Undergrad Student Spotlight: Cassandra Griffing

Cassandra Griffing (BA ’21)

If someone asked me a year ago what I wanted to do after I complete my undergrad degree, I wouldn’t have had the slightest idea how to respond.

An English degree can lead to many career paths, which is both exciting and daunting. When I set out to find an internship, I was looking for two things — to put my skills acquired from countless hours of writing academic essays, creative essays, and poems to use, and to expand on my experience with technology in a way that will be useful for future careers.

 I chose to intern with aha! Manhattan, which is made up of local humanities and nature-based organizations that coordinate events and support one another. The plan was to be a writing intern during this Fall 2020 semester, but after COVID-19 caused many summer plans to be cancelled, aha! Manhattan and I both decided it would be convenient for me to work mostly virtually during the summer.

Although it was difficult to let go of the idea of interacting with aha! representatives face to face, I learned that flexibility and adaptability are useful skills to have in a workplace, especially in these changing times.

Throughout the summer I selected organizations to feature on aha! Manhattan’s Facebook page. In the Facebook articles I advertised social distancing events and activities, places to visit, and Zoom Webinars, accompanied by either pictures I took, or ones shared with me by the featured organization. It was rewarding to see how grateful some organizations were for the extra publicity.

This year was especially hard on organizations that rely on in-person events, so I loved to see the creativity that went into their online events. Perhaps the most interesting thing I advertised was FerretZooming with the Sunset Zoo, where one can hire the zoo’s ferrets to “Zoombomb” an otherwise boring Zoom meeting. Besides the Sunset Zoo, other aha! Manhattan members I wrote for were Konza Prairie, K-State Gardens, K-State Insect Zoo, Manhattan Public Library, UFM, and Riley County Historical Museum.

On top of networking around the Manhattan area, I got to engage in the Manhattan community and discover new places, which happened to be one of my personal goals: to encourage members of the city to do the same.

Although I don’t have one specific career in mind that I should pursue after I graduate, I have many unplanned takeaways, such as perfecting my email skills, photography, social media, and knowing that I can be innovative in times of great uncertainty.

— Cassandra Griffing (BA ’21)

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