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Storm Watters -- 100 Alumni You Should Know


Storm Watters

Storm Watters -- 100 Alumni You Should Know

 

By Khassandra Hameg

Although she’s in a different field than what she studied at USAO, Storm Watters says that what she learned in Chickasha continues to serve her well on a daily basis.

“I prepared for a lifetime of graphic design with the degree I earned, but the process ultimately taught me to prioritize, showed me what I was willing to tolerate or not to tolerate in my career, and helped me to think outside the box even when I changed careers,” she said. Watters received her art degree at USAO in 2001.

“The degree itself got my foot through the door, but being able to creatively connect skills I learned through college and my early career got me the job. Even though I'm in a different professional field now, I still use my old art tricks almost daily, and I consider it a great advantage to be able to draw on uncommon experiences and an education in a different field to solve current problems.”

Watters is a judicial courtroom assistant and mental health coordinator for the Superior Court of California, Kern County. “Prior to working for the court, I was a graphic designer and operations supervisor. Even though there are always new things to learn, I sought a career change more than 10 years ago and love working in the courtroom. I'm now able to be a part of a program that helps individuals overcome various challenges in an attempt to get them the treatment they need so they can get themselves out of the criminal justice system.”

“I've always enjoyed trying new things, and being a “Jill of all trades,” of sorts. I achieved the goal of furthering my education. I achieved my artistic goal by working as a graphic designer, and doing the occasional pottery and ceramic projects for county shows.

“I've survived a career change and California's infamous budget crisis, and my current position working to help people better themselves is fun and rewarding on a personal level as well as a professional one. Getting back into playing the piano hasn't worked out yet, but that's okay, because I'm still busy taking singing lessons, doing some voice acting for video games on the side, and enjoy doing art or design projects on occasion.”

Watters says her advice to current students is be active in finding opportunities, be creative and be ready to prove the worth of your college education.

“Use this time to do more than just survive your classes. You're likely not getting much help networking right now. Do it yourself. Look for opportunities to network, intern, connect with the community and the working world outside of the university. Be creative when you go for those interviews, you're not just suffering through homework and annoying busy work, you're learning to multi-task and prioritize.

“Like it or not, there's going to be an opinion out there that you're wasting your time and money by going to college, that you need ‘real’ skills, or worse, that students these days are coddled and won't be able to hang in a real-world workplace. Be prepared to fight to prove them wrong. Connect those dots and tell them what real world skills you're learning by piling on those credits every trimester.

“USAO is great, and getting good grades is great, but there are some things you're going to have to make time to do yourself if you want to hit the ground running when grades turns into getting hired. Or not. Best of luck out there!”

Help the USAO Alumni Association celebrate its 100th anniversary by submitting a 100 Alumni You Should Know profile at https://usao.edu/forms/100-alumni