Class at a county fair

Central Penn’s hands-on learning paid off for this student — at a chili cook-off

Thumbnail of reporter Olivia Gregory

By Olivia Gregory

Knightly News Reporter

As a college student, I can say that many seniors in college who are coming to the end of their education often begin to panic over the thought of not being able to find a job after graduation.

I’m not just any ordinary college student, though, so I can say I don’t feel that panic, even with just two terms remaining in my college career.

The professors at Central Penn College have guided me in maintaining knowledge and experience that will help me become successful after graduation.

Central Penn spices up learning with liberal doses of experiential learning. Image used under Creative Commons licensing.

Each class I’ve taken from the beginning of my college education, until now, has taught me much that I’ll carry on with me forever.

I’m in a class offered at Central Penn, projects in corporate communications. In this class, Professor Paul Miller helped us with aspects of professional development, such as perfecting our LinkedIn profile, writing our own blogs and picking a business of our choice to engage in a project with.

I decided to work with a wonderful woman, and former classmate of mine, Leslie Heimbaugh. She’s the development officer and administrative assistant at The Perry County Literacy Council. I was lucky enough to help plan The 17th Annual Chili Cook-off.

Event planning is something that I’ve enjoyed doing over the last few weeks. With all the skills I’ve learned in school, I was able to help the council write a press release, create a flyer, design a poster, write two social media posts and help on the day of the event.

The cook-off was held Aug. 21 at The Perry County Fair. Seven groups competed with their homemade chili recipes. During the event, I helped make sure each group had the essentials, such as spoons and taste-testing cups for participants. I also helped set up, collect and count money, take photos of the winners, collect chili for the judges, and help collect and close when the cook-off was over.

Working with Heimbaugh on the cook-off appealed to me because I appreciate the work the literacy council does for the community. Nonprofit organizations are important because they usually provide inexpensive or free services. Events like the cook-off help raise money to continue helping the community.

In general, the fair had fewer vendors, fewer people and fewer participants than the usual number. Still, about $890 was raised to benefit the literacy council.

After that great experience, I’d love to help with or participate in the 18th Annual Chili Cook-off next summer. Hopefully, COVID-19 will have died down and more people can come out.

Working with Heimbaugh and the literacy council will benefit me in my career because of the chance I had to help with event planning, social media-content development, digital design and public relations.

I’m thankful that this project is something I can add to my professional experience. It will also help show my future employer that I’m capable of handling tasks that come with working in public relations.

Not only am I thankful for the experience I’ve gained through this project, but I’m thankful to have worked with such great people, ones who work to help the community.

Editor’s note: Gregory produced this story as part of Professor Paul Miller’s projects in corporate communications course this term. Liv has a blog, where she recently wrote about the value of networking. Check it out.

Have a comment or story idea? Contact KnightlyEditors@CentralPenn.Edu.

Edited by media-club co-adviser and blog editor Professor Michael Lear-Olimpi.