Meet Erik Newhouse, the face of Calvin to high school students in Southeast Michigan. As a Calvin College Admissions counselor, his job relies on effective communication. Let's see how his CAS experience has equipped him!
Q: What was your most memorable CAS project?
A: In CAS 399, the senior capstone class, we created our own professional portfolios and worked on creative résumés and cover letters. Professor Wieland had us work at steps toward achieving goals and preparing for the next steps of professional life, while incorporating aspects of what we had talked about in our classes. We also did a critical analysis of the meaning of work in our society. That has really influenced me today in thinking about where we put value, spend our time and create identity surrounding our profession.
Q: In what way did your strategic communication major challenge you?
A: I think so much of communication is the practice of critical thinking. CAS challenged me to do that. Communication as an academic discipline gets into the ways that humans interact and puts you into a position to think along the lines of ethics.
Q: Did you have an internship as a student?
A: I double dipped with the congregational studies department and interned at a church one summer. The summer really focused on how a church community can thrive in the neighborhood it's in. We worked at shedding light on the church in an appealing way. Not changing who we are or changing our message, but changing how we communicate that message. I also got to give a sermon, applying things I learned in my oral rhetoric classes.
Q: How has your CAS degree benefitted you as a Calvin admissions counselor?
A: I was really well-equipped to be an admissions counselor. I try to be a storyteller and truth teller of the Calvin mission. In that, I must appeal to different audiences: parents, alumni and high school students. I may have to do this through a two minute elevator pitch or a 30 minute full-on presentation. It's one things to just give a list of stats, but I really try to paint a picture and show how the Calvin experience shapes people holistically and set them on the trajectory to be an agent of renewal.
Q: What are your professional goals?
A: I've been looking at a variety of graduate programs. Probably a program in higher educational leadership or recreational leadership. We'll see, I haven't decided yet!