Hugh Downs School graduate enhances communication skills through county internship
Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2021 graduates.
Communication graduate Kendra Schoenick says this past year has been unforgettable in many ways. Although it was tough to finish off her studies virtually, she made the most of it.
"I did not cut myself short and continued to take upon opportunities and allow for new areas of growth," she said.
The Glendora, California, native is graduating in spring 2021 with a bachelor's degree from the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication and says she is most proud of holding a full-time internship both fall and spring semesters with the Maricopa County Juvenile Probation Department.
"Throughout my time with the county, I have had the ability to directly apply and enhance my marketing and communication skills as a student to the real world through this position’s experience," Schoenick said.
In addition to completing her degree in an accelerated three years, Schoenick says she was honored that her accomplishments were recognized by fellow ASU faculty and staff by being selected as a Dean’s Medal nominee this year.
Question: What was your “aha” moment, when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?
Answer: I knew my passion for people, studying how we as humans interact, and how that plays a significant role in day-to-day life. When I came across the communication major in the Hugh Downs School and met with advisers, I knew it was for me. All of the classes were tailored to my interests and I am so glad I committed to this route of study!
Q: Are there any jobs or internships you had during your time at ASU that provided you a different type of learning experience than from the classroom?
A: Throughout my time at ASU, I made it a point to try new things with an open mindset. Pre-pandemic, I took the advice of many and obtained an on-campus job. I worked for ASU Health Services for a semester, which opened my eyes to the health care field, and I enjoyed the simplicity of walking to my job and having awesome co-workers. The following semester, I secured my first internship at an adoption and foster care agency in Phoenix in which I had the opportunity to learn, grow and network.
As mentioned, I made sure to open new doors when and where I could to get a robust experience while at ASU. I decided to apply for a job at a local family-owned restaurant, Spinato’s Family Kitchen & Pizzeria. I have now worked there for over a year and a half and have learned the fundamentals of customer service, enhancing the guest experience and incorporating what I learned in the classroom to my job outside of it.
Q: Why did you choose ASU?
A: I chose ASU because of its potential. The potential to grow me as both a student and an individual. The potential to try and explore new things. The potential to become whoever it was that I aspired to be.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?
A: Pursue your interests and find new ones by taking classes outside of your comfort zone, connecting with new people, and always staying close to those who got you where you are today.
Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you that changed your perspective?
A: Something I’ve learned while at my time at ASU is that simple things go a long way. Whether in the classroom or not, there are small gestures I can be doing to make not only my campus but my community better — such as gifting a smile, complimenting or encouraging someone — little acts of kindness are the things that generate positive change.
Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?
A: Although each professor at ASU had been a true blessing and left an imprint on who I am today, Dr. Stacie Foster is one who taught me lessons I will hold onto forever. In her class, I remember her passionately teaching about the importance of relationships with others and the love and happiness that can come from them in turn. Her class is what solidified my route as a communication major, and I have personally found relationships — both professional and personal — to be the solid foundation I have sought out guidance from in college.
Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?
A: My favorite spot on campus would have to be in front of Old Main, where the fountain is flowing, the grass is green, and if you turn around, you’ll see "A" Mountain. It was at this exact spot that I decided that ASU was where I would continue my studies.
Q: What are your plans after graduation?
A: After graduation, I aspire to work in the field of counseling psychology, government or public relations. Although I am not yet completely decided, I will seek to continue seeing all that is out there in the world and what exactly it is I am called to do!
Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?
A: I would solve the problems of hunger and homelessness, ultimately bringing hope to those that may feel hopeless. Regardless of the dollar factor, I aspire to do this in my daily life. After all, smiling towards someone and being kind to another is a free gift — one that should not be taken for granted and is relatively easy to give.