Leggings Aren’t Pants: Why Dressing for Success Matters

When I went to the Career Expo, I was resolute. This time two weeks from now, I would be employed. No more calling mom and dad to beg ten bucks for concert tickets or guiltily checking the vending machines for spare change. My name marked 20 resumes fresh off the press, and “Don’t Stop Belivin” was playing in my head. I was ready.

I walked up to the first table, and the connection between me and the well-dressed manager handing out applications was indisputable. We were like, on a deeper level. I told her about all of my past jobs- the ice rink attendant job where I saved that kid from choking on popcorn, the gig at the mall selling sunglasses, and the internship I did last summer. She was nodding and smiling, and she even wrote something down. At just the moment when she seemed to be ready to offer me the job, the guy at the next table over dropped a pencil, one of about 400 that were all marked with a company name and had the kind of abhorrent erasers that have nothing to do with actually erasing and everything to do with smudging your papers. I bent over to grab it, but it rolled out of reach, causing me to move into an even deeper bend.

This gesture should have shown my aptitude for being a quick-witted, totally hire-able person, but it showed something else. Something I had never wanted to show. They were white. They had black polka dots all over them, and a little bow on the front.

Did the pencil return to its home among others? Yes. Did I get the job? No.

I blame society for this mistake. I blame the ads featuring beautiful people arranged under fall leaves smiling. I thought that if they could wear leggings in public, I could too. I never thought about the truth- which is that leggings are often see-through- especially on sunny days, or regular days if you have to pick something up once in a while. They may seem like pants, but they’re not, and they will never be. You will bend over, the leggings will stretch, and the world will look.

So my sage advice is this: this is your life. You should feel empowered to wear whatever you want. At a birthday party, or the gym, or anywhere you don’t mind people seeing your undies.

But if you’re looking for a job or another professional opportunity, leave leggings out of it.


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New majors motivate students to change social problems



Criminology students study issues of social construction.

Humboldt State University student, Nick Rivera, used to believe that minorities were more likely to commit street crimes than other racial groups. Not until his first Criminology course did he realize his assumption was wrong and that he was misinformed by the media’s depiction of crime and minorities. Angered by this misinformation, he changed his major to Criminology and Justice Studies, and now hopes to change the system so others are not misinformed by inaccurate societal representations.

Two new major programs, Criminology and Justice Studies and Environmental Studies, created within the last two years have sought to open students’ eyes to the injustices in society and the concepts of power and privilege. Criminology and Justice Studies professor, Renee Byrd, wants her students to walk away from the Criminology and Justice Studies program with a broader understanding of how harm and crime are socially constructed.

“If you ask people to imagine a criminal, people tend to imagine a young man of color committing a street crime,” Byrd said. “We want our students to understand the impacts that  image has on the world. And related to that then white-collar, financial and corporate crimes don’t get conceptualized by the public as criminal. So if a corporation pollutes the water in a town and the children get leukemia, we don’t readily think of that as crime.”

The Environmental Studies program also incorporates the ideas of power and privilege into their curriculum as well. “The main thing that distinguishes this program among environmental studies programs nationwide is the focus on social structures of power and privilege,” Environmental Studies Program Leader, Sarah Ray said. “There’s an emphasis on how social change happens and how race, class, gender, sexuality, religion, nationality, any number of identity politic issues might play into one’s ability to address environmental problems.”

The Environmental Studies program was born out of the need for a less science-intensive, more interdisciplinary environmental major within the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. The program which launched in Fall 2012 has classes that span across all three colleges to incorporate ideas of politics, communication, economics and globalization to understand how to effect change among people.

The Criminology and Justice Studies program, which launched in Fall 2013, was created out of intense student demand for this program. “HSU was one of four CSU campuses that did not offer a major in Criminology despite the fact that we knew there was interest for it,” Criminology and Justice Studies Program Coordinator, Professor Josh Meisel said, “Students that were coming to HSU communicated they wanted that major and students were transferring away from HSU because they wanted to study criminology. It’s one of the fastest growing majors in the CSU system.”

Both degrees offer students a variety of career paths to choose from.

“A lot of times students think that a criminology degree only means you can be a cop, but that really isn’t the case,” Byrd said. “Students can go into legal careers to careers in policy and research to community organizing and working in different non-profit sectors.”

Ray notes that because of Environmental Studies’ interdisciplinary nature, the degree is extremely employable because students are able to work across disciplines and have the ability to cross-communicate different ideas and opinionsan increasingly desired quality for college graduates.

These two programs are pulling many students towards advocacy work. Criminology and Justice Studies major, Dylan McClure, hopes to go into social work and focus on social justice issues in non-profits, specifically supporting people before they get involved in the criminal justice system.

McClure appreciates the diverse range of service-learning opportunities available for students in this program,from working at a juvenile hall or shadowing a public defender to working with at-risk youth with the Raven Project in Eureka.

