Career Planning Center Alumni Spotlight: Elizabeth Heston

Name: Elizabeth HestonElizabeth Heston

Graduation Year: 2009

Major: English and History (Double Major)

Industry: High School English and History Teacher, History Department Chair

Favorite Class: Medieval England to 1216 with Professor Attreed and Poe’s Haunted World with Professor Sweeney . The great thing about Holy Cross is the different teaching methods of every professor and both of these professors helped me to form my own teaching strategies, while also teaching me some of the most interesting content I have ever studied!

Campus Involvement:

Campus Activities Board (CAB), Co-Chair and Executive Board member

Purple Key Society, Member

Campus Ministry, HAYES retreat leader and Mass Greeter

Appalachia Service Trip, Participant and Leader

Leir Luxembourg Program, Participant

SPUD (Nativity School),  Tutor

College Internship/Work Experience:

Religious Studies Department, Work Study Student

What were some of the most defining events/opportunities/aspects of your time at Holy Cross?

The resources available to Seniors were absolutely critical in getting me where I am today. The post-graduate volunteer fair was where I discovered the PACT program that placed me at my current school and was an important event in helping me figure out my future. The resume help from the career planning office was also especially important. In a similar way, the advice I got from my academic advisors Professor Bizzell and Professor Conley was really essential in helping me learn how English and History can work together both in my learning and in my teaching.

What is one thing someone should be certain to do before they graduate?

It may seem broad, but get involved! The more involved you can be with the life of Holy Cross, the better! You will have a lot of time in the future to sit behind a desk or watch TV in your room, but the opportunities for involvement that Holy Cross offers are truly once in a lifetime. Leadership positions in student groups, lectures from experts in their fields and service trips are not going to be as available once you graduate, so be sure to use your time in college wisely. Also, go to Lessons and Carols at least once before you graduate, you won’t regret it!

What advice would you give to someone just starting out in your field?

Teaching can often feel overwhelming; lesson planning, classroom management, and keeping up with grades are only part of the profession. My advice would be to use your resources; teaching is not a solitary endeavor and you can learn so much from your peers, department heads, administration and online resources. Teachers are part of a larger community and sharing resources can save time and effort.

What skills have you found most useful in your professional life that you attribute from learning at Holy Cross?

Being a teacher goes beyond just facts and figure, the profession is also about being a leader and role model for your students. Holy Cross taught me the morals and values that I promote in my own classroom and try to apply to my own life as a model for my students. The leadership skills I learned through my involvement in clubs at Holy Cross also helped to teach me how to effectively handle a classroom. Finally, the ultimate value I learned at Holy Cross was the importance of the “education of the whole person”. That Jesuit Charism is what motivates me to see teaching not just as a profession but as a calling.

What is the most important advice you could give a student on obtaining an internship or a job?

Build up connections, then wow them in the interview. In the competitive job market of today, there is often very little that separates you from many other applicants. A connection through friends, family, or even Holy Cross can work wonders in pushing your name ahead of the pack. Once you get that push however, you are on your own and that is an important understanding to have. The next step is to approach you interview as a final exam, that means you have to study/prepare, know yourself well, and put your best foot forward to pin down the job!