‘Real World’ becoming grittier


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Despite a tough economy, outgoing UI senior David McNace remains optimistic about his job search.

McNace — one of 1,138 UI students graduating this month — will leave the university with a double-major in journalism and health and sports studies. He will soon begin his hunt for a position in public relations or marketing, though he’s also open to finding a radio gig.

“The only concern I really have about graduating goes with the news saying the graduating classes of 2009 and 2010 are heading into the worst job market of all time,” the 22-year-old said. “I hope I can find a decent, enjoyable job even with these economic factors.”

U.S. unemployment has doubled in the past two years, reaching 10 percent in November. However, as far as “worst job market of all time” goes, current unemployment is less than half the rate at the height of the Great Depression, which reached a peak of 24.9 percent in 1933.

Officials from the UI Pomerantz Career Center said they are hearing worries from students and they are expanding their programs to help seniors.

The center offers internships in a variety of states and other job services, such as reviewing résumés and holding mock interviews.

Now, the center will hold four more on-campus career fairs during the spring. It also held a “Job Search Strategies for a Tough Economy” workshop this week.

The Pomerantz Center has seen an increase in student interest in such programs, as well as more UI alumni returning for help with networking and locating job fairs in their area, said Angi McKie, a program associate at the center.

McNace, who used the Pomerantz Center to find an internship with WHO radio in Des Moines two summers ago, said he will consider turning to the office once again as he faces that Dec. graduation date.

But he is confident that he’s done enough to succeed.

While a UI student, he witnessed Usain Bolt’s iconic 100-meter dash inperson at the 2008 Beijing Olympics as part of a journalism internship, and he interviewed the late Coach Ed Thomas of Aplington-Parkersburg as a final project for his sportswriting class.

“Thankfully, I’ve built up a pretty large networking base in my time here at the journalism school,” McNace said, noting that he stayed at the UI one extra semester in part to help work on producing Iowa Journalist magazine.

But whatever happens after Saturday’s commencement, it seems many of the graduating UI seniors have made the most of their four years.

Isabella Santoro will return to Iowa City on Friday after wrapping up an internship in Washington D.C., where she has conducted research projects for a British think tank.

Santoro, who grew up in Florence, Italy before moving to the U.S. for college, will graduate with honors in international studies and minors in Spanish and French. The Phi Beta Kappa member studied abroad in Spain two years ago.

She teaches English to foreign residents of Iowa City and volunteers for the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council.

Santoro, who describes her life thus far as “international,” is ready to take that next step from college campus to the professional world.

And like many of her fellow UI seniors, she couldn’t be more ready.

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