He has done service-learning this semester at the Public Defender’s office. McClure helped to envision a more holistic approach in addressing individuals’ needs in order to lessen the impact of the legal consequences on individuals who get involved in the court system.

Originally, Rivera wanted to be a police officer. But his intention to start a career in law enforcement changed when he learned about the interplay between power structures and the criminal justice system. “I want to maximize my degree in a better way so I can change how the current system is,” Rivera said. “I’m especially looking into prison reform and activism or policymaking.”

The Environmental Studies’ focus on human involvement  in environmental problems has attracted students like HSU senior, Kira Yeomans. “I chose it because it dealt with dealing with the environment but also with people. I don’t consider myself only wanting to work in the sciences. I also want to involve the human aspect of it,” Yeoman said.

She is currently a scientific aid for the Department of Fish and Wildlife where she interviews people who are fishing, identifies fish they caught and collects and enters in data. She is considering eventually running her own NGO or non-profit.

Yeomans, who led a workshop on power and privilege at the Social Justice Summit in March, used to focus on just conserving the environment, but she’s realized through her major that environmental problems are tied to social justice issues. “Poor people and people of color usually live in environmentally degraded areas, and once we start focusing on these social issues then the environmental issues will get solved too. We can start making these polluters responsible for what they are doing.”

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Photo Contest Winners!

Congratulations to our two photo contest winners, Margaret Budd and Taylor Mitchell! We received a lot of amazing submissions for our photo contest and the competition was close. Thank you to everyone who participated. Journalism major, Margaret Budd was the Career Center’s Staff Pick and Business major,Taylor Mitchell was the most liked photo on our Facebook page and the public’s winner. Both winners will receive a $50 Amazon gift card. Pictures are featured below.

Woman looking through a video camera

Margaret Budd, HSU Journalism major, Filming for Dog and Pony Productions Inc.

Baseball player sliding into home plate

Taylor Mitchell, Business major, Umpire for the Humboldt Crabs at Arcata Ball Park

Our Finalists:

Woman feeding manatee in water

Brianna Mann, Zoology major, Intern at Wildtracks Primate and
Manatee Research/Rehabilitation Center in Belize

Woman climbing in canyon

Sarah Dumont, HSU Geography major, Wilderness Park Ranger Volunteer, Mystery Canyon at Zion National Park, Utah

Man standing on the bottom slope of a hill in a forest as smoke rises from the ground

Colin Campbell, Forestry major, Prescribed burning volunteer with the Mid-Klamath Watershed Council and Trex Company

Man doing yoga on top of plane at sunset

Kyle Wannigman, Graduate student, Serving in Air force in Iraq

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Photo Contest Submissions

Here is the last of our submissions!

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Photo Contest Submissions

Here are more wonderful submissions from our photo contest!

Man standing in front of old growth redwood tree

Shane Sauers, Working with US Forest Service

Man examing water samples in a lab

Brian Villagomez, Environmental Science major, Working in a sediment laboratory

Woman kneeling on beach counting turtle egg shells near her

Melissa Donner, Environmental Management and Protection major, Intern at Bald Head Island Conservancy in North Carolina

Woman in drysuit in an assembly hall filled with students

Mary Dalton, Senior, Volunteering at St. Dorothy’s School in Glendora, Calif. explaining how scuba equipment works

Man standing on the bottom slope of a hill in a forest as smoke rises from the ground

Colin Campbell, Forestry major, Prescribed burning volunteer with the Mid-Klamath Watershed Council and Trex Company

Woman and children smiling

Kaitlin Carney, International Studies major, Volunteering in a daycare center in India while studying abroad

Woman kneeling taking photos of a wildflower on Lost Coast trail

Natalie Vaughan, Northcoast Environmental Center intern, Vaughn is taking photos on the Lost Coast Trail for EcoNews, Photo Credit: Evan Wisheropp

Man doing yoga on top of plane at sunset

Kyle Wannigman, Graduate student, Serving in Air force in Iraq

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Photo Contest Submissions

Here are few of the submissions we got for the photo contest! Finalists announced soon!

Woman being kissed on the nose by dog

Celene Lopez, HSU Wildlife major, Volunteer at Baldwin Park Animal Care Center in LA County

Woman sitting on top of pile of fish on boat and pretending to kiss a fish in her hands

Kate Merrick, HSU Fisheries Biology Graduate student, Works on commercial fishing vessels

Fragmented bear skull

Erika Ebel, HSU Archaeology Research Lab intern

Man standkng near lake and mountains

Garret Costello, HSU Environmental Management and Protection major, Backcountry major for Trinity Alps Wilderness Area

Woman stroking dolphin in water

Melissa Whitfield, HSU Wildlife Conservation major, Working at Dolphin Quest in Bermuda

Woman climbing in canyon

Sarah Dumont, HSU Geography major, Wilderness Park Ranger Volunteer, Mystery Canyon at Zion National Park, Utah

Two women riding in kayak

Belinda Sparks (right), HSU Pre Physical Therapy major, Recreation Intern at Kayak Zak’s in Trinidad

Head of snake

Suzanna M Fonseca, HSU Biochemistry major, Reptile and Amphibian Discovery Day at HSU Natural History Museum

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Networking your way to your dream job

blizzcon 2011

What if you could land a job with your dream company and all it took were a few simple conversations? For Humboldt State University alum and former art major, Camille Sanford, that’s all it took to get a job doing what she loves.


