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Emily McGuinness Eager to Transition From Student to Professional

By Kenneth Stratton '19 MONDAY, MAY 27, 2019 - 12:00 PM WNE100

Emily McGuinness says she has always been a “Type A student.” She was studious and involved in high school, then wasted no time throwing herself into campus life at Western New England University. But as successful as she has been as an undergraduate, this member of the Class of 2020 is eager to transition from student to professional.

Like many Golden Bears who came before her, McGuinness chose to attend Western New England because she sensed a thriving, close knit community on campus. Because of the friendly, welcoming environment, McGuinness knew that she could get involved with clubs and activities, secure internship and work experience, and best of all, knew she’d be more than just another student to her professors.

“I like to know the professors know my name,” McGuinness said, emphasizing the importance of their guidance. She especially thanked Kelly Klingensmith, Professor of English, for her support, saying “She’s not just an advisor, but a role model and someone I look up to very much.” McGuinness has been pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in English Language and Literature. She explained what drew her to the field.

“It’s something I’m very passionate about,” McGuinness said. As someone who expects to enjoy several different career experiences, she appreciates that the degree offers flexibility. The English major reflected on her studies at Western New England, quick to explain why she finds American literature in particular so interesting.

“It’s especially important now with the political environment we have,” McGuinness said. “Nobody’s taking the time to go back and look at what America was built on. Read those early American texts, and learn about what we wanted to be, who we are as a people,” she explained. As difficult as it may be in such a fast paced, noisy climate, the English major stressed the importance of all Americans taking the time to read and learn about their country. “It’s a reminder of who we are” McGuinness said.

McGuinness has served as an Open House Associate since her first year at Western New England. It’s an early experience that reassured her she wanted to get involved, and it opened many doors for her. She’s also worked as an Office Assistant for the Office of First Year Students & Students in Transition since her first year, and that led to serving as an Orientation Group Leader in the summer of 2017, where she worked with the incoming class of students. On campus, she has also worked as a Student Assistant with the Athletic Department, as a Writing Center Tutor, and as a Junior Representative helping execute Senior Week activities for the Class of 2019.

In the last year, the resume has only continued to grow for McGuinness, who interned with Leadership Pioneer Valley, a non-profit organization that focuses on building a network of emerging leaders in Western Massachusetts.

“They hadn’t had an intern in years,” McGuinness explained, so the work she did to bring them up to speed on communication was key. She was tasked with restarting their social media from the ground up, which included completely refurbishing their Facebook page. She handled their WordPress page, and press releases about what some of the program’s alumni were doing out in the community.

Other off campus experience has included volunteering for Girls Inc. of the Valley, an organization that focuses on building safe spaces and building long term mentoring relationships with girls, to help foster their future success. Staying busy on campus, McGuinness is in the Senior and English Honor Societies, and volunteers her time to campus activities as a recent recipient of the Skookum Award, a prestigious recognition given to 15 seniors who have demonstrated excellence in serving Western New England.

Right now, in addition to wrapping up her senior year studies, McGuinness is working with the Office of Alumni Relations at Western New England as an Advancement Writing Intern. In this role, she’s been afforded the opportunity to connect with alumni while writing about them for the office. It’s in line with the type of work she hopes to do in the future.

“Ultimately, I want a job that’ll give me the opportunity to write, but I also want to interact with people,” McGuinness said. With graduation day approaching, she’s been thinking more about what she wants for her future, facing the frequent “what comes next?” questions. But instead of trembling at the thought of it, she greets these questions with optimism and a smile, looking forward to life after undergrad.