My Crooked Walk to Success with Becca Warden, Class of 2017

I’ve spent five years at JMU, the greatest school in the world. Since I was 12, I’ve wanted to come to JMU. A family friend graduated from JMU, and I didn’t consider going anywhere else until my senior year in high school. I applied to several schools, as I was concerned about being accepted. I was accepted to JMU and, even better, was accepted into the Centennial Scholarship Program.

The Centennial Scholars Program (CSP) provides financial assistance and a multi-level academic support network, to retain eligible under-represented students. CSP provides a financial aid package in the form of grants. These funds cover tuition and standard room and board rates.

warden-beccaAs the first in my family to attend college, I had no idea what I was getting into. I came in as a Biology major with a pre-med concentration. That lasted less than a year. I then switched to Health Science, Pre-med. Shortly after, I figured out I didn’t want to be in medicine at all. So I switched to Computer Information Systems in the Business school, as I had been good at it in high school. It still didn’t fit. I went to my Career & Academic Planning (CAP) adviser, and he put me through all sorts of personality and aptitude tests. Together, we figured out that General Business fit me well. I switched to a Hospitality Management Major with a general business minor. There, I found my niche. I have excelled in this major and will be graduating with a job already in place, as Marriott International’s Manager in Training.

This brings me to CAP’s Employer Relations and Recruiting Services (ERR) team. I’ve volunteered in their office for almost four years now. I owe a good bit of my success to them. In the office, I learned how to write a great resume, dress for success, and shine in an interview. Through CAP’s career fair, I secured my internship as a banquet intern at Farmington Country Club, and my job with Marriott.

In addition to CAP, you should take advantage of JMU’s other great services, such as the Counseling Center. While at JMU, I’ve dealt with depression and anxiety. During my freshman year, a friend convinced me to go to the Counseling Center on campus. There, I found support from a therapist and a psychiatrist that have helped me through some of my worst times, and made me a better person. I also became a dog mom because of their advice. I always loved meeting with the therapy dog Francis in the Counseling Center. Once I moved off campus, my therapist suggested I get a dog of my own, which I did. He’s my baby, and he has helped me as well.


The health center is free, the counseling center is free, movies at Grafton by UPB are free, and CAP is free. Use these resources as a student! CAP can help you find a major and get a job. No matter your situation or problem, JMU has resources to help you. Experience everything. Get everything you need. All while getting a diploma.

My line to success and starting a career was a long and interesting one. But at the end of the day, I am graduating, with a job! I have learned and grown more than I ever thought possible. And I owe all of it to James Madison University!



How to Prepare for Case Interviews with Graduate Student Kaitlin DeWeever

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While a graduate student in the Adult Education/Human Resource Development program and the Graduate Assistant to the Employer Relations and Recruiting Services team in Career and Academic Planning (CAP), I accepted an internship position at Deloitte Consulting. Deloitte is an audit, consulting, tax, and advisory services provider all over the world. After participating in their interview process, I would love to offer some insight on case interviewing.

What is a Case Study Interview?

According to the CAP website, a case interview is “a type of job interview in which the applicant is asked to solve a question or situation, known as a ‘case,’ to demonstrate the applicant’s ability to comprehend, analyze, and synthesize information. This type of interview allows the interviewer to observe the applicant’s problem-solving ability, thought process structure, and how they articulate a solution under pressure, rather than looking for a correct answer or solution.”

Deloitte uses case study interviews in hiring both intern and full time positions. More specifically, they structure their interviews in two parts. The first portion is a one-on-one behavioral interview for approximately 30 minutes, and the second half is a one-on-one case study interview. The behavioral interview is the time to highlight achievements and experiences, as well as present communication and interpersonal skills. It is an opportunity to describe situations where technical and functional capabilities, intellectual curiosity, and passion for making a personal impact were exhibited.

Preparation for a Case Study Interview

My first experience with a case interview was in the Fall of 2016 when I participated in the Booz Allen Hamilton (BAH) Incubator Challenge. This event prompted students to curate a solution to a problem similar to the one solved by BAH’s full time employees. I worked with two other students to improve navigation in a new city for the legally blind. My team had two weeks to design a solution and present it to a panel of judges from BAH. As a team, we were challenged to comprehend, analyze, and synthesize information. Ultimately, we presented our solution through a 15-minute PowerPoint presentation. This was a new experience for me, and it helped me to learn where to spend my time creating a solution and how to present my conclusion in a mature, logical way.

A few days before my interview, I began my research on Deloitte. I started with the organization’s website to gain better insight on who their clients were and what kind of research they had gathered in the last year. I read articles to help me understand what services they provided. For my next step, I read previous and current employee reviews on Glassdoor ( The overall feedback was positive, and it made me excited for the interview. With the help of a Google search, I solidified my approach to the case study. I understood the importance of considering all options before selecting a solution to present to the interviewer. I also learned the thought process toward finding the solution is just as important as the final answer. The last step of preparation that I took for the interview was securing an outfit in which I felt professional but comfortable.

As JMU students or alumni, we are fortunate to have many valuable resources to help us prepare for an interview. One example accessible on the JMU CAP website is InterviewStream. With this program, you can “conduct free, online practice interviews with a webcam. JMU students have access to frequently asked interview questions, can choose their own questions, or can select a prepared interview. Students can record themselves responding to each question, retry, and review the final product to improve performance.”