Sanford is extremely passionate about gaming and the company she always dreamed working for is Blizzard Entertainment, a company famous for creating the video game sensation, World of Warcraft. In 2011, Sanford attended BlizzCon in Anaheim, a convention held by Blizzard Entertainment to promote their video games. At BlizzCon, Sanford “cosplayed” or costume played, in which she created a costume for the WOW character, Tyrande Whisperwind, that she wore to the convention and role played with other cosplay participants. Through cosplay Sanford was able to network with different people, and was given the opportunity to do a photoshoot.


Prior to the BlizzCon, Sanford posted a picture of herself in the Tyrande Whisperwind costume on her Facebook page. BlizzCon’s art director’s, Glenn Rane’s, girlfriend, Jo-Jo Chen, liked the photo and invited Sanford to be part of a G4 Women of WOW photoshoot the day before BlizzCon.  


Rane participated in the photoshoot. “I made sure to make eye contact with him and got his Facebook information, then added him on Facebook,” Sanford said. She continued to keep in contact with both him and Chen through Facebook.  Sanford’s Career Counselor at HSU, Loren Collins, prompted Sanford to request an informational interview with Blizzard Entertainment, despite her initial anxiety over networking. “I’m a nerd. I don’t want to network, I don’t want to talk to anyone,” Sanford said.


Informational interviews are interviews conducted by an individual to gather more information about a job or industry that the individual is interested in working in. “But Loren suggested that since I made this contact, it would be silly to not do anything about it,” Sanford continued. “Sometimes you have to go out of your comfort zone and talk.”


Sanford prepared a list of questions on what she was most interested in knowing about the company before the interview and typed up the answers on her computer when she spoke with Rane over the phone.


Sanford knew Blizzard Entertainment offered company tours, so she asked for a tour a month after her informational interview.


With her next photoshoot from her networking with cosplay, the photographer, luckily, happened to be Blizzard Entertainment’s senior producer,Carlos Guerrero. “Remembering from Loren, I made sure to express interest in the company to the producer,” Sanford said. She then proceeded to add him on Facebook and the two began a stream of conversations regarding job opportunities at Blizzard Entertainment. “It was like an informal interview,” Sanford said. “He talked about the job opening and asked informal questions through Facebook.” After the online interview process, Guerrero decided to put in Sanford’s resume to Blizzard. Sanford mentioned that Blizzard has a lot of in-company recruitment and job referrals. After Guerrero put in the good word, Sanford landed a job in November with Blizzard as a Game Master, essentially in-game customer support for WOW. 


Now five months later, Sanford loves going to work every day. “I love being in a company where the people are passionate about what I am passionate about it,” Sanford said. “Everyone is die hard passionate about Blizzard.”


Sanford is now considering a career in electronic sports (e-sports) or organized video gaming competition, where gamers compete against each other professionally. To help increase her chances in getting a job in this field of work, she again found an opportunity to network. Sanford signed up for internal mailing lists on esports and posted advice to new players in the public forum. Sanford received an email from an employee at Heroes of the Storm, a game created by Blizzard, about her advice. He suggested lunch to pick her brain about esports.


Networking is now a major way job-seekers get jobs, with 80% of jobs landed through networking according to a 2012 ABC News article. How can you utilize this technique in your job hunt? Sanford suggested to be proactive and go out of your comfort zone. “Make opportunities for yourself and make sure you capitalize those opportunities socially,” Sanford said.


Below we have compiled a list of “how-to” networking suggestions to open up your opportunities.


Build your network through former colleagues, classmates, employers and professors. Reach out to these contacts and strengthen

your relationships for future references by reconnecting and gaining further contacts, asking for advice and discussing your employment goals.


Reach out to new people and set up informational interviews. Know a company you want to work for or a professional whose job you wish you had? Reach out to these people and establish new connections. Set up an information interview, preferably in-person and follow up with a thank you letter after the interview.blizzcon

Do not ask for a job, ask for advice. Seek out insight and information about careers and the field, but not about if the contact will hire you.
Follow up with your contact. Make sure to ask your contacts the best way to stay in touch (email, phone or LinkedIn, for example) and make sure to do so! Always make sure to ask for other contacts to expand your network even more.





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