After his graduate assistantships in the O’Neill School, Michael Cervantes’s career path directly led him to higher education.
“It was scary at first, since I did not have a degree in this field,” said Cervantes. “But I was pleased to learn that my O’Neill education was incredibly transferable for my work with IU.”
Cervantes started his career in the IU Office of the President where he focused on pipeline development of faculty and ensuring they were being recognized for their excellence in research, teaching, and service. Through this role, he built a strong community within IU and was ready to pivot his career into a more externally facing role. Now, he is senior associate director at the IU Alumni Association where he connects with alumni across the country and finds ways for them to connect back to the institution and volunteer in ways that are meaningful to them and IU.
“The O’Neill School was a vital part of my student experience that not only provided me with an incredible network of friends and colleagues but experiences that helped me launch my career,” said Cervantes. “During my time at O’Neill, I held assistantships where I was able to collaborate with wonderful staff members in the Arts Administration Program, Development and Alumni Relations Office, and the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Office. It was the staff members and their passion for supporting students that highlighted my own interest in entering the field of higher education.”
The O’Neill School’s Arts Administration Program is one of the nation’s oldest and has a community of alumni in almost every major cultural institution across the nation and globe.
“Seeing where alumni were working, and the expertise of our faculty, truly made this program enticing,” said Cervantes. “But what got me to that ‘yes’ was the financial package offered. Moving across the country for a new degree isn’t cheap, and the O’Neill staff were helpful in finding scholarship opportunities and other funding sources for me to pursue the MAAA degree.”
When you graduate with a MAAA degree at O’Neill, you are not just receiving theoretical knowledge. The required internship and practicum let you put your classroom experience to work. You develop your skills, problem solve with real organizations of many sizes, and build a competitive resume that can propel you wherever you want to go.
“Be intentional with your time as a student and create a network that will prepare you for success,” said Cervantes. “Connect with faculty in the field you are passionate about, connect with alumni working at organizations and institutions that interest you. Take opportunities where you can get practical experience in your potential future career. Overall, deeply integrate yourself with the O’Neill community and leverage their knowledge, expertise, and experiences to better understand what you want for yourself, your career, and how you want to drive change.”