Posted on: November 4, 2015

VIU Alumni Return with Advice for Current Students

VIU Alumni Return with Advice for Current Students

VIU’s former students returned to campus this fall to share their experiences and talk about their career paths with current students at a panel discussion organized by the VIU Alumni Association to foster connections and exchange of information between alumni and current students.

The panelists represented graduates from different schools who work in related fields. Experienced alumni who graduated from VIU years ago gave insights on industry trends, résumé writing, and interview tips. Young professionals who just recently entered the workforce after their graduation in 2015 shared their tips on resources which were helpful in their job searches.

All alumni agreed that it is never too early to start preparing for future careers and encouraged students to use university resources like the Career Center, Library, and Writing, Research, & Media Center. Ms. Camilla de Jesus Nunes, a graduate of the School of Education, said that she was always passionate about teaching ESL at VIU and she started applying for on-campus jobs from her first day of classes. She succeeded after a few tries and continued working at VIU full-time after she graduated in 2013.

MIS graduate Mr. Sanjeev Pappala mentioned that networking helped him to get a job at a local company shortly after his graduation. He advised students to volunteer during their studies to gain “real world’ experience and to find a mentor who can give professional guidance.

MIR alumni Ms. Paulette Zegarra added that running the Latin American Culture Club at VIU and participating in academic internships with local non-profits gave her a competitive advantage when she faced her current employer at the interview. She encouraged students to take the initiative and never hesitate to ask for a favor or additional information. Paulette said that if she were shy, she would never have made it onto the TV show Buenos Dias DC.

MBA graduate Ms. Andrea Villa, who works as a manager at a bi-lingual company, mentioned that international students are valuable assets to employers: they speak at least two languages fluently, they have diverse cultural experiences, and they hold graduate degrees. She encouraged students to be confident and never give up after they get rejected by an employer.

Ms. Yoko Uchida Gursen, who holds multiple degrees from VIU, asked students to pay attention to details when they write their resumes and avoid grammatical mistakes and typos. She also encouraged students to dress neatly and professionally for the interview to give a good first impression.

At the end, current students asked VIU alumni questions about personal and career development. We would like to thank our panelists for taking time to share valuable information and real life examples with the students:

School of Education: Aziza Mirkhanova, Camilla de Jesus Nunes.

School of Business: Andrea Villa, Bayarjargal Battulga, Chintan Purohit, Yoko Uchida Gursen

School of Public & International Affairs: Paulette Zegarra

School of Computer Information Systems: Idris Ulas, Sanjeev Pappala

Special thanks to Ms. Robyn Taylor, VIU Career Center Manager, for her kind support.

The VIU Alumni Association is dedicated to serving the interests of VIU alumni through networking and participation in the life of the university. For questions and recommendations, please contact us at or by phone at (703) 591-7042 (ext. 326). Find us on Facebook to stay up to date with events and activities (/ViuAlumniAssociation).