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What I Did This Summer – Otterbein recent graduate Courtney Kilmer ‘17

What I Did This Summer – Otterbein recent graduate Courtney Kilmer ‘17

By Courtney Kilmer ‘17

I graduated from Otterbein in April 2017 with a double major in public relations and women's, gender and sexuality studies. The entire second semester of my senior year I was panicked about finding a job by graduation. I utilized as many resources as I could from the Cardinal Careers website, the Center for Career and Professional Development and talking to professors about any potential leads. In the middle of April, Dan Steinberg from the Department of Communication told me about a job opportunity. I applied through a recruiter, and within two weeks I was hired on as a community liaison. I’m not going to lie, I was a bit overwhelmed at how fast everything happened.

I work for Status Solutions, a software development company in Westerville. We specialize in situational awareness technologies with applications for life safety, security, environmental monitoring and mass notification. We utilize facilities’ existing systems like cameras, sensors, fire panels, etc., and make them smarter by turning alarms into alerts. The idea is to identify potential issues or threats before they happen, so that when they do occur, there’s an easy and quick way to remedy the situation.

The part of the company that I work for is called School Solutions Network, which helps schools with situational awareness by offering them our technology at no cost. We’ve also partnered with Neighborhood Bridges, a nonprofit in Westerville. Neighborhood Bridges is all about identifying and filling needs within different communities through third party advocates and online requests. By partnering with Neighborhood Bridges, we provide a solution for both the schools and the community, giving us the ability to help them at the same time.

Once I am assigned a community, I research the area and identify as many stakeholders, businesses, and nonprofits as I can. My job is very phone call-centric. I make lots of phone calls every day to people all over Central Ohio in many different career fields. Part of my job is to reach out to those community members and identify a key group of people who we think would be interested in chairing Neighborhood Bridges groups in their community. From there, I meet with a representative from the schools to discuss how to move forward, together. Additionally, I help create excitement around the arrival of our initiative in that particular community.

One of the major things I’ve had to do a lot of since starting my job is adapt. I started only a week after graduation, so adjusting to a new work schedule was very difficult. I’ve also had to adjust while working my position because sometimes I talk to a nonprofit who wants to know more about partnering with Neighborhood Bridges, and sometimes I talk to a business who wants to know more about helping the schools. It’s all about knowing your audience, understanding their interests and then applying those interests to our initiative in a way that makes sense for them.

I really like this job, no matter how many obstacles we face in implementing the initiative, because the whole purpose is to help the community. That’s something that I’ve always wanted to do. I can’t wait to continue expanding this initiative until it’s helping people across the country.