Life after graduation – Flippin lands job with Make-A-Wish

Between the uncertainty of life after graduation and the 7.3 percent unemployment rate in America, many college students face the challenge of obtaining a job. Despite the discouraging statistics, many recent communication arts graduates have been hired and are on the road to success.

Kathryn Flippin, a 2013 Union public relations graduate, is now a wish coordinator under the Program Services Department for Make-A-Wish Mid-South, one of the 62 independently chartered non-profit chapters that grants the wishes of children diagnosed with life-threatening medical conditions.

“I first learned about Make-A-Wish America from my sorority, Chi Omega,” Flippin said. “We raised money each year to grant a wish for a child with life-threatening illness. I still remember the first wish granting I was able to participate in, and we were able to grant Dillon’s wish of going to the Chattanooga Choo Choo.

“It was through that encounter with Make-A-Wish America that I realized how special the organization was,” she continued.

After her junior year of college, Flippin planned to study oversees, but the plan fell through. Flippin looked at various internship options and was approached by another Union student who had interned at Make-A-Wish Mid-South the previous summer and who encouraged her to apply.

Flippin was accepted for the internship and helped coordinate the wish granting events in Memphis, Tenn. and surrounding areas.

“My biggest take-away from interning at Make-A-Wish Mid-South is that no detail is too small,” Flippin said. “”So many times we get so caught up in making a big impression that we forget about the little things. The little things matter, and I take pride in my attention to detail and my effort to take initiative in the small things.”

After the fall semester of her senior year, Flippin was contacted by her previous manager who informed her that a wish coordinator position had become available. Because of her internship, Flippin’s previous manager knew she had the set of skills and experience necessary to do the job. Flippin sent in her résumé and got the job.

Flippin encourages students to intern with the hopes of gaining experience for life after graduation.

“If you are at all thinking about interning while in college – go for it because internships lead to jobs,” Flippin said. “They also give you a good feel for a work environment. The best part, though, is the relationship you can build with your supervisor.

“When the time comes for you to get a job after college, the recommendation from your boss can really set you apart from other people,” she continued. “It is hard for employers to hire people without experience, so even if you are looking at an unpaid position for a summer, the impact that job can have is worth all the time you spend in it.”