CSU Outreach representative Marilyn Smith has served with the company since October 2011. She promotes the CSU occupational safety and health programs at various conferences, seminars and events throughout the nation. She holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and journalism with a minor in Spanish. Marilyn also works with CSU commercials and audio productions.
Let’s learn more about her:
Question: What do you do as a CSU Outreach representative?
Answer: As a CSU Outreach rep, I research conferences and other events for CSU to exhibit at and attend those to recruit students. I plan meetings and presentations with our university learning partners in each place I visit. Also, before I go to each conference, as part of my planning, I email and maybe send a postcard to current students, alumni and learning partners in the area. I invite them to meet me at the event so that they can share their CSU story. It’s important for a university like CSU to keep close communication with our student body.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?
A: I enjoy personally connecting with the extension of CSU which is our students, alumni, and university learning partners. I might be the first CSU staff member they meet and it’s great to be that representation of their school.
Q: What is it like for you to meet students or alumni at conferences?
A: Meeting our community outside of Orange Beach is so neat because you finally get to see how happy they are to be a part of what we all do at the university. They come to me proud to announce they are a student or alum and they always have their student numbers ready (haha). The reps give out shirts and other goodies to thank them for meeting us. The students, alum, and partners are just so thrilled to have that experience with us. I have started to offer an outlet for them to share their story on our CSU Facebook page and many of them jump at the chance to do so. I record a short video with my iPhone and they begin telling their personal “CSU Story” as I call it. That has now become my most favorite thing about meeting our CSU family.
Q: While traveling can be difficult, what little tricks/tips do you use to survive it?
A: My best advice is bring a little piece of home wherever you go. For me, it’s making sure I have my white, fluffy slippers with me on trips because I don’t like walking around barefoot on the floors in different hotel rooms. I also just make sure I have more than enough with me in my different travel bags because you never know what you are going to encounter or how long you will be somewhere. Getting stuck in the airport is something ALL us reps can relate to.
Q: Please share a poignant, interesting and/or funny story about one of your travels:
A: When traveling to all these places you meet so many different types of people and it’s so fun and touching when you feel you are making a difference or, in the least, inspiring them. I recently was exhibiting at a conference and had spoken to probably everyone of the 300 or so attendees there that week. When the conference was over, all the people cleared out except for one. This man came up to me and wanted more information about CSU. He asked what programs we offered and told me he had a great experience in school when he first started but, for a lot of different reasons, had to stop well before he graduated. He was a math major in college and went back years later to take a difficult math test to advance in his career. He informed me he didn’t pass the test and felt like a failure. With tears in his eyes, he told me that he wished he would have just stayed in school and completed his degree when he had the time. He said the day he took that extremely critical math test, he didn’t even finish the work because his mind was blank as to how to devise actual answers on paper. I told him CSU and all the staff is here to help him and that we have so many services designed to see him through to graduation. It touched my heart that an older man with valuable work experience would come so humbly to discuss his options for school. I was able to help him realize that he can think of himself now and continue his education; that it’s time to prove to himself he CAN do it. I follow up with him every now and then to make sure he’s still interested. I sure do hope he enrolls at CSU.
Q: What do you find interesting about attending OSH conferences and events?
A: The most interesting thing about the OSH events as a whole is learning how skilled and proven in their careers these attendees are. I am there to recruit them for school and they might have 25 years of experience in their field but haven’t finished their degree. It’s inspiring to see how knowledgeable they already are about their industry and I am there to help them to realize how a degree can fast-track them to the top if that’s where they want to go.