UM-DeSoto Alumna Prepares Students for Dream Careers
Alice Robeson uses personal experience to assist nontraditional students
SOUTHAVEN, Miss. – In her role as a graduate services specialist at Concorde Career College, Alice Robeson does anything and everything she can do to help students land the perfect job.
“I teach them how to dress for success, how to write a resume and how to interview,” Robeson said. “I encourage them to take that next step because they truly can be whatever they want to be.”
Robeson received a bachelor’s in business administration with a human resource management emphasis from the University of Mississippi at DeSoto Center – Southaven in 2016. She regularly draws from her own college experience to guide students at Concorde’s Southaven campus.
Hailing from Jamestown, Tennessee, she enrolled at Tennessee Tech University in 1998 where she ultimately changed her major from education to business. She moved to Mississippi before she was able to finish a degree in her home state.
She first met with Pat Coats, coordinator of academic support services at UM-DeSoto, in 2013. Coats encouraged her to enroll at Northwest Mississippi Community College for a year before transferring. That decision changed her life, she said.
“I was in my early 30s when I decided to go back to school at Northwest,” she said. “It amazed me that I could still do the work after 15 years. I have no doubt I would not be where I am if it hadn’t been for my time at Ole Miss DeSoto and Northwest.”
Coats remembered Robeson and checked in with her periodically while she attended Northwest.
“I enjoyed getting to know Alice,” Coats said. “I could immediately tell she was going to do well at the DeSoto Center.”
Once she transferred to UM-DeSoto, she was influenced by Bud Hamilton, associate instructional professor of management.
“Dr. Hamilton made me want to be a better person,” she said. “I was inspired by his love of management and strategy, which helped me choose an emphasis in human resources.”
The flexible class schedule at UM-DeSoto was particularly helpful to Robeson, who had to work around a job and her young son’s football practices.
“As a working parent and single parent it was actually perfect for me,” she said. “It was the perfect balance of work, life and school.”
Students at Concorde have similar challenges, and Robeson has made it her mission to find ways to help them attend classes.
“We have a lot of nontraditional students that commute up to two hours to get here,” she said. “These students need to be in the classroom rather just taking an online course. We’re working on ways to alleviate some of that stress for them.”
Robeson began working at Concorde in June of 2017. One of her favorite success stories at the campus involves a student who was interviewing for an upper-level management position.
“I love the intrinsic reward that I get from seeing ‘aha moments’ firsthand, but when the students come back and tell me their stories – that’s what really gets me,” she said. “I worked with one young lady who was always very quiet and rarely spoke up, but I could tell she was listening.”
Robeson counseled the student on topics such as employer expectations, how to conduct a job search, resume writing and interview skills.
“She interviewed for a big project management position that was unlike one she had ever had,” Robeson said. “She called me after her interview and had all this excitement in her voice. She told me that she listened to everything I said and it worked. She got the job.”
She unequivocally knew she was making an impact at Concorde when a colleague posted her photo on the campus’s Facebook page.
“The students started commenting about how much I’ve helped them,” she said. “It made me feel really good, and it brought tears to my eyes.”
For more information about the University of Mississippi – DeSoto, visit olemiss.edu/desoto.
By Erin Garrett