Overcoming Writer's Block

How One Student Got the Advice She Needed to Pursue Her Career in International Journalism

Mica Kelmachter (’13) isn’t your typical alum: after graduating from the University of Maryland, she pursued a career in international journalism, landing pieces in Forbes, The Times of London, and more. But to reach the next level of her career, Mica turned to the UMD Alumni Advisor Network, connecting with an advisor who happened to be in exactly the kind of position that Mica aspired to.

Mica’s advisor, herself a successful journalist who had worked for the US News and World Report and was a prestigious Knight Wallace fellow, went above and beyond to help Mica. Not only could she relate to Mica’s struggles, but she also made sure to go the extra mile to put Mica in touch with contacts who could help her out. She even asked Mica to make a list of things she could do during the week, helping her figure out how best to allocate her time.

“She made it clear that the struggles never fully end, but this was somebody who had been in my shoes,” Mica explained. Her advisor felt like a friend who both empathized with her, and wanted to help her reach the next level professionally. “It was unbelievable I could be in touch with somebody who from the get-go believed in me and wanted to help me.”

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Maryanne Waller (’97), another advisor on the UMD Alumni Advisor Network, also understands just how crucial experience can be when advising an up-and-coming mentee.

After graduating from UMD’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, Maryanne worked in consulting before pursuing her passion for human resources. She especially likes connecting with students pursuing a career path in HR, helping them figure out whether that career is the best fit for them, and sharing her own personal journey of how she ended up in that industry. Like Mica, she feels that the UMD Alumni Advisor Network allows her to connect to students and alumni within her own field.

“I had a great experience going to Maryland, and I truly want to be able to help other students,” Maryanne said.

By talking to people more experienced in their chosen field, mentees not only figure out the right path forward for them, but also make essential connections and expand their network. And sometimes, discovering that one advisor could be that essential extra boost to jumpstart the next phase of your career.

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