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Archive for February, 2013

Jack Cassedy is a young alum with a wonderful career that seems to have little connection with his degree; after close inspection, however, it is obvious that Jack’s journey and destination are codependent

by Paul Martell

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Jack Cassedy is a 2011 grad with an exciting future!

It is common for students to struggle with which major to select. It has become the norm to try to mold our dreams into something that reflects our existing skillset. Jack Cassedy knew what he wanted out of life, but he was not afraid to extend himself to new possibilities, and is now well on his way to living his dream. Jack Cassedy plans to, one day, better the world in a tangible way.

“I’ve always felt like I really wanted to make a difference in the world and help people in some way, so I thought that being a doctor would be the best way to do that, which led me to major in Biology,” said Jack. He would not end up a doctor, not yet anyway, but he would graduate from EMU with a Bachelor of Science, majoring in biology and minoring in political science.  Today, Jack is the Director of Internet Marketing at Prudential Snyder & Company, Realtors. From athletics, to a fraternity, to Student Organizations, to internships; Jack’s journey is what has put him on track toward his dream.

Jack Cassedy loves wrestling, in fact he says, “Wrestling pretty much defines me as a person.” Jack wrestled throughout high school and did very well for himself. He remained totally undefeated until his final match, as a senior, in which he was significantly outweighed by the opponent and lost 9 to 4. Jack said, somewhat jokingly, “I remember that match like it was yesterday…It haunts me.”

It was actually wrestling that brought Jack to Eastern Michigan University. He enrolled because he knew the assistant coach of the wrestling team quite well; they had met at several national tournaments Jack was in when he wrestled for Team Michigan. Jack intended to start his collegiate wrestling career at EMU.

“Young and naive, I thought a little 112 pounder like myself could make it at 125 pounds wrestling in college…Long story short, I started as a sophomore, but didn’t do very well. I was undersized and couldn’t keep my weight up. Which is the opposite of what most wrestlers deal with – cutting weight to be the biggest guy in your weight class.” Jack was also busying himself with getting involved in student life.

Jack loved the transition from high school to college life. He lived in Putnam Hall and said, “It was like being in a city of people my own age…Everything was new and exciting; it was like being a kid again, but with hormones and responsibilities.” Eventually Jack would retire from wrestling and joined the fraternity Kappa Phi Alpha. Jack says that the Fraternity House was in a “bad place” then, and he set himself to help make it better.  After some obstacles and opposition, Jack reports that being a part of the Kappa Phi Alpha brotherhood, “taught me valuable leadership skills and organizational skills that have translated to my professional life more.”

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Jack (second from right/blue T-shirt) is a proud Kappa Phi Alpha Fraternity Brother

Eventually, Jack became involved with the organization Campus Life, which turned into a marketing internship with Campus Life. This job would set the stage for Jack’s career path. “I was given the task of researching social media marketing, back before everyone was doing it. I researched hundreds of articles looking for valuable insights on how to best use social media for marketing. I turned those insights into a presentation and presented it to several different departments and eventually to the EMU Strategy Council (which was over 100 people at that time)… It was a pretty intimidating audience.” This gave Jack a unique understanding of Social Media Marketing and led him to take another job as a Brand Agent for Neebo.

Jack could see a great career possibility in web marketing and decided to “take my internet marketing chops to the next level” by earning a Master Certificate from the University of San Francisco online. He did this while still an undergrad.

Thanks to this strategic decision, Jack was now able to run valuable social media campaigns, use web analytics, search engine optimization, blogging, and all things web-marketing; all when it was starting to be in great demand.

Jack Cassedy was quickly hired by Prudential Snyder & Company, Realtors after graduating in 2011. He is the Director of Internet Marketing, “I create strategies and implement tactics that improve our overall web presence and increase web generated leads. I manage multiple social media accounts, implement search engine optimization strategies, blog, and consult the real estate agents on social marketing, how to utilize the tech tools that the company offers, as well as helping them to implement third party marketing systems.”

But how does a major in biology help someone in web marketing? Jack finds unique and meaningful ways in which his education has made him excellent at his job:

“Earning my Biology degree has been invaluable to my career path. The hours upon hours upon hours spent doing research projects for Biology related courses has helped me to turn anything I want to learn into a research project; in essence, this has shaped the process of how I learn new things… And in the business of internet marketing, there is always something new to learn. Chemistry, which is a mixture of math, puzzle solving, and applying rules to situations has helped me to understand complex virtual ecosystems in a way that allows me to leverage each piece in a way that makes the most sense for the overall strategy.”

Jack’s ambitions are not fulfilled yet. Jack says, “My future will be filled with lots of stress, sweat, coffee, and ambition put to work. I want to change the world for the better.”

Jack plans to create a free, web-based educational product that is significantly tailored for the “visual web”. This is how Jack will better the world, through education that is available to everyone. “If every single person on the planet is able to get a world class education in a manner that is easy to understand and stay engaged with; humanity will be able to move forward much more quickly.”

While Jack’s path was unconventional, he is going directly towards his dream. Jack believes his collective experience at EMU has greatly contributed to the success he has today.

Jack wants to, “change the world for the better.” He already is.

If you want to know more about what Jack has been up to, like his Living in Ann Arbor Facebook page and remember to follow the Prudential Snyder Twitter!

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Jack (bottom) also loves his “Pit bull Pooch” Ollie (Top)

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Emmanuel Jones

February, 2013

By

Paul Martell

Emmanuel Jones is a 2011 grad who had plans to run a big business; however, Jones found himself leading something larger in many ways

It is no secret that Universities are filled with people who are dreaming of the future. It is this forward-thinking nature that leads a person to earn a degree. Emmanuel Jones was such a person. Jones planned to finish school and make a name for himself in the large business world; however, it is the irony of our lives that makes good stories.

“Eastern really helped prepare me for what I am doing now,” said Emmanuel. He is especially glad that EMU teaches skills, “both textbook and real world.” Emmanuel attended Eastern Michigan University from 2007 to 2011 and obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration and Entrepreneurship. Emmanuel knew he wanted to start a business; he simply did not know what type.

Jones spent most of his time at EMU working or studying. He would say, “Due to work, I didn’t get to experience much of student life. Now that I’ve graduated, I see what campus life is like, and wish I could’ve had it.” But it was Jones’s work and school involvement that would help lead him to where he is now. It was during Emmanuel’s sophomore year that his eyes would be opened to the need that would alter his dream.

Marvin Gundy, a classmate and friend, invited Emmanuel to a local community center to see how Gundy’s final course project was going. Through this experience, and some chance meetings, Emmanuel came to help at Parkridge Community Center Summer Camp, a camp for disadvantaged, middle school aged kids. Emmanuel was being changed.

“Wow, these kids really have no resources, or at least, not what they need to be successful,” said Jones.

Emmanuel saw both differences and similarities between his life, and the lives he was interacting with at Parkridge Community Center Summer Camp. Emmanuel had not always chosen to be a high-achieving, responsible student. During his middle school and high school years Emanuel said, “I chose to act out, to get in trouble. Through most of high school, my mindset was totally off.” What caused Emmanuel to change his ways back in high school was the parental involvement and resources he had.

Emmanuel puts great emphasis on learning and academics.

Emmanuel puts great emphasis on learning and academics.

“It was by the grace of God, and my parents staying on me, that I made a 180 degree turn. I often wonder: without my parents, where would I be now?” said Jones. That was the difference he saw. It was suddenly plain to him that these children needed someone, and it was well within Emmanuel Jones’s ability to help them.

Emmanuel started a small, after school program on the south side of Ypsilanti to help local kids with homework, as well as give them someone to talk to. When the time came for Emmanuel’s senior project, the Action Research project, he decided to use his after school program as the topic. Approximately five to seven kids attended Emmanuel’s operation, and for the purposes of the project, he was going to add significantly increased structure to the program.

Emmanuel implemented a weekly schedule. One day was set aside for homework and school tutoring, another was mentoring day. Emmanuel used mentoring day to teach practical life value lessons. “I would teach them how to make money because I didn’t want them to think the only way was to get it illegally. I also added incentives.” Children who did well in the program, and attended regularly, would get to go out to eat, or even attend Tigers games.

The children could no longer simply attend on their terms, or spend all their time playing games. If they were going to be a part of Emmanuel’s program, they had to follow Emmanuel’s rules. The benefits this structure had on the children were obvious, “Some have told me it could take a year to see a significant change, I saw it in two months! I thought to myself: If I could get 50 volunteers, what kind of difference could I then make in what I found appalling?”

After the project ended, Emmanuel loosened up on the structure his program had, and immediately saw a negative change in the children. This was unacceptable. Emmanuel decided he was going to start and run a nonprofit. Emmanuel knew it would be exceedingly difficult, he also knew it would be worth it. After a brainstorm session with his father, the name Mentor2Youth was chosen and much research began. He wanted the program to be highly organized, help kids through school, prepare them for higher education, provide them with caring adults to talk to and teach the kids life-lessons that would keep them out of trouble. Emmanuel’s sights were set high, “I did not want to just effect a few kids a year,” he wanted to make a large impact.

October, 2011 Mentor2Youth started. There were no donations outside Jones’s parents, and the rest of the funding came from Emmanuel’s pockets and bank loans. Emmanuel became very busy. There was a year’s worth of legal paperwork to do, programs to organize, recruiting of volunteers, funding to find, and of course, the children demanding Jones’s time.

Mentor2Youth took a trip to the Zoo!

Mentor2Youth took a trip to the Zoo!

“The main challenge was working with parents,” said Jones. He spent much time advocating higher education as the road to success, and it was difficult to really convince parents of this. “It was so hard for me to convey its (education’s) importance to them because we were from different walks of life…when you’re in an area where academics is promoted, it’s much easier.”

Emanuel held garage sales and other fundraisers to try to defer costs, but it was difficult the first year as no donations would come in.

That year is over, and Mentor2Youth has grown. Emanuel started with 5 kids attending, he now has close to 100. His organization operates in three locations: Lincoln schools, Ypsilanti, and Parkridge Community Center. Mentor2Youth now has 15-18 tutors ready to help the kids academically, mentors to speak with children about anything they like, and five to six administrators that keep it running. But it is far from smooth sailing, and there is still much work to be done.

Emmanuel’s contribution to the lives of these children is invaluable. Within the next five years, Emmanuel wants the program to reach throughout the county and have a paid staff. He says he would also like to build an after school house to get kids off the streets later in the evening. Emmanuel Jones’s ambition will get him there, but he is not able to do it alone.

Emmanuel and the children in the Mentor2Youth Program could use your help.

If you are interested in getting involved, Mentor2Youth is looking for the following:

–          Tutors

–          Mentors (once a week)

–          Marketers

–          Fundraising People

“I am not looking for a 4.0, I am looking for passion and consistency”

Mentor2Youth also offers student Internships, as well as Student Teaching Hours for Education Majors.

To get involved, go to

http://www.mentor2youth.com/

Or, visit The Vision Office on campus: 346 Student Center (Emmanuel’s office)

Or, Email him

emmanuel.djones@gmail.com

Be sure to follow Mentor2Youth’s Facebook and Twitter to stay in touch!

By Paul Martell

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