Investment & Outcomes

Palm Beach Atlantic University graduate Melanie Kafka

Melanie Kafka '13

Organizational Leadership  

Hometown: Lake Orion, MI

Describe your current job role:

I taught computer applications to 7th graders at Franklin Academy in Boynton Beach. I was also the assistant soccer coarch for the boys and girls teams there. I plan to  teach at a Royal Palm Beach school. 

In addition, since January 2017, I am working towards a doctoral degree, while a graduate assistant at Florida Atlantic University. I assist professors in the College of Education /  Adult and Community Education.  

 

What professional experience(s) did you have prior to your current job role?

I was an information technician at the United States Navy from 2005 to 2011.  Then I was a software controls engineer at Belcan Engineering until 2016.  In the fall of 2016, I won third place in Palm Beach Tech's  inaugural Hackathon.  Along with our "Wordpress Weekend Warriors" team, we created a website and full-blown iPhone applicaton to help the Loxahatchee River Center easily manage its 2017 Junior Angler Tournament.

What do you know now that you wish you had known about being a working professional?

Organizational behavior is a peculiar thing that can’t be learned from books. You have to roll up your sleeves and be willing to get dirty in the trenches with people who may or may not have an interest in your success. Working in high pressure situations is difficult enough without having some knowledge about your colleagues.  

 

" This is not your ordinary university — the staff and faculty are invested in you, so be humble and accept their guidance."

How did PBA prepare you for the world of work?

I learned to rock my own personal brand of excellence wherever I go.

In addition, in spring 2013, I received the Jerms McGraw "Second Chance Scholarship."  The scholarship was created in memory of U.S. Marine Corps 2nd Lt. Jeremiah McGraw. Known by his nickname “Jerms,” Lt. McGraw earned a Bachelor's degree in organizational management here at PBA.  He was set to attend the MacArthur School of Leadership while serving as a Marine reservist. He died in 2009 in a training exercise. He was 22. 

What advice would you give to current PBA students and/or young alumni who are about to start their first professional full-time job?

Take advantage of PBA's career development services and ask professors for advice and support. This is not your ordinary university — the staff and faculty are invested in you, so be humble and accept their guidance. Also, keep your head down, do your job and focus on your long-term goals.

Have you been mentored by anyone in your professional field since entering the workforce? If so, what impact has that had on you?

Professor Pam Sigafoose has been a beacon to me when I was unsure what to do after graduation.  Dr. Art Johnson encouraged me to consider career choices that spoke to my heart and to use my gifts to help others.  Dr. Audy Johnston told me I can do anything, yes, anything.  Many others at PBA influenced me in a positive way. 


For current updates from Melanie, find her on LinkedIn. 

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