaction with students and helping them transition through one of the most important and fun times in their lives,” she said. “I love seeing the rewards of hard work and commitment when a student-athlete succeeds both academically and athletically.”
Natalie says she took advantage of the many opportunities at Southeast and suggests that other students do the same.
“I also really enjoyed participating in the many activities such as speakers, athletic events, theatre events, etc. that the campus has to offer,” she said.
She stresses, “Know your campus resources because they are extremely helpful. College is what you make it. Look at it like a vacation, if you sat in the hotel the entire time on vacation, would you have any fun? Probably not. College is the same way. Get out and experience and enjoy all the fun aspects of the Southeast campus and community.”
She also said students should work hard to build their resumes.
“Internships, being a member of student organizations, working or volunteering are just a few ways students can build their resumes in college,” she said. “The most important piece of paper you leave college with besides a degree is your resume.”