Lessons From Corps Seniors

We’re inching towards the end of the semester when seniors are preparing to graduate and fly out of the college nest and go off on their own. Now that Portfolio Day has officially passed us by, it’s full speed ahead for seniors here at the Corps! Once they leave, they will step out into the real world, leaving the Corps with a handful of memories, soft skills, and work experiences. Some of them have been here their entire college career while others have only been here a year or so. Every senior has a different journey at the Corps and in life, which also means that they have different perspectives and tidbits of advice to give. 

An Admiration For Others

Emma Jones is a senior Computer Science major who joined the Corps during fall of her sophomore year. “I first heard about the Corps my spring semester of freshman year because a guy from my class was talking about it. I ended up applying for a Dev position for Fall semester of my sophomore year. It sounded good for programming [experience].” 

Jones was able to get the hang of school a little before jumping straight into projects from the Corps. Eventually, she learned to balance work and school saying, “being in constant communication with people you work with is super helpful and letting the project managers know when you need extensions or can’t make deadlines will make your life easier. It’s hard every now and then, but it gets easier.” Balance definitely gets easier over time. 


There are so many talented people at the Corps, and although all 6 teams specialize in drastically different things, these differences are what make the Corps run as a whole. Since working at the Corps, Jones has gained more empathy for the other teams and their work ethics. She sees the value in the tasks other teams have to do and admires how it all comes together in the end. All in all, it’s safe to say that Jones enjoys working with interdisciplinary teams. She said, “It showed me how important all the different jobs are, and you get to see everyone’s different talents. And I learned to value those different talents.” 

Thanks to the Corps’s project work (and her awesome talent), Jones will be graduating Ball State this Spring and working for Willow Tree Mobile App & Web Development in Columbus. 

Emma and the Dev team gathered at our 2021 holiday party.

Don’t Be Afraid To Make Mistakes 

Viveka Melo is a graduate student at Ball State studying Psychological Science. She originally heard of the Corps from Charity Coffman, the previous Project Management Team Lead and Assistant Director. Charity was Melo’s high school French teacher, and the rest was history. She went on to apply for the UX Team in fall of her freshman year of college in the Fall of 2016. 

“I honestly chose the UX team because my major was undecided, and I kind of liked science. I ended up majoring in wildlife biology, and I had the most experience in UX versus other areas. UX was where I felt most qualified.” Although Melo started her undergrad in wildlife biology, she eventually switched to psychology in her undergrad to better her for a career in UX research. 

Melo echoed the same sentiments as Jones about balancing work and school. She said, “It gets easier over time…Make a to-do list for the day and make sure your plan for the day has ebb and flow.” She also stressed the importance of making mistakes. “I made mistakes my freshman year that I’m still making.” Making mistakes gives you opportunities to not only grow and problem solve, but helps us be more prepared when coming across similar situations in the future. 

Melo’s biggest takeaway from the Corps was “the importance of personal connections.” She went on to say, “Work can be cool and special, even if it’s just work. You don’t have to feel the pressure [from external sources].” It helped her learn to “think of the people in the room to help you solve the problem.” The collaborative nature of the Corps has been a big support system that has helped her whenever she was stuck. 

Being at the Corps for 6 years, Melo obviously has a lot of seniority in many places and said for future Corps employees to “keep an open mind and ask at least one question a day.”  

Thanks to her amazing work ethic and previous internship experience, Melo got an amazing remote UX job at Blackbaud after she graduates! 

Melo talking about UX team updates at All-Corps.

As you can see, the seniors have a lot to say and a lot of advice to give. We will miss not only Melo and Jones dearly, but all the seniors here at the Corps. They’ve contributed so much to the Corps, not only with their brilliant project work, but just by being here and spreading awareness of what we do here. All of the seniors have welcomed the new hires with open arms every semester and have paved the way for incoming new hires for years to come. We wish nothing but the best of luck to them and all their future endeavors. 

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