Benefits of using InterviewStream include:

  • Convenience
  • Interview Questions Specific to your Field Expert Advice
  • Feedback on your Interviewing Skills

Check out InterviewStream here.

Want to learn more about case interviews? Visit here.

Check out Booz Allen Hamilton and Deloitte Consulting‘s employer pages on Recruit-A-Duke!

JMU’s Top Professors: Dr. Warner


The man that has given arguably the best speeches at orientation, graduation, and other clubs and events, rightfully has a perfect 5.0 on the Rate My Professor website. Dr. Warner never fails to captivate an audience of any size with his extremely 232707 Student Success Center Ribbon Cutting - Selects-1018inspirational speeches. After meeting him, it’s nearly impossible to not walk away with a smile and a bit more of an optimistic outlook on your life. Always signing his emails and ending his speeches with “create a great day,” Mark Warner believes there’s no such thing as a bad day, rather it’s up to you to create a day with the choices that you can be proud of that ultimately make you happy.

I met with Dr. Warner to learn more about his perspective, why he teaches, and a little more about his personal life. Here’s what I found out:

DD: What helped you find your calling with teaching, and why do…

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How JMU Values Contributed to Ranking #17 in the Peace Corps’ 2017 Top Volunteer-Producing Universities


In the Peace Corps’ 2017 Top Volunteer-Producing Universities list, JMU ranked #17, with 41 Dukes currently serving worldwide.


Emily Webb, Public Affairs Specialist for the Peace Corps, answered a few questions for us about this list and why many Dukes decide to become Peace Corps Volunteers.

Why was JMU recognized by the Peace Corps?

“James Madison University recently ranked No. 17 for producing the most Peace Corps Volunteers among colleges and universities nationwide. There are 41 Dukes currently volunteering worldwide in Armenia, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, China, Comoros, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Moldova, Mongolia, Mozambique, Peru, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Ukraine, Vanuatu and Zambia. Since the Peace Corps’ founding in 1961, 506 alumni from JMU have traveled abroad to serve as Volunteers.

What are the hopes for future JMU Volunteers?

‘The Peace Corps is unique among service organizations because our Volunteers live and work at the community level – they go the last mile where most development agencies, and even host governments, rarely reach. As Peace Corps Volunteers, JMU graduates can integrate into their communities and develop lasting relationships as they work toward sustainable change that lives on long after their service. In turn, Peace Corps Volunteers gain cross-cultural, leadership, language, teaching and community development skills that give them a competitive edge for advanced education and job opportunities in today’s global economy. Today, JMU graduates have more choices when it comes to serving abroad, and we want the Peace Corps to be their perfect match.”

Why do JMU students fit so well into the Peace Corps?

“The values that James Madison University instills in its students, particularly in the way it prioritizes engaged learning through its curriculum, align with those embodied by prospective Peace Corps Volunteers. Through their service, Peace Corps Volunteers forge cultural connections and sustainable change with a profound sense of understanding that helps them to identify needs and solve problems in communities abroad.”

Check out the Peace Corps’ profile on Recruit-A-Duke, and keep an eye out for their volunteer openings!

Negotiating your salary: it’s not just for the boys

The InformHer

By Rachel Garretson

We’ve heard it from every teacher, parent, and sappy teen magazine relationship columnist alike: healthy communication is the key to success. But what about when those coveted communication skills need to translate to the workplace, and no one ever taught you how?


It turns out men generally have the advantage here. Researchers have found evidence that they attempt to negotiate salaries more often then women, and when women apply for jobs, they tend to assume negotiations aren’t even an option.

Picture1This same tendency can hurt women even more once they do land the job. Unfortunately, there are no massive neon signs conveniently posted along our professional journey telling us when we should ask for a raise. Thus, once again, we find that women are less keen on initiating these negotiations.

Here’s where women do shine, though; a study done in Chicago found that just including the…

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Unpaid Internship Scholarship Program



Have you ever had an unpaid internship? Gaining experience is great, but it can be tough working without pay. That’s why JMU CAP is now offering a new Scholarship Program to students!

This is the first year Career and Academic Planning (CAP) is offering the scholarship program. Scholarships will be awarded beginning this Summer to students working unpaid internships. The internship doesn’t have to be through JMU; students can intern wherever they like as long as it’s unpaid. Students will also need to register for IDLS 486 or a course within their major for at least 1 credit hour in order to be eligible to receive scholarship funds.  A few more of the scholarship requirements are listed below:

  • Internship needs to be 30-40 hours per week
  • Internship needs to last at least 8 weeks
  • Student must have a minimum overall GPA of 2.50
  • Student needs to be enrolled at JMU for at…

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When collaboration becomes overkill: How collaboration can kill your career

The InformHer

By Erika Harrington

“Women aren’t authoritative.” “A commanding voice is a masculine one.” “Women are too dainty to lead.” We get it. You think it takes a certain type of a person to be a leader, and that type of person is usually a man. Thankfully, when it comes to the success of a company, what you think doesn’t matter; what actually matters are performance and results.

With that in mind, it’s high time that we face the truth that women can produce as well as men. Don’t believe me? Well, maybe you’ll believe British sociolinguist Judith Baxter, who published a study on the leadership abilities of males and females. Baxter wanted to find out if different, gender-specific language characteristics affected an individual’s ability to become a leader, and how well people  respond to them as such.

mulanclimbingUsing groups of all male, all female, and mixed gender participants, she was…